Trying to lose weight when you're over 40 brings a whole new set of challenges. On episode 549 of the 40+ Fitness Podcast, Rachel and I answer the most frequently asked weight loss questions.
Let's Say Hello
[00:03:21.070] – Allan
[00:03:22.360] – Rachel
Hey, Allan. How are you today?
[00:03:24.790] – Allan
I'm doing all right.
[00:03:26.300] – Rachel
[00:03:29.870] – Allan
If you kind of followed the news outside the United States, then you know that there's a lot of countries, particularly countries that have a large proportion of their people that are living right at or below the poverty line. And Panama is one where they have some individuals here that are really rich and there's a lot of individuals that are pretty much hand to mouth. What they make today, they eat today kind of people. And so with the way prices and inflation has been going up, it's making it really difficult for these folks. And so there's basically strikes/ protests going on around the country. And what that means is their favorite way to protest is to basically just shut down roads. So all across the country you have various industries that are completely going on strike. Transportation is one of the key ones. And then, yeah, they block all the roads. So what that means is that fuel, for example, isn't getting to this island because it can't get through the roadblocks. And what that means is that our power is run by generator. They're due to run out of power today. In fact, while we're recording this, my power might just go out.
[00:04:51.040] – Rachel
[00:04:53.090] – Allan
But I do have a backup power. My computer is plugged in and charging, so I should be able to finish the podcast in the dark. But if it happens, it also means that people traveling around the country are getting stuck. So they get one place and then they run into a roadblock. And then before they can really turn around and come all the way back, there's another roadblock behind them and they're literally trapped on the road. It's making travel very difficult, making plan, anything. So Tammy is due to take our granddaughter back and it's like, well, I can't chance the bus because we might get stuck and spend a couple of days on the side of a highway with no services. She's concerned about that and so she's got to reconfigure her travel. They're going to have to fly to Panama City and hope that they can get to took them in the airport because that road has been blocked off a few times too. And then, yeah, I've got a trip in August, so I'm hopeful that they take care of some of this stuff and get some of these things out of the way.
[00:05:54.200] – Allan
But it is what it is. It's kind of tense, but it's not like burning down cities and stuff like that. That sometimes happens. So at least at this point, it's relatively peaceful. And yeah, there have been a few fist fights because if you're sitting on the road trying to get somewhere and you've been stuck for hours and there's just people just sitting on the road, it can kind of upset some people. So there have been some fights, fist fights and things like that, but nothing major so far. But I think as it gets going, it could blow up and be bigger. Wherever you are, be safe. It's not that this won't happen in the United States. So just realize take care of yourself, take care of your family, and the best thing you can do is take care of your health and make sure that you're in good shape that way because you just never know what's going to happen in the world for us. The Chinese proverb, may you live in interesting times. I'm there, baby.
[00:06:59.170] – Rachel
Yeah. That is very interesting. Well, I hope it gets to be a little more peaceful. I hope things resolve soon.
[00:07:06.240] – Allan
Yeah. Because the meat market where I buy most of my meat, she says she hasn't gotten a shipment. She doesn't know when she's going to get in the shipment. So we could easily run out of food on the island. In addition to running out of fuel, we capture our water. So it's been raining, so we're going to have water. But the food thing might actually start to be a problem for us. But I'm sure they'll figure something out.
[00:07:30.480] – Rachel
But my fingers are crossed.
[00:07:32.950] – Allan
How are things up there?
[00:07:34.390] – Rachel
Good. For this early morning podcast, I had to get up a little bit earlier than normal, so I got to see the sunrise this morning and enjoyed a wonderful morning run and have a coffee sitting here with me while we chat today. And I'm just in a good place. It's going to be a good day.
[00:07:52.640] – Allan
Yes, it's going to be a good day. And the reason we're recording this early is we want to have a little extra time. And so we pushed our recording to a different day and then all of the conflicts and things that I had, this was the only time we could record. But this is a special episode because this is going to be one of our question and answer episodes and we want to have these more regularly. So if you have questions about anything, you can join us on our Facebook Group at 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/group. And in the group occasionally I will post for questions like I did this time.
And then you also, Rachel, you posted in your page, Strong Souls. Strong Souls?
[00:08:34.820] – Rachel
Yes, Strong Souls.
[00:08:36.770] – Allan
I don't know why I can't stick that in my head. I know it's you. When I see the post. I said, okay, that's Rachel.
Weight Loss Questions
[00:08:45.770] – Allan
This week we are going to discuss frequently asked weight loss questions. We had a few people that did submit some questions, and then some of the other questions that I put in here were questions that I get all the time from my clients or questions that I've seen regularly either on the group or just in other forums.
[00:09:05.630] – Allan
So I wanted to talk about those. So today we're going to talk about weight loss questions. Now, the first question comes from Melissa, and I believe Melissa is a client of yours and she's in your Strong Souls page group. She posted the question, what should be the number one thing to focus on? And she said macros, water, exercise. I'm going to add calories because a lot of people ask about whether they should do calories in, calories out and all of that. And you're not going to like the answer to this, Melissa, but the answer is it depends.
