Healthy Byte: Lifting is Better than Cardio After 60

Originally Poster HERE

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For many of us, life gets better — easier, even — as we get older. We get more comfortable and confident in our own skin. But unfortunately, some things, like losing weight, don’t get easier with age. In reality, dropping unwanted pounds can feel harder than ever.

Whether it’s a busy schedule or stiff joints that’s holding you back, you might be less inspired to go to the gym. Those 10 pounds you gained in your 40s can become an extra 20 pounds in your 50s and 60s. But experts agree that it’s important to focus on achieving your healthy weight at any age.

“Excess fat is something we shouldn’t ignore no matter how old we are,” says Robert Huizenga, MD, an internist and associate professor of clinical medicine at UCLA. The good news is that while losing weight in your 60s is much harder, women actually won’t find it more difficult to lose weight than men. Dr. Huizenga says, “There has actually been no difference in the amount or rate of weight loss in individuals of either sex who are over 60 years old versus those who are younger.”

Michael Spitzer, a personal trainer and author of Fitness at 40, 50, 60 and Beyond, agrees, adding that “the true path to weight control and fitness after age 60 isn’t that much different than it is at any other stage of life.” However, there are certain factors that need special consideration.

What to consider before you start your weight loss journey

For starters, it’s important more than ever to actually talk to your doctor before beginning any new exercise regimen. “Medical problems, such as heart disease and metabolic disease, become more common after age 60, so it’s much more important to have a medical checkup before attempting a fat loss plan,” says Dr. Huizenga. Then there’s the fact that over the age of 60, your oxygen intake may be reduced by as much as one-third of what it was when you were 25. This might make it a tougher time to take deep breaths while you’re exercising. That’s why it’s crucial to ease into a new exercise routine.

This is also the decade when your hips, knees, and other key joints are more likely to develop arthritis, which means that your go-to running or aerobic workouts may need to be swapped for swimming and/or gentle walking plans.

With that said, there are steps you can take to make your weight loss journey more manageable. Here are expert-approved tips that’ll help you clean up your diet, lose excess weight, and set you up for better health in your 60s, 70s, and beyond.

1. Focus on fat loss, not weight loss.

During this decade, you want to focus on building more muscle instead of decreasing the number on the scale. “At advanced ages, you cannot afford to lose muscle, organ tissue, or bone mass,” says Dr. Huizenga. Lifting weights is important as you get older because you lose a percentage of muscle every year. This affects your metabolism and ability to get rid of body fat. With age, your bones also become weaker, especially if you’re post-menopausal, which is due to lower estrogen levels — the hormones responsible for maintaining bone mass. But by creating pressure on your joints through weight-bearing exercises, you can actually help build stronger, healthier bones. So instead of focusing on what the scale says, turn your energy and attention into adopting a new strength training routine, which brings us to our next point.

2. Add strength training to your workout routine.

Muscle loss equals a slower metabolism, which explains why you’re more likely to put on — and hold on to — those extra pounds. But lifting weights can help rev up your metabolism by building muscle mass.

If you don’t have a consistent weight training regimen, you’ll want to start slowly. It’s also worth working with a personal trainer who provide a personalized strength training plan. By easing into a new plan, it will give your body time to adapt without placing too much strain on your muscles or joints and help you avoid injury, says Dr. Huizenga.

But don’t get too comfortable with an easy resistance-training program. It’s important to gradually increase the amount of weight you lift. “It’s critical that significant resistance exercise be incorporated into any fat loss plan over age 60,” he adds. Once you can do 10 to 12 reps with a five-pound dumbbell and feel like you could keep going, it’s time to upgrade to an eight-pound weight, and so forth. “You know you’re lifting the right amount of weight if you can just barely make it to the end of your repetitions before needing to rest,” he says.

3. Stay hydrated.

Of course, this is a tip for anyone trying to lose weight and boost her overall health, but it’s especially important as we get older. That’s because as we age, the hypothalamus, which controls our hunger and thirst, becomes desensitized, dulling our thirst signals, says Matt Essex, founder of ActiveRx Aging Centers in Arizona. “Plus, many older people avoid drinking water so they can avoid running to the bathroom constantly,” adds Christen Cooper, RD, a dietitian in Pleasantville, NY. “This is especially true for men with prostate issues and women with bladder limitations.”

Since water is key for digestion and metabolism, it’s important to make sure you’re getting enough. Our bodies can easily mistake thirst for hunger, which causes us to eat more than we actually need. Consider purchasing a water bottle with a timeline tracker to remind you when you need to take swigs throughout the day.

