Sunday, May 28, 2017

Women And Weight Gain After 40 - Part 2

Several weeks ago, I initiated a conversation about hormones and weight gain after 40.
In that post, I highlighted the physical changes women can typically expect to face during peri-menopause and the menopause transition itself. The picture I painted wasn’t pretty and many of you wrote to say that you’ve experienced the changes I described, including muscle loss, weight gain, insatiable food cravings and a belly or ‘muffin top’ that won’t go away.
I promised to do some research and come back and share what I discovered about the effects of exercise, nutrition and overall lifestyle on the challenges we’re all facing.
Today’s post will focus on nutrition, which means we’ll be once again talking about the hormones estrogen and insulin. (And just a head’s up, they’re just as important to the upcoming posts on exercise and lifestyle change, so pay attention 🙂 ).
Many (if not all) of my 40+ female clients lament the fact that they can no longer eat the way they did in their 20’s and 30’s and zip up their favorite jeans. Gone are the days when a weekend of pizza, chips and beer had no effect on your body come Monday morning.
We’ve already touched on the primary reasons why people (both men and women) tend to gain weight as they age, but decreased physical activity and loss of muscle mass are only part of the story.
For women entering their peri-menopausal years, the frequently-observed increase in ‘middle of the body adiposity’ is directly tied to lower estrogen levels.
Estrogen is a most interesting hormone. In the reproductive years of women, it initiates breast development and helps to maintain pregnancy and kickstart the development of fetal organs.
Evidence from animal models tells us that estrogen also plays a role in the following:
  • feeding behavior (estrogen-depleted mice consume significantly more food than their ‘normal estrogen profile’ counterparts)
  • the uptake of lipids from the circulation (lower estrogen levels result in greater lipid uptake and ‘middle of the body’ fat storage)
  • the development of insulin resistance (recall that insulin’s function is to remove excess sugar from the blood; when you become resistant to the effects of insulin, your body stores that excess sugar as fat)
  • physical activity and energy expenditure during physical activity (estrogen-depleted mice move less and burn fewer calories while engaged in ‘exercise’ than ‘normal estrogen profile’ mice)
“Eat more, move less” is almost always a recipe for weight gain, regardless of whether you’re a mice or woman”!
So, what does this all have to do with nutrition? How can you take this information about hormones and turn it into a plan for counteracting their effects on mid-life weight gain?
It’s based on the premise of clean eating. With a little tough love. If you’re serious about losing or maintaining weight through the menopause years you can’t keep eating the way you have been and expect to see any changes in your body.
  • eliminate processed foods and added sugar. Without estrogen around to help you out, excess dietary sugar will be transformed into fat, in particular, belly fat. The high sodium count in most processed foods will also lead to water retention which only contributes to that puffy look.
  • pay attention to serving size. Educate yourself about what a serving of lean protein looks like. Do the same for grains and healthy fats. Weigh or measure portions until you can do it on your own. Given that energy expenditure during exercise can decline with estrogen levels, keeping your calorie count in check is more important now than ever.
  • notice how you feel before, during and after a meal. Keeping a food journal is always helpful when trying to lose weight, but even more helpful when you’re experiencing food craving and lack-of-estrogen feedback about satiation. Pay attention to your trigger foods and learn about your body’s response to carbohydrates.
  • re-think that drink. Alcohol is a sugar and your body metabolizes it as such. Still can’t give up your weekend wine binge? Don’t expect to lose your belly bulge.
  • experiment with reducing grains and dairy. I’m not suggesting that you ‘go paleo‘ here or jump on the gluten free bandwagon. However, many women find that reducing their consumption of these two food groups helps with both overall weight loss and abdominal fat loss. Grains, in particular, will raise blood sugars and trigger an insulin response. Remember to journal your ‘experiment’; it’s the only true way you’ll have of knowing whether this strategy works for you.
  • embrace vegetables. They’ll fill you up (dietary fiber for the win!) and help ensure that you get the calcium and magnesium you need to help offset age-related losses in bone density. In order to meet your daily requirement of 7 to 10 servings, make sure you’re adding a veggie or two to every single meal.
[Here’s where I remind you that I’m NOT a registered dietician or nutritionist, so my suggestions are based on MY OWN research and the strategies that I’ve found to work for MY clients. Remember that there is no single diet that is better than all others for losing weight or maintaining weight loss; finding something that works for you and sticking with it over the long haul is key.]