[00:09:43.150] – Rachel
[00:09:44.750] – Allan
it depends. I've seen people be extremely successful just by focusing on their calories. They do the calories in, the calories out, and the formula just seems to fall in place for them. They eat a little bit less, they lose some weight, and they feel good. So there's that. If you decide you want to try to do some macros based stuff like keto or low carb, then obviously now you're focused on the macros a little bit more. We all know that drinking enough water is important to stay hydrated and sometimes full. So you start feeling a little hungry, drink some water, you kind of lose that.
[00:10:27.980] – Allan
You get that fullness sensation and the hunger kind of goes away. So if it's binges and kind of urges and things like that, water can be a great tool. And then exercise. And we're going to talk a little bit more about exercise. There's another question on this later, a few questions on this later because we talk about exercise. But exercise should not be your weight loss plan. It seldom works. Yes, you're increasing your calorie usage, but there are reasons why sometimes your body still won't lose the weight. So exercise is important. It's important for a lot of reasons. It can be a tool, just a tool in your tool chest that makes losing weight a little easier. And mentally it probably helps a lot because I've noticed as I get people moving, they suddenly start paying a lot more attention to the other things that can make them healthy. They actually start eating better because it's kind of like, well, I went for that run this morning and now I'm in the drive thru at McDonald's. That feels kind of weird. And so you start maybe eating a little bit better, you start working out, you get more energy, and you have more energy now cooking, batch cooking, doing the things to have healthy food, putting a little bit energy, more energy into that you're able to.
[00:11:47.340] – Allan
So from my perspective, you have to pick a strategy that you know will work for you that can be focused on macros, that can be focused on calories. And then the water and the exercise are tools that you carry along with you regardless of the way you choose to do this, that then become ways that you can make sure that the weight loss is consistent. And yeah, if you find yourself plateauing, well, put a couple of hit workouts in your month and that might be just the thing to trigger it. But the other thing I'd caution is, I think sometimes when people do macros, they forget the calories count.
[00:12:24.430] – Rachel
[00:12:25.730] – Allan
And I've got lots of friends in this industry that are keto, and they've been keto for five years, six years, seven years, and they are still obese. And I can kind of tell them why they don't like the answer, but the answer is that they're overeating. Their macros are fine. Their body knows how to use the fat for energy. They're just eating too much and they're not moving enough.
[00:12:54.040] – Rachel
[00:12:56.030] – Allan
Both yeah. Go ahead.
[00:12:57.550] – Rachel
So that's where I was going to go, too, is one of the things I like to say, is, if you can measure it, you can monitor it. And with the apps nowadays, like Fitness Pal and there's a number of different food diary apps you can use, I think that we are not fully aware of how many calories we're eating and in what macros specifically, it's just easy for our mind to think, yeah, we're only having a half a cup or a quarter cup of nuts. When you really go down to measure it, you're eating a full cup or something or cereal or a glass of milk or whatever it is that you're eating. We just have this way of not really recognizing the true volume of what we're eating, and in that case, we're not really recognizing the true number of calories that we're eating. So that's what I would have suggested. If you can measure it, you can monitor it and then find your weak points. If you start measuring what foods you're eating and paying attention to any trends, you might notice that maybe you're having too many carbs in a day or too much fat in a day or too much of something else in a day, in which case, if you're eating too much of something, then you're lacking in something else.
[00:14:08.280] – Rachel
So it's really good to keep some sort of a food diary and observe any trends in your habits and see what you can do better.
[00:14:16.320] – Allan
Yeah. And just what you said. Your example of half a cup of nuts that then turns into a full cup of nuts, let's break that down. A serving of nuts is about 2oz. Ounce or 2oz. So you could be having anywhere from four to eight servings of nuts. And you look on there and it's like, oh, well, it's 160 calories for a serving of nuts. Well, guess what you just did. You ate 800 calories of nuts.
[00:14:44.090] – Rachel
I'm good at this. I know this trend very well because this is what I do. I'll measure my food, a quarter cup of nuts, and it looks like a little bit of a hill in the palm of my hand. I can fit this much ounces of nuts in my hand. And so then I put the measuring cup away and I start pouring the nuts in my hand, and the pile gets a little bigger and a little bigger. Oh, it's just a few more nuts. It's just a few extra calories, but it snowballs it can be a lot more calories, and it's just easy for our minds to kind of overlook that. So it's important to measure and monitor.
[00:15:18.390] – Allan
Yeah, because an almond is about 16 calories,
[00:15:22.610] – Rachel
so they add up really fast
[00:15:24.450] – Allan
really fast. A couple extra in there, and over time that's more calories. And so, again, they both matter. Your body is going to react to different foods, different ways. Certain things are going to be inflammatory for you. Inflammation causes you to weight more. Even though it's not fat, it causes some other problems. And you do retain water and all this stuff with inflammation. So you're going to weigh more. You just naturally are just having a balance to this and looking for what does work for you is going to be the key for this.
