…and what you can do about it!
The Metabolic Yo-Yo
Does it feel to you that you are eating less, still moving like you always have and yet, there is more fat beign stored at a faster rate – AND – you are losing your shape?
Welcome to 40+
The good news is you don’t need to give up and listen to people telling you to “get over it” just because the years keep piling on.
Admittedly getting older does have its challenges including natural changes in hormones that cause us to lose muscle tone and redistribute fat in less than desirable ways. This loss in muscle compounds the fat increase because it is the muscles that are the big calorie burners.
Less muscle = less fat burned.
If muscle mass is that important to metabolism, what can you do about it? Once you are into your 40’s building muscle becomes more of a challenge. Fortunately you don’t need to build up a Swartzenager body to begin to reap the benefits of calorie burning muscle tone.
Other than age though, there are some common reasons why people will lose muscle tone. The one thing they all have in common is a reduction in the intake of protein. Protein is the necessary building block for building and repairing muscle. Without enough protein your body will find it difficult to build metabolic enhancing muscle mass.
Some of the reasons for this is because of dietary changes over the years. Dairy sensitivities are common and even though milk and milk products are an excellent source of protein, they have been replaced with chemical products that have no protein.
Can Low Carb Diets Tear down Muscle Tissue?
People who have been on several low carb diets may have caused tier muscles to break down in order to supply the person with the energy they needed to get through the day. Carbohydrates are important for energy and they feed the brain. Without carbs you will become lethargic and metabolism will slow.
Just 20 minutes of muscle development workouts a couple times a week may not be enough to build the muscle needed to form a fat burning machine. If the workout isn’t a well designed and planned strength building then you may not be getting the full benefits.
Be sure to follow up a good strength training program with healthy, muscle building, snacks. Too often people won’t eat after they workout believing that they will burn more fat if they don’t.
Bottom line is – you need to have a well designed strength training program and need to have an adequate amount of protein.
Simple Ways to Increase Protein Without Eating a Whole Cow
Many people believe there are only a few good sources of protein and that just isn’t true. It is actually possible to combine foods to reach protein intake goals.
On average it is suggested that a healthy person have between 0.8g – 1.2g of protein per kilogram body weight per day. If you weight 150lbs which is about 68 kilograms then about 54 – 81 grams of protein would be recommended. The higher side is more for body builders or people who heavily use their muscles all day.
This leaves you to figure out how to get all that protein into your diet and not eat meat every meal if you don’t want to.
But just for point of reference for every 100g serving you get protein content of:
Beef = 21g
Chicken = 14g
Eggs = 13g
Pork = 16g
Milk = 4g
To add more protein to your diet it is good to know what proteins are contained in different foods. The best resource that I know of to search just about every food on the market – including packaged foods. is the SELFNutritionData site.
Some suggestion of foods to add or to have for snacks that may surprise you are these:
– One half of an avocado has 2g of protein.
– Half cup of tempe has 15g protein.
– Believe it or not – asparagus has 4g protein in one cup serving!
– Legumes like peanuts and chic peas are a great source of protein and have up to 9g in just half a cup. This also includes black beans and lentils.
– Nuts like walnuts and almonds have 4 – 6g of protein. The almond is a good source of healthy fat too.
– Even spinach isn’t just a vegetable. It contains 5g of protein in a cup. This explains why Popeye was so strong.
– Some body builders will scoff at the value of tofu. Not only is it great in just about every food it contains 12g of protein in only 3oz serving.
– Fish has 28g of the leanest protein there is.
There are many foods with hidden protein source including rice with 3g in 100g serving.
You can see how a meal with lean chicken, rice, and black beans would be a high source of protein (and low fat). This type of meal will promote healthy muscle development and fat loss in conjunction with a good exercise program.