It is an uncomfortable truth….
As I somehow did not manage to record most of our live today… here is a note covering what you missed.
Amber and I started out by agreeing that we both see women as they go through their 40s start to struggle with their weight – sometimes for the first time. Amber pointed out that this is the time in a lot of womens’ lives when:
- They go back to work or are in a position of more responsibility – so they have less time to exercise and they eat on the run
- If they have kids – the kids are more grown up and do not need as much help – which also equates to less movement
- They start drinking more to relieve stress and for enjoyment
- They eat out more and do less cooking
- They do not sleep as well as they suffer hormonal changes
- They are more stressed and have higher cortisol levels.
So even though there are hormonal changes behind some of these things (like poor sleep) and less muscle mass (so less energy is required) that is not really the main reason weight starts to go on. Less movement, more alcohol, more stress and less nutritious food all mean that slowly, slowly weight will go on as food excess to your needs get stored as fat. It is an uncomfortable truth – we can’t just blame old age, our hormones, “starvation mode” or other excuses. We need to find a way to eat slightly less, move a lot more, sleep better and stress less.
We also talked about whether cutting out carbs was the answer. Amber sees a lot of women who love the keto diet. These same women (without generalising too much) are the usually the ones who like to drink a lot of wine – so really they are not in fact in ketosis at all. The high fat diets also make them feel less like eating and this can lead to weight loss. But this is not something Amber would recommend. Other weight loss schemes (weight loss meal delivery) which have a large calorie deficit and help you lose weight “quick” are also not really going to lead to lasting results, although the big weight loss at the start can be motivating for some.
We agreed that there are some carbs like starchy vegetables and grainy breads which will give you more nutrients and fibre and make you feel better than processed carbs. But ultimately you will not be able to control your weight just by switching up your carbs.
You need to work out what your energy needs are and then work out a way to have a slight sustainable calorie deficit if you want to lose weight or stick to maintenance calories if you are trying to maintain. Eating a low calorie diet Monday to Friday is not going to work if you eat a lot of food on the weekend.
We will continue our chat next week and hopefully I will work out how to record it for you! But in the meantime I think the message from today is that there is no magic way to control weight as we age. It is just a lot of hard work and paying attention to what goes into our mouth – food and drink.