Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Women Over 50 - Break Your Diet Plateau and Get Your Hormones Working For You

A diet plateau is never a place you want to find yourself. For women over 50 it can seem particularly difficult to get over the hump and break through the weight loss plateau. When it comes to losing weight your ability or inability is determined by your hormones. In this article you will learn how to get your fat-burning hormones working for you to get the scale dropping again.

Women over 50 are in the menopausal stage of life and two hormones gain a lot of attention during this stage. They are estrogen and progesterone. While it is true that these hormones play a role in fat storage and fat metabolism, the hormone that is more likely to be causing your diet to plateau is leptin.

Leptin is the key fat burning hormone and its main job is to protect you from starvation. When you reduce your calories on any diet plan your body reads this as a threat to your survival. This is true regardless of whether you are following the South Beach Diet, a low-carb diet, Weight Watchers, or any of the popular diet plans on the market.

When this threat is detected your body shuts down production of leptin, which slows down your body's ability to burn fat. And your body does this abruptly. In fact, after just 7 days of strict dieting your leptin levels can reduce by as much as 50%, which means your fat burning potential is also reduced by half.

So if you are a woman over the age of 50 and you want to break through a diet plateau, then you want to take these actions to get your fat-burning hormones working for you.

1. Have a Booster Meal. I call this meal a Booster Meal because it is designed to give your metabolism a quick boost so your body can resume fat burning at an efficient level. Others refer to this method as a "Cheat Meal" because that is essentially what you are doing.

You want to take one day and have a substantial meal that consists of all of your favorite "cheat" foods. This could include pizza, ice cream, chocolate, pasta, or any personal favorite.

This sounds like you would be taking a step backward in your diet, but in reality your body looks at this as a sign that you are not heading for starvation and "resets" your leptin levels allowing your body to burn fat at near optimal levels.

2. Manipulate Carbohydrate Intake Throughout the Week. After your Booster Meal you will be at a high fat burning potential and you want to follow this day with one or two lower carb day. You may want to aim for keeping carbs under 50 grams.

As the week progresses you want to add about 10-20 additional grams of carbs per day until your next weekly Booster Meal. This gives your body the balance it needs to keep leptin levels high enough to burn fat, without countering the positive impact of your diet.

Follow this simple strategy each week and you will get your hormones working for you, instead of against you, which means you can avoid any future diet plateaus. You may even find losing weight is easier after the age of 50 than when you were younger!