I was recently slammed for “missing the mark” on weight-loss in my book: Flat Gut After 50.
A 55+ lady amazon reader,”BCase,” stated that the book was written for athletic men, not women. And, that, I also had skipped explaining internal and external fat and hormonal re-balancing.
O.K. I really appreciate the feedback.
Here is the scoop on body fat. Internal fat is visceral fat. It is amongst your organs and is there to protect them. External fat is cutaneous fat, which is just under the skin. This kind of fat is more visible. Too much of either form puts undo stress on the body.
Excess types of fat often come from simple carbohydrates and water. One gram of carbohydrate will cause the body to hold four grams of water. Whereas, one gram of protein will cause the body to hold one gram of water. So, tip of the month: count carbohydrates and not so much Calories.
Next to explain is hormonal re-balancing. Here are four hormones that can make or break weight and strength goals: Human Growth Hormone (HGH), Cortisol, Ghrelin and Leptin.
HGH is high when you are younger (and more active) and you could seemingly eat anything and still stay lean. High amounts of HGH speeds healing, builds muscle and burns fat. This hormone is released during:
- Heavy exercise
Cortisol is released during stress and causes a rise in blood sugar. Ideally, you can release this stress through fight or flight. But, too often, the stress is not used up and the excess sugar is stored as fat.
Which brings us to the ghrelin hormone. This is secreted when you get hungry. The more often that you eat, the more ghrelin produced. (However, I know a very fit, attractive lady who eats and exercises constantly.) Lack of sleep can increase ghrelin. Think hungry gremlins and you have it.
Finally, I will mention leptin that influences the thyroid production of hormones T3 and T4. When leptin is high, the body can lose weight fairly easily. But (and a very big but), when you eat less, your body produces less leptin and your metabolism slows down.
For my feisty 55+ friends, here is a drug-free approach for hormonal re-balancing.
1. Perform strength exercises, such as weights, body weight exercises, power yoga, sports or martial arts. This will increase HGH, lower cortisol and ghrelin hormones.
2. Get good, sound sleep. You can eat some protein, like turkey and complex carbohydrates, like oatmeal before bedtime. But no sugar within 1.5 hours of bedtime. None. Any sugar, like pastries and most fruits will inhibit your HGH while you sleep. Take 500 mg of L-tryptophan or 5HTP to help your sleep. It is non-addictive. Sleep is very important in hormonal re-balancing.
3. Eat high protein foods. If that cinnamon bun is calling your name, eat some protein first! Even a small piece of cheese, peanut butter on a cracker, hard boiled egg or beef will help slow down the sugar rush that plays havoc on your hormonal balance. Make sure that you eat at regular times, which will keep HGH (muscle build/fat burn) and leptin high (metabolism boosting).
4. Participate in good stress-releasing activities like exercising, hobbies and socialising. This will let your body recover and lower your cortisol (stress) and ghrelin (hunger activator).
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