4. Load up on protein.

If ever there was a time to focus on getting enough lean protein, it’s now. “There is some evidence that older adults need more protein,” says Susan Bowerman, MS, RD, senior director of worldwide nutrition education and training at Herbalife. Aim to get roughly 30 grams of protein at each meal, and more if you tend to crave carb-rich foods.

“In my practice, I notice that dietary patterns tend to shift somewhat with age, and as people get older, the calories that were once spent on lean protein might now be spent on carbohydrates or fats,” says Bowerman. Not only does adequate protein help support muscle growth and repair, but it’s also more satiating than carbs and fats, meaning you’ll be less likely to reach for unhealthy snacks, Bowerman says.

5. Be patient.

While it’s just as possible to reach your healthy weight in your 60s as it is when you were in your 20s, it might take a little longer. You might not be able to push yourself as hard as you’d like to during your workouts, leading to a lower-calorie burn. Or, you may not be as strong as you once were, prompting you to lift lighter weights (also lowering that calorie-burn number you see on your fitness tracker). “Keep your focus on the healthy behaviors you’re adopting in order to achieve your goal, rather than your frustration if it’s not happening right away,” says Bowerman. If you stick to a healthy diet and exercise plan, your weight will take care of itself over time.

6. Stretch often.

The more flexible you are, the more you will enjoy any physical activity you do and the less chance you’ll have of injury, says Rami Aboumahadi, a certified personal trainer based in Florida. And at 60 years old, a less active lifestyle and an increase in aches and pains can make your flexibility plummet. Consider taking a yoga class or simply adding a few stretches to your day, particularly after you’ve taken a walk or warmed up your muscles in some other way.

7. Think positive.

If you’re constantly thinking, “gaining weight is part of the aging process” or “everybody my age is overweight” on repeat, it’s time for new weight-loss mantras, says Cooper. “It’s important to avoid slipping into a mindset that will prevent you from losing weight,” he says. Find a community of people who want to get fit and stay that way so that you surround yourself with as much support as possible. Perhaps you can find a walking group, take a group fitness class, or talk a few friends into joining you for water aerobics at the local pool. “Too often, what limits us from achieving our weight-loss goals is all psychological,” says Cooper.

Healthy Byte: Twelve Tips to Stop Over Eating

Originally Posted HERE

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We all have a different threshold for how much is too much, and the definition of overeating can vary depending on the situation. For instance, what you eat for dinner one day may be a normal amount for you, but it can seem like overkill if you also had a very large lunch or did a lot of snacking between meals. In general, “overeating can be defined as consuming more food than the body can handle comfortably in one sitting, or consuming more calories than the body needs to function optimally on a daily basis,” says Eudene Harry, M.D., physician and author of three books including Be Iconic. “This can leave us feeling bloated with a multitude of digestive symptoms and lead to weight gain.”

“I call overeating being “regretfull” — a combo of regret and full,” says Susan Albers, Psy.D., psychologist, best-selling author of eight books, including the forthcoming Hanger Management. “We tend to feel a lot of regret when we eat past the point of being satisfied.” There are number of physical and emotional factors that can lead us to that point. Being tired, stressed, hangry, unfocused and even eating certain foods can cause us to overeat. The trick is to resolve those issues and adopt strategies to avoid overeating on the regular. Thankfully, with the help of Dr. Harry, Albers, and Ilana Muhlstein, M.S., R.D.N., registered dietitian nutritionist and creator of the 2B Mindset, we’ve got plenty of tricks up our sleeve for you to use.

Tips on to stop overeating:

  • Clean out your cupboards. First things first: We all have those foods that we can get enough of, whether that’s chips, pasta, candy, or ice cream. “Don’t keep food around your house or office that leads to overeating,” says Muhlstein. “Out of sight, out of mind, is one of the easiest ways to control this issue.
  • Get more shuteye. Sleep improves nearly every system in our body, and when we don’t get enough, our body doesn’t function efficiently. “Studies consistently show that when a person sleeps less than the recommended 7 to 8 hours per night, she may be more likely to feel hungrier the next day and crave and consume higher calorie and carbohydrate-rich foods,” says Mulstein.
  • Stay ahead of hanger. You never want to let yourself get so hungry that you reach for whatever’s nearby. “Keep high-protein snacks handy,” says Albers. “Cheese sticks, turkey cold cuts rolled up, hummus, roasted chickpeas, nuts, energy balls and protein smoothies are some of my go-tos.” Along those same lines, Muhlstein also recommends Greek yogurts and snackable veggies like baby carrots and cut up cucumbers.
  • Check in with yourself. “When you feel yourself start to get hungry, ask yourself how hungry are you, really?” advises Albers. “Whether you’re a little bit hungry, moderately hungry, or very hungry, this is going to let you pick the right eating intervention — just a bite, a snack, or a meal.”
  • Drink water. “We commonly confuse hunger for thirst,” says Muhlstein. “To put it in perspective, we can’t live three days without water, but we can live three weeks without food.” She advises always drinking 16 ounces of water before you take your first bite of food. “It will drastically improve your ability to control your hunger,” she says. Carry a water bottle with you to make sure you’re hydrated even when you’re on-the-go.
  • Eat mindfully. “Turn off the television, put down your phone and really focus on your food,” says Dr. Harry. “Eating mindfully allows you to appreciate all the complexities and nuances of the food in front of you.” Not only will you be more aware of how much you’re consuming, she says, you’ll often notice a flavor explosion in the first few bites of your meal that gradually decreases and becomes less satisfying.
  • Include protein and fiber in your meal. These two nutrients may help you feel fuller faster, according to research. They also enable your body to better regulate swings in your glucose levels that may come with eating carbohydrates. Dr. Harry suggests working with your physician or nutritionist to assess the right amount of protein for your needs.
  • Use a smaller plate. Some studies have found we eat more when our plates are larger, while others suggest this isn’t always the case — but it can’t hurt to test it out for yourself. “Having a smaller plate that is filled to the rim can be a visual feast for the eyes,” says Dr. Harry.
  • Make your first bite a veggie. “If you’re at a party and choose the sliced veggies and dip before the cheese and crackers, you may be more likely to make smarter choices throughout the night,” says Muhlstein. It’s definitely worth a try!
  • Eat slowly. “When we slow down and chew food thoroughly, it starts the digestive process that leads to nutrients being released in the stomach,” says Dr. Harry. “This tells the stomach to make and release hormones that let the brain know it’s full so it can turn off your hunger signal. Some research estimates that this process can take 20 minutes.” For these reasons, Albers recommends cutting your bites into smaller pieces, adding an extra three chews to each bite and consciously eating at a slower pace than the people you’re with.
  • Smile between bites. No, seriously. “This brief pause gives you just a moment to ask yourself if you really want the next bite or if you should stop right there,” says Albers. “Also, a smile triggers the release of feel-good neurotransmitters, which helps reduce emotional eating.”
  • Plan an intermission. Take a break halfway through your meal to gauge your hunger level. “Even a small pause gives your food time to digest and register in your brain that you have eaten,” Albers points out. Everything you can do to help your brain accurately judge how much you’ve consumed can help you avoid overeating.

Remember, beating yourself up after we have an episode of overeating is not helpful. “Drop the inner critic and get curious about your overeating,” suggests Albers. “Ask yourself a series of questions like what lead to the overeating right now? What would I do differently next time? What are some steps that would have prevented the overeating?” This turns the situation into a teachable moment that you can use to avoid overeating in the future.

HB Sig

Healthy Byte: The Hype of Fads

With the rise of standing desks, office workers hope to brush off the health risks linked to prolonged sitting, including obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and early death. But they might do well to walk calories off instead, a new study suggests.

In one of the few studies to carefully count the calories people burn while sitting at a desk, standing, or taking a leisurely stroll, researchers found little difference between being plopped down or upright. Standing for an hour might burn off an extra nine calories or so, about the amount in a single gummy bear. Slow walking, on the other hand, incinerated 2.4 to 2.7-fold more calories than standing or sitting, respectively. If office workers fit in an hour of strolling throughout each day—tallying trips to the bathroom, walks to the printer, or strides on a treadmill desk—they could easily burn through an extra 130 calories. That’s a little more than what previous research suggests could help people keep pounds off, the authors report in the Journal of Physical Activity and Health.

“If you’re looking for weight control or just solely at the energy expenditure, standing isn’t that much more beneficial than sitting,” Seth Creasy, an exercise physiologist at the University of Pittsburgh and lead author of the study, told Ars. Of course, calorie burning isn’t the only reason people might choose a standing desk. Being upright could be beneficial for productivity or posture, Creasy said. However, more research is needed to know if those benefits are real because the studies that have been done so far have come up with mixed or inconclusive results.

