How to lose weight after 40 (parenthetically speaking)

It’s well-known that I agreed to do this blog-site if I was amused . . . so far, so good.  I’ve added another criteria – find information about how I can lose weight (preferably without dieting, counting calories or exercising).  So far NO good.

Admittedly, part of my reason for wanting to lose weight is vanity.  More importantly, the other part is for my health.

My body does not bounce back as easily as it once did (even though there’s more to bounce). 

I’d like to blame it on genetics but since neither of my parents was overweight I know it’s my  lifestyle choices.  Here’s my take and confession (in red) on this article about  “Six of the top lifestyle habits to focus on”.

1. Fight the dreaded spread

“Fat in the mid-section is metabolically active and we gain more of it as we age. That’s not a good thing. As opposed to the fat we gain in our thighs and rear, abdominal fat can lead to several chronic conditions.” (Totally agree!)

“A 2014 study found that the type of fat we consume might make all the difference. Participants in the study were asked to eat 750 extra calories every day for seven weeks. Those having excess calories from saturated fats had activated cells that promoted fat storage in the belly and increased insulin resistance. However, individuals who had had a high consumption of polyunsaturated fats found in fatty fish, nuts and seeds, gained less abdominal fat and were more likely to increase muscle mass instead.”

“Multiple studies have demonstrated this connection between saturated fat intake and belly fat, especially when it is coupled with reduced levels of estrogen.”

(My problem is not cutting out saturated fats – it’s eating too many nuts and seeds.  I love the crunch.  I think crunching food expends calories)

2. Get your biceps back

Bulge those Biceps by Peggy

“Jump off the treadmill, if want to lose weight. If you change nothing about your exercise routine now, it’s almost a guarantee you will find the pounds creeping up. This all boils down to a loss of muscle mass — a condition called sarcopenia that begins at 40.”

“In fact, up to 40 percent of muscle mass is lost between the ages of 40 and 80. (Ay yi iiii I only have 8 years before all my muscles are gone) This alone is the kiss of death to metabolism. Muscle weighs more than fat making it a metabolically superior calorie burner.”

“. . .  attempts to lose weight on low-calorie diets can lead to even more lost muscle. Studies have found that regular resistance or strength training may be a better alternative than your daily runs to preserve and gain muscle — even when coupled with a low-calorie diet. Aerobic exercise is still important, just don’t make it your only form of activity.”

(My core muscles are holding up all the belly fat)

3. Fall in love with plants

Tree Hugger by Peggy

 

“A study from the Canadian Medical Association Journal found that healthy behaviors, like eating fruits and vegetables daily, significantly improved the odds of successful aging. Plants provide a protective measure against oxidative stress and free radical formation — two things that go hand-in-hand and increase with age.”

“Oxidative stress occurs when the balance between free radicals in the body and our ability to fight against is uneven, with free radicals prevailing. Free radicals can cause disease and there is an association with an increased risk of formation of free radicals as we age. That’s why after a certain age, building up our defenses (through having lots of antioxidants in plants) can help reduce this imbalance and stack the cards in our defense system instead.”

(Many studies focus on the inflammatory process being involved in many chronic conditions, including the fibromyalgia/chronic fatigue and Hashimoto’s diseases I have.  I struggle with eating more vegetables and THAT I blame on my father who rarely ate vegetables . . .  but lived to 93 . . . )

4. Find your own ‘om’

OM by judy

“The more years we live, the higher our risk of developing a disease, especially heart disease, cancer, stroke and diabetes. All of these conditions are tied, in some way, to inflammation. A 2017 study from Georgetown showed that mindfulness meditation had a significant impact on reducing stress hormones and inflammatory proteins and a 2014 study found that just 25 minutes of meditation a day could alleviate stress levels.”

If you don’t have 25 minutes to spare each day, a 5-minute meditation helps. Or 1-minute meditations can calm your mind. It’s that easy.

5. Think about your magnesium

Legume by Peggy

“Even individuals with relatively healthy diets can be deficient in magnesium. Adequate magnesium is important to protect our bones. In addition to promoting bone health, magnesium plays a role in protecting our brain, heart and nervous system. It’s also associated with keeping energy levels up and bathroom habits regular.”

Women between ages 31-50 need 320 milligrams daily, according to the National Institutes of Health.  Magnesium-rich foods include:

  • Seeds, especially pumpkin seeds
  • Green leafy vegetables like spinach, swiss chard and collard greens
  • Beans and legumes

(I take my magnesium in pill form – another way to avoid vegetables . . .)

6. Be less happy about happy hour

The American Heart Association found that heavy drinking in middle age — defined as more than two drinks daily — increased the risk of heart attack and stroke (and breast cancer) more than traditional risk factors such as diabetes and heart disease.

(I’m good here . . . wine gives me headaches.  Too bad over-eating doesn’t.)

jw

Here’s the article:  How to Lose Weight After 40

 

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

Frankly Freddie – Dog Owners are Healthier Hoofers

I take my human out for a walk as often as I can.  She’s a bit delusional . . .  she thinks she’s walking me.  So I constantly have to find proof that she needs to quit patting herself on the back and pat me.

