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colette_heimowitz's Blog
Weight a Minute: Your Age and the Scale

Is an expanding waistline an unavoidable part of growing older, along with those smile lines and crow’s feet? Not necessarily. Research and experts in the field concur that gaining weight need not be an inevitable side effect of aging. Here is what you need to know: Gaining weight as we age is all about muscle mass. Between our mid-20s and mid-50s, we lose an average of about one half pound of muscle and add about a pound and a half of fat each year—resulting in a net gain of about one pound. The process is much more gradual in our 20s and speeds up as we get older. The key is in the loss of muscle: Because of this gradual atrophying of muscle tissue, our resting metabolic rate decreases by about 5 percent each year. In the average sedentary American, the resting metabolic rate is responsible for burning about 75 percent of the calories we consume. The more muscle you have, the more energy your body consumes to feed, maintain and repair that tissue. The good news is that physical activity is a reliable and effective tool in staving off this virtually inevitable assault on our aging bodies. How much activity? Just 20 minutes a day of strength training plus 20 minutes of aerobic exercise should do the trick.


Insulin resistance is another factor that may lead to weight gain. The modern American diet is grossly tipped toward refined carbohydrates such as sugar and white flour, both of which rank high on the glycemic index. When you eat such junk foods, your body overreacts: So much glucose pours into your bloodstream that your pancreas goes into overdrive and pumps out excessive insulin. In your youth, your body was functioning efficiently and you may not have noticed any symptoms resulting from this flood of blood sugar and the resultant insulin overload. Later in life the symptoms pile on, often along with pounds. The vast majority of overweight people on a high-carbohydrate diet display an extensive range of symptoms, the by-products of unstable blood-sugar levels. Over the past decade, ongoing and emerging peer-reviewed and independent research have made a compelling argument for controlled-carbohydrate nutrition and its role in preventing and controlling insulin resistance and serious medical conditions like Type 2 diabetes. The studies examine the effects of the Atkins Diet show that, on average, patients following the Atkins program had improved insulin sensitivity and glycemic control and improved cholesterol profiles, including a decrease in triglyceride levels.

After insulin, Dr. Atkins believed that hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is a leading offender in terms of inhibited weight loss. Menopausal women who take estrogen or an estrogen-progesterone combo have a lot of trouble shedding pounds. In fact, weight gain, water retention and skyrocketing triglyceride levels are well-known side effects of HRT.


So there you have it. As your age increases, your weight doesn’t have to if you incorporate exercise and Atkins. And if you are on HRT, talk to your doctor about some alternatives.

