Weight loss for mature women - ABCbodybuilding

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Old 08-25-2007, 07:52 AM
gsclarke gsclarke is offline
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Default Weight loss for mature women

Hi everyone

This is a little off the subject of body building but I know most of the people here are better informed on health, fitness and nutrition than most and over the last few years I have had some very helpful advice here.

I would like to ask you ladies when you think enough is enough as regards weight loss. We hear so much of the 'size zero' stuff and although I think there are many, especially the young, that are stupid with weight loss, there is also, in my opinion, way too much tendency to lean towards saying it is OK to be 20lb overweight and to expect to be as slim as when you were younger is unrealistic.

First a little background: I'm a 55 year old post-menopausal woman who has had Chronic Fatigue Syndrome for 10 years. With not much help from the medical profession, I have managed to develop lifestyle that keeps me reasonably fit, bearing in mind that is relative to some-one that has CFS. I still have 3 or 4 relapses per year but as I get fitter instead of lasting 3 or 4 months, they now last 3 or 4 weeks, if that. I am still hopeful I can beat it eventually. At my best I can swim a mile freestyle, albeit slowly, and I finally have a gym set up at home with a new room being built as we speak. I have a multi-gym, elliptical, treadmill, rower, etc. I intend to give myself every chance with this.

Now back to the subject I need your advice on.

In my teens I was very skinny, presumably my natural build, with a waist that was NEVER going anywhere near 10 inches less than my hips and boobs, which is what we called a good figure in those days. Over the years weight went on and although most people would say it was not extreme, my view with hindsight, was that I should have stayed fitter. When the CFS kicked in when I was 45, the weight piled on faster and by the time I was past 50 I was about 165-170lb. This was the point at which I called a halt, had a complete lifestyle change and started to get the weight off.

Over the last 2 years I have hovered around 132lb, give or take a couple. I keep meaning to get a little more off but between relapses with the CFS and holidays (we have taken several a year since hubby retired) my weight goes up a few pounds then I make sure it comes off again.

5' 5", currently 132lb, size 10 (size 6 US) waist 31 inches.

From an appearance point of view I look fine, in some clothes maybe too thin. I can easily dress to suit and cosmetically I am probably at my optimum weight. However I am not interested in the cosmetics. I would like to get rid of the last of my fat. Noticeably my waist still has fat (love handles and abdomen) as does that annoying area around the arm pits that bulges over the bra. As I drop to 130lb people start telling me I look too thin and 'unhealthy', which I believe is based purely on appearance and their own weight/perception of what is normal. I have no doubt at all that I still have fat I could lose. I need to plan it carefully so that my health permits me to exercise and not lose muscle.

The question is, at my age am I expecting too much. My GP says I will NEVER lose the fat round my tummy and armpits, no matter how much I try, but then the medical profession has been wrong more than right in the last few years of my experience. And it is fat, not just loose skin or lack of muscle tone.

I am quite capable of getting off more weight without losing muscle but of course I can't make it go from where I choose.

So am I expecting too much?

I'd love to hear your thoughts.

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Old 08-31-2007, 01:46 AM
flowerkitty flowerkitty is offline
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Default Re: Weight loss for mature women

I saw you asked for my advice in another topic so I am going to reply here.

As to answer your question, yes, I do believe the last few pounds are the hardest to go. And usually no, they cannot be lost the same way. If your body is holding onto those pounds, then its gotten used to what you are doing. Doing something different is the way to shake it.

I'm afraid I cannot be of much help really, because I base a lot of my advice on my own personal experiences. I just turned 19 and I do not have CFS. I will tell you what I think.

I don't like the way your doctor says you'll never be able to lose the last bit of fat. Its such a negative way of looking at it. I see where he/she is coming from, though. After menopause hormones are all crazy. I'm not sure how, but I am sure it affects weight loss. I'm sure CFS also affects it. I'd suggest to find a CFS or post-menopause weight loss specialist. I'm scared to suggest anything that may aggravate your CFS.

I can tell you what I tell mostly everyone else. Change your training, lift heavy weights in the 6-12 rep range atleast 3x a week. Do HIIT as cardio. And probably most importantly, eat very, very clean. I'd suggest posting your training routine and diet in the forums. I can take a look at them, and so can other people. You seem to be in great shape, and even greater shape for your status. (to push through CFS!) I would just make sure to filter the advice you get very carefully. Please post your routines for further help.
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Old 08-31-2007, 07:31 AM
gsclarke gsclarke is offline
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Default Re: Weight loss for mature women

Many thanks for that and don't worry about the CFS. I have a really good handle on it now and I can recognise very quickly when I've pushed to my limits and what I need to do to stop a crash.

I have had it for 10 years and the standard advice has always been to keep activity low until I can gradually reduce the rest time. This has NEVER worked for me but what does work is to increase what I do in activity time. I have learned that the so called specialists will go against what I, and most on this forum, would believe was good nutrition, and as for exercise/weight control, they will simply tell me I'm an idiot and I am fine for my age.

Your comments have inspired me to believe I can improve from where I am now both in weight and fitness. I have been trying to get going with some weight training for the last couple of years but various health problems have stopped me in my tracks. Nowadays thing like strep throat, flu, vertigo will trigger a full relapse but rarely overdoing exercise.

Unfortunately a full relapse sets me back about 3 to 4 months then I have to start building up again. If I've done too much of something physical I have to back off a couple of weeks and get slowly back into it.

I think the fact that I'm managing to build up my stamina like this is a good thing. It is always 2 steps forward and 1 step back but Iím getting there. If I can clean up my act with food, I hope I can improve my immune system too and stop the strep throats etc.