[00:15:59.810] – Rachel
You know, a good point on the inflammation. Right now it's the middle of summer and we should be chugging water like it's going out of style. We're sweating a lot. If we're working outside, we need to replace that. But if you're eating a lot of carbs and drinking a lot of water, you're going to feel a little bloated. You could see that scale change a little bit, and you just have to recognize that you're drinking a lot of water for a reason. It's important to have this in you, and it might cause a little inflammation. It might cause you to bloat up a little bit. And so just don't be so hard on yourself if you're going on a run like I did this morning, I sweated buckets, but I also drank a ton of water when I got home. And so if I step on the scale, it's not going to reflect what I'm really doing on a day to day basis.
[00:16:45.300] – Allan
Yeah, I typically ask my clients to weigh themselves first thing in the morning, get up, do your little potty break, and then step on the scale. And typically that's the lightest weight we're going to weigh that day because overnight we've kind of dehydrated a little bit. We haven't drink any water, we haven't eaten any food. And then if we just went to the bathroom, we've gotten rid a little bit.
[00:17:09.650] – Rachel
[00:17:10.560] – Allan
Okay, now you weigh yourself, and then I also recommend that you not weigh yourself every day if you're someone who's going to kind of get yourself a little put back. Because what could happen is on day one, you lose a pound and you're really excited. That's a whole pound in a day, that's great. And then the next day you gain half a pound. The third day you gain a pound, and the fourth day you lose a pound. Now if you sat there and weighed yourself every day, you had a loss and then you had two gains. And for a lot of people that early in there, they're going to sit there and say, oh, my God, I'm gaining weight. I wanted to lose weight. And then what they do is if you weigh yourself out every four days, you've lost a pound and a half in four days, and that's good. You're targeting about a pound to a pound and a half, maybe 2 pounds in a week. You're three quarters of the way there, baby. You're there or three quarters of the way there for a max loss of 2 pounds. You've done really good, and you should be proud of that.
[00:18:16.420] – Allan
But if you let yourself get disgruntled or want to quit because the scale didn't go down every day, because guess what? It won't ever go down every day unless you just start cutting off body parts, if you're cutting off body parts, then absolutely, you can lose weight every single day until you can't. But that's kind of the whole part of this is to say, okay, I have to be reasonable about it. How does my mind work? And don't necessarily weigh yourself every day. Weigh yourself for trends. Don't track your food every day if you don't feel like doing it, track it for trends one day and say, okay, I'm going to track what I'm eating. I'm going to weigh it. I'm going to look at it. I'm going to make sure that I got all my servings right. I've got my calories right. My fitness pal is great for that because it's a very big database. But some of the items on the database aren't 100% correct. They do need you to pay attention, because I couldn't tell you what 100 grams of steak looks like.
[00:19:19.820] – Rachel
Oh, gosh no.
[00:19:20.730] – Allan
but that's not what you pop up 100 grams of steak, and they make out like that's a serving. I'm like, okay, I look at steak by ounces, and I know that the palm of my hand, just the palm, is about a serving size of steak. So for dinner, I might sit down and have two servings of steak, and I know that's what I'm having, because about the size of two palms. If I'm going to have chicken, I know that's my full hand. Okay, fish my whole hand, 5oz. 4oz for steak, 4oz for pork. And when you start getting that down, you know what it looks like. You talked about the palm of your hand and the almonds. Yes, that's exactly what we're talking about. You start understanding what a serving is just because you spent a little time studying it, what it looks like. And so with some of my clients, instead of doing my fitness pal and tracking, I just say, send me photographs. Just take a picture of your meals and send them to me, and then if I see something, I'll say something. But for them, they'll think, okay, well, that was a serving of chicken.
[00:20:23.140] – Allan
I'm like, when you went to that restaurant, they gave you three servings of chicken. You thought that was one serving of potato. No, that was probably three servings of potato. And so you got to get that and understand that. But however you go about that, that's really important. So it does depend and you just have to find a way of eating that really works for you. And these other tools, get them in your tool chest and it will happen.
[00:20:50.910] – Rachel
[00:20:52.190] – Allan
All right. Now, the second question is kind of related. Is low carb better than low fat?
[00:20:59.260] – Rachel
That's a good one.
[00:21:00.600] – Allan
So I'm going to let you start on this, Rachel, because you do you and what you do works. So I want to hear your side of it first.
[00:21:09.160] – Rachel
Well, all of us are different, so again, I'll wave the flag of it depends on who you are, but for my personal opinion is that low carb is better than low fat. I think we need the healthy fats in our diets because they deliver so many important nutrients and energy that we don't get. But it's the carbs that I definitely keep an eye on, because not all carbs are good for you. And it's not just bread carbs that we think of, although those are the ones that we tend to overdose on, and I use that word specifically. We have cereal grains at breakfast and toast and sandwiches with giant submarine sandwich buns at lunch and then dinner rolls for dessert and cakes and things, cookies for desserts. We get so many carbs each and every single day and they all taste good, but they actually do nothing for us. There's very few nutrients in these types of products. So when I think of carbs, I think of the carbs that I'll get in the fibrous fruits and vegetables that I choose to eat. So my opinion is you just got to keep an eye on those carbs and just don't overdose on them.
