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Goodbye Fat, Goodbye! Part 2

May 21st, 2010 · No Comments


For healthy nutrition eat carbohydrates. Minimize or avoid foods with processed, refined sugars such as table sugar, candy and pastries, as well as processed white starches such as pasta, rice and bread. Maximize exposure to unprocessed starches as well as fruits and vegetables. Choose smaller portions to avoid overeating the good choices at meals. Stress hormones peak early in the morning usually between 6 and 8 a.m. This is when we are most energetic and able to concentrate. Mid-morning stress hormones slowly decline, and by mid-afternoon there is a drop in energy and mental concentration. Stress hormones are the lowest levels during sleep to allow full relaxation. Overeating in the late afternoon and evening is one of the biggest culprits behind stress-induced weight gain in women over 40. From 3 p.m. to midnight the stress hormone levels plummet. Mindless, unfocused, stress-driven eating dominates guaranteeing weight gain especially in women over 40. Carpooling, project deadlines, business travel, help with kids homework and endless domestic errands fill the mid-afternoon phase of the day. By dinnertime many women feel like rewarding themselves for surviving yet another day. The only real time they have to themselves may be after the rest of the family has retired to sleep. Late-night, after-dinner eating is a common habit of exhausted and over burdened women. Many seek peace and solace of enjoying a momentary pleasure and relief of their favorite anesthetic — food.

Learn to successfully navigate the daily routine around the temptations of food. Arm yourself with daily eating plans as well as ways to blow off stress. Know what to eat for mid-afternoon snack and dinner. Keep the plan easy and simple. Stress eaters seek food as pleasure to help neutralize mental pain of stress they must continue to endure. Stock up on low-stress foods such as tofu, fresh fruits, vegetables, low-fat canned soups, pita bread, cottage cheese, low-fat cheeses, rice cakes, low-fat tortillas, canned tuna, chicken or salmon, high-protein cereal, oatmeal, string cheese, frozen fruit sorbet, reduced-sugar canned fruit or veggie burgers. Consume at least 65 percent of the daily carbohydrates before 5 p.m. Breakfast, mid-morning snack, lunch and mid-afternoon snack should constitute the majority of the calorie intake for the day.

Enjoy the benefits of protein by eating fish, beans, peas, chicken, eggs and peanuts. Protein is necessary for the growth and repair of body tissues such as muscles, blood, bones, hair, skin, and nails. Soybeans and soy-based products are rich source of phytoestrogens, which are the weak estrogens found in plants. These phytoestrogens protect against breast cancer in perimenopausal women. Additional sources are soymilk, tofu, soy flour, soy protein powders, soy energy bars, chickpeas, lentils, clover, onions and apples.

Adapt to this sample daily routine. Have a healthy breakfast no later than 9 a.m. Have a small, mid-morning snack of fruit, low-fat yogurt or a piece of string cheese. Eat lunch no later than 1:30. Include a healthy balance of protein, fat and carbohydrates. Mid-afternoon snack is for energy. Choose protein and carbohydrates such as low-fat yogurt, or cottage cheese and fruit. Dinner should be eaten between 6 and 7:30 p.m. Good choices are soup, salad, poultry, fish, legumes, veggie burgers and mixed fruit. Have dinner over by 8 p.m. Remember if you have dinner after 8 you gain a lot of weight. Also drink 64 ounces of water per day. Many times when we think we are hungry we are actually thirsty. Water has many functions in the body. It transports nutrients to the cells, regulates body temperatures, lubricates joints and provides moisture to the skin. The lower estrogen levels during perimenopause make water intake even more critical.

Perimenopausal Symptoms and Solutions:

Fatigue — iron-rich foods such as meats and poultry
Irritability, memory loss, depression — vitamin B complex
Indigestion — small, frequent meals, low-fat foods. Avoid fried foods, lunchmeats
Hot flashes — soy products, vitamin E, wheat germ, whole grains
Sweating — Soy products
Water Retention – Consume majority of calories and carbohydrates before dinner
Headaches — Magnesium, nuts, tofu, leafy green vegetables, wheat germ
Constipation – High-fiber foods (whole grains, vegetables, beans, peas), plenty of water, exercise

After the age of 40 the female body experiences changes in metabolism, bone structure, skin, hair and appetite. The appetite is closely linked to culture. Food is loving, nurturing and a pleasurable substance. Just the smell of something warm and familiar can trigger all sorts of pleasant memories. Think of turkey basting in the oven on Thanksgiving Day. Imagine the smell of hot cinnamon-laced cider on a snowy Christmas day. Smells that waft over us can trigger pleasant associations. The key to enjoying food is not to let it be in control. Make peace with food. It is not the enemy. Keep the eating process simple. There will be less mental stress about eating when other areas in life are in control.

Feelings of sadness, worry and anxiety will suffocate thoughts of self-care. The stress cycle snowballs when food is routinely used as comfort. Plan ahead to make time for yourself. Realize that you deserve joy just as much as the people you continue to serve and please. Women over 40 need all the solace they can get. Incorporate a variety of stress-reducing physical activities into the daily routine. Plan to escape and take a walk whenever you can. An immediate improvement of energy will be seen in addition to the stress reduction. Create a support system. Enlist the help of a buddy to help keep each other encouraged. Enjoy a laughter workout at least 10 minutes a day. Laughter will reduce stress hormones and boost the immune system. Another great tool for improved mental health is journaling. Writing your thoughts down daily is a great way to express emotions and get to know your inner self better. Find some private space to relax and record your thoughts. Write freely and note what you were feeling that day.

Getting fit and healthy after 40 is not a destination but a journey filled with trials that test our abilities to live healthfully. Planning and determination will give a sense of control. Learn to enjoy this season of life to the fullest

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