None of us is completely immune from the effects of aging on the body–for many of us, part of the aging process includes gaining weight. A large portion of this weight settles around our midsection, known as “middle-age spread” that becomes a source of frustration and self-consciousness that diminishes our quality of life. Fortunately, you can try the ketogenic diet and whip yourself back into shape.
Baby boomers, those who are considered middle-aged and moving into a more established phase of life, are a population that is affected by the onset of additional weight gain. Even if our diet and exercise habits don’t change, we still find ourselves struggling to maintain a healthy weight and stay fit and lean as we grow into our forties and beyond.
WHAT CAUSES MIDDLE- TO OLDER-AGE WEIGHT GAIN?
There are a number of factors that cause us to gain weight as we get older; knowing these tendencies will help us to slow down and possibly prevent this process from occurring altogether if we have the right tools for weight loss success. Some more common reasons for this weight gain include:
1. A SLOWER METABOLISM
Your metabolic process slows down as you age, causing you to burn fewer calories and store fat more easily. You will have to watch your diet more closely and make changes to your daily routine that include more physical activity to offset this metabolic change.
2. LOSS OF LEAN MUSCLE
As you age, you begin to lose lean muscle mass, which can contribute to a slower metabolism. Most baby boomers are older than 30, when your lean muscle mass begins to steadily reduce, making you more prone to the development of fat deposits in places that you don’t want them. Doing what you can to maintain a healthy exercise routine and incorporate weight-bearing and resistance training exercises will aid in maintaining lean muscle mass and help to build bone density that is so important in older adults.
3. MENOPAUSE HITS
Sorry, ladies, you are prone to weight gain as a result of fluctuating hormones that are no longer working to fortify your reproductive system. When estrogen levels naturally drop, the body responds by triggering chemicals to promote fat storage so that the body can draw estrogen from them. The undesirable result? Excess belly fat. Men also experience weight gain around the midsection due to declining testosterone levels. Staying active through a “mid-life crisis” will aid in helping to keep excess weight at bay.
4. YOU BECOME MORE SEDENTARY
Blame it on convenience gadgets and availability of transportation to take us from place to place, the result is that we slow down as we age, and we look for a path well worn to make our daily activities easier. As a result, our slower lifestyle results in a slower metabolism and excess weight on our frames.
5. STRESS CAUSES US TO GAIN WEIGHT
A hormone called cortisol is responsible for the bulk of our abdominal fat; it was originally intended to be a chemical released during times of extreme stress as a protective measure against starvation or attack, but now it no longer serves to do anything but trigger the storage of fat on the body. Doing what you can to lower your stress levels will help reduce the amount of fat that develops around your midsection, leading to a healthier life.
DIET AND LIFESTYLE CHANGES FOR WEIGHT LOSS
The mathematics of weight loss is relatively simple—calories in must not exceed calories expended, or it will result in weight gain. While it’s not always easy to make these changes, committing to keeping yourself healthy and trim in your later years will provide a better quality of life for you and for the family that you care for. Maintain an active lifestyle by incorporating movement and exercise into every day. Some other strategies for burning extra calories through the day include:
Using a standing or treadmill desk at work using a balance ball for sitting, cook more of your meals at home, take the stairs or park far away from your destination, stay moving and take movement breaks throughout the day, Incorporate resistance exercises in your day
WHAT THE HECK SHOULD I BE EATING?
Your regular diet, the one that you’ve grown accustomed to for years, may no longer be working for you. While it was great to enjoy that extra-large muffin and cafe latte on the way into work each morning, that may be contributing to insulin spikes, extra cravings, and hunger that drives you to snack to excess outside of mealtime. All of these activities will most certainly put an extra layer around your middle if you do not make some changes to your eating pattern. Have you ever heard of “keto”?
WHAT IS THE KETOGENIC WAY OF EATING?