In a study published in the journal BMC Public Health, dog owners on average walked 22 minutes more per day compared to people who didn’t own a dog.

The study found that the dog owners walked briskly and got their heart rates up. At times, their pace was about 3 miles per hour, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention considers moderate intensity.

Prior studies have shown that moderate-intensity walking is just as effective as running in lowering the risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, Type 2 diabetes and other conditions. And the more people walk, the more the health benefits increase, according to the American Heart Association.

(“The national physical activity guidelines call for 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity exercise.”)

“If you look at studies on pet ownership, people who own pets seem to live longer than those who don’t own them,” . . .  

Get a life.  Get a dog . . . like me

Frankly,

Freddie Parker Westerfield, CHT

Certified Human Trainer

If you don’t believe me read this: Dog Owners Walk 22 minutes more per day 

SaveSave

Chocolate Rides Again

Yaaaaaa hoooooooooo.  Yet another reason to indulge.  A new study to support your . . .  er . . .  my . . . chocolate cravings. 

Adding a little dark chocolate to a training diet may effortlessly improve endurance performance.  The findings provide ammunition both for athletes looking for an edge (and those of us hoping for an excuse to indulge).

Woofer on recumbent bike

Eight male recreational cyclists who agreed, in the interests of science (yeh sure . . . science . . .), to swallow a little dark chocolate every day. Without going into the details of the study, here are the findings:

“Each of the cyclists performed better in most of the physical tests after two weeks of supplementing with dark chocolate, compared to baseline results and after they had eaten white chocolate. The riders utilized less oxygen to ride at a moderate pace, a change that would generally allow them to ride longer or harder before tiring; and they covered more distance during a two-minute, all-out time trial, meaning that their anaerobic, sprinting ability had been enhanced.”

“Most of this research has focused on the role of a substance called epicatechin, a plant nutrient found in cocoa. Dark chocolate is generally rich in epicatechin, though levels vary, depending on how the sweet was produced.”

(Levels of epicatechin tend to be much lower in milk chocolate, which contains little cocoa, and white chocolate contains little or none of the nutrient. (Fine by me, since I do NOT consider any white food to be chocolate.)

“Epicatechin is known to prompt cells that line blood vessels to release extra nitric oxide, a substance that has multiple effects in the body. Nitric oxide slightly increases vasodilation, or a widening of the veins and arteries, improving blood flow and cardiac function. It also gooses muscle cells to take in more blood sugar, providing them with more energy, and it enhances the passage of oxygen into cells.”

“. . . scientists do not yet know the ideal dosage of dark chocolate for athletes, and that more than 40 grams is unlikely to be helpful” (those of us who are not athletes can eat more).

Read the entire article and click here:Chocolate Really can boost your workout. 

SaveSave

The HeART of Chronic Conditions (including life)

Curious to the Max blog has been the place where I’ve shared more of my personal journey.  CATNIPblog has largely been dedicated to information Peggy & I have accumulated on emotional & physical health and happiness. (wealth we leave to those who have experienced it!)

Today, I clicked on the blog of a new subscriber, Savannah’s  One Mountain at a Time .  What she shared about her journey with Lupus resonated:

“Though mine is said by my doctor to not be life threatening, my immune system is prone to attacking my healthy joint tissues systemically . . .  pain comes whenever it feels like it. Flares come and go, as do my exhausted days. Describing the pain is difficult but when a flare happens or I’m in pain, it feels like bruises anywhere inside my body, and someone is either jabbing needles in them or pressing them for long periods of time. . . . I take medications and go for jogs. I live a normal, active life despite pain.”

judy’s visual journal

Like Savannah my diagnosis is not life threatening, only life altering. Unlike Savannah, who was diagnosed at 23, I was blessed in my first forty plus years with relatively good health.  In 1995 that changed for me with the diagnosis of fibromyalgia/chronic fatigue.  I admit it’s been a struggle trying to ignore, over-ride or giving in to the daily fatigue, pain and various other “irritants”.  The older I get the harder it’s been.  The best I can describe is feeling like a sandy beach being worn away by unrelenting waves and occasional pounding storms.

In public I look fine and only those who intimately know me would know if I were feeling exhausted, in pain or depressed.  When I’m feeling particularly bad no one knows as I shelter in place – stay home and lick my wounds.  Any contact, even a phone call, can feel overwhelming.

collage by judy

CATNIPblog has been my in-home companion:  A way to connect to the world and my incredibly understanding friends while expending minimal energy;  posts that remind me to eat better, be grateful, and most of all Peggy and her delightful drawings that make me smile.  

