You are positive that you're not eating more food or “junkier” food but you're still gaining weight.
Is this possible?
Yes! You are NOT crazy!
And here's why.
We all know that the whole “calories in, calories out” argument is an overly simplistic view of weight.
There's definitely more to the story than just what you're eating, right?
A lot of this comes right down to your metabolic rate which is affected by things like your activity level, history of dieting, body composition, and even what you eat.
But, let's go beyond the “eat less and exercise more” advice and dive into some of the less obvious underlying reasons why you may be gaining weight even though you're eating the same.
Funny things happen the older we get. People commonly experience lower energy levels, more digestive discomfort, weight gain, as well as aches and pains.
Aging can result in hormonal changes for both men and women. And these can contribute to loss of some lean muscle mass, as well as increases and changes in fat storage in our bodies.
The good thing, is that this is very common and not your fault one bit.
Your thyroid is the master controller of your metabolism and can be a massive contributor to your weight gain. There are several things that can affect it and throw it off course.
When your thyroid gets off course and produces fewer hormones your metabolism slows down. And when your metabolism slows down you can gain weight. Even though you're eating the same way you always have.
Pro Tip: Talk with your doctor about having your hormones tested. Oh, and try the thyroid-friendly recipe that we created for you at the end of this post.
There is plenty of research that shows the influence that sleep has on your metabolic rate.
And as we age it can become harder and harder to get a good night's sleep.
The general consensus is to get 7-9 hours of sleep every night to help avoid weight gain.
It's true! Lack of sleep is linked with weight gain.
Who ever thought you can sleep off your weight?
Pro Tip: Try to get at least 7 hours of sleep every night. The first place to start is by implementing a calming bedtime routine.
It seems to be everywhere! There are so many things that can cause stress responses in your body.
And you know that stress hormones are not going to help you sustain healthy habits or maintain a healthy weight, right?
While you can't necessarily change your stressors you can try to adjust your stress response to them.
Pro Tip: Try meditation or yoga. Or even mindful eating. What about those new adult colouring books that are all the rage now?
There are lots of factors that can affect your weight, even if you're eating the same way you always have. Aging, hormones, stress, and sleep are all interconnected to each other and can all contribute to weight gain, even if you're eating the same way you always have.
Recipe (Thyroid friendly iodine): Seaweed Sushi Bowl
1 cup cooked rice
1 avocado (thinly sliced)
½ cucumber (diced)
½ red pepper (thinly sliced)
1 green onion (chopped)
2 tablespoons dried seaweed (arame, wakame, or crumbled nori sheets)
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
3 tablespoons gluten-free tamari sauce
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon sesame oil
½ garlic clove
dash salt and pepper
Split the first seven ingredients into two bowls.
Mix the rest of the ingredients together to make the dressing.
Pour the dressing over the sushi bowls.
Serve & Enjoy!
Tip: This is a great lunch to take on the go. Keep dressing in a separate container so you can give it a shake before adding it onto the sushi bowl.
Bloating is generally the result of not being able to properly digest foods. These not-so-digested foods feel like they're just sitting around causing discomfort and a general feeling of being stuffed and “gassy”.
It can happen at any age but if it seems to be more frequent as you're getting older it can very well be because of your stomach's reduced ability to produce enough acid for proper digestion.
Normally, when we eat, cells in our stomach release more acid which is important for so many digestive processes like breaking down foods and activating enzymes. As we age this process can become less efficient and the result can feel like it's wreaking havoc on the rest of the digestive system.
Unfortunately, this can have wide-ranging effects on all of our digestion abilities “downstream” and that can result in bloating.
Bloating Reason #1:
Sometimes our bodies are (or become more as we age) sensitive to the fiber in certain fruits or veggies. This can also occur when we introduce new ones into our diet as it may take a while for our body to get used to them.
Pro Tip: Try chewing your vegetables more thoroughly, or lightly cooking or steaming raw ones. If a fruit or veggie seems to be consistently related to bloating try eliminating it for a few weeks and monitor your symptoms.
Bloating Reason #2:
Decreased stomach acid can reduce the activation of a key protein-digesting enzyme “pepsin”. This means that the proteins you eat aren't broken down as much and they can pass through your system somewhat “undigested”.
Pro Tip: You may consider reducing the amount of animal-based foods you eat and see if that helps you out.
Bloating Reason #3:
One thing that can seriously cause bloating is when your digestive system slows down. Then things seem to be a bit stagnant, just hanging around in there a bit (a lot?) longer than you'd like.
