How to turn back the clock on your aging metabolism

You used to be able to eat whatever you wanted but now you can’t even look at a chocolate bar right? You and everyone else! It doesn’t need to be that way.

Your metabolism doesn’t just tank because you’ve gotten a few years older. It doesn’t work that way. If it did, everyone would gain weight, but not everyone does do they? Apparently if you’re not overweight by age 40 it’s unlikely to happen because at that point you just naturally eat less food anyway. (These are averages people!) What happens is that sometime between 20 years old and 30 years old you start to lose muscle. Until that time you are technically still ‘growing’ but then you reach your peak and it all starts to slip away.

Lets not forget the other stuff too, the lifestyle differences between a 25 year old and a 35 year old. A 25 year old tends to have lots of energy and is always doing things with friends and family, forgetting to eat lunch, not bothering with dinner, grabbing a couple of crackers and a banana instead. (WTF?) A 35 year old tends to be more likely to be married with kids. This means you are on a synchronised meal plan with your family. The routine is you come home and eat a big dinner with your family. You don’t even think about whether you want it or not anymore do you? In fact you DO want it, because you expect it.  But are you hungry enough for that big dinner after that big lunch you had?

Back to the muscle loss. Muscle as you know weighs more than fat. It also burns more calories than fat. Only a few per pound but it’s still true. So basically someone who is 70 kg but 15% body fat is burning the same amount of calories a day as someone who is 70 kg and 30% body fat.

155-lbs-before-and-after

Image source

This woman weighs the same in both photos, her maintenance calories per day will be the same at both times in her life except that in the fitter photo she’s obviously working out more so her maintenance calories will be more. So she’s thinner, fitter, older and eating more calories. Granted she’s not eating chocolate bars all day, but she can have one now and then and not worry about gaining weight.

If you don’t do something about it, you will be losing muscle mass every year and replacing that body weight with fat. Then the fat burns fewer calories and you gain more fat. This is the rut we get into as we age if we aren’t careful.

So what do you do about it?

You pick up heavy things. You do squats. You do push ups. You eat chicken and eggs and other proteins. Resistance training and eating enough protein (.75 grams of protein per kg of body weight) are the answers to the aging, declining metabolism issue.

Resistance training resources:

I can recommend any of the New Rules of Lifting books for everyone.

Shape.com’s “Easiest Plan Ever”

Nerd Fitness Beginners Body weight workout

Spark People Full Body Strength Training

Now I’m not going to pretend that I always follow my own advice. I keep meaning to get back to my body weight routine. Maybe publishing this will spur me into action again!

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How to tame the sugar beast

I’m now pretty easily maintaining a weight that used to be my low in my yo-yo dieting routine, and I put that down in part to the lack of baking habit and the conscious avoidance of cakes and biscuits. I stick to the sugar in my coffee in the morning and the occasional dark hot cocoa in the evening as well as fruits during the day but other than that these days it’s rare that I eat anything with a lot of processed sugar. Sadly I can see and feel the benefit of this prohibition quite easily.

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I maintain this weight even though I eat take out once, sometimes twice in a week. I maintain this weight even though we rely on the fryer in this house far too often. I maintain this weight even though I enjoy a good fresh ciabatta from the market sometimes and a glass or two of red wine sometimes too many days in the week. On the one hand I kind of miss my chocolate brownies or at least the freedom to eat them, on the other hand because I’m not eating them I’m not craving them which is such a bonus.

When I get my coffee at the local coffee shop in the mornings I no longer salivate at the cakes and croissants on display like I used to. That pile of chocolate in my fridge doesn’t tempt me and neither do the chocolate digestives on the door. I’m no longer constantly dreaming of the treats I can bake and take to work with me. Having a tray of chocolate chip cookies at your desk while you sit at a computer all day is one of the worst things in the world when you have a hard time maintaining a reasonable weight. It is for me anyway.

Beast Within Me by Piedra

Image source

When I eat one cookie, or brownie or cupcake an evil demon arrives to convince me that there is no good reason not to have another. Its not that bad for you, it’s not that calorific, there’s no reason you can’t just have one more. Over and over again. I can remember a time, at work, when I ate 400 calorie brownies all day until they were gone. Another time at home I ate tiny slices of this delicious cinnamon swirl pumpkin cake all day until it was gone, each slice was intended to be the last. That must have been 1500 calories! The beast is addiction and if there’s one thing I’ve learned in the past six years of paying attention to diet and how my body reacts it’s that I am highly susceptible to sugar addiction.

In the past year and a half or so I’ve been stricter with myself and I hold to one in a day, occasionally I’ll have a second, but not every day. In the past two or three months, I’ve been abstaining completely except on special occasions. Last week I made cupcakes for dinner guests and I had one, was unhappy with how it made me feel and didn’t have another even though they sat in my kitchen for a week. My poor husband had to eat them all himself.

