Exercise and Weight Loss, what should I do….

The Boston Marathon was yesterday, oh it brought back such bitter sweet memories. I never ran the Boston marathon, but I ran the NYC marathon 2 times in my mid fifties.  Wow ! can’t imagine running that fast too, congrats to all who ran the race or any race.

This has been a week of reflection for me and memories of my mom and I through the years. The Boston Marathon yesterday brought back all my memories of running the NYC marathon, and their was my mom following me around the course with hip pain, and with my husband Joe and my older son, she was very proud of me.

I had a lot of fun in my long distance running years, family celebrations were fun as well. I would not change a thing, as I truly loved running, and the sense of accomplishment it gave me to hit my goals, and all the great people I met through running and at the Maine Running Camp that I went to every year for 10 years.

It is funny at 40 I was sedentary, and 100 pounds overweight and would never have thought it possible to run any distance never mind a marathon.

But I don’t recommend running marathons for women in the menopausal years, or I should say in their mid-late fifties. I will explain why, but there could be a few that do ok, because of their genetics, body build etc… If it is your lifetime goal to accomplish running a marathon, then do it….But their might be a trade off, and only we can decide for ourselves if it is worth it.

No one was going to tell me NOT to run a marathon, I would not have listened.

In fact someone told me I should stop running long distance, I would not listen to him..Ha! It was my love, and passion.

When I was about to turn 60 and my bones became involved I knew I had to stop running long as it was not working for ME, my body.

  • Not sleeping was exhausting.
  • I could not drop weight I wanted to lose,
  • I developed auto immune thyroiditis (Hashimoto’s)
  • I lost bone density and was diagnosed with osteopenia, then for a brief time osteoporosis.

I knew it was time to stop all the long runs that I was doing, as I knew for me I needed to be able to walk the rest of my life and not have osteoporosis.

So I felt lost what should I do, it was dam hard, running was what I did it was so much a part of me, how I identified myself, I was a runner……I had to start trusting my bodies signals.

I found a way that worked  for me, and my body loved it.

  • I brought my bone density back up,
  • I started sleeping better, and stopped getting injured all the time and guess what extra weight flew off
  • I needed to listen to my body it was giving me signals….what was I thinking 🙂

I do believe and has worked for some ladies depending on your age and genetics and if sleep and stress is in a good range….

That you can incorporate 2 moderate distance runs. Make it about 20-30% of your total exercise and see how you do. I always say if something is not working change it and do the opposite. Changing up your cardio, a little moderate one long and short or intense. The short intense will make you strong and faster.

This is exactly what I did, that I started seeing a 1 pound fat loss a week, and from the lower body as well as the upper body. I took measurements every week

  • I stopped all Long distance Running and instead did, in a fasted state.
  • 3x A week short 20 minutes of flat sprints, or hill sprints outside, you can use a treadmill as well.
  • 20-35 seconds hard and walk back to the start and repeat 8 x.
  • 3 days of strength training circuits, or cardio based weight training , for 20 minutes
  • At first 1 moderate run, to ease into shorter, intense. 1-2 week.
  • Walked slowly after all workouts, 2 x a day. I had a dog too, so one walk was hers or both 🙂

Once and awhile, or in the winter, because here in Boston we get snow and ice… I would do TABATA style sprint workout

  • 15-20 minutes tops
  • 8 rounds x 20 seconds hard, followed by 10 seconds of rest, here are some  (examples) below
  • 20 seconds of jump squats, with 10 seconds rest
  • 20 seconds high knees, with 10 seconds rest
  • 20 seconds of mountain climbers, with 10 seconds rest
  • 20 seconds of switch jumps, or jumping jacks with 10 seconds rest.

Boom! You are finished….Those are tough, I would rather sprint outside.

I walk slowly for 60 minutes on all days, right after the workouts, to burn up all the fat that was released, and lower my cortisol.

I was used to walking, and so I walked 2 x a day for one hour.

As much walking as you can do I have found really works. I know its hard to believe, but during my sports nutrition course, we were taught the difference between movement, and exercise, and walking is movement our bodies were meant to move. Our ancestors moved all day and did an average of 10-12 miles of movement (walking a day)

  • Walking, gardening, dancing, playing with the grandkids, pets, yoga, massage, etc…

I walked, I think that was key, and remember, for me this was a HUGE cut back in time doing exercise, to less than half of what I was doing before, and by body perceived this as much less stress.

