On the journey from adolescence to middle age, certain life events can negatively impact our waistlines, such as the ‘Freshman 15,’ pregnancy, sluggish metabolism, and sedentary office work. Some of the pounds may be due to circumstances beyond our control, while some of the gains can be attributed to poor eating and lifestyle choices.
As pants start to feel a little more snug, a commitment to lose the weight that has been ignored for months follows, along with a new diet and exercise plan. It works—for a while, until the next life event.
This is the cycle that plays out over the course of many a woman’s life. Through every event and diet, Mother Nature takes its course and the body continues to age, which makes managing weight an even greater challenge.
As 50 lies ahead or becomes an image in the rearview, the struggle to shed pounds can reach a whole new dimension. Biologically speaking, extra weight has had time to take long-term residence, just as the body starts to lose the strength of its fat-fighting allies, namely, lean muscle and metabolism. Unfairly, the amount of effort can seem disproportionate to the speed of results.
Though goals of fitting into skinny jeans or returning to pre-pregnancy weight are now in our rearview, the desire to be healthy, active and fit in this next phase of life is not dampened.
While keto has been shown to help the body overcome many health challenges—from obesity to leading conditions associated with them, such as heart disease, diabetes, and inflammation—a keto lifestyle can be especially helpful to individuals of a certain age.
A bounty of scientific evidence supports how a keto diet assists the body in using dietary fat to burn stored body fat through ketosis, a process where the liver creates its own source of fuel, ketones, for energy.
Low-carb isn’t enough—it’s the powerful combination of high-fat, moderate-protein and low-carb that can help overcome the weight-loss challenges that people over 50 face. Here’s a look at a few of the most common concerns and how keto can help.
Harvard Medical School reports that we lose 3-5% of muscle mass every decade after the age of 30. Sedentary adults are hit even harder due to the body’s “use it or lose it” reaction to inactive muscle. Maximizing lean muscle is vital to weight loss at any age because it’s more metabolically active than fat… the more muscle mass you retain, the more efficient metabolism is.
To a person over 50 who is trying to lose weight, building and retaining muscle are paramount for success. Thankfully, when it comes to promoting lean muscle mass, a keto diet is as effective a multitasker as they come—starting with prioritizing macronutrients—fat and protein—that the body uses either for energy or tissue formation, including muscle.
Favored keto foods such as grass-fed meat, chicken, bone broth, fatty fish, eggs, whole milk dairy, and nuts, are protein-rich foods that supply amino acids—the building blocks of muscle.
Plus, keto helps minimize the impact that certain hormones have on muscle mass (more on this shortly).
There’s also a genetic inclination to store more fat in those lovely curves—a gift that allows for a woman to carry, bear, and care for children. To make room for this extra fat, her blueprint includes less muscle mass by volume, which naturally impedes the rate of caloric burn. Add menopause, when estrogen decreases, increasing the propensity to store fat.
In this seemingly unfair muscle-to-fat ratio, a keto diet can be a wonderful equalizer—by turning that fat into fuel.
We are used to burning carbs for energy. By replacing carbs with ketones, we turn that fat-derived power into pure fuel. This is the coveted state of ketosis—where the body melts away stored fat faster than it could with carbs.
“I wish I’d known about this years ago!” exclaimed Lora Douglas, 60, who lost 45 pounds after watching the groundbreaking docuseries The Real Skinny on Fat which details the life-changing benefits of a keto lifestyle, and using Creamy MCT oil every day. (Ps. Read about Lora’s success story in the latest issue of Woman’s World Magazine, on newsstands now!)
It’s no secret that aging hits the brakes on your metabolism. But why?
A decrease in the production of estrogen and lean muscle mass, and an increased chance of inactivity, among other factors, contribute to a sluggish metabolism. Add decades of yo-yo dieting, and it is not hard to imagine how our metabolism can get disrupted. This directly affects the body’s ability to convert macronutrients into energy to nourish cells, support organs, and power vigorous movement.
Keto can be our metabolism’s best friend because it helps activate metabolism at any age. It works by improving metabolic flexibility—meaning you become efficient at creating energy no matter whether the source is glucose (carbohydrate), fat, or ketones. When the body is metabolically flexible, it indicates that the mitochondria—a cell’s power plant for creating energy—is healthy and functioning properly.
Fat from medium-chain triglycerides can work magic to boost metabolism… it can triple metabolism when used daily. Their short molecular composition allows for quick digestion and conversion to energy. In fact, a group of Italian scientists found that the body can burn three times more calories in six hours after consuming MCT oil.
Hormones can run amok during menopause, threatening the physical processes that depend on them. The loss of estrogen, for one, affects muscle mass and strength, because it is needed to support tissue quality. But there’s another hormone that could have a drastic—even dangerous—impact on your waistline and health.
Insulin is created in the pancreas to help cells absorb glucose to be used as energy when needed. If this function cannot be completed properly and the body becomes insulin resistant, then the hormone accumulates in the blood, increasing the risk of diabetes. Insulin resistance can also result from fat buildup around the belly—making it even harder to lose weight.
By virtue of eliminating the possibility of constant carb overload, which is a big contributor to insulin resistance—keto puts a check on sugar spikes and crashes. In ketosis, the body uses fat to create its own source of energy, ketones, instead of relying on sugar.
From being a hormone equalizer to a fat burner, keto can be a lifesaver if you’re trying to lose weight, whether you’re over 50 or just over yo-yo dieting. In fact, turning your body from a sugar burner to a fat burner can be the best thing you do for your health this year!