To read the first part in this series go here >>> Woman and Weight Gain After 40  to go to Part 3, Go Here....

Written by,
Dwight Obey, Independent AdvoCare Distributor

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Women And Weight Gain After 40

Why is it so much harder for women to lose weight and make gains in the gym after age 40? 

Im married to a 46-year old woman who’s most definitely smack dab in the middle of peri-menopause AND as the personal trainer of dozens of women who are about to face similar challenges, this is a subject that’s NEAR and DEAR to my heart!

There’s SO much to say about hormones and weight gain after 40 for women that I can’t possibly cover it all in a single blog post.
Instead, I thought that we might explore the topic together, over a series of posts, guided by my research but also fueled by my clients questions to this topic.
I’d like to start the series by painting a picture of what naturally  happens to a woman's body as they age, in particular, from the mid-30’s to the late 50’s; the twenty year period during which hormones gradually change and menopause is typically reached (a woman is said to have reached menopause twelve months after the cessation of menstruation).
As you read through this list, don’t despair; there are lots of things you can do on the exercise and nutrition front to offset, slow down and in some cases REVERSE the normal trend!
  • From about age 35 onwards, your body start to lose lean tissue. Organs (including your liver and kidneys) lose cells and muscles begin to shrink (or ‘atrophy’). Because muscle is metabolically active (meaning that it burns calories, even at rest), reduced muscle mass often results in a reduced metabolic rate.

  • Peak bone mass and bone density are reached by approximately age 30. Both decline by a percent or so each year up until the point menopause is reached, at which annual rates of bone density loss increase to 2-3%. For the average woman, this translates into a loss of about 53% of their peak bone density by the time they reach their 80th birthday.

  • Body fat increases steadily after age 30 and may increase by as much as 30% by the time menopause is attained. The distribution of body fat shifts from subcutaneous (under the skin, evenly over the body) to visceral (around the internal organs). Visceral fat is known to raise your risk of heart disease, stroke and cancer.

  • During the menopause transition, the ovaries gradually stop making the hormone estrogen. Estrogen is responsible for making your breasts grow at puberty and maintaining pregnancy by regulating the levels of another sex hormone, progesterone. When estrogen declines, cortisol and insulin production increase. Both contribute to fat gain, in particular, fat around the midsection.

  • Peri-menopausal and menopausal women frequently report changes in their sleep patterns. Difficulty falling asleep, middle of the night waking and insomnia all contribute to lower energy levels and feelings of fatigueChronic sleep deprivation is also linked to elevated cortisol levels.

  • On average, women tend to continue gaining weight until about age 65, at which time weight loss occurs due primarily to muscular atrophy (as opposed to fat loss).
If this is the ‘normal path of aging’, is it any wonder that it becomes more challenging for women to maintain their physique of early adulthood into the 40’s and beyond?
Of course, many women give up. They read statistics like the ones I’ve shared above and decide that accepting the aging process is easier than fighting it. 
While I do believe that women need to be more compassionate with themselves as they age (i.e., stop comparing your current body to the one you had in your 20’s…), 
Stay tuned for Parts 2, 3 and 4, in which we’ll explore some exercise, nutrition and lifestyle tools for women who want to stay fit and fabulous into their 40’s!

Written by,
Dwight Obey, Independent AdvoCare Distributor

Monday, May 15, 2017

Do Weight Loss Supplements Work?

The supplement industry is a multi-billion dollar industry, and there are many weight loss supplements to choose from.  However, most weight loss supplements don’t stack up for long term, successful weight loss.

Sometimes researchers find a promising new compound that supplement companies jump onto as the new wonder fat loss pill.  However, before falling for any fat loss claims, it is important to look carefully at the research and results.

Here are some popular fat loss supplements and some of the research behind the fat loss claims.