[00:22:27.590] – Rachel
I'm not going to say everyone needs to go keto or any such thing, but I am saying again, if you measure it, you can monitor it. And I just think that we get way too many carbs in our day to day diet than we need. We can't use all the energy and then it just turns into fat later on.
[00:22:43.570] – Allan
Yes, I do also tend towards low carb with most people because what I found is you can feel satiated longer with fewer calories.
[00:22:55.310] – Rachel
[00:22:56.250] – Allan
But where I would caution on either of these is realize how smart the food industry is and when we start having these things like low fat, when low fat came out, all the products hit the market. Low fat, you walk into a grocery store now, sometimes it is hard to find full fat yogurt.
[00:23:16.630] – Rachel
It is. And I'm looking
[00:23:18.830] – Allan
and literally, you go to the milk place and it's like they'll have one little space for the whole milk and then skim milk and semi skimmed milk, low fat milk and all of that and all the other stuff where they're taking out the lactose so you'll find more milk that's not whole milk than milk. And so just be cautious that they do that. And then now with low carb, as that started, really kind of getting some traction, you're seeing the same thing. They're making products that are higher in fat and lower in basic carbs or a lot more fiber. So your net carbs are lower, which fiber is good, but a lot of what they're putting together is not food. And so it's easy to get trapped into the well, this is a keto friendly snack. This is a keto friendly meal. I go in there and there's a TV dinner, and it says keto man. And there's your toss it in microwave. It's processed stuff.
[00:24:21.240] – Rachel
It's still processed
[00:24:22.490] – Allan
and your body is not good. So the true answer is whole food. Now, rather, that has a lot more fat in it. It should have the right fats in it.
[00:24:34.430] – Allan
So you're trying to get your omega threes. You're trying to get the healthy fats from nuts and seeds and olives and avocados and those types of things, and you can find what works. The reason low fat is a diet thing at all is because fat has more calories than carbs, but it also has a higher energy requirement to use it. And it stays in your system longer, so you stay fuller longer. Protein has the same number of carbs calories as carbs, but it's going to stay, takes a lot more energy to burn it and use it. That's called the thermal effect of food. And it's going to stay in your system longer and you'll stay fuller longer. So a high fat, medium protein food stuff is going to take longer. You're going to burn more energy burning it than you would with carbs. Some carbs will hit your system like a sugar freight train.
[00:25:34.840] – Rachel
[00:25:36.170] – Allan
And your blood sugar is going to spike up. You have all this energy. You're going to feel great, but you're not burning it. So what's going to happen immediately thereafter is your insulin is going to kick in. It's going to pull it out, it's going to put it where it puts it, which if you haven't burned it out of your muscle and liver, it's going to put it in fat for short term storage, it thinks. But we know it stays there a lot longer. And then you're going to sugar crash. And so you had that high carb, low fat breakfast. You had the juice, you had the cereal, and it's fortified. And it's fortified, so it's healthy. And then your blood sugar plummets at 10:00 and you find yourself snacking. And if you didn't bring a healthy snack to snack on you're at the vending machine or yeah, and then boom, another sugar rush. And then lunch comes and you can kind of see how this roller coaster of up and down with your blood sugar is not serving you at all.
[00:26:34.200] – Rachel
[00:26:35.340] – Allan
Now, low fat makes it easier to be sustained for longer. When you get to where your body is comfortable burning a good amount of fat, it'll start looking at your body as food. I've got body fat here. I've got enough energy to last the rest of my life. I never have to eat again. And you might actually find that you're not as hungry and you forget to eat. I know that sounds weird in the culture, but you can forget about food. You cannot think about food. 24/7. But it does take understanding what real food is. And just because you go low carb does not mean you're not eating vegetables. Okay? And it does not mean you're not eating fruit. I want to put that out there. There are ways for you to include fruit in your diet and still be low carb or keto. There are ways for you to make sure you're getting adequate vegetables and a good variety of vegetables and the fiber and things that they bring. I just did an interview. It's going to air in a few weeks. When we talk about this, we talk about this very thing. Food is medicine and how having what we would call more of a plant based diet is actually better for you.
[00:27:48.200] – Allan
And guess what? You can be plant based and low carb.
[00:27:51.950] – Rachel
Well, you also mentioned real foods, real fruits, real vegetables, real protein sources, things that didn't come out of a box or a jar. And since you mentioned that, too, if you're eating like that, then you're also keeping an eye on sugars. And that, I think, is even more hideous than anything else, because if you're looking at a low fat or a low carb food or low calorie food, what they do is they put a ton of sugar in it, and there's probably 30, 40, 50 different names for the word sugar. And it just is hidden in all these foods. And you don't realize how much sugar you're getting throughout the day. And if you start reading labels and watching for how many sugars are in a product and not even added sugars are the worst, but just all of the different sugars that are in products, you would be so surprised how much sugar you're getting in a day. And that's probably worse than anything else.