I’ve done it many times so here’s how I tame the beast and cut out sugar.

  1. Don’t worry about calories right now just cut the big culprits like cakes, chocolate bars and sweets.
  2. Eat as much fruit as you need at first to satisfy those cravings. Its doesn’t but it helps.
  3. Do eat lean protein and veg heavy meals
  4. Stay away from energy bars, cereal bars and other candy masquerading as health food.
  5. Drink lots of water.
  6. Get lots of sleep.

I find it takes me about three to five days but everyone is different. I’ve heard for some people it can take significantly longer than that, others just a day or two. And of course some people never get addicted to sugar at all. I don’t know, takes all kinds I guess.

Are you a sugar addict too? Have you been through the detox process or do you want to? Let me know about it.

 

Half way to my nutrition diploma!

I am now half way through my diploma course in Nutrition, which is awesome. I happened to see a Groupon for this course with Shaw Academy and jumped at the chance for a couple of reasons. One, I’ve been self-studying this stuff for years and I kind of want to prove that I know what I’m talking about. Two, I have for a long time wanted to help people in their weight loss efforts. I’ve had a hard time myself so I totally understand the epic struggle it can be but I see people making so many mistakes and never really feel like it’s up to me to tell them. I still won’t interject where my opinion is unwanted, but I will be able to tell people that I can help; I’m not just another girl with an opinion based on an article I read in a magazine.

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Image  credit

So far, not much has surprised me in this course, except for just how bad for you alcohol is. But that must be very large amounts right? Right. As I said I’m half way through and it’s no big deal because it’s mostly all just a memory refresh. I will revise for the exam at the end, just to make sure I pass as well as possible, but I’m not at all worried or nervous about it. I’ve definitely had a good refresh though and I thought I’d go through where I see I can make improvements in my diet. You may have similar issues.

  1. I could eat more fish. I’ve known this for years. The guidelines state that you should have fish twice a week and one of those should be oily fish for it’s heart protective effects. Ick. Trout, mackerel sardines, and salmon are all examples of shit I don’t want to eat. I’ve been taking fish oil pills for years for this reason.
  2. Eat more fibre. I used to track this but haven’t for years now. I don’t think I do too badly really but I should remember to choose my black bean stews and lentil soups more often. I love these but extra cooking is such a chore at the moment with the two little ones.
  3. Increase my iron intake. I’m pretty sure that I’m iron deficient most of the time. I should go out and grab a supplement to take daily. Maybe I’ll stop craving beef all time.
  4. Water. I’m quite good at drinking enough water when I’m at my desk at work but at home chasing kids around I just forget. This is not an excuse; it’s so so important to get enough water, for everything from feeling fuller longer to higher energy levels. Oh yeah and proper body functioning too.
  5. Fruit and veg. I’m pretty good about eating my 5 a day actually but there is always room for improvement on this one, unless you are literally a rabbit
  6. Sugar. I’ve gotten into a bad habit recently putting sugar in my coffee in the morning. It’s so hard to get away from because it’s so much tastier! Besides that I’ve been mega good about avoiding unnecessary sweet treats like brownies, cakes and sweets.

All these are in addition to the very obvious things like I eat too much processed ready meals, probably too many processed carbs, and rely on the fryer too much. This is all for convenience sake, and will change once both my kids are out of the toddler and preschool phases and everyday is less like an assault course.  The current daily priority is just getting through the day!

What kind of changes do you think you should make to your diet?

 

Oreo Caramel Cheesecake (Ice Cream!)

So, I do like to talk about working out and eating right, I think it’s very important, but it’s summer and everyone needs something to make for guests or something to bring when they are a guest. I do NOT suggest you eat this whole thing. You could always just have a fruit salad, that would be the healthy responsible thing to do, but its not nearly as good as this! Sometimes we just have to be naughty. BTW, I really wanted to make this peanut butter instead of (or in addition to!) the caramel but I don’t think that very many people where this was going would have been into that as much. I, as an American, am completely addicted to peanut butter and chocolate desserts. If you want me to, I will experiment with and report back on that idea!

Edit: This cheesecake did not set! Don’t make this as is, you’ll be as disappointed as I was.

Oreo Caramel Cheesecake

Based on the BBC no-bake cheesecake here.

400 grams of full fat Philadelphia cream cheese

300 grams of mascarpone cheese

200 grams of icing sugar

1 vanilla bean (or 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract)

1 can of Carnation caramel

For the base:

200 grams of Oreo biscuits

75 grams of butter

carameloreochzcake

Method:

Mash up the oreos really well. I put them in a bag and used a roller but that didn’t work as well as it does when it’s digestives. I had to then pour them into a bowl and just mash them up with the back of a measuring cup. It was a bit of work.

Melt the butter. Don’t let it explode all over the microwave like it always does to me!