Fiber Supplements

One of fiber’s many health benefits is that it delays gastric emptying.  It can help you feel fuller longer which can help regulate appetite through the day.  High fiber diets are usually encouraged for weight loss because of this.

Fiber supplements may help with weight loss.  According to a 2011 article from International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition, when a fiber supplement was given to overweight Chinese men, they lost significantly more weight and had less hunger compared to a control group.
A 2010 study using a fiber supplement concluded this supplement also significantly improved insulin resistance in overweight Chinese men compared to the placebo group.

A word of caution with fiber supplements: don’t overdo it.  You can get too much fiber which could cause cramping, diarrhea or an intestinal block.  Also, remember to increase your fluid intake whenever you increase fiber intake, whether from supplements or food.

Women under 50 years should aim for about 25 gm of fiber per day, and men under 50 years should aim for about 38 gm of fiber per day.

Will taking a fiber supplement help you lose weight?  Maybe, but so could eating a fiber rich diet.
Natural sources of fiber include fruit, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts/seeds.

Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA)
CLA is a type of fat found in small amounts in dairy and grass fed beef.  Some recent research studies have shown that CLA given as a supplement can help mice shed fat.  Does this mean it does the same in humans?  Studies with CLA and humans have mixed results, and the exact mechanism for how CLA works is not clearly understood.
According to a 2012 review article in European Journal of Nutrition, researchers concluded that CLA as a supplement in humans did not have significant, meaningful effect on weight loss.  Some studies have indicated weight loss with CLA with high doses, around 3gm per day.  However, not all studies have shown a benefit with CLA.  If you take a weight loss supplement with CLA in it, it does not mean you will automatically lose weight.
Sometimes supplements will have CLA listed in the ingredients, but the amount is so small it will not have a noticeable effect.  Some people may have adverse effects from CLA supplement like diarrhea or constipation.

Green Tea

Green tea is a popular weight loss aid and can be found as an ingredient in weight loss supplements.  Green tea contains caffeine and catechins, both which may have a stimulating effect on metabolism.  Green tea as a supplement will usually have higher amounts of caffeine and catechins in it compared to drinking prepared green tea.
A meta-analysis review from TM Jurgens et al. in 2012 concluded that green tea supplements did not significantly impact weight loss efforts compared to those who did not take green tea weight loss supplements.
Researchers reviewed weight loss studies using green tea supplements and lasting at least 12 weeks in duration. 

Green Coffee Extract

Green coffee extract has recently gained popularity for being the new “it” weight loss supplement.  According to a 2012 research article from Diabetes, Metabolic Syndrome and Obesity, green coffee extract had a significant impact on lowering body weight, body mass index and percent body fat in obese subjects.
However, the dose of the green coffee extract ranged from 700-1050 mg of green coffee extract, and previous studies used a dose around 200 mg of green coffee extract.  Previous studies with green coffee extract have not shown as drastic weight loss, probably because of the discrepancy in dosage.
Subjects in this study were taking either a placebo, low dose or high dose of green coffee extract supplement for 6 weeks.  Then there was a 2 week washout period, followed by a repeat of either a placebo or dose of green coffee extract.  Subjects were randomized to the order of supplements and was a double blind controlled study.
More research needs to be done for varying dosages of green coffee extract and longevity of weight loss results.  Supplement companies may claim to use green coffee extract, but may only use a small dose or a different product than ones used in research studies.


Take caution whenever taking supplements, and research how much is needed for a weight loss effect.  Talk to a medical professional before taking a supplement, especially if you are on any medication.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Can I really Lose 10 Pounds In 2 Weeks?

The short answer to this question is yes; it is possible to lose 10 pounds in 2 weeks.  However, there are many factors that go into weight loss.  If you want to lose 10 pounds in 2 weeks, there are 2 main areas to hit: food intake and exercise.  Other factors that affect weight are hormone levels, sleep and metabolic rate.

To lose this amount of weight in a short time takes hard work and dedication.  It may not be feasible for everyone, but it could be possible.
There are many gimmicks and quick fix fad diets that promise drastic weight loss results in short time frame.  While you may experience weight loss of 10 pounds in 2 weeks, more than likely the weight will come back.
Here are some tips for losing weight quick. 

