Nutrition & Dieting/advice
Hello! I'm a 41 yr old female, 5'9", 154 lbs 20% body fat. I workout pretty consistently: Body Pump 3X/week, Body Combat 3X/week, Zumba 2X/week, with jogging, Animal Flow and yoga thrown in here and there to mix it up. I'll be starting TaeKwondo this week, too. I eat pretty clean. I wear a Body Media Fit so I can give you the breakdown: For the past 28 days I burned an avg of 2768 cal, consumed an avg of 1522 cal, Had 2 hr 50 min per day of physical activity (moderate and vigorous combined). My avg macro breakdown was 20% protein, 37% carbs, 38% fat, and 5% alcohol. I slept an avg of 7 hrs 37 min each night.
So why the heck won't my weight (or body fat) budge? I'd like to lose 5 or 10 lbs and ideally get my bf down to 15-17%. What am I doing wrong here? I enjoy working out and eating healthy so I'd be doing it anyway, but I'd like to reach my goals, too! Any ideas?
First of all, you are my hero!
You are in a position that a lot of women find themselves in with one exception. You are starting from a great vantage point and already have terrific lifestyle habits in place. As we age, things change in our body both through the aging process and the hormonal change process. I am going to briefly go over the changes, then put them all together so that you can make sense of this.
1. As time goes on, our ability to create progesterone decreases. This causes, among other things, water retention and bloating right along with estrogen dominance.
2. Our ability to make estrogen decreases, but fat produces estrogen. So even if a woman has had a hysterectomy, she can produce estrogen. This means that the body is now competing with your effort to reduce fat in order to store it for estrogen production.
3. Our ability to make the little bit of testosterone that we make diminishes reducing our ability to gain lean muscle.
4. Our ability to produce androgens increases, which means more fat storage on the belly.
5. The amount of adinopectin is decreased. Low levels of adinopectin equal increased fat storage. Increased fat storage decreases our ability to produce adinopectin.
6. With little sleep or high stress, Grehlin production can increase causing an appetite for highly addictive and sweet foods. Reduced progesterone helps with increasing a lack of sleep.
7. With all of this, insulin imbalance begins. I am not talking about an imbalance that leads to diabetes or that is diabetes. This imbalance helps the body’s effort to retain fat storage for estrogen because it keeps the sugar in the blood and causes a breakdown of muscle for energy rather than fat.
8. To make matters worse, if we have had a stress habit, we might have cortisol increases without even realizing it.
So here you are, right along with me, doing everything right and saying what the heck is going on. I am running in circles. You can see above how all of these factors work for each other and with each other. The only thing that I see in your plan that I would consider changing is the 38% fat down to 20% and increase complex carbohydrates to that proportion of change. Below, I am listing some things that individuals in the past have found to be helpful. However, you would benefit from finding a holistic gynecologist that specifically deals with and understands hormonal changes.
1. Some women have had success with natural progesterone cream from the 14th day of their cycle to the start of the next cycle. In addition, women have long used dandelion root and uva ursa for water retention.
2. Losing fat is difficult when the body is fighting for it. Some things that some have found to help are increased moderate activity aerobic exercises to exceed 60 minutes per day, magnesium supplements, additional green leafy vegetables, and intermittent fasting. Intermittent fasting is described typically as one day per week under a doctor’s supervision.
3. 6-8 hours of sleep
4. 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to balance insulin and blood sugar before high carbohydrate meals.
5. Breathing exercises to keep stress in check
6. Phosphatidyl serine to reduce cortisol increases.
7. Some other herbs that have been found to help are piper betle leaf, green coffee bean, and rhodiola. However, these should not be used without the assistance of an herbalist that can help you develop a plan of action and proper dosage.
I have given you a great amount of information. I do not know the answer that will make this work out for you. If I did, I would be so incredibly wealthy! However, I do hope that I have helped you to gain perspective into what typically happens in a woman’s body so that you can go forward armed and knowing what direction to begin looking in. I am with you in spirit on the same journey. Even though this all seems like some crazy conspiracy, we are wonderfully blessed to be women. It is all part of our amazing way of being.