Do women in midlife need to sacrifice a healthy body weight for health?
How often do you hear…”I’d rather be healthy than skinny”?
While I agree with the sentiment, I would propose that you can be healthy AND be a healthy weight.
It’s common for women in midlife to have this perception that weight loss is impossible once they start going through the ‘change’.
This is even affirmed by most GP’s which is tragic and also totally wrong.
We’re not talking about perfection or even the figure of your youth…but a realistic healthy weight that you feel comfortable and confident with.
Don’t get me wrong, midlife hormones can make it harder to lose weight…
but let me expose 3 common areas where you may be hindering weight loss by thinking you’re ‘being’ healthy.
1. Eating dairy to prevent osteoporosis
Did you know that some foods contain hormones, and by avoiding those foods you can reduce your hormonal load (and reduce your risk of female cancers)?
The biggest offender is dairy, with cheese being the worst as it’s concentrated dairy!
Dairy is a hormonal liquid and is thought to account for 60 – 80% of dietary estrogen consumed. Yes, we need estrogen but not this type.
A few months of being dairy-free can often reveal it was the hidden weight loss saboteur, plus hormonal symptoms settle down, you start having an easy, daily bowel movement, and bloating often disappears as well.
You can read more about why you might like to rethink the amount of dairy in your diet here.
The most annoying part about thinking we need dairy for calcium is that this message is promoted by Dairy Corporations.
Sadly dairy, and other acidic foods like animal protein, eggs, coffee, alcohol, etc, increase the excretion of calcium in the urine.
So where are the plant-based calcium sources?
Dark leafy greens and cruciferous vegetables are great sources of calcium. But you may have heard they contain oxalates that can bind calcium and make it unavailable to your body.
This is why low- and moderate-oxalate vegetables like turnip greens, broccoli, and kale are considered better sources than higher-oxalate vegetables, such as spinach, beet greens, and Swiss chard.
Boiling significantly reduces oxalates so throw those high oxalate leafy greens in your soups IF you are relying on them as a calcium source.
Soy is a fantastic calcium source just make sure you choose organic otherwise you’ll be eating GMO food, and choose organic soy milk made from ‘whole soy beans’ so you avoid soy protein isolates – nasty!
Bean, peas, and lentils are all chock full of calcium.
Some nuts & seeds, including almonds, sesame seeds (tahini), flaxseeds, and chia seeds are all high in calcium.
Seaweed, some fruit like figs & oranges, a few grains like teff & amaranth, and black strap molasses all count towards your calcium intake.
I know you can find me a study that says red wine is healthy, but who has funded that study?
And for every one study you can find, I have 100 that say otherwise.
2. Drinking red wine
As much as I used to enjoy a glass or two, I could no longer ignore the facts after I got breast cancer.
- Alcohol reduces the function of immune cells
- Damages the lining of gut cells and decreases the absorption of vitamins & minerals in both the stomach and small intestine.
- Disrupts the gut barrier and therefore more bacteria get into the bloodstream and increase inflammation.
- Is a diuretic and therefore increases the excretion of B vitamins.
And that is just the tip of the iceberg.
What you REALLY need to know is… as soon as you start drinking, your liver stops breaking down estrogen.
In fact, your liver shuts its door so your blood levels of estrogen immediately start to rise (this is why your hormonal symptoms get worse when you drink).
Alcohol is toxic to your body, and your body knows that if too much alcohol builds up in your body you will go into a coma and die.
PLUS your liver dumps half-processed estrogen back into the bloodstream to deal with later.
It is this half-processed estrogen that is 400x higher in women with estrogen-sensitive cancers.
Yes – the link between alcohol and breast cancer is as strong as the link between smoking and lung cancer.
AND do we want to talk about the obvious side effects of alcohol?
- Contains calories and they slide down way too easily!
- It slows down your metabolism making weight loss difficult.
- Your willpower fades and you eat food you hadn’t planned on.
- You feel like crap the next day and eat more food you hadn’t planned on!
- You fall asleep easily but then wake up about 2am and can’t go back to sleep.
As a side note – not getting enough sleep can be a key to your weight loss issues as well.
I understand this can be tough to hear and even harder in reality if you know that alcohol is an issue for you. It took me years to put my glass down for good (2015) but it’s still the best decision I ever made for my health.
If you’re not following a keto or high-fat diet you could be unknowingly eating a diet high in calories which is sabotaging your weight loss attempts.
3. Unknowingly eating a high-fat diet
As I like to say…You don’t have to count calories but you need to know where they’re coming from!
Women unknowingly eating a high-fat diet is the MOST common reason why they struggle to lose weight.
It’s NOT their hormones it’s what is going on the end of their fork.
And it’s due to all the confusing and conflicting marketing messages that make it almost impossible to know what’s healthy and what’s not!
You can read this blog I wrote about how to know if you’re eating a high-fat diet without your knowledge.
Please know that transitioning to eating more plants is the key to releasing weight, and reducing (mostly eliminating) hormonal symptoms for women over 45.
If you’re curious you might like to check out my FREE tutorial and discover what achieving and maintaining a healthy weight in mid-life looks like?
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