We recently had some questions through our social media and we thought they raised an interesting topic.
A woman, in her mid-40s, reached out to us in fear that she’d have to stick to 1000kcal a day if she wanted to lose weight.
That sounds horrible, doesn’t it?!
Luckily, we gave her some advice and reassured her she can eat more than this, but why did she think this?
Well, firstly, she is a woman. Women carry more fat and less muscle than men. Muscles take up more energy to work, hence if we compared a man and a woman who had similar characteristics (weight, height, age, activity levels) we would find the man needs more calories each day.
Secondly, she is quite petite and does not weigh very much. Both these are reasons why her body needs fewer calories to carry out all its functions.
Thirdly, she is at an age that is approaching (or is) in menopause. This can cause all sorts of hormonal imbalances that can affect our weight and metabolism.
So how can she lose weight, and what does she need to consider?
Now, protein and resistance training need a section of their own.
Remember how we said this lady was potentially near or in menopause? Well, this is a key factor to consider (weight loss or not).
As we age, we gradually lose muscle mass. This already starts from the age of 30, and it speeds up the older we get if we do not do anything to stop it. Due to lower levels of oestrogen in peri-menopause and menopausal women, it can be even worse (aren’t we just lucky?!).
Don’t be scared, as can slow down this process!
How? Well, we basically said it! Resistance training and a high-protein diet.
Without these two, we lose muscle mass and the risk of sarcopenia (a disease characterised by low muscle mass) gets high. This is generally accompanied by low bone density (osteopenia and, eventually, osteoporosis). Both these conditions are signs of frailty and can often lead to falls and fractures. You can see how your quality of life can quickly deteriorate. But it does not have to!
Include some weight training – we don’t expect you to work out like a body builder, just some simple exercises like squats, push-ups and rows that involve using some weight. This will help you build muscle and decrease the risk of age-related diseases. If your diet is healthy, balanced, nutritious and includes sufficient protein! The older you get, the more important it is to consume more and more protein. We would recommend aiming for anything between 1.8g to 2.2g of protein per kg of your body weight. So, if you weigh 60kg, you’d aim for 108-132g of protein per day. A great starting point is to make sure that each meal contains at least 30-40g of protein and it will quickly add up!