[00:28:47.370] – Allan
Yeah, I'm running a sugar challenge. I set it up, kind of, to run Evergreen now. So if you want to take the Sugar Challenge, you can go to 40plusfitness.com/sugar. It's a low cost program. It's 28 days. It'll teach you how much sugar you're eating. It'll teach you why you don't want to be eating that much sugar. And I set goals for various levels of sugar. And it's interesting. People will come back and say, there's no way I can keep my sugar below 25 grams. And, like, people do it all the time, and they lose weight and they feel great. But the thing is, this is, you don't know how much you're eating, but the average person, I want you to think average person is eating 152 pounds of sugar per year
[00:29:38.460] – Rachel
and no one thinks that. And because it's hidden. It's hidden in all these foods. And you just don't think it's not just candy bars, it's not just ice cream, it's hidden, it's in pasta sauces and pizza sauces and just all the things that we add to our foods. It's ridiculous.
[00:29:56.130] – Allan
Yeah. So if you're interested in cutting your sugar back or paying attention to it, I think this is a really good challenge to take you through 28 days to get sugar out of your life, or at least get it down to a manageable level, and you're going to feel a lot better for it.
[00:30:11.730] – Rachel
I think that'll be great.
[00:30:13.230] – Allan
Okay, so the next question in our weight loss questions is what exercises are best for weight loss?
[00:30:20.330] – Rachel
That's a good one.
[00:30:21.310] – Allan
Okay. And I'm going to go ahead and push this one also over to you, Rachel.
[00:30:25.270] – Rachel
Really? You're not going to believe what I'm going to answer.
[00:30:27.810] – Allan
You're the runner. You're the runner.
[00:30:29.930] – Rachel
[00:30:30.720] – Allan
Come on, run those pounds off, lady.
[00:30:33.720] – Rachel
The best exercise, the absolute best exercise is the one you're going to do. Honestly, just find something that you love to do and start doing it. Walking, running, hiking, going to the gym, lifting, hit classes. If you're going to do it and stick to it, you have some consistency, then it's going to work for you. But everyone is different. Everyone has different preferences, everyone has different abilities. But there are some exercises that are probably better and more calorie burning than others. But honestly, if you're not going to go do it, then what good is it?
[00:31:08.870] – Allan
As I said in the first answer to the first question, it was, okay. Exercise should not be your strategy for weight loss to start with. Okay. You're not going to burn enough exercising to do any sizeable weight loss. I think a Snickers bar has, what, 350 calories?
[00:31:29.640] – Rachel
[00:31:30.160] – Allan
I'm guessing. Okay, if you eat a Snickers bar, you'll eat that Snickers bar in less than two or three minutes.
[00:31:35.740] – Rachel
[00:31:36.560] – Allan
In most cases, people are not savoring a Snickers bar, they're scarfing the Snickers bar. Okay. And you eat that Snickers bar, it's 350 calories. It will take you an hour of moderate exercise. So that whole fitness class, that whole hit class you did where you sweated your butt off for an hour, that's just the Snicker bar.
[00:31:57.040] – Rachel
[00:32:00.570] – Allan
[00:32:01.520] – Rachel
What I like to say is you cannot run away from your diet. You can't. And as a runner, I'd rather run than do anything else every day, but I can't outrun the diet. It's just impossible.
[00:32:15.770] – Allan
And so, yeah, I agree with you on doing the exercises
[00:32:18.950] – Rachel
[00:32:20.320] – Allan
Like to do, that's important. But also, I want you, as you start thinking about your overall health and fitness journey, to think about exercise as a different way. We use words like exercise, workout, that kind of stuff. I prefer to think of it in terms of training, and so it's trained to be who you want to be. So when you're 80 years old, do you want to be frail and weak? Do you want your bones to be brittle and weak? And I think for most of us, the answer would be no. I want to be able to wipe my own butt when I'm 105. Call me weird, but I want to be independent, and I want to live in a good, long, healthy life. So exercise is important for that, and that includes weight training. So I have strong muscles and dense bones, and so I think resistance training needs to be in there. I think having stamina work, which can include running, biking, hiking, classes, all of that is great for building stamina. And then you can also work on other things like balance and mobility and agility and other things for what you enjoy in life.
[00:33:33.920] – Allan
Now, exercise does burn calories, so it can be a tool that will help. And what I've also found and I said this before, was when people start exercising, they start paying attention. When they start paying attention, they start eating better, they start trying to get better sleep. They try to work on stress management. And in many cases, exercise becomes a part of their stress management process. I used to love not love, but if I got really stressed out at work or really angry at work happening a lot, I would throw around really heavy weights in the gym. It's like suddenly I'm going beast mode in the gym because I need to get that negative energy out of my body. And I'm not talking to anybody. I'm just in there. Okay, I got the bar loaded. Deadlifts. Kill it. I can put 20 more on there because I'm just that mad. And the thing about exercise that I also want to caution is sometimes exercise can be counterproductive to weight loss. When I was training for marathons, I ate more, and I didn't realize how much more I was eating. And I was eating runner food, which at the time was pasta.
