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Health and Fitness Blog 101

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Lose Belly Fat After 40

Posted by larends on June 25, 2014
Posted in Health and Fitness 

waterfallI was reading this really interesting article in Prevention Magazine about a trainer to the stars that had discovered the key to lose belly fat in middle age may be to exercise less.  I know what you’re thinking… yeah, right.

The trainer, Michelle Lovitt, tried it on one of her clients and when it was successful, started using it with all of her clients over 40.

The theory behind why it works is that when people diet and exercise intensely, they may cause metabolic stress and raise cortisol levels.  Cortisol is a stress hormone that causes you to store more belly fat.  Add to this the fact that after 40 our cortisol levels naturally climb.  This means when you train too hard too often and don’t take enough time to rest and recover, your cortisol levels may rise, which cause you to store belly fat.

The solution

You need to find the balance between working out too intensely and too often and not working out enough.  When working out keep your heart rate between 60% and 85% of your maximum heart rate.  The point at which you can’t speak easily is about 85% of your maximum heart rate, so try not to exceed this point.

Lovitt also suggests taking 2 days off per week from exercise instead of 1.

This article really made sense to me because there have been times when I workout like crazy every day without success.  Then when I suddenly don’t have time to exercise for a few days and can only fit in strength training, I notice a difference in my belly.  This could explain why I lost 2 pounds in 2 weeks when I did less exercise than normal.

It’s also important to increase strength training after the age of 40.  As we get older we lose muscle and need to rebuild our muscle.  Strength training can be done by lifting weights or using your body weight to build muscle, such as, doing squats, lunges, and the plank for abs.  Building muscle helps you lose weight faster and also helps improve balance, which is important as we get older.

The goal is to do 30-60 minutes of exercise five days a week.  Just remember you don’t have to work out until you drop.  Pay attention to how your body feels.  Don’t overdo it.  Make sure you drink plenty of water so you don’t get dehydrated.  You can even break up your workout throughout the day.  You don’t have to do 30-60 minutes all at once.  Three 15 minutes work outs is just as good as 1 45 minute workout.

Lieberman, Bari. “Her Mission: Your Middle.” Prevention Magazine July 2014: 64-69. Print.


Can You Lose Weight Without Exercise?

Posted by larends on June 17, 2014
Posted in Health and Fitness 

lose weight fastYes, you can!  I’ve been so busy lately, I haven’t had time to exercise.  It’s frustrating to me when I can’t exercise.  Fortunately, since I haven’t been able to exercise, I’ve been watching what I eat and eating pretty healthy.  I was able to lose 2 pounds without exercising much in 2 weeks.

Losing weight is dependent on 80% of what you eat and 20% exercise.  That means you can lose weight easier if you eat healthy and don’t exercise than you can if you exercise and don’t eat healthy.  Eating healthy is the most important thing to do if you want to lose weight.  If you eat a lot of junk food, it would take a lot of exercise to make up for all the extra calories.

One of the biggest mistakes people make when trying to lose weight is to skip meals.  If you skip meals, your metabolism will be messed up and your body will store fat because it thinks there is a food shortage.  You need to eat healthy foods every 3-5 hours.  You should eat 3 healthy meals and 2 healthy snacks per day to keep your metabolism running.  Be sure to watch how much you eat.  Just because the foods you eat are healthy, doesn’t mean you can eat large quantities.  You still need to maintain portion control.

Here is an example of what I eat on an average day:

Breakfast (7:00 am)
Oatmeal Crisp cereal, 1 cup (280 calories)
2% Milk, ½ cup (61 calories)
Total: 341

Snack (10:30 am)
Greek yogurt snack (130 calories)

Lunch (12:30 pm)
Peanut butter and jelly sandwich on whole wheat bread (265 calories)
Banana (105)
Cheese stick (60 calories)
Grapes, 1 cup (120 calories)
Water (0 calories)
Total: 550

Snack (3:00 pm)
Wheat Thins (200 calories)
3 Dove Dark chocolate pieces (126)
Total: 326

Dinner (6:00 pm)
Steak and mushroom kabobs (156 calories)
Sweet Potato (103 calories)
2% Milk, ½ cup (61 calories)
Water (0 calories)
Total: 320
Total Calories: 1667

To maintain my weight I can eat about 1800 calories per day.  To lose weight, I should eat between 1300-1500 calories per day.  This is based on height, weight, age and how active I am.  The more active I am, the more calories I can consume.  A great calorie calculator to determine how many calories you need to maintain or lose weight can be found at www.nutrition.about.com.

I can easily make adjustments to what I eat each day.  On weekends when I have more time to make breakfast, I eat eggs, which gives me more protein.  I also eat less for snacks and lunch because I’m so busy.  I can replace the wheat thins and dark chocolate snack during the week with fruits or vegetables, which would really cut back on calories.

My afternoon snack has a lot of calories, but I crave salt and chocolate in the afternoon when I’m working at my desk, so it satisfies my craving.  I change this up every day, so I can adjust my calories and keep my body from getting used to the same thing.  One alternative I like is a mix of almonds, chocolate chips, and craisins.  The key is to constantly make changes to what you eat and watch how much you eat.  It’s also important to limit what you eat late in the day, because you have less time to burn the calories.

So remember, you can lose weight without exercise by eating healthy, but exercise will help increase your calorie burn and speed up your weight loss.  Good luck.

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