And just sleeping better ( is huge for Fat Loss ) and during the menopausal years, high stress equals more belly fat, stubborn weight that won’t budge.

Not sleeping causes a spiral, of also craving salty sugary foods the next day, and being cranky and tired.

I believe my thyroid started working better, with short intense exercise, and not long drawn out cardio for me, at my age, worked way better. Because the thyroid and adrenals work together and I was stressing out my adrenals to much.

I have not been injured, yah! My foot doctor was amazed.

Diet is at least 80-90% it counts more than exercise, as you can’t out exercise a poor diet, I found that out the hard way.

  • I was doing 25-50 grams of Starchy Carbs per day, I did not count my total carbs per day, I ate as much fibrous veggie carbs a day as I wanted, big mixed greens salads at lunch, or breakfast, with protein and the fibrous veggies for dinner too.
  • I did mostly my Starch post workout, and I still slept good. If sleep was an issue, or if I felt it was. Then some nights I would have a small sweet potato at dinner. I still eat as much fibrous veggies as I want to.
  • But I felt then what worked for me was having my starch post workout, but just the right amount for me to get me results, and still feel good.
  • I would do 1/2-2/3 cup of starch post workout, on the weight training days could be 1/2 cup of pumpkin, or some banana, or cherries, or just berries, or 1/2 cup serving of sweet potato.
  • On the sprint days I would have berries, 1/2-2/3 cup post workout, I would wake up feeling no bloat, and good.

Supplements I used before my Fasted workouts:

  • Coffee Black
  • 1000 mg L-Tyrosine (empty stomach only before exercise)
  • 500 mg L – Carnitine

* Supplements are just that, they only supplement an optimal diet, and may not work for everyone. I’am not a doctor check with your doctor before taking new supplements or changing exercise to make sure it’s ok for you.

  • Now I do ECGC by Now Brand ( green Tea extract) thermogenic effect
  • That worked perfectly for me when I was 60, for exercise and diet.

I have had to adjust over the years, and now only do

  • 1-2 sprint days
  • 3 weight training days
  • walk daily as much as possible.
  • My exercise changes all the time according to how I feel.

There are different ways to do sprints, some people don’t run, you can do them on a bike, or elliptical, stair climber.

I find if you are having stubborn fat loss at menopause, cutting the sugar, and finding the right amount of starch for you, and timing is key, and lowering your Stress level.

Maybe even taking a few days off, or a week off, your body may respond really well to that.

Change it around, and surprise your body, if you normally eat starch at night, experiment with having it just post workout, or in the morning, and see how you feel.

This past week with the loss of my Mom I have felt like a brick hit me, And have sat by the water a lot, did strength workouts, and walked and sat on the bench and walked some more…my body is telling me be kind to yourself rest and relax.

Sometimes if you are like me and have been doing a lot of exercise, try doing less for a week or two, eat less to. Then bring it up a notch, the next week.  Changing your diet and exercise all the time keeps the body guessing. We start to compensate usually around 4-10 days….I like to eat more starchy carbs  one day a week (one meal) to reset leptin, thyroid etc….

Note* I’m totally NOT against running, I loved it, still do I’ll always consider myself a runner.

I know some people here near me hate it but do it everyday, I ask Why run if you hate it, do something else you love….Diet is the key though.

Having more muscle helps you burn fat it optimizes your metabolism, and you burn fat after the exercise is over not just doing the exercise. Sprints do that to and high intensity, even 4-5 minutes.

I know some women who do not eat enough starchy carbs like what I used to do, or eat a tiny amount of protein, and are tired..hello maybe a few more bites of starchy carbs, and more protein will help you feel amazing.

  • Try a plan of protein at your meals
  • cupped hand of starchy carbs at meals
  • 1 thumb of Fat at your meals
  • Fibrous veggie 2 fists (me I don’t count them)

That can give you a good starting place and write down how you feel, your hunger, your energy, cravings, SLEEP, mood, digestion…and adjust for results…are you getting closer to your goals? hunger add a few more bites and see how you feel.

I also have a Free Belly Fat Guide you can HERE

I send out a Free weekly email newsletter to my list of awesome women every week, on nutrition, exercise, and lifestyle “Add Yourself Here” if you would like more of my insights