[00:34:52.280] – Rachel
[00:34:52.980] – Allan
So I was the pasta theme. I was eating pasta every day, carb up and be able to run further and faster and all that. And I would put on weights. I'd start training, I'd be about 185 pounds, and then boom. By the time I was running the marathon, I'm over 195. They have a category for that called Clydesdales. So, yeah, I'm standing there with all these skinny people about to do a marathon, and they're all looking at me like, dude, you don't need to be doing this. You need to be doing something with of course you're lifting weights, your body might retain water, you're going to put on muscle. And so all those things will say, maybe you're not going to lose weight because of your exercising. But if your training is important enough for what you want to be, the weight loss will come. And that's the other side of it. Exercising, stress management, sleep, those are ways to manage your health. And a healthy body realizes it doesn't need the body fat anymore. There's nothing scary going on. If you're feeding your body the standard American diet, you're sending out a constant signal, we're going to die.
[00:36:00.710] – Allan
We're eating poison because there's nothing else to eat. And there is. It's all over the round, the outside of the grocery store. When you start putting whole food in there and you're doing these other things, your body starts feeling healthy. And then it says, you know what, I don't need to hold on to this extra bit of body fat. I can safely let it go. Okay.
[00:36:22.610] – Rachel
The other thing is, ads are made in the kitchen, right? We've all heard this, and it is important. And as far as if your focus is on weight loss, the kitchen is where you want to start. But exercise enhances that weight loss. If you're out there moving and have an active lifestyle, you are going to shed a few more calories maybe than what you're taking in. But it's something that it goes hand in hand. You've got to watch and do the other. The other thing with exercise, specifically with running, like I like to do, and most of my clients are athletes, are runners, we learn really quickly what not to eat really quickly. The stomach ailments that runners get are really fun. And so you learn, like you mentioned the drive thru at McDonald's or something. If you go for a run after having that, you might end up with heartburn, you might end up with the runners tracks. I think again, you start to realize, well, this food isn't serving me. It's not helping me not only in the weight loss health realm, but it's also not helping me be better at the exercise that I'm choosing.
[00:37:27.720] – Rachel
Running, lifting weights. I'm sure you've been in the gym feeling, oh, I probably shouldn't have had that for lunch, as you're trying to lift the weight, I think the two things go very well hand in hand.
[00:37:39.110] – Allan
Yeah, I prefer to exercise faster, so typically if I'm doing anything I didn't eat that day, or like, I'm going to do the tough mudder, I'm going to have a breakfast. I start the tough mudder at ten, so I'm probably going to get up a little early and I'll go have a breakfast. And it'll probably be what I normally eat, lots of eggs. So I'll have some eggs for breakfast and depending on where I am, maybe bacon with that. But for the most part, it's just going to be eggs. And so it'll be the weird guy who walks in and says, okay, I want five to six eggs and then I'll eat them all. But then I'll digest them, and they won't be in my stomach. They'll probably be somewhere around my small intestine or large intestine before I start the run. And it's something I eat every day, almost every day. So I know my body tolerates it. And then I'll do my tough mudder. I won't eat during the Tough Mudder because I don't have to. I don't have to feel it that way. But I know, and it's somewhat happening now, is that I'm not losing weight because I'm training for a Tough Mudder.
[00:38:46.910] – Allan
I wanted to lose weight. I started trying to lose weight, and I did lose some. I lost a bit, but I haven't hit my goal. And now I'm realizing I may not. And I'm okay with that because I know that I'm in a condition to be able to complete the Tough Mudder, and that was the goal. So it's setting your mind and understanding that if you have these competing things, you have to take a step back. And I would never prioritize weight loss over fitness. I would never prioritize weight loss over health.
[00:39:26.190] – Rachel
Perfect. It's important.
[00:39:29.550] – Allan
All right, the next question is, I haven't changed my diet, but I stopped losing weight. Why?
[00:39:36.930] – Rachel
Oh, my gosh. Are we at a plateau?
[00:39:40.710] – Allan
We may be at a plateau. I think some people call the plateau way early. Well, if you're weighing yourself every day and you go two days without losing weight, I'm at a plateau. What am I going to do? Now, the way I like to think of plateaus is this, if what you're doing is good for you, good for your health, and it may not be like a plateau. It may just be a ledge on the side of the mountain. So you've been climbing this mountain and doing really well and feeling really good about what you did, and now you get up onto a ledge, and it's flat or maybe even feels like it's going sloping down a little bit. Well, if you stop there and say, I'm not climbing anymore, then you're not going up the mountain anymore either. So you have to walk across that ledge. You got to spend some time there until you get to the point of the mountain where you can start climbing again.