For energy use, though, the literature is getting pretty clear. In past studies looking into the differences between standing and sitting, researchers found small changes in calorie burningsimilar to those Creasy and his colleagues found. With their new study, they tried to nail those calories down for good and look at more than one single activity at a time. No one gets to the office and sits, stands, or walks for eight hours straight, Creasy explained. People switch positions, take breaks, and move around, he said.

To see if there were any effects of those shifts, Creasy and colleagues set up an experiment with activity combinations. With a total of 74 healthy volunteers, the researchers randomly assigned 18 to sit at a desk with a computer for 15 minutes then stand without fidgeting for 15 minutes. Another 18 participants sat and watched television for 15 minutes and then walked. Twenty started with slow walking—at a self-selected speed of around two and half miles per hour—and then sat and watched TV. And the last 18 stood and then sat at a desk with a computer.

During each 30-minute activity combination, the researchers had the participants fitted with face masks, which basically measured their exhaust. This allowed the researchers to precisely calculate how many calories they were burning.

The researchers were curious if the order of activities changed how much energy participants used overall. For instance, perhaps starting with a walk would rev up calorie burning in subsequent sitting. But it turns out the order doesn’t matter. There was a tiny uptick, but nothing statistically or clinically significant, Creasy said. In the other combinations, the order didn’t matter either.

In general, 15 minutes of walking burned an average of 55.9 calories, sitting with a computer burned 19.63 calories, sitting and watching TV burned 18.66 calories, and standing burned 21.92 calories. There was no statistical significance between the sitting activities and standing, the researchers noted. And even if it does result in a few extra calories burned, it’s unclear if that could result in any measurable health benefit.

Raised questions

Like all studies, this one has some limitations. The study participants were healthy and mostly lean, unlike the general population and perhaps the people most interested in using a standing desk to help lose weight. But Creasy said he expects the general findings to hold up in people who are obese. The study also had people stand or sit as still as they could, so it might not capture any significant variations resulting from fidgeting or shifting around in either scenario.

The study also doesn’t address a fundamental question in the sit vs. stand debate: are the negative health effects linked to prolonged sitting caused by the sitting itself or a lack of activity? Like prolonged sitting, a lack of exercise is also linked to obesity, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes. And earlier research has found that those who do sit for long periods but are also activedon’t face the same health risks. But other research has suggested that sitting alone can be bad, causing discomfort and poor circulation. Still, standing for long periods of time may also cause problems such as enlarged veins.

On this bigger question, “the jury is still out,” Creasy said. Researchers are looking into whether exercise can override our sedentary lifestyles, plus whether standing desks benefit productivity, comfort, and other health issues.

A few small studies have come out showing that standing desks can boost productivity, but a few others have shown that they don’t. Others are inconclusive. For instance, in a recent study on the productivity of call center workers who were assigned either standing or sitting desks, researchers found that the standers were as much as 53 percent more productive than sitters. But the study lacked baseline data of how productive each group was to start with, so the results are not conclusive. An interesting find, however, was that in surveys, the standing workers did report less back pain and discomfort than their seated counterparts.

As researchers work out which desk setup might be best, Creasy points out that moving is always a good idea. He suggests getting creative with figuring out ways to add intermittent bouts of walking into your daily routine, such as moving the printer farther down the hall or having walking meetings. He points out that benefits can be seen with just casual, slow walking. This isn’t exercise, he emphasizes.

 

Healthy Byte: Make Nice with Food

healthy foods and a tape measureTake a mindful approach to healthy eating | iStock.com

Maintaining a healthy weight can be difficult, and eating right is sometimes an uphill battle. So, it’s often tempting to take the easy way out, succumbing to microwaveable meals and fast food fare. But ending your war against food is possible, and in taking a more mindful approach what goes into your body, and how, you may discover a healthier way to shed pounds.


The Cheat Sheet: What are healthier alternatives to overeating?

Dr. Susan Albers: Mindful eating is key to ending overeating. It squashes emotional eating and helps you to eat just what you need — not more. Basically, being mindful means having more control over your actions, particularly around food.

CS: How can a person combat overeating if they’ve struggled with it their whole life?

SA: First, you have to rewire your mindset to stop dieting. This is often easier said than done because it’s so ingrained in our culture. A dieting mindset gets you into either or situations — either I’m on a diet or I’m off. Mindful eating isn’t so black and white, which helps people sidestep the sense of failure or giving up. It’s also losing the guilt and starving.

Dr. Susan Albers holding an apple

CS: If someone is a stress eater, how can they overcome the temptation to eat, and instead use other ways to deal with stress?

