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Secrets to Shedding Excess Flab After 50+: Losing Weight as We Age

October 6, 2012 • Fenny Peiffer

Let me start by revealing that I am over 50 (going on 60 actually) and am well aware of how difficult it can be to keep the expanding waistline in check. A week of cutting out sugar, holding back on the booze and exercising a little more used to be all that was required to lose a few pounds when we were in our 20’s, 30’s and even our 40’s but it gets a whole lot harder as we age, both for men and women.

There are a whole host of reasons why this is and that’s what makes it tricky. Over the following months, I intend to address many if not all of the reasons why us over 50’s have to pay a lot more attention to our diet in an effort to feel and look great but right now I am going to share some of my secrets to shedding excess flab in record time so you ‘fall’ into September a good few pounds lighter.

First and foremost, it is important to understand that fat cells are happy cells and love nothing better than storing energy to enable them to provide the goods when times are tough and the body is short of fuel (illness, food restriction, surgery, punishing exercise, excessive stress etc). They are certainly saviours in our fuel-depleted times of need but they are a bit too obsessive about their role when we are trying to lose weight so we have to somehow trick them into releasing their stores. Women have around 34 billion fat cells and men have around 25 billion. When we gain fat after puberty we are not gaining new fat cells, we are merely expanding the ones we already have – think of a balloon gradually filling with water. They can become 5 to 6 times their size so to lose fat we have to get them to shrink and stay shrunk!

There are 3 main players that have to be carefully managed and controlled:

  1. Fatty acid synthase, the enzyme system which is programmed to store fat for survival.
  2. Grehlin, the hunger hormone is produced in the stomach and sends the ‘feed me’ message to the brain.
  3. Leptin, the appetite hormone is produced in the fat cells and sends the ‘i’m full’ message to the brain.

And here’s how to go about it:

  • Eat little and often and include protein and/or fat-rich foods in every meal and snack to allow the nutrients from food to be absorbed into the bloodstream and feed the body cells at a slow and steady pace and avoid blood sugar highs and lows.
  • Include calcium-rich foods in at least 2-3 snacks/meals to reduce the activity of the fat-storing mechanism and increase fat burning.
  • Include Omega 3 fatty acids in your daily diet to switch on key genes involved in burning fat.
  • Include fermentable carbohydrates (beans and lentils) to increase satiety (the feeling of fullness) and a phenomenon known as the second meal effect where we eat less at our next meal.
  • Add herbs and spices to your food to inhibit inflammation which interferes with the hunger and appetite hormones.
  • Include pink fish (shrimps, lobster, trout etc) which are rich in the antioxidant, astaxanthin which has been shown to increase the usage of fat as an energy source and accelerate fat burning during exercise.
  • Include foods which encourage the production of the reward chemical, dopamine – studies indicate that people who are overweight produce low levels and eat more in an endeavour to find the feel-good factor.
  • Exercise outdoors to reap the benefits of the sunshine vitamin, vitamin D; research shows that women who are D-deficient carry between 40% and 80% more abdominal fat than their D-rich counterparts.
  • Wear fewer clothes, turn the thermostat down and have cool showers to encourage the production of brown fat cells which increase basal metabolic rate and burn more calories.
  • Include foods that increase levels of the sex hormone, testosterone which not only makes for a more active and exciting sex life but also increases the production of the receptors in fat cells which accelerate the release of fat.

My 2 Weeks in the Fast Lane diet encompasses all of the above and more and not only can you expect to see fast results but because it presents a well-researched, nutritionally-balanced and health-enhancing programme, you can stick with it for as long as it takes you to reach your fat loss goal. See my website, for more nutritional nuggets or to purchase the eBook. It is also available on Kindle and iBooks.

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