[00:40:40.290] – Rachel
[00:40:40.980] – Allan
Okay. So you're doing the right things, and sometimes just all you need to do is just hang in there, keep moving forward, keep eating the way you're eating, keep training the way you're training, keep doing the things you've been doing for your health, and then your body will get past this set point, past this plateau. I can tell you that's for a lot of people, it's really hard. Well, it is, because you just don't see that progress, which is why I'm also a big fan of not just measuring weight loss as a metric, measuring other things, like your waist circumference, your hip circumference, looking at your blood work. I mean, if your A1C is dropping and you're no longer prediabetic or diabetic when the doctor is saying, I can take you off of your blood pressure medicine, or I can lower the amount of medication that you're taking for blood pressure, that's a huge win, okay? And if you can fit in a smaller dress size, even though you weigh the same big win, who cares, right?
[00:41:43.680] – Rachel
[00:41:45.030] – Allan
So there is that and then there are other things you can do to jump set this. Okay? So the plateau is important for one core reason, and this is why your body likes consistency. Your body wants to stay the same, same is safe. Change is scary, and we feel that way about everything else we do. Our body feels the same way. So you'll notice that your heart rate resting heart rate stays about the same. Unless you train up, it'll change a bit. Your blood PH stays the same. It's in a certain range. Your body temperature stays in a certain range. Those are healthy ranges. Your body wants to keep your blood sugar within a safe range. And so your body is constantly fighting to make those things happen. And all these processes throughout this very complex system, multiple systems on top of systems, is going to cause your body from time to time to want to stop losing weight, just like it would stop everything else. It wants to stay the same. So you're going to have these set points that are going to happen. Everybody has them, everybody hits them. And then just for one reason or another, the scale does not want to budge.
[00:43:08.260] – Allan
Now, what we didn't realize is we also had set points on the way up, and some of those we blew right past, and some of those we saved. Someone will tell me, for five years, I stayed at 230 pounds and they were like, then it's like someone hit a switch and I'm at 269 and gaining, I got to do something. I'm like, yeah, okay, so you had a set point and you broke that set point and now you're at another set point going up. This is a great time to say, okay, let's go back down. But there's a set point. So you have to start working your way down and you might get back down to that 230 and find, yeah, that's another set point I'm going to struggle to get past. So just recognize those are normal. Your body's not angry?
[00:43:51.750] – Rachel
No. I think that we hit a lot of plateaus, like you had mentioned, because we don't give what we're doing enough time to work. We're not very patient people and we want to see overnight success. So first sit in, like you said, sitting, and do what you're doing for a while and see if results come after that. But then when we do hit a plateau again, or we're not making any progress, maybe it's time to switch it up. Maybe it's time to do something different. Reevaluate remeasure what you're doing food wise and exercise wise and really dive deep into what you're doing to see what can you do to change. And I do want to point out, too, that a lot of people decide that this is a good time to cut calories, and cutting calories may not be the answer.
[00:44:39.600] – Allan
Yeah, I agree with you. I think it's really important to kind of reiterate one of the things you said. This is a good time to start measuring. And what you may find is you've let some carbs slip in there, you didn't really realize what was happening, and now your body's acting like it's in maintenance and it's running in maintenance. It's not wanting to lose that weight. So that's really important. This is a good time to get the scale out, get the measuring cups out for a few days, pay attention to what you're eating and what your portion sizes are and kind of rebate yourself. So then the next step would be yes. What tools and what things have I used that have done this for me in the past? So some people it can be. I'm going to implement an additional hit class this week, and I'll do that for the next three or four weeks and see if that helps me break this plateau. It could be unless you mentioned water. It could be. Okay, I'm really not drinking enough water. I'm going to start drinking a little bit more water and see how I feel.
[00:45:42.690] – Allan
And then again with the measuring, if you find okay, yeah. Let some carbs in there. Tap them back down. Get them back down. Increase your fiber intake. Increase your protein intake. Good, too. You might need to lower your fat intake. So you might have your macros nailed down, and you're in ketosis, and you're still not losing weight. As I mentioned, I have friends that have been doing keto for years and still obese. Start thinking about what the food you're eating is. They like to make those keto pizzas and the keto pies and the keto cakes and all that, and those are regular things they're eating. Almond flour is still a processed food. Okay? And while it's not going to give you the insulin spike and the sugar spike and all of that, your body is still digesting it and using it. It's there. And so you just got to think about how whole food am I? And am I doing the right thing? Am I eating enough vegetables? Am I getting enough protein? And if the fat's out there and just you're eating a ton of fat, your body doesn't really need to burn body fat because you're doing that.
[00:46:51.990] – Allan
It could be that you cut back on a macro like fat, and maybe you bump up your protein a little bit, and that could be the change that makes it happen. But it's normal to be at that point, and you need to sit in it, and you need to walk across that ledge. You got to get back to the mountain climbing. You're still moving forward, and that's the other side. If you know what you're doing is good for you, you're still moving forward, even if you don't see it on the scale. So keep doing what you're doing and then reevaluate to see if you need to do something perfect.
[00:47:27.290] – Rachel
[00:47:28.420] – Allan
All right. And we have one more question, and this comes from Hope in our Facebook group. How do you lose weight around the mid section? And I hear similar questions like this. How do I lose weight in my hips or my neck or my arms? Like the behind the arms, the tricep area, they got the wings and that type of thing. So Rachel I'll let you kind of jump on this one a little bit.