The ketogenic diet is a low carb, high-fat way of eating that shares many similarities with the Atkins and other low carb plans for eating. Going keto means drastically reducing your carbohydrate intake and replacing these calories with healthy fats. The resulting carb deficit puts your body into a fat-burning mode called “ketosis”.
When you reach ketosis, your body becomes an incredibly efficient fat-burning machine. It is also able to turn fat into ketones via a metabolic process in the liver, supplying much-needed energy to the brain. Ketogenic diets help to stabilize blood glucose and insulin levels, and they have numerous other health benefits for those who follow this decadent style of eating.
WHY IS A KETOGENIC DIET PERFECT FOR BABY BOOMERS?
Those who are smack dab in the middle of life benefit from following a ketogenic diet. Losing weight does not come naturally to this crowd, and we need a little boost to get the scale headed in the right direction. Reasons that this style of eating is perfect for those who may struggle to lose weight include:
1. WEIGHT LOSS BECOMES NEARLY EFFORTLESS
It takes a lot more energy to convert fat to energy than it does to transform carbs into energy–for this reason, following a ketogenic diet can actually speed up weight loss. With the high levels of protein and satisfying fats, it doesn’t leave you wanting more after eating; you are full and satisfied until you must eat something again.
2. IT IMPROVES SKIN CONDITIONS
Conditions like rash, dryness, eczema, and even adult acne are cleared up with the adoption of a ketogenic diet. Studies have shown that many skin conditions occur because of the imbalance of blood glucose and insulin playing their roles in the body; keeping things on an even keel with respect to blood sugars helps to clear up skin and leave you looking and feeling great.
3. IT MAY REDUCE THE RISK OF CANCER
The ketogenic diet is under some investigation for its unique ability to treat and even prevent certain types of cancer. The metabolic processes that occur when a person eats keto cause oxidative stress in cancer cells, prohibiting their continued growth. Some might consider a meal of steak and creamed spinach to be miraculous when you consider its cancer-fighting properties. Bon Apetit!
4. IT IMPROVES HEART HEALTH
When the ketogenic diet is followed in a healthy manner, there is evidence to suggest that it can actually reduce cholesterol levels. HDL or good cholesterol levels were significantly improved, while LDL, or bad cholesterol levels, were reduced dramatically.
5. IT HELPS TO IMPROVE BRAIN FUNCTION
Eating keto has neuroprotective benefits. These benefits include the prevention of diseases like Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s, and some sleep disorders. Children following a ketogenic diet have been shown to have improved alertness and cognitive functioning.
6. IT HAS THE POTENTIAL TO REDUCE SEIZURE ACTIVITY
The ratio of fats/proteins/carbs pushes the body into ketosis, which alters the way ketones are used. Ketosis has had marked benefits for people with epilepsy, showing improvements and reductions in seizure activity.
7. LESSENS MENOPAUSAL SYMPTOMS IN WOMEN
Many menopausal baby boomers can testify to the same fact. Eating keto helps reduce menopausal symptoms such as irritability, bloating, disruptions in sleep, and weight gain. In addition, those women who develop POCS, or Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome found a dramatic reduction in their symptoms upon following the diet for a number of weeks. These benefits included:
1. Added weight loss
2. balanced hormone levels
3. improved fasting insulin levels
With the reduction in the discomfort of menopausal symptoms, it is no surprise that female baby boomers embrace this diet.
FINAL THOUGHTS ON KETO AND BABY BOOMER WHO WANT TO GIVE IT A GO
Of course, keto offers many benefits for health and weight loss. However, any drastic change in dietary habits should undergo the scrutiny of your medical doctor. That’s because preexisting conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and kidney disease should follow a modified version of keto called cycling. In this, you’ll periodically eat carbs into a to keep the body from going deeper into ketosis.
Following a clean keto eating plan and incorporating healthful, whole foods into your diet is always a recipe for success. You are creating golden years of health. So, have fun with this new lifestyle. And, soon you will look forward to delicious and nutritious food combinations in your daily life.