Savannah’s faith, above all, is what seems to sustain her.  Me too.  Even on my worst days my question is never “Why me?”.  I ask God for guidance, the wisdom to understand that guidance and the where-with-all to carry it out . . . one day at a time . . . sometimes one hour at a time.

judy’s visual journal

Personally and professionally I learned early on that each of us, in ways large and small, carry physical or emotional pain.  Each of us searches, longs for answers, respite and meaning.  Savannah has found meaning at an early stage in her life.  I salute her.

https://pourforpoverty.wordpress.com/

Pour for Poverty: Savannah makes bags filled with sustainable essentials that she feels serve a beneficial purpose for people living in poverty filled with clothing, food, and hygiene products, written letters, prayers, bible verses and love. She distributes to the poor throughout the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex and occasionally other cities when traveling.

“Be generous in prosperity, and thankful in adversity.

Be worthy of the trust of thy neighbor, and look upon him with a bright and friendly face.

Be a treasure to the poor, an admonisher to the rich, an answerer of the cry of the needy, a preserver of the sanctity of thy pledge.”

(Abdu’l-Baha, Paris Talks, p. 16, The Baha’i World Faith)

 

SaveSave

The Write Way to Emotional & Physical Well-being

“In the 1970s, a professor of psychology named James W. Pennebaker began experimenting with the effects that talking, confessing and self-understanding had on human well-being. Nearly 30 years later, he and his collaborator, Joshua M. Smyth, a professor of behavioral health and medicine, produced a body of research that found the emotionally connective and relieving effects of expressive writing to promote self-understanding, ease emotional pain and aid in physical healing.[viii] Since their book, Opening Up by Writing It Down, was published in 1997, their findings have been corroborated by other scientists’ independent studies around the world.”

The 2016 edition of their book explains that expressive writing:

•  Offers those who either don’t wish to talk about their feelings or have no one to confide in a way to unburden themselves

•  Reduces stress, fear and isolation

•  Boosts immune systems, optimism and sense of connectedness

•  Allows minds to process, organize and understand their experiences and feelings, enhancing learning and memory

“When expressing themselves in writing, people often report that they feel safe. They are actually creating an artifact—one that symbolizes some of their thoughts and feelings but is not them. With that safety, people often find they can put things down on the page that are often hard to speak about, and explore the deeper truths that we all carry with us.”

“The writing itself is a “made thing”—something with weight and substance. Therefore, it has a place in the world and you become identified with that creative construction. For many people, this gives them a way to bootstrap out of negativity and to start to identify themselves in a powerful and positive way.”

http://www.howlifeunfolds.com/stronger-connections/expressive-writing-a-path-forward-for-your-health

SaveSave

Teaching Happiness is POWERFUL medicine


We’ve been posting about the benefits of developing “Happiness Habits”.  We all say sure, sure and then let those “habits” slide.  This recent research from Northwestern University study got our attention:

Teaching happiness to men with HIV boosts their health

“This is believed to be the first test of a positive emotion intervention in people newly diagnosed with HIV. Based on the study results, the intervention is promising for people in the initial stages of adjustment to any serious chronic illness.”

Learning skills for positive emotions result in less HIV in blood and less anti-depressant use.

Summary:
“When individuals recently diagnosed with HIV were coached to practice skills to help them experience positive emotions, the result was less HIV in their blood and lower antidepressant use, reports a new study. Men using positive emotion skills learned to cope with their stress, while men in the control group increased their use of anti-depressants.”

The findings extend to dementia caregivers and women with metastatic breast cancer.”

Here are the “Happiness Habits”  taught.  We’ll give you how-to in posts to follow.

1) Recognizing a positive event each day

2) Savoring that positive event and logging it in a journal or telling someone about it

3) Starting a daily gratitude journal

Cat journaling

Cat ‘n Mouse journaling by Peggy

4) Listing a personal strength each day and noting how you used this strength recently

5) Setting an attainable goal each day and noting your progress

6) Reporting a relatively minor stressor each day, then listing ways in which the event can be positively reappraised. This can lead to increased positive affect in the face of stress

7) Understanding small acts of kindness can have a big impact on positive emotion and practicing a small act of kindness each day

Mouse rewarding cat

Acts of Kindness by Peggy

8) Practicing mindfulness with a daily 10-minute breathing exercise, concentrating on the breath

If you want to read the research study here’s the link:

Materials provided by Northwestern University. Original written by Marla Paul

SaveSave

Positively Tuesday – 6 best FREE doctors in the world

Research continues to focus on these six things to live a healthy life:

SUNLIGHT – Vitamin D is necessary for health.  (Hang out with lizards).

REST – 7-8 hours restorative sleep a night helps your brain. (Try cat-napping).

EXERCISE – Our bodies are meant to move.  (Climb a tree, chase a mouse).

winner-julian-rad

Photo by Julian Rad

DIET – Eat protein at every meal, it’s food for the brain. (Mice are tasty).

SELF-CONFIDENCE – Accomplish something everyday, even if it takes 12 tries (which is a cat’s average number of attempts to catch one mouse).

FRIENDS – People with social connections live longer and are healthier.  (Hang out and howl with other cool cats).