The number basics

A pound of fat contains approximately 3,500 calories.  If you want to lose 10 pounds, that is 35,000 calories to lose from your body in 2 weeks.
In order to lose 5 pounds in 1 week, you need to be in a calorie deficit every week of 17,500 calories (5 pounds: 3,500 x 5 = 17,500 calories).  That turns into a deficit of 2,500 calories per day (17,500 calories / 7).
In order to be in that much of a calorie deficit, you can cut your calorie intake and/or increase your calorie expenditure.  Cutting 2,500 calories every day would basically mean starving yourself, which is not the healthiest, most sustainable approach.

What do you eat when trying to lose 10 pounds in 2 weeks?

It’s important to eat high nutrient foods anytime, but also when trying to lose weight.  Focus on filling up with fruits vegetableslean proteins and some whole grains.  These foods are high in fiber and protein which helps leave you full longer and can help lower calorie intake throughout the day.
Fuel up with these foods when losing weight or invest in quality supplements from reputable companies which offer pre-packaged meal replacements or fiber supplements.  Your body needs antioxidants, B vitamins and minerals, and real food will best supply these to your body.  Cut out processed foods and sugary drinks when wanting to lose weight.
It’s also important to stay hydrated when losing weight.  Drink enough water so that your urine is clear to pale yellow.
Avoid the temptation to starve yourself for 2 weeks.  Lowering your calorie intake too far (like below 1,200-1,000 calories) will drastically lower your metabolism.  This could lower the rate of calorie burn and fat loss. 


Besides food intake, the other most important aspect for losing 10 pounds in 2 weeks is exercise.  Your calorie burn has to dramatically increase to drop fat mass.  There are many ways to exercise, but optimal calorie burn and fat loss combination of cardio plus interval training may be best.
Focus on incorporating cardiovascular exercise like running, biking, swimming, etc. plus some resistance training 2-3 times per week.  Aim for a moderate intensity for cardiovascular exercise; you should be able to carry on a conversation while exercising.  Add in higher intensity exercise a few times per week if desired.
Resistance training will keep your muscle mass up while cutting back food intake plus increase calorie burn.  Cardio exercise will give you a high calorie burn and increase fat burn.
Remember, you need to be roughly in a 2,500 calorie deficit every day.  Exercise length will vary individually, but a good place to start is 1-2 hours of exercise per day.

Dwight Obey, Independent AdvoCare Distributor


Before taking any weight loss supplements, talk to a physician.  It may be possible to lose 10 pounds in 2 weeks, but it will take a lot of hard work and dedication.
You should talk to a doctor before increasing exercise if you have a history of heart disease, on medication for heart issues, joint problems, have chest pain or have had dizzy spells.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Is Organic Really Better For You?

The short answer is, most health researchers say no. Organic food is not better for you, as studies have found that it has basically the same nutritional value as non-organic food.

In addition organic food is generally more expensive.

A review published in the scientific journal Critical Reviews In Food Science And Nutrition in 2010, reported that some studies found organic foods had higher levels of vitamin C and phosphorus than conventional foods, but after further, and closer scrutiny there was little difference between the nutrient levels. 

Other tests on the fatty acid composition of organic and conventional food showed minimal difference, with some tests even showing organic eggs having a greater concentration of the bad saturated fats.

While many health professionals, still today continue to advise people to eat organic, you need to be wary as there is little scientific evidence to support this, and as stated before the debate is ongoing. 

If you are thinking about going organic, just remember to do your due diligence prior to starting.