Ginger has been found to help with digestion and reduce nausea for certain people. And peppermint is thought to help your digestive muscles keep pushing food through, so it doesn't stay in one spot for too long.
Pro Tip: Consider drinking a digestive tea like peppermint or ginger. See our recipe below.
Bloating Reason #4:
All this lack of digesting in your stomach and small intestine puts extra stress on the large intestine. The large intestine is the home of all of your wonderful gut microbes that have SO many functions in the body. The problem is when undigested food enters the large intestine it can feed the not-so-great microbes. These “unfriendly” bacteria produce waste material and gas as a part of their natural metabolism. The more of these microbes you have in your system (they will multiply if they are constantly being fed by undigested food in the large intestine) the more gas that will be produced in the large intestine.
Pro Tip: Try eating more fermented foods. Fermented foods contain probiotics which will feed the good bacteria and microbes in your system to keep the bad guys at bay This includes things like yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, and kimchi (as long as these don't cause bloating for you!). Make sure they're unpasteurized and contain live cultures. If you cannot tolerate dairy based yogurt and kefir, dairy free options are available or you could make your own dairy free versions.
You can also consider taking a probiotic supplement. Just check the label first to make sure it's right for you.
Bloating Reason #5:
With reduced stomach acid you also have a reduction of the “activation” of several of your digestive enzymes (protein-digesting pepsin being one of them). In order for certain enzymes to go to work digesting your food they need to be activated. This usually happens with the assistance of stomach acid.
Pro Tip: You may consider trying an enzyme supplement to assist your body in digesting food while you work on reestablishing your own production of stomach acid (a healthy diet and lifestyle can do this!). But before you do make sure you read the labels because some of them interact with other supplements, medications, or conditions, and may not be safe for long-term use.
You can try the “pro tips” we've given you in this post. Maybe you'd prefer working with a practitioner on an elimination diet to get to the bottom of which foods you may be sensitive to? If bloating is a serious problem you should see your doctor or alternative health care practitioner.
Recipe (Tummy Soothing Tea): Ginger Tea
Fresh ginger root (about 2”)
Lemon slices (optional)
Pour the water into a saucepan and heat it on the stove.
Grate the ginger root into the saucepan. Let it come to a boil, and then simmer for 3-5 minutes.
Strain the tea into a cup with a fine mesh strainer and add lemon and/or honey as desired.
Serve & Enjoy!
Tip: If you don't want to use a grater and strainer then you can peel the ginger and thinly slice it into your cup before adding boiling water. The pieces should be big enough that they will sink to the bottom.
Of course, listen to what your doctor says.
And also listen to what your body says.
We all know that what you eat and how you move can make a HUGE improvement in some of the symptoms of menopause. Not to mention how common it is for ladies to gain weight at this time of life. (Ugh!)
And as we all know eating better and moving more can help you stave off other issues like heart disease, diabetes and osteoporosis.
What do we specifically recommend to help you “eat better and move more”?
Seven things. Here goes:
First - Hydrate:
Drink more water.
The general consensus is to drink 8-10 glasses per day. And, if you don't feel you need that much you definitely need to at least drink enough throughout the day so that you're not thirsty.
We know that's easy to say but really it's also easy to do.
Try having a full glass first thing in the morning before you eat or drink anything.
Don't like plain water? Add in some berries or chopped frozen fruit.
Prefer tea? Steep some sliced lemon and/or ginger or your favourite caffeine-free herbal teabag. This counts toward hydration as well.
You can also keep a large bottle or mug beside you all day wherever you work so it's always easy to grab and have sips throughout the day to make sure you're not getting thirsty.
Second - Bump up your intake of whole plant foods:
Things like (yes, you guessed it) vegetables, fruits, beans, nuts and seeds. We're going for quantity here. Try to include them in every meal and even most (if not all) of your snacks.
Want another reason to eat more plants?
Plant-based diets are associated with fewer hot flashes. Bonus!
Plus, our recipe below is your “no excuse” solution to getting more veggies wherever you go.
Third - Don't forget high-quality protein:
While you're chomping your plant foods don't forget to include some good quality protein (and healthy fats) from eggs, fish, meat, nuts and seeds (and their butters).
With animal foods we're aiming for quality so try to get organic, wild, and/or pasture-raised if you can.
Fourth - Some things you want to cut back on:
Reducing and/or eliminating alcohol, caffeine and processed foods can have a tremendous impact on balancing your hormones naturally without the help of pharmaceutical medications.
With those increases in hydration, whole plant foods, and quality protein, you simply won't have as much room for alcohol, caffeine, and processed foods with added salt and sugar.
