December is always a challenging month. Parties over parties and the holiday foods can be a challenge for many. After all, this time of year rolls around only once a year and you want to enjoy it. However, my definition of enjoyment is when you can have fun while doing it AND afterwards. So, I’ve learned over the years to have a little something of things I really want, such as a hot dog from the German Holiday booth in Columbus Circle or my mom’s x-mas cookies (a few and I’m happy), but I no longer have blow-outs that I later retreat and spend months on working off.
My December Slim & Strong participants were incredibly focused. They liked the accountability of being in the program and it made it easier for them to say no at parties. Some used the program as an excuse not to indulge when their friends asked them to join in. The results were amazing. Not only did people feel great at the end of the year, looked better in their ugly x-mas sweaters but they also felt empowered by feeling in charge of their food choices, their bodies and metabolism.
The winner of the Slim & Strong Session was Brittany. Keep in mind that she achieved these changes in only 3 weeks!
Brittany lost 6.4 lbs, 3.5% body fat and 6 inches!
You can see the great changes in her abs, shoulders and improved posture.
This article was first posted on Verywell.com by Malia Frey.
Losing weight at any age is a huge challenge. But losing weight after 30 is especially hard. Why? Because it takes a lot of time to create weight loss for women over 30. And it’s nearly impossible to find extra time during a stage of life when career and family are top priorities.
So is it impossible for a woman in her 30s to lose weight? Absolutely not! It just takes smart planning and organization.
Use these tips specifically tailored to address the unique challenges you face when you try to slim down at 30 and beyond.
To win the weight loss battle, you need to know what you’re up against. Almost any barrier - including lack of time – is manageable. But you have to know what it is before you can develop a plan of action. At the start of your weight loss process, take at least 20 minutes to identify your weight loss barriers. This simple step will save you time and energy from setbacks later.
Once you identify barriers, it becomes easier to overcome them. If lack of time is a problem, ask your spouse for help managing childcare or chores so you have time for healthy meal preparation and a regular home exercise program.
2. Understand muscle and metabolism. If you want to keep a healthy metabolism to lose weight in your 30s, you need to maintain muscle. Ariane Hundt, M.S. trains 30-something women as part of her Slim & Strong 4 Week Fat Loss Program in New York City. She says that women in their 30s need to be especially careful about building and keeping muscle mass to support a healthy metabolism. “Women start losing muscle in their 30s and unless that muscle is challenged and maintained with regular workouts, muscle loss will slow the metabolism.”
So how does a woman with a busy life work out to keep her calorie burning fires from fizzling? If you can’t get to the gym, there are simple strength workouts you can do at home. Short, intense exercise sessions will also help you burn more fat.
3. Get organized. It might seem like life will settle down when the kids are older or when you career is more established, but trust me, it won’t. Now is the time when you need to set up healthy lifestyle habits that will help you lose weight and keep it off for life.
Meal planning for weight loss is one of those routines that you need to learn when you are losing weight after 30. Set aside one day each week to shop for healthy food, prepare diet-friendly meals for the whole week and set up your refrigerator with healthy snacks. You can even schedule your workout sessions. Ask your spouse or family members to help if necessary to make this habit a priority.
4.Stop falling for fad diets. Women in their 30s are too smart and too sophisticated to fall for the popular diet trends that younger women fall for. Ariane explains why these fads can cause harm. “If you’ve dieted on and off until your 30s, chances are your metabolism is confused. With every new diet attempt, you may put your body into starvation mode and weight loss is harder and harder, ” she says.
Your first step to healthy eating is to evaluate your daily caloric intake. You should also keep a pre-diet food journal. Then make sure you eat enough protein to maintain a healthy metabolism, limit your sugar intake, and monitor your carbohydrate intake to stay energized and satiated throughout the day.
5. Learn to manage stress. Your 30s may be the most stressful time in your life. Babies, job stress, and relationship issues can keep you awake at night. Even the simple act of dieting can cause stress. But those challenges can cause problems if they are not addressed. “Life stress can challenge your metabolism by activating the stress response and in turn fat storage,” says Ariane, “so balance in lifestyle is key.” Get support from friends and family or reach out to a certified professional if you think that stress is preventing you from losing weight.
If you are a busy woman trying to lose weight after 30, you might be tempted to back burner your health and your weight. Or worse yet, you might go on the first diet you see in a fashion magazine. Don’t make those mistakes. Now is the time when your decisions have real long-term consequences. Make the best choices for lifelong health and well-being. Weight loss for women after 30 is possible with smart organization, support and a healthy dose of common sense.