Monday, May 8, 2017

What To Do Before Starting A Weight Loss Plan

Starting a weight loss plan can be both fun and daunting at the same time. You’re opening up new possibilities for yourself, but at the same time, you’ll be changing a lot of things that you’re used to. Many people get stuck in their heads when they start planning to lose weight, a mindset which can make the whole endeavor fail. However, with enough preparation, you can have a weight loss program that works.
It’s important not to set yourself up for failure. Before you even begin forming a weight loss diet plan, get it in your head that you will succeed. As long as you pace yourself and remain realistic, you can set out to achieve your goals.
To maximize your chances for success, it’s best to prepare for what lies ahead. Don’t just begin your weight loss plan without preparing for it, because that’s like going up on stage at a dance recital without ever learning the routine. Here are a few things you’ll need to know and remember before you start on your weight loss plan.
Go easy on yourself
A lot of past diet fads advised the removal of certain types of food from your diet. While doing this can help you gain some short term success, it’s not the best for long-term success. Thus, it’s not really a weight loss plan that really works. If you deprive yourself of foods that you’ve always loved, there’s a huge chance that you’ll be tempted to try a “bite” of that forbidden ambrosia. That little “bite”, no matter how much you deny to yourself that it will ever happen, will eventually lead to binging. This isn’t really a hallmark of a weight loss program that works
Just imagine completely cutting one of your favorite foods out of a weight loss diet plan. Let’s say that this food is pizza. You love pizza, but you have to give it up. Then, your friends order a pizza for movie or game night. You think to yourself, “just one bite won’t hurt”, but then you find yourself scarfing down whole slices. We want what we want, and we want what we can’t have even more. It’s best to not play mind games with yourself like that when you need a weight loss eating plan to be effective.
Set attainable goals
One thing that can set us up for failure in any venture is having unrealistic expectations and goals. We’re more prone to giving something up if we can’t reach even the short term goals. However, we have to ask ourselves: are we just incapable of succeeding at what we set out to do, or are we expecting too much too soon?
In weight loss, it’s most likely the latter. A weight loss plan that really works is manageable and only a little daunting.
One thing you can do is keep a journal that tracks your progress and keeps an account of what you mean to achieve for each week. You should also make your goals as specific as possible. Instead of writing “lose two pounds” as your goal for the month, break it down to more specific and manageable steps. You can thus have a weight loss plan that won’t drive you crazy because it’s easier to follow and track.

Until then, good luck in your eight loss journey, and remember you can do this!

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

How Long Does It Take To See Fitness Results

How long it takes to see fitness results will vary depending on what your goals are along your fitness journey. “Are you looking to improve time? Get stronger? Lose weight? Lose body fat? The answer to how long it will take to get fit will vary for each one of those goals.”
A beginner wanting to run a 5K race will take less time to get in shape than someone training for their first marathon or triathlon. And they will need a different training program than someone getting ready for a weeklong backpacking trip.
In general, though, you will start to “feel” better long before you see major fitness results.
For someone starting out, typically within two weeks they can start feeling the benefits of exercise, if they were to stick with it.
This might mean being less out of breath when you climb stairs or run to catch the bus. Or being able to play with your grandchildren in the back yard without getting tired.
Although you might not have a “shredded body” yet, these small changes shouldn’t be dismissed.
The mental benefits of getting active are even more important than the external changes we are all so concerned about seeing, which might include increased motivation and confidence to keep coming back to your workout until you start seeing better results.
If you have been out of shape, or not working out for 10 years, or so it will generally take about two months of working out most days of the week to get to what is considered a moderate level.
And if you exercise regularly, over time you will see even more fitness results.
At six to eight weeks you can definitely notice some changes, and in three to four months you can do a pretty good overhaul to your health and fitness level.
Strength-specific results take about the same amount of time.
So, what are you waiting for, no waiting for tomorrow,.....remember "Today Iz The Day"

Written by,

Dwight Obey, Independent AdvoCare Distributor

Monday, May 1, 2017

Heart Disease And Exercise

The heart is a muscle and needs exercise to stay in shape. When it's exercised, the heart can pump more blood through the body and continue working at optimal efficiency with little strain. This will likely help it to stay healthy longer. Regular exercise also helps to keep arteries and other blood vessels flexible, ensuring good blood flow and normal blood pressure and cholesterol.
When it comes to exercise, a little bit performed regularly goes a long way. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), exercising 30 minutes a day, five days a week will improve your heart health and help reduce your risk of heart disease. You can even break it up into quick and manageable 10-minute sessions, three times a day.
Just be sure to check with your doctor before starting a new exercise routine, as exercising with a heart condition can put extra strain on your heart. Learn the signs of heart trouble during exercise and don’t over-exert yourself.....and remember you can do this!