You already know that's good news, right?
Fifth – Move:
If you don't do this already try to move up to 5 hours per week. You can gradually increase that over time, and believe us, you will thank yourself!
To do this, include things like walking (especially outdoors in the sun, if possible), or even some weight-training.
You've heard the saying that the best exercise is the one you'll actually do?
Well, go ahead and do it. :)
Sixth - Get enough sleep:
We're talking 7-9 hours per night. Seriously!
Sometimes menopause can bring on (or ramp up) sleep problems.
The most important thing to do is set a daily routine where you're relaxing with no screen-time (computers, tablet, phone, tv) a couple hours before your bedtime. Electronic devices emit strong blue light which can prevent the release of melatonin, your sleep hormone. Try reading a book or having a bath. It's also important to have dim lights in your surroundings to reduce your exposure to blue light before bed. Regular indoor lighting is usually blue light. Ideally you would use amber or red lights, or even be ultra-stylin' with blue-blocker sunglasses.
Seventh - Find great stress relieving activities:
Do whatever works for you. Just make sure you do it regularly as a preventative measure to avoid accumulated stress.
Have you tried meditating, deep breathing, or having a warm bath? What about the newest craze of colouring?
Bonus points for using exercise as a form of stress relief.
You now have an arsenal of great ideas to stave off those menopause symptoms naturally.
Now go ahead and make two of these mason jar salads to eliminate any excuse of not being able to get fresh veggies when you're out and about.
Recipe (Veggie): Mason Jar Salad
3 tablespoons almond butter
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar or lemon juice
1 tablespoon maple syrup
2 teaspoons sesame oil
½ granny smith apple (diced)
4 radishes (sliced)
2 celery stalks (diced)
4 tablespoons of your favourite nuts or seeds (walnuts, slivered almonds, pumpkin seeds, etc.)
4-6 cups of your favourite greens (spinach, kale, mixed greens, etc.)
Add first four ingredients to a small bowl & whisk until smooth.
Add apple to dressing (so it's covered and won't brown) and divide between two mason jars.
Layer the radishes, celery, nuts/seeds, and greens on top and seal.
When ready to eat shake up the jar, open and enjoy or pour it into a large bowl to mix more thoroughly.
Tip: Wide-mouth jars work best for this ah-mazing way to bring veggies with you wherever you go!
Yes, while we always say that it's better to get your nutrients from food first, sometimes supplements are necessary.
Unfortunately there are just some all-too-common nutrients that we simply don't get enough of. And they're absolutely critical to optimal health and wellness. Especially as we age.
Here we sifted through the supplements that are available on the market and boiled them down to three that can have the best effect for us.
Supplement #1: Vitamin D
If you live in North America chances are you are low in vitamin D. It's the “sunshine vitamin” and we just aren't able to hang out in shorts every day of the year. Even if we did we'd wisely use a bit of sun protection too.
Vitamin D is very important for everyone but especially women over 45. Want to know why?
It helps to protect our bones!
Vitamin D helps our body absorb and keep the calcium we get from our food and drinks. And we all know that calcium is one of the main things our bones are made of.
Want to know something funny about vitamin D (but it's true, we swear)?
People who get enough vitamin D tend to fall less frequently. Especially as we get older.
Vitamin D can help your bones stay strong and help you fall less. Win-win!
Supplement #2: Magnesium
Magnesium is an essential mineral needed for over 300 reactions in your body.
As with vitamin D it's very common for us to simply not get enough. Not even the 320 mg per day that's recommended.
Low levels of magnesium have been linked to high blood pressure, diabetes, low bone density, and even migraines.
Magnesium is found in so many healthy whole foods like beans, nuts, seeds and green leafy vegetables. In fact, the magnesium element is central to a plant's chlorophyll – it's actually what causes green plants to be green! And most of us just don't get enough green plants into our bodies on a regular basis. (You know we have a recipe with green leafies for you below, right?).
Magnesium is a very common supplement and is often added to multivitamins.
Supplement #3: Omega-3s
We've all heard that we need to get more omega-3 essential fatty acids, right? They're good for our hearts, brains, and help to reduce inflammation.
These are all good things when it comes to our health and wellness.
But not all of us are ready, willing, and able to eat fish three times per week.
While fish oil supplements contain the “brain healthy” fats called EPA and DHA, those two are not technically the “essential” fats. The plant omega-3 known as ALA is essential and that is because our bodies can convert ALA into EPA and DHA when necessary.