As Nutrition Coach my job isn’t just about telling you what to eat to reach your goals. My goal is much bigger: to help you create the body and health that makes you absolutely psyched. The idea is that we create a lifestyle that is easy, doable, and gets you to where you are happiest. Naturally this involves more than nutrition and exercise recommendations. In fact, after the first week of figuring out food choices and workouts, we dig deep into old patterns that get in the way because, let’s be realistic: If you know all you need to know about food, exercise and a healthy lifestyle, why aren’t you already at your goal? Well, the simple answer is that we tend to repeat behaviors and patterns even though they no longer get us the desired effect.
Take for example the issue of one of my nutrition clients, who had been dealing with binge eating for years. She’s dropped an easy 7 pounds by eliminating her binge eating episodes and she won’t go back to this destructive beahvior because she a) recognizes they no longer create the same positive effect she got when she first started bingeing and b) she’s found many alternative options to create the desired effect and c) she now understand the underlying causes and knows how to tackle them effectively.
Her biggest issue were here sugar cravings. They would show up seemingly out of nowhere and she’d go for anything within sight: the ice cream in the freezer, cookies at the office vending machine, or her ‘protein bars’ that were loaded with 40g of carbs. You can imagine how just ONE sugar binge undid an entire week of clean eating. Naturally she wasn’t making any progress, struggled with guilt, was upset about her lack of willpower and felt she had to work out even harder and eat even less. That kept her in this vicious diet cycle of bingeing and dieting, which is exhausting mentally, messes with your health, slows the metabolism and is simply just a big waste of her time and energy that should go into taking good care of herself.
Obviously, unless the binge-eating stopped, she wasn’t going to see lasting changes. Sure, she could drop a few pounds in 3 weeks and then when the next binge happens, put them all back on, only to do it all over again. Not an option.
So, there were several challenges to tackle:
1) Figure out what triggers the cravings
2) Address the cravings without sugary foods so she can start making lasting progress
3) Eliminate the guilt, which leads to more obsessive dieting and insane workout schedules
4) Create progress by aligning effective workouts with proper fat loss nutrition, rest/relaxation and supplementation
5) Associate so much pain and discomfort with repeating the same pattern of bingeing that she no longer wanted to do it
6) Associate so much pleasure, progress, well-being, success and health with her new choices that she’d never want to have it any other way
1) What triggers the cravings? The reason for her sugar cravings were 3-fold: She was triggered by the availability of sugar at home and in the office. If it’s around, you’ll want it and we’re very much all easily tempted that way. She was also triggered by hormonal cravings (the week before her period when estrogen and serotonin drop, our cravings are usually worst), and she had cravings because she ate too few carbs and worked out too much.
2) Address the cravings without sugar: We addressed the cravings by removing the sugar at home and in the office. She made sure to have something sweet available when a craving strikes, so she started drinking a Branched-Chain-Amino-Acid drink when a craving strikes, which blunts her appetite, boosts her brain chemistry, and gives her a sweet sensation from the stevia (zero sugar here, but all the soothing effect on the neurotransmitters in the brain). We also rebalanced her diet by adding more fiber and protein so she’d be full and never experience the drop in blood sugar that creates sugar cravings. I taught her how to make a chocolate drink with zero sugar and other ‘treats’ that tell your brain you got what it wanted, but without any negative setbacks.
3) Eliminate the guilt and 5) Associate pain and discomfort with continuing a harmful pattern: Once she stopped the binge eating episodes because there was no more physiological need or hormonal reason, she was able to eliminate the guilt over having ‘messed up’, or ‘having been bad’, or ‘blown it.” That’s where our 6th goal comes in and I taught her how to associate joy, success, a sense of control and progress with eating these nourishing foods. The new choices in behavior and food made her feel in control, balanced, energized and allowed her to change her body without struggles. She learned that when she made good choices for herself, she felt and looked good. She also learned that when she chose sugary foods, she’d feel bad mentally, emotionally and physically. Over time this became something she no longer wanted to experience because she learned to associate a lot of pain with this pattern.
4) Aligning workouts with proper fat loss nutrition, rest/relaxation/supplementation: We created an effective workout and a schedule that allowed her 4 extra hours in her week (!!!!), and I taught her how to work in line with her menstrual cycle to make progress when fat burning is at its max and relax when fat burning is slowed down.
Yes, fat loss is not about calories entirely. It’s about creating the proper hormonal balance, so that your hunger is controlled, your cravings turned off and you have good energy. It is also about becoming aware of old subconscious patterns that drive your actions.
For this client the real change happened when she recognized that her binge eating was driven by old subconscious patterns. She learned a long time ago that when she ate sugar, she’d feel better. However, in recent years that was no longer the case and even with really terrible after effects, she was unable to stop it from happening.