SA: Think about the 2 Rs — reboot and relax. Basically, when we are stressed, we are looking for a way to unwind. Studies show that food only comforts us for about three minute, and then the positive feelings fade. Relaxation techniques help you to relax and unwind. This includes things that I’ve included in my book, 50 Ways to Soothe Yourself Without Food, like self-massage, yoga techniques, aromatherapy, etc.

Rebooting your mindset can be a little more challenging. The book includes ways of turning around negative thinking, which keeps you stuck. Being able to remain positive, see the silver lining, and rebound makes food less tempting. We eat to escape feelings. Mindfulness helps you cope with them as they are until they pass — and they will pass.

CS: How can people be more mindful about the food they’re putting into their bodies?

SA: If you don’t know where to start, start with what I call the 5 Ss of Mindful Eating. Sit down, slowly chew, savor each bite, simplify your environment by putting treats out of sight, and smile between bites so you have a moment to check in to ask yourself if you are truly satisfied. These all change how vs. what you eat. So many plans focus on the what to eat. We need to learn the how.

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CS: How realistic is it to begin a healthier diet?

SA: You don’t have to change anything. Just slip more mindfulness into what you are already doing. This is often a simple mind shift that takes no more than a second. Make every choice a conscious choice instead of mindlessly eating out of habit or what I call the JBITS syndrome — just because it is there. Connect to all the actions around eating from picking up your fork to feeling your back against the chair to savoring the texture of each bite.

CS: How can a person’s daily routine be affected, positively or negatively, by their eating habits?

SA: Some habits and routines are positive. You just do it without any emotion or thought. For example, when you brush your teeth there is no emotional struggle or question. You just do it. Routine eating habits can take out some of the emotion, difficulty, and taxing nature of making a decision. In other words, you just eat the banana like you do every afternoon without any emotional struggle. Habit is negative when you do it without thought or connection to the experience. Sitting on the couch and mindlessly eating chips each night takes out the enjoyment of the experience and can get you in a deep rut.


There you go, just one more reason to drop the diet mindset and start thinking about mindful eating. So, yes, you can totally still have those potato chips. Just make sure you enjoy every bite knowing you can have them again instead of feeling like you need to plow through the entire bag. You’ll be healthier, and happier, for it.

 

Originally Posted HERE

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Healthy Byte: ‘Starvation Mode’ the Myth

close-up on a man's stomach as he rubs itCould this man be experiencing starvation mode? | iStock.com

If you eat healthy, count every calorie, keep track of your nutrients, and work out day in and day out, then you’re probably expecting your body to get lean and strong in no time. So, if you find yourself hitting a weight-loss plateau without cheating on your diet or slacking on your exercise routine, you may assume you’ve hit starvation mode. This phenomenon, according to Livestrong, affects anyone who eats below their recommended daily caloric intake and makes weight loss nearly impossible. But is there any truth to this claim? It’s time to dispel myth from reality.

This is what starvation mode in dieting is said to be — a complete halt in weight loss when you’ve gone too far with your extreme dieting. Here’s the truth: While your body will have a response to cutting calories, it won’t be strong enough to completely prevent you from losing weight.

healthy foods and a tape measure

Healthy fresh produce for weight loss | iStock.com

In truth, The Washington Post explains metabolism will slow when you’re cutting calories. This is your body’s natural response to a significant change in your diet and your routine, but this doesn’t happen overnight. In fact, this slowing of your metabolic rate doesn’t even happen within the first six to eight months of extreme dieting, which is when most people find that they hit their first plateau and look toward starvation mode as a reason. It takes years and years of severe calorie restriction for your metabolism to completely offset a reduction in calories.

The idea that you won’t lose weight when your caloric intake is too restricted is completely dispelled when looking at The Minnesota Starvation Experiment outlined by the American Psychological Association. In World War II, men were worked to physical extremes and were given less than 1,600 calories to eat a day, resulting in extreme hunger, gaunt bodies, and malnutrition. They were rehabilitated back to full health by being fed a proper number calories, but nowhere in this study did they find the men stopped losing weight because they were eating too little. In fact, all of the participants lost about 25% of their body weight.

If you’re at the point in your diet where you’re unable to lose weight further, A Workout Routine suggests this may be because your body simply isn’t burning as many calories as it did when you weighed more. When your body weight decreases, you burn fewer calories in general, meaning the diet that worked for you when you were 50 pounds heavier may not be working so well for you anymore.