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4 Reasons Why You're Not Losing Weight (Especially After 50)

hormone weight loss insulin resistance lose weight after 50 sleep stress Aug 11, 2021

Note: Reshape Physical Therapy and Wellness evolved into Weight Loss for Health, and finally Zivli. How to Lose Weight After 50 was our first course that eventually grew into Zivli. Some old blog posts or resources mentioned in this episode may have been removed. 

This episode is going to share 4 reasons you're not losing weight, especially after 50. Keeping insulin and inflammation low is the best, most effective way to lose weight, keep it off, and prevent disease. Insulin is the primary hormone responsible for your body set weight. If you want to lose weight, learn how to lower insulin. 


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4 Pillars of a Low Insulin Lifestyle

Insulin resistance and inflammation is the root cause of weight gain, and the subsequent medical conditions like dementia, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. There are 4 main pillars of health that are on the foundation of mindset. 


Pillar #1: Nutrition - What You Eat

Optimizing your nutrition in a way that lowers insulin levels is the single greatest thing that you can do for your health. I want you to forget about points, calories, and fake food products. 

You need to know two simple rules. The first rule is to focus on foods that don't spike your blood sugar or insulin. These include healthy fats, protein and fibrous foods. 

It's important to truly understand the components of your food, to be sure that you're eating the right foods, that aren't going to spike your insulin. Once you use that as a litmus test, to determine the health of your food choices, picking out the right kinds of foods becomes so much simpler and you don’t rely on rules made up by weight loss programs to tell you what to eat. 

The second rule is to eat mostly whole real unprocessed foods. Processed foods are usually high in refined starch and sugar, along with other preservatives and artificial sweeteners. 

If you are relying on pre-packaged food products, even if they're deemed healthy by a big marketing company like Weight Watchers, Nutrisystem, Optavia, etcetera, you are still eating processed foods and you could be making better, more nutritious and likely more affordable food choices. 

Pillar #1: Nutrition - When You Eat

The next category of nutrition I cover is how when you eat affects your insulin. Eating five or six times a day to keep your metabolism up is a complete myth. 

When you eat, there is a small amount of energy that your body has to use to process that food, but it doesn't counter the frequent increase of insulin throughout the day. Remember that it's too much insulin for too long, that will increase your body set weight further.

When you're having several small meals throughout the day, they kind of turn into snacks. And a lot of those snack foods tend to be highly processed and refined. Every time you eat, no matter what it is, your body releases insulin. It's just a matter of how much. 

Learning how to structure your meals in a way that keeps you full, nourished, and satisfied until your next meal is one excellent step in the right direction to help reduce your urge to snack and lower your carb cravings throughout the day. 

Intermittent, fasting, or time restricted feeding is a great technique to use, not just when you're losing weight, but as a lifestyle. I recommend everyone fast for at least 12-14 hours a day, but teach my clients and course members how to increase the length of those fasts to further reduce insulin resistance and see more weight loss.


Pillar #1: Nutrition - Hydration

Lastly, I wanted to touch on hydration. Under-hydration is a huge problem in women over 50. Some common things I hear from members about being under hydrated is not wanting to go to the bathroom all the time. 

They could be on a diuretic or have a weak pelvic floor and have some incontinence issues. And maybe they just don't understand why being hydrated is so important, or they just forget to drink water. 

Eight glasses of water a day is usually not going to cut it. Drinking a bunch of artificially sweetened beverages is not desired either because many of those sweeteners will still raise your insulin levels. Try to aim for at least half of your body weight in ounces of water per day or until your urine is clear or very light yellow.

Pillar #2: Movement

The second pillar is physical activity and exercise. In other words, how you move your body, you may be wondering what's the difference between physical activity and exercise.

Think about physical activity as the big umbrella of movement you do throughout the day. Exercise is broken down into different raindrops, like strength, flexibility, and aerobic, also balanced training. 

And that falls under the big physical activity umbrella, both general physical activity, but especially specific forms of exercise like strength and flexibility are important to build healthy, strong muscles for joint health, fall prevention, and to have a higher metabolism as you age. 

If you are stuck in the mentality that weight loss is about calories out versus calories in, and you need to have a negative caloric balance for the day to lose weight, it's likely that you value and prioritize cardio training that burns a lot of calories in the moment.

Things like walking, swimming, dancing, jogging, ellipticaling, and cycling. These types of cardio exercises don't work on the two things that tend to decline most with age and that's strength and flexibility. 

If you aren't strength training, all major muscle groups, at least twice a week at a moderate to high intensity, you are missing out on huge metabolic and functional benefits. 

The more lean muscle mass you have, the higher your metabolism and the easier it is to stay slim naturally. The more fat mass you have, the slower your metabolism. Cardio doesn't build muscle. Strength training does. 

But you can't build muscle without the proper building blocks of adequate protein. That's one of the reasons food always comes first. And aside from a lack of strength training, I always see a lack of flexibility training with my members.

When we just start working together, increased joint stiffness and pain is so common with aging. Most people don't recognize the powerful effects that some gentle stretching every day can have to alleviate their symptoms and maintain their muscle flexibility. This means less joint pain, improved mobility, and a reduced risk of falling. 


Pillar #3: Stress

The next 2 pillars to lower insulin resistance are stress and sleep. Stress in any form, whether it's physical, mental, metabolic, or emotional will affect your body the same way. You've likely heard about the fight or flight response to stress. 

When we need to fight or flee a stressful situation, our bodies anticipate needing extra energy in the form of glucose for our muscles to use. 

But when our stressors are mental or emotional, your body still has that same physiological response. Remember that it can't tell the difference between a mental or physical stress. 

So your blood sugars will still rise. Even though you don't have to fight or flee because your muscles don't use that extra energy, your blood sugar and insulin levels stay elevated for longer and higher insulin levels over a longer period of time will raise your body set weight.

Often we are more focused on the wants and needs of other people to the detriment of our own health. Especially around start to have grandchildren who need you, adult kids who need you in different ways, and aging parents who need you. 

All that while still trying to run a household and maybe balance a career. It’s a lot. So you need to be proactive with creating boundaries and intentional margin to help manage the increased stress load.

Pillar #4: Sleep

Sleep deprivation is a form of stress on your body. Aside from increased cortisol levels, there are three other big hormonal changes you need to know about when you don't sleep well. Your ghrelin level goes up.

Ghrelin is your hunger hormone. So you're going to be craving more food, especially high carb foods. 

Your leptin levels are going to go down. This is the hormone that helps you sense when you're full. And when your levels go down, when you're sleep deprived, you don't feel as full and you're more likely to overeat. 

Also, very importantly, your human growth hormone goes down. This hormone helps your tissues grow to help maintain your muscle mass and your metabolism, but it also plays an important role in keeping your immune system healthy. 

Often women going through menopause may benefit from low-dose hormone replacement therapy to improve their sleep. You’ll want to assess your own risk profile with your doctor. 

I also recommend getting your thyroid levels checked if you feel like you really are dialing in your nutrition, sleep, stress, and exercise and still not seeing the results you want. 

Often a lack of results is simply due to a lack of consistency, but sometimes not. Sometimes there really is something going on and it’s good to get your hormones checked. 

If you’re going to do this, a company I recommend doing it right and go to a provider who really can help you understand the data. 

While I’ve never personally used them I’ve heard good things about the DUTCH test. Not every provider is familiar with this test, or how to help you understand the results. 


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Resources From This Episode

>> Join Zivli

 >> Freebie: Weight Loss Mindset Audio Training

>> Freebie: The Ultimate Food Guide

>> Track Your Macros Free Video Series

>> DUTCH Test