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Olwen Anderson's Blog

Why is it harder to lose weight as you get older?

Wednesday, March 11, 2009
How often do you hear the comment "I used to be able to take weight off easily when I put it on, but now it sticks." It’s a frequent complaint of people aged over 40, and its true, there are several reasons why you might be finding it harder to lose weight now than when you were 20 years younger. Several metabolism-driving aspects of your body change as you age, but you can compensate for them and still lose weight. 

In women, estrogen is a potent stimulator of metabolism; in men its testosterone. As you age, your sex hormone levels drop, which means that your metabolism will naturally run a little slower. You just need to increase your muscle tissue to compensate.

More muscle!

Muscle tissue uses up energy 24 hours a day just to stay alive; and even more energy when you move; fat tissue is pure storage, requiring next-to-no energy to maintain it. As you age your body tends to shunt extra energy to fat deposits rather than developing new muscle tissue.  By deliberately boosting your ratio of muscle to fat you can burn calories faster. Resistance exercise like weight lifting is an excellent way to stimulate new muscle growth. Combine this with fat burning exercise as well for best results. You'll start feeling and looking shapelier real quick!

Switch on your metabolism

Your thyroid gland sets your metabolic rate from one day to the next. If its underactive, or you're short on iodine (which creates thyroid hormones), your metabolism will run so slow its almost impossible to lose weight. If you're a woman over 40, and gaining weight despite no changes to your exercise or diet, arrange for your thyroid function and iodine status to be checked through your doctor or naturopath.

Moving much, really? Lets do a reality check.

Remember when you were a teenager? You had to walk everywhere, or ride your bike  to get around. Once you got behind the wheel of your first car, did you increase your exercise regime to compensate? If not, you might find that you're actually not exercising as much as you think you are.  Its time to pull out that calorie and exercise counter and do a calculation over a day.

Ask An Expert

There are many health conditions that can cause you to gain weight even though you're doing all the 'right' things. A functional pathology test to show how your body is handling energy and what's happening in your thyroid can make all the difference.
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Where To Find Out More About You

Saturday, March 07, 2009
How can you find out more about your body and why it does what it does, obtain information that's reliable? 

Many of my clients are keen to find out much more about the processes in their bodies, and how different lifestyle choices can affect them. So if you enjoy a good read, here are a couple of books worth picking up:

"Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers" by Robert Sapolsky. An expert in the field of stress biology, Professor Sapolsky posesses a witty sense of humour combined with the ability to explain complex scientific information in a way that makes it easy to understand.  This is a great book to read if you tend to get a little too stressed now and again, and your body complains as a result. Particularly good if you suffer from high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, or gut problems. Includes cartoons!

"Sex Sleep Eat Drink Dream - A Day In The Life Of Your Body" by Jennifer Ackerman. Although it doesn't include cartoons, this is a great choice if you're curious about the biochemical processes of your body, but don't want to have to complete a university degree to understand the biochemistry.

Happy reading!

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It happened in the osteopath's waiting room

Thursday, February 26, 2009
There I was yesterday, perched on one of my osteopath's waiting room chairs (yes, they made me sit up straighter) and catching up on local news with the receptionist. Fortunately Tomas was running a little late so I got to catch up with the receptionist. Soon his previous client emerged, and it turned out to be a lady I know. She looked happy, relieved, as you do after an adjustment…..and shocked to see me in the waiting room.  WHAT was I doing here?

Nutritionist-naturopaths engage in a lot of preventative health care. Today I was waiting for my regular appointment with Tomas, who would quickly realign my spine from hours of keyboarding and kilometres of running.  But my friend was surprised that a nutritionist-naturopath would 'need' to see an osteopath.  She somehow figured that I would be in perfect health, and wouldn't need to see anyone for help.

So, in case you're thinking that nutritionist-naturopaths have no health challenges, think again! Often, (and certainly in my case), it's overcoming our own health challenges that drew us into this career. Your nutritionist-naturopath faces many of the same challenges you do – eating right when you can't be bothered cooking, flicking the exercise gremlin off our shoulders to go to training anyway, facing the uncertain feeling while waiting for blood test results to come back. 

We're not perfect either! So feel comfortable when you next consult with your health professional, often they've been exactly where you are now.

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Olwen Anderson @olwenanderson


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