Omega-3 supplements can be found in forms of flax oil, algae oil, fish oil, or even fish liver oil.
Pro Tip: Fish liver oil (e.g. cod liver oil) also contains vitamin D so check your labels and add the amounts together to know how much vitamin D you're actually getting.
Three supplements to consider now that you're 45 are: vitamin D, magnesium, and omega-3s.
Always read the supplement labels to see if there are warnings that would make them inappropriate for you. And, of course if you have any medical conditions or take medications or other supplements it's always a good idea to speak with your doctor before starting anything new.
Recipe (Vitamin D, Magnesium & Omega-3s): Salmon Quinoa Buddha Bowl
4 cups baby spinach
1 cup quinoa (cooked)
1 can wild salmon
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
½ red onion (diced) (optional)
2 tablespoons sesame oil
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
dash salt and pepper
Split spinach, quinoa, wild salmon, sesame seeds, and onion (if using) between two bowls.
Mix sesame oil, rice vinegar, and lemon juice together and pour on top of prepared Buddha bowls.
Add salt and pepper to taste.
Serve & Enjoy!
Tip: When looking for canned salmon try to get the ones with the most vitamin D and make sure cans are BPA-free. Good quality canned fish is usually in the “natural foods” section of many large groceries.
Libido is such an interesting (and complex) experience. Because of this it can be affected by so many things. And we're not just talking about the obvious sex hormone testosterone here.
Although testosterone levels can have a big (yes BIG) effect on sex drive there are a lot of subtle things that can be going on too.
In this post we'll dive into a bunch of key diet and lifestyle factors that have been shown to increase testosterone and libido.
Did you know that low testosterone is linked with high body fat?
Particularly visceral fat which is associated with a large waist circumference. You see, with more fat there is more of an enzyme called “aromatase” that converts testosterone to estrogen. And what you want is to keep that testosterone not convert it.
Losing excessive weight and keeping it off has so many health benefits including increased libido!
Certain nutrient deficiencies can contribute to low testosterone. Not only zinc and vitamin D but if you're not eating enough protein and healthy fats that can also have a negative impact too.
Not to mention eating way too few or way too many calories. These aren't going to help you in the bedroom department either.
So make sure you're eating enough food to sustain your resting metabolic rate (RMR) and that you're getting enough protein and healthy fats; not to mention the essential vitamins and minerals too.
Did you know that men can experience increased blood levels of testosterone after a bout of intense exercise?
For some reason this doesn't seem to be the case after endurance exercise and endurance exercise may actually reduce the levels of circulating testosterone. Nor do women seem to have this increased testosterone after a workout.
For a temporary boost men can try some weight lifting or a HIIT workout.
Sleep is critical for just about everything our bodies do.
If you're not getting 7-9 hours each night you're going to want to prioritize that for your health (and sex drive). Try it. You just may thank us.
No one can deny that your moods can affect your sex drive, right?
Too much stress, sadness, and worry can take over your mind and push that drive to reproduce right to the backburner. So you want to try to minimize that stress hormone cortisol.
How about some tips? Make time to do things you love, workout, spend quality time with your family and friends, meditate, relax with a great book, or take a long bath. And don't forget to laugh.
Have you heard of the Peruvian herb called “maca” (Lepidium meyenii)?
It's a plant in the cruciferous family (think: broccoli) and its root has been traditionally used as an aphrodisiac. It's usually ground into a powder and dried.
Believe it or not there are a few studies that actually show an increased libido for those who supplement with it. Scientists don't know exactly how it works, but it seems to work for both men and women and it doesn't seem to impact your hormones (not even testosterone).
Maca is an antioxidant and seems to be protective of mens' prostate. New research suggests it may also be helpful for our brains and bones.
It has a bit of a “dirt” flavour so most recipes don't call for the same amounts as in the supplement. But trust us, you'll love the recipe below and if you're considering supplementing you should know:
Recipe (libido-enhancing): Maca Hot Chocolate
2 cups almond milk
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 tablespoon unsweetened cacao powder
1 teaspoon maca powder
½ teaspoon turmeric (optional)
1 tablespoon maple syrup
4 dashes cinnamon
1 dash sea salt
1 dash cayenne pepper (optional)
Heat almond milk and coconut oil in a saucepan.
Add all ingredients to blender and blend until frothy.
Serve and enjoy a cup with your significant other!
Tip: Adding cayenne pepper is a traditional South American way to add a bit of spice to chocolatey foods and drinks.
HYPERLINK "https://examine.com/supplements/Maca/" https://examine.com/supplements/Maca/