[00:47:54.350] – Rachel
Yeah. I wish I had the answer. That question probably make a million bucks off of that. But fat doesn't come off that way when you're eating well and exercising a lot, it just sheds evenly all over your body. So you really can't target one specific area with weight loss, but you can target specific areas in the gym with weight training.
[00:48:19.650] – Allan
Yeah, you're absolutely right. We can't really target this, but we can look at what are some reasons that this happens, particularly for women. So for men, it's a natural thing for us to store body fat around our body, but then it'll predominantly be in the stomach area as we're gaining weight that we really don't need. So once we start getting past the healthy BMI, the body fat is likely to accumulate in the stomach. And I'll say if you eat a lot of bread, you drink a lot of beer and maybe even some other alcohols, that's where it's going to want to store that fat. So a lot of it can be the foods and the drinks that you're choosing to put in your mouth that could be causing the fat to be there. Other issue, and this is where it more affects women. Is it's hormones baby. Hormones are going to tell your body where to store fat. So when you're young and your estrogen was awesome and your progesterone was awesome, your body said, well, stored in the butt and stored in the boobs, because that's what guys like. That's going to help us procreate and get their attention.
[00:49:34.750] – Allan
And that's where our body would tend to store that fat. As our estrogen goes lower, as our progesterone goes lower, our body says, well, you're more like a man now. I'm sorry. That's what it says. And so it's going to start wanting to store the fat more in the mid section. So if you're in perimenopause, some women and I'm not proposing this at all. I'm not diagnosing at all. Okay. I'm not a doctor. But some women will go on hormone replacement therapy. And that does help them not put as much fat in their mid section because. Again. The hormone replacement is telling them they're a younger woman and so they can replace the hormones safely if they work with your doctor. There's a particular window when it's really safe to do this and other times it's not. And you may have some other medical issues where it's not right for you, but that's one way that you can look at this problem and say, okay, I can delay the problem or prevent the problem there. The other thing is just realizing that you're going to lose the weight in the mid section when the body is ready to get rid of that weight.
[00:50:39.070] – Allan
Again, hormones, so you can cut your calories, you can do everything else to lose weight. The mid section should go down over time. Now you might find I lose the body. Like me, I lose body fat, my face, my arms and my legs first. The mid section will be darn last to benefit. Regardless of what I do, I'm going to have that in the middle all the way until I get down to really low body fat. So I just know that's where it's going to be and there's not really anything I can do about it. It's a visceral fat. So even going into a plastic surgeon and saying, hey, look at this, they're like, can't help you there. I could do a tummy tuck, but I can't really pull that fat out of there because it's all around the liver and we really don't want to play with the liver. So short of surgery, short of hormone replacement, it's really just about trying to get yourself healthy. Not drinking beer, not eating certain carbs that are going to cause body fat gain. And that, over time should shrink your midsection. But there's really no way to spot lose outside of surgery.
[00:51:59.940] – Allan
And again, if it's a mid section fat, then most likely even surgery won't really do you any big good. And no one should think surgery is an answer to a problem like weight loss. Again, there are people that need bariatric surgery and things like that, that's fine. If it's something you need to do for your health, by all means do it. But as far as just trying to lose the body fat in the mid section, just do healthy stuff and your body will drop it as it needs to.
[00:52:32.920] – Rachel
Yes, for sure.
[00:52:34.210] – Allan
All right, so that's the end of our weight loss questions. Rachel, I appreciate your time today going through this with me. I really appreciate your take on most of these, all of them actually. Anyway. Okay. So if you have additional weight loss questions, go to our group at 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/group. You can ask your questions there. Rachel and I, we pretty much live on that page.
[00:53:04.030] – Rachel
Yes, we're there.
[00:53:05.300] – Allan
If you post something on there, you're going to get an answer from us. And if you're struggling with something and even if it's not weight loss. We're talking about weight loss questions today. But if you have exercise questions, if you have running questions, if you have lifting questions, if you have sleep questions, stress management questions, anything to deal with health and fitness and over 40 years old, we want to have you in the group, and we want to add those questions out there. And if we get a good collection of questions in other areas, we'll have another episode like this.
[00:53:36.700] – Rachel
[00:53:37.160] – Allan
And share your questions, and we'll answer them in more detail then.
[00:53:40.540] – Rachel
That would be fun.
[00:53:41.730] – Allan
All right. Well, Rachel, it's great to see you again today. This early. Finish up your coffee.
[00:53:46.850] – Rachel
[00:53:47.270] – Allan
You've already done your run, so you're going to have an awesome day.
[00:53:50.340] – Rachel
It's going to be an awesome day.
[00:53:51.840] – Allan
All right, so you, too, have an awesome day, and we'll talk to you next week.
[00:53:56.520] – Rachel
[00:53:57.350] – Allan
You, too. Bye
[00:53:58.390] – Rachel
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