Combine the crushed oreos and some of the melted butter, you won’t need it all. I didn’t. Dump it in your buttered and papered 9 inch springform pan (I told you that part right? Oh. Sorry! Good thing you read through the whole thing first!) and pat it all down nice and neat. Throw it carefully into the fridge for a bit.

With a mixer, combine the cheeses and the scraped out seeds of the vanilla bean, well. Add two or three Tablespoons of the caramel into the cheese mixture and mix some more.

Sift a little bit of the sugar at a time into the mixture and mix thoroughly before putting the mixer on it (just to save you from a big mess). Once it’s all mixed turn the mixer to medium high and mix for a few minutes more.

Get the base out and pour the mixure on top, even it all out and pop it back into the fridge for apparently at least 4 hours. I went to bed so it was like 8 or 10.

Put the remaining caramel into a squeeze bottle (you have one right? No? Just drizzle it on then.) and squeeze out a cool effortless drizzle design over the top. Do your best.

You can melt 100 grams of chocolate and drizzle that too like I did. Yum!

EDIT: This cheesecake did not set. I would suggest you add some gelatine leaves. Instead I blended it up into a thick shake (which tasted amazing) and then put it into an ice cream maker. Sadly I didn’t get to try any because we brought it to a family member’s barbecue and chased my kids around and then left exhausted. I’ll probably try it again though, because seriously, Caramal Oreo Cheesecake ICE CREAM!?

freebird

 

 

Window shopping

Asos is having a 50% off sale and they keep hounding me everywhere I go to tell me about it so I thought I’d share my favorite dresses from my window shopping trip. These are all £20 or under! I paired them all with accessories from Iridescence.co.uk.

leopardshiftdressvintageheartneck

Leopard print glamorous dress Of course the first thing to catch my eye is going to be leopard print. I am well and truly addicted, I don’t know why but I don’t see any reason to fight it either! I think a great addition would be this vintage heart necklace.

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Glamorous print dress I love the print on this one. Baroque and damask are some of my favorite designs to see on anything. The print on this one is a good size too; if its too small you can barely see it and then what’s the point? The vintage heart cuff is one of my absolute favorites (you may remember it) and the drop earrings too

baroquejumperdresssilver-ring

Baroque jumper dress Again, great print and it’s front and centre. I really like the simple, relaxed shape too. Its not for everyone or every day but sometimes that’s what I want. I can see this being my “I’m tired and grumpy but don’t want to look like it” outfit, mostly because it doesn’t expect anything from you. You know what I mean right? Some dresses demand you to be present and attending in a way that this one just doesn’t. It says to me “you just relax and I’ll charm everyone for you”. I didn’t want to go overboard so thought that the silver heart ring would be a lovely simple addition.

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Influence pink floral print dress This one is just so cool! Its neon pink, a simple t-shirt shape so another chilled out day dress and the print on it is so pretty! I love that the dress is pink and the flowers are black and white instead of the more traditional other way around! The silver vintage bracelet would certainly be a gorgeous addition to this dress!

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Butterfly leopard print dress Another leopard print skater dress, but this one has butterfly silhouettes overlayed which is quite unique, much like this jeweled butterfly pendant!

flowerjerseydresssilverbeadneck

Flower print jersey dress This just looks like a great everyday type dress. It’s versatile enough to wear with flats or chunky shoes in the daytime or all dressed up with heels and jewelry at night. I can see lots of mileage out of this one! I’ve paired it with this silver bead necklace for a nice, relaxed look.

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Glam skater dress Do I need to say anything? This dress has a great shape, a great design, it’s just lovely. Would go with these vintage drop earrings quite nicely too.

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Printed shift dress with zip detail This is the first of the Blue Vanilla dresses that I fell in love with during this session. Really interesting print, short sleeves, really relaxed looking to me. The simple square stone earrings won’t over power the dress which is strong enough on it’s own isn’t it?

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Blue vanilla shift dress  I just love this. I’m not usually one for collar and cuffs but the design is so intriguing! The blue ornate ring is a great match and would go with so much more than just this dress don’t you think?

bluevanillashift3angelring

Blue vanilla orange shift dress And now I’m hooked; I really like the collar and cuffs by this point. Orange is one of my favorite colors, I think it’s under rated and this dress shows why! And how about this angel wings ring to go alongside?

bluevanillashift4peacockring

Blue vanilla shift dress I just love the pattern here. I had to stop at this point because I basically just loved all the Blue Vanilla geometric print dresses. All of them! Like the other Blue Vanilla dresses, I didn’t want to add too much but this peacock ring is exquisite isn’t it?

leatherlookskaterdresspinkfloralnecklace

Leather look skater dress I do love the edginess of a leather look skater dress. I love that you can soften it with accessories, like this pink floral Iridescence necklace, or not as you please. I’m not sure I could pull it off at the moment but I love it all the same.

So what do you think, which is your favorite?