Published Tuesday, September 18, 2012 11:42 AM by colette_heimowitz
Filed Under: Exercise, Plateau
Comments
lisabe said:
I have improved all of my numbers just by switching to the Atkins Lifestyle. My A1c went from 6.1 to 5.3, Total Choelsterol from 165 to 121, and my triglycerides went from 1000 to 151. All numbers will continue to go down (doctor is confident of that) as long as I continue with this Lifestyle. I am so happy that this works!
September 18, 2012 01:57 PM EST
Texas Dollie said:
You go, Lisabe! My blood pressure dropped 20 points in four weeks when I first went on Atkins, and cholesterol went from "you need to bring that down" to "Wow--what did you do?" Now...of to go work some muscles. :~)
September 18, 2012 04:18 PM EST
sheatee said:
I would recommend anyone with insulin resistance adopt the Atkins lifestyle. I am insulin resistant and the Doc was very happy with my numbers just 2 short months after recieving the diagnosis and starting Atkins. It was the best decision I have ever made!!!
September 19, 2012 09:50 AM EST
savvysarah said:
I am on a bioidentical hormone cream and my Dr today said he is upping the estrogen ratio. Is bioidentical hormone creams the same as HRT? He said I would gain weight, fat and water weight! Suggestions?
September 20, 2012 05:58 PM EST
ma ma said:
Does that include wearing a hormone patch. ???
September 21, 2012 12:29 PM EST
Redan said:
I just recently started on a homeopathic hormone tablet which seems to be working rather well. I am feeling really good. Will have to wait and see how it affects my weight. Wonder how much of my weight gain is due to menopause.
September 21, 2012 02:16 PM EST
colette_heimowitz said:
Bio Identical hormones may not have the same impact as synthetic hormones . If the patch is synthetic, it would have the same impact as the pills. If levels are checked every few months and hormones are in balance with bioidentical hormone therapy, you may be able to avoid weight gain.When estrogen becomes dominant is when weight gain occurs.
September 23, 2012 05:04 PM EST
_gym_ said:
AGREED!!!!
September 24, 2012 03:17 PM EST
tonire said:
Sorry this has nothing to do with hormones or HRT. My questions are about supplements reservatrol and green coffee bean extract, psysillum . Please help!
September 24, 2012 11:36 PM EST
Shirl49854 said:
What are your views on prescription creams for vaginal dryness? The side effects on the package say they can affect blood sugar levels. The prescription was given my first day of induction. After reading that, I was put off, but the doctor feels it won't affect the levels, and what is the trade off? Talk about a rock and a hard place!!
September 25, 2012 05:34 AM EST
colette_heimowitz said:
HI tonire...what would you like to know about reservatrol and green coffee bean extract, psysillum? Thay are all great supplements to take and OK to use while on Atkins
September 25, 2012 06:46 PM EST
colette_heimowitz said:
the best prescription cream for vaginal dryness is Estriol vaginal cream. Next best is estradiol. If you can steer clear of estogen you will be fine.
September 25, 2012 06:48 PM EST
eblro01 said:
Hi agree that putting on muscle mass raises your metabolism, but doesn't it also require more calories to support it. Don't you just end up eating more when you build muscle?
September 29, 2012 06:35 PM EST
kcowgirl said:
So basically if I am on a Low dose Estrogen patch, I have no chance of losing weight? Great for me:(
September 30, 2012 06:40 PM EST
lkramer44 said:
I am 49 yrs old and I am not sure that atkins will work for me the same as it does for others because I have limb girdle muscular dystrophy. I use a power wheelchair, have limited range of motion and have very little muscle mass left. I have lost 100lbs in the last for years just counting calories and fat but, stalled out for five months so I decided to try atkins again after losing weight some twenty five years ago. I hope this works I am jsut about 30lbs from my goal weight and my goal is to be there by my 50th birthday. Advise?
October 02, 2012 09:33 PM EST
patricianicholson said:
to Ikramer44, twelve years ago I lost 115 pounds on atkins in 10 months and was pretty much chair bound due to knee problems. Atkins does not rely on activity to lose the weight although it does facilitate it. Reaching a plateau in any weight loss program is normal and your body may not agree with your goal weight. Don't be to hard on yourself. Just look what a wonderful job you have already done. Switching to Atkins might do the trick but I reached a plateau and even though I stayed at 20 net carbs per day for over 5 years I never lost another pound. But as others have said my lab results were great which I think is ultimately more important that some magical number on the scale and I felt great which was what life is all about. Good luck, I really hope you reach your goal.
October 03, 2012 11:23 AM EST
lkramer44 said:
Thanks Patrica, congratulations on your weight loss. Thanks for reminding me that the most important thing is to be healthy and, honestly looking back at where I was four years ago I look pretty darn good now, not to mention I feel great! Thanks for your inspiration!!
October 03, 2012 08:29 PM EST
35moretogo said:
I want to know if drinking coffee with a sweetner is a problem. I drink about 6 cups a day with one packet of sweetner with aspartane. It says the sweetner has <1 carb. Please tell me how I should calulate the carb and it they are hurting my weight loss.
October 20, 2012 09:49 PM EST
kall4less said:
Dr Heimowitz, Please explain why green coffee bean extract is good during induction, thanks.
January 09, 2013 03:32 AM EST
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