When we started working with each other, she was able to create a change because she was finally ready to evaluate her patterns and change them. By identifying all that played into her binge eating episodes, she was able to gain a better understanding of her triggers, her physical and emotional effects and understand how she can control and manage them with ease.
One of my Slim & Strong ladies signed up again last month after I hadn’t seen her in over two years. She had been under a lot of stress. Work was so busy and as a result she put all her energy into getting through it. However, once all was done, she had put on more than 15 lbs and felt very unhappy in her skin. She realized she had pretty much stopped doing all the things that had made her feel great in the past. Clean eating, enough sleep, exercise, and having fun with friends. She thought that by buckling down and just getting work done – somehow – she’d make it through. What she didn’t realize is that in the process of letting stress get to her, she gave up on her health, her well-being and ended up heavier, tired, lethargic and exhausted.
We’ve all had stress in our lives. We’ve all been there, but you always have choices when stressful events happen:
“Keep in mind that this program isn’t about perfection. There is no such thing anyways – unless you want to move into a plastic bubble and live on pills… The goal of changing your diet and lifestyle is to make yourself feel good, to be in charge of your body, your choices and that you can direct how you feel and look with your choices. That means that there will be times when all you can do is your very best and other times when your choices happen more easily. Ultimately it’s about you finding a lifestyle that suits you and makes you feel good. Anything else would just be another short-term diet that doesn’t last.
Even if you’re not yet seeing the changes fast, your body IS changing on the inside. You’re getting stronger, your blood sugar is more balanced, your hormones are balanced, your thyroid function normalizes, your fat burning hormones kick up, your fat loss hormones increase, and your stress hormones reduce. As a result you will first experience the symptoms of health and then later on, see the evidence of health your body. Sometimes the results don’t happen suddenly in people who have done a lot of yo-yo dieting. Every time you start something new that feels like restriction to the body at some level, it can be that your body holds on to body fat rather than releasing it. Once the stress lifts, usually the fat just melts off. So, be patient and stay balanced because this is about the rest of your life and not just the next big deadline. This is about YOU finding what works for YOU and that is actually a life-long process. There will always be new demands, stress, happy times, new challenges that will demand that you adapt your food choices, workouts and lifestyle. Just as long as you can accept that your body will always be a work in progress, you’re not going to go into diet mode anymore, but focus on how you want to look and feel for the rest of your life. – Ariane”
Metabolism—the complex biochemical process by which your body converts everything you eat and drink into energy—is a hot topic among exercise and weight loss experts, especially after the recent viral news that contestants on The Biggest Loser almost universally gained back the weight they’d lost. The primary culprit? Their respective metabolisms, which slowed down for years—years!—after competing on the show.
That news didn’t shock Brooklyn Bridge Boot Camp founder and clinical nutritionist Ariane Hundt, though. “They took their metabolism to the absolute max, were stressed, malnourished, and completely wrecked their hormonal balance,” Hundt says. “The general approach is ‘the more we exercise and the less we eat, the better we’ll look,’ but that model is going to create serious damage.”
So what does work when it comes to revving up your metabolism? And how can you make sure your exercise regimen isn’t backfiring?
Your body gets conditioned to exercise pretty quickly. If you keep up a steady schedule of, say, 60 minutes of moderate-intensity running a few times a week, you’ll soon start to burn fewer calories within that time. “You have to challenge the body to need more from its energy pathways,” explains Jaime Schehr, RD, ND, who’s also the founder of XFitLab, a service that does metabolic and other performance testing for athletes. Schehr recommends incorporating High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) into your routine, and regularly changing up your workouts so your body doesn’t recognize and adapt to the work you’re doing.
Hundt agrees that HIIT training is awesome when it comes to boosting metabolism—but within reason. Intense exercise puts a lot of stress on the body, so she recommends restricting it to three days a week, with lower-intensity workouts like yoga and Pilates as well as plenty of recovery in between. Otherwise, you’re going to get into a Biggest Loser situation where the nonstop pressure of the program affects your hormonal balance and leads to exhaustion and cravings. Plus, chronic stress messes with your nervous system, which regulates metabolism. Hundt’s rule of thumb? “Work hard if you’re well-rested and have energy,” she advises. “If you’re stressed, go easy.” Simple, but so easy to forget.
Because your body requires a lot of energy to maintain muscle, building muscle can raise your resting metabolic rate. And that means you’ll burn more calories even when you’re not sweating. On the other hand, with intense, sustained cardio, like marathon training, “your body no longer just burns sugar or fat; it’ll burn muscle as fuel,” Hundt warns. “When you’re done with the race, you have less muscle and a slower metabolism than when you started.” That’s not to say you shouldn’t run marathons; just stay on top of your cross-training, too.
