The Truth About Weight Loss

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The Truth About Weight Loss

As we make our way through our 40s, 50s and 60s-plus, a host of age-related factors can conspire against our waistlines, causing us to gain a pound or more per year.  Among them:  less physical activity, hormonal fluctuations and a slow metabolism caused by a natural decrease in muscle mass.  Is it any wonder that 80 percent of the respondents in the 2016 Parade/Cleveland Clinic Weight-Loss Survey say that they are trying to lose weight now or have tried in the past year?

The key  to success is making healthy diet and exercise part of your lifestyle.

  • Fruits and veggies are as close to a magic pill as it gets—Eating right is sometimes more challenging than exercising some people say. A Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics study found that women who increased their fruit and veggie consumption by two servings a day weighed three pounds less after four years compared to women who kept their produce intake the same.  The same trick should work for men also.
  • Make sure you wash that produce—Pesticides are considered obesogens, meaning they may predispose people to weight gain. The produce most likely to be coated in pesticides?  Apples, peaches, nectarines, strawberries and grapes, along with spinach, celery, bell peppers, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, imported snap peas and potatoes.  Be sure to scrub these products well, or purchase organic versions to minimize exposure.  Other obesogens to avoid:  the chemical BPA, found in many plastics and in cash register receipts, and cigarette smoke (first or secondhand).
  • Hit the weights—After 30, we lose 3 to 8 percent of our muscle mass per decade. Since muscle burns calories even at rest, that’s bad news for your metabolism.  The best way to burn more fat is strength training (a fact recognized by 31 percent of respondents, although 60 percent mistakenly thought walking was better).  Finding a personal trainer for your age group will help.  The key is lifting heavy enough weights that you can only complete six to eight reps.  Doing this causes women to produce the growth hormone and men to make testosterone.  This helps burn fat and build lean muscle and give you a more youthful appearance.
  • Catch more ZZZs—Getting enough sleep not only keeps you alert, it may keep you thin—a fact that 46 percent of survey respondents got right. A 2015 University of California, Berkeley, study found that night owls are more likely to gain weight and have higher BMIs than their peers who turn in early.  That’s because when you deprive your body of sleep, levels of the appetite-stimulating hormone ghrenlin increase while leptin (a hormone that suppresses appetite) lowers.  Tired folks also have less willpower, making it harder to turn down that donut.
  • Fight fat with stress busters—Life is full of stress, including job security fears, kids in college and aging parents. In fact, 21 percent of survey respondents identified stress as a barrier to weight loss.  Chronic stress causes weight gain.  Anxiety floods your body with the stress hormone cortisol, which induces cravings for sugary, salty and fatty foods.  Stress also compromises your decision-making skills, making the fast-food drive-through seem like a good idea.  Fight back with yoga, meditation or your favorite anxiety-busting ritual.  Coloring is also used for relaxation.

Go to parade.com/coloring for more on its health benefits and for free coloring pages. Go to parade.com/weight for more results and weight-loss tips.  The information in this article was taken from Parade magazine.


Posted on May 16, 2016

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