My husband and I are what is called 'SKIing', Spending the Kids Inheritance. Every few weeks since he retired we take a 2 week vacation. It's been fantastic. Last year I got my Open Water Scuba Diver qualification. In the last 12 months I have been away 9 times and have 3 more holidays planned this year.

It's been great but it takes 2 or 3 weeks to get back in shape after each holiday. I've set myself rules this time and intend to hit the gym every day while I'm away so no weight goes on.

By the new year the building work will be done on our bungalow and my new gym room will be set up. I have a mutli-gym, elliptical, treadmill, rower, weight bench and crunch bench. Canít wait.

My aim now is a reasonable fat loss by Christmas (trying to be realistic with the hols) then decide on what my new aims are when I see how I look and feel by then. I think I will try and pluck up courage to get into a bikini and take some pics then ask the guys for estimates of body fat and what I should/could lose.

I started this week at 132lb but that's while I am low-carbing/ketogenic so in reality my weight once the glycogen stores refill is probably about 136lb. Over the next 2 weeks I am slowly switching to increasing carbs and following a carb-cycling plan with two high carb/high calorie days a week and 5 meals a day, the last one being mainly protein.

Just realised I'm writing war and peace. No matter. If I write it all down it will motivate me to keep to it.

Here's my plan to Christmas.

Sep 2 132lb (lost 2lb but part refill glycogen stores)
Sep 9 132lb (lost 2lb but part refill glycogen stores)
Sep 16 130lb (lost 2lb)
Sep 23 130lb (no loss while on holiday)
Sep 30 128lb
Oct 7 126lb
Oct 14 126lb (no loss while on holiday)
Oct 21 126lb (no loss while on holiday)
Oct 28 124lb
Nov 26 124lb (no loss this month due to operation and 4 weeks recovery)
Dec 03 122lb (get back in shape)
Dec 10 122lb (no loss while on holiday)
Dec 17 122lb (no loss while on holiday)
Dec 24 120lb
Dec 31 120lb (no loss Christmas)

OK so now it's written in stone. 12 lb (or 16 lb?) in 4 months, hopefully mostly fat, then a good hard look at my level of fitness, body shape and routines.

Thank you so much for your thoughts Flowerkitty. Motivation is a big thing when you have CFS (We call it ME in the UK).

So no excuses. [img]/forum/images/graemlins/ooo.gif[/img]
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Old 08-31-2007, 06:22 PM
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sweetpea81 sweetpea81 is offline
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Default Re: Weight loss for mature women

I personally think you should be taking body fat measurements if body fat loss is your overall goal. Losing weight according to the scale will not necessarily change the amount of fat you have on your body. I weigh 16 lbs. less than I did last year, but I still have the same BF %. Am I making sense? The key is eat clean, b/c after all that is 80% of what determines how we look.

I do not think at any age it is impossible to reduce body fat, I think it's a matter or harder work and dedication as we age. You can buy yourself a cheap set of callipers and go from there.

I know women that weigh more then I do, are shorter and are really ripped...that's made me focus less on the scale!!

Much luck to you!!

This all of course is my personal opinion on the subject. Obviously if you were obese you would also need to lose lbs. too. However, you are within a good weight range for your height.
"The thing that is really hard, and really amazing, is givnig up on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself." ~ Anna Quindlen

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Old 09-01-2007, 05:16 AM
gsclarke gsclarke is offline
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Default Re: Weight loss for mature women

Thanks Sweetpea

Yes I am aware of the need to use bodyfat as the marker. The problem is finding an ACCURATE way of doing it. I use a bodyfat scale which is excellent as far as comparison is concerned. In other words I can tell if I am dropping fat or muscle but I wouldn't like to rely on it's accuracy to state I am carrying x% body fat.

I have tried calipers but I don't find them very easy to use. One of the things I want to do is finish off a web page I have on my swimming site where I've blogged a bit about my diet, a bit cheesy really, but I thought if I could bring myself to get into my beach bikini and take a couple of photos, I could ask you guys what you thought about my body fat.

I see in some of the critques that the opinions can vary widely but it would be interesting.

I keep a spreadsheet where I record my weight, body fat, water, lean, etc. and calculate the fat lbs. It's not rocket science but it's a useful tool to make sure I am actually losing fat.

I can't trust the figures though other than to compare one week with the next. I am much the same today as I was earlier this year when my scales showed about 22% body fat.

I signed up whilst on a cruise for a 'package' to include body fat monitoring and was a bit digusted when they bought out these silly little hand held things and told me I was 22%. My first thought was to believe them as it was close to my own figures but when I got home I realised I'd had the scales on athlete setting and when I put them back to normal, my fat shows 30%.

I'm told they can be inaccurate if the fat and muscle is not evenly distributed and I would say I fit into that category, and of course, hydration levels are critical. I still have the scales on athlete setting as that's what I've recorded with for nearly 3 years. I tried calipers and they agreed with the scales in athlete mode but I think I probably didn't use them properley.

I've tried loads of gyms to try and get someone to do a proper analysis but no joy.

There - I'm writing war an peace again. [img]/forum/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img]

It's 6am and I'm on a downer. Yesterday was my calorie/carb increase day. My glycogen stores are finally now full again after being in ketosis and I hate the way my tummy looks and feels. I promised myself no more ketosis and I would go for calorie and carb cycling but it will be a while before I adjust to it.
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Old 09-01-2007, 05:19 AM
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Venom Venom is offline
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Default Re: Weight loss for mature women

Great advise in this thread!

Welcome back, sweet pea. Great to see you around here. [img]/forum/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]
Gabriel "Venom" Wilson, Ph.D. Nutritional Sciences
B.S. (Hons) & M.S. in Kinesiology, CSCS
Vice President, ABCbodybuilding
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