Schehr tell clients who are looking to boost their metabolism to work out in the morning on a relatively empty stomach, then eat or drink something with lots of protein right after. “What we know is that when you exercise in the morning, you speed up your metabolism throughout the day by having more of a caloric burn,” she says—and the protein will help your body repair muscle efficiently. Of course, if after trying (and trying) you’ve come to realize that early workouts just aren’t for you, or going to the gym on a relatively empty stomach makes you totally hangry, this strategy’s not going to work for you. Which brings us to…
Hundt says your body is constantly letting you know how it’s doing, via your appetite, cravings, and energy level. If any of those are out of whack, your metabolism likely isn’t performing well either. “There is something to be said about working with your body to find the tipping point where you continue to see progress and keep your metabolism in check,” she says. Ditch the “more is more” mindset and really tune into your body, then give yourself permission to adjust and meet its unique demands. Your metabolism will thank you.
Whenever I get a phone call from someone inquiring about one-on-one nutrition coaching who used to go to Weight Watchers, I have the following thoughts
I’ve come to have these expectations based on hundreds of WW people I’ve counseled and worked with in my Slim & Strong program. It’s not their fault that they think that way and have those results, but I feel bad for them for having worked so hard to still not be happy with their bodies and have to continue the search with a slowed-down metabolism. The accountability portion of the program is a smart idea, but there are so many things that are just wrong about their approach. They sell foods that are loaded with chemicals and no nutritional value to make money. They teach you restriction and dieting, which doesn’t work for someone whose hormones are out of balance from too much dieting, stress, and wrong food choices. Unfortunately 95% of Weight Watchers people gain the weight back. Bam! 95%! Doesn’t that tell you that something’s not adding up?
There are so many things I want my clients to understand so that they don’t have to rely on a diet program, a diet book or jump on the next juice cleanse or ever feel out of control in their own bodies again. When I started working with this woman whose goal was to get back into her pre-baby shape, it became clear she was following diet rules that just didn’t work for her body type, metabolic type, her lifestyle, her genetics and her hormonal issues. I taught her how to eat a clean diet to sensitize herself to the foods she used to consider ‘treats’. Once she cut out the sugar, alcohol and processed foods, she felt immediately lighter, lost several pounds of water weight and started to sleep through the night. She also noticed that she was reacting to grains with lethargy, got congested when she had dairy (out went the Greek yogurt) and realized that her sugar addiction was in large part driven by her massive stress.
After the first 2 weeks she had lost 8 lbs already and felt like a different person. Her clothes started to fit better and she had enough energy to start working out. She hadn’t lifted a weight for over 2 years. As a result of low-protein dieting and high stress she had lost a lot of muscle mass, which only slowed down her metabolism even more. Once we added a simple 20-minute strength routine 3x a week to her schedule, she started to feel more energized and saw her shape changing. Her lower body (hips, thighs, butt) was more resistant to change and so I taught her how to work with her menstrual cycle. She was surprised to hear that there are two weeks in the month when fat burning in the lower body is more active and where her butt, thighs and hips will respond better to a special type of training. And, there are two weeks where muscle building is easier, so during those weeks we upped the weights and focused on high intensity interval training. We discussed how to eat before and after her workouts and how to eat on days she didn’t work out (you wan to eat more and differently on workout days than on rest days). We also discussed supplements called adaptogens that helped her adapt to stress better so that she reduces her output of adrenaline, cortisol and insulin.
During the entire month she never even counted a single calorie, but learned to choose food based on her appetite, her energy and her activity level. She also learned how to combat sweet cravings and what they mean (high stress, lack of sleep, low estrogen, serotonin and dopamine levels). Ultimately, she learned how to trust her body’s signals again and not blindly follow the latest diet trend without any regard for how she feels.
A month later for our follow-up meeting she had lost 11 lbs, 5 inches off her waist and 3 inches around her hips – a sure sign that her hormones were well-balanced, her appetite controlled and the workouts targeting the right body parts to shed body fat. Her loss of weight and inches wasn’t the most important thing to her, however. Her great skin, improved sleep, balanced mood, improved digestion and the reduction of her sugar cravings, along with the fact that she could make decent choices anywhere and still was able to have her indulgences once in a while, were so much of a reward that she realized that no amount of candy can create the sense of joy she feels by working with her body.
Here are a few tips on how to make your diet and workout work for you:
Dear Brooklyn Bridge Boot Camp Fans! I’ve decided to let more →
I’m excited to invite you to my Mindful Reboot Retreat more →
December is always a challenging month. Parties over parties and more →