PJ's Fitness Blog

A blog about a fitter you. Come find out what is on the cutting edge of fitness science and be a part of the ongoing conversation.

Weightloss after Menopause (and Manopause)

old-couple

At a certain point in life, many people (even people who may have been fit all their lives) find a few extra pounds creeping on,  or find it harder and harder to lose weight, seemingly no matter what they try to keep it off or take it off.  Popular wisdom says “Well, that’s just how it is when you begin to get older.” “Things change, your body changes, better just deal with it.” But is that really the whole truth? Are we doomed to decline as we age? Or, is there a better alternative?

If you want to stay or get fit, yes, there is hope for women after menopause and for men who have gone through ‘manopause,’ –  a relatively new term used to describe the hormonal changes men experience during middle age.

You can buck the trend

Normal hormonal shifts with age don’t have to mean weight problems unless you convince yourself that’s true. This age-related shift does indeed mean that your body will change –  and new lifestyle habits will have to be adopted to counter that –  but it doesn’t mean that you are doomed to be out of shape no matter what you do, or that you will no longer have any control at all.

Many middle aged people surrender to the idea that it’s hopeless, and just give up. Some even try to fight it for a while, but then succumb to the myths and tell themselves they did their best, but “you just can’t fight mother nature.” Well, these people just fulfilled their own prophecy, that’s all. They believed, at least on some level (conscious or not), that they would fail, and with that belief, they made it happen.

I am in the best shape of my life, and each year I get fitter, faster, leaner and stronger. I even look better! I can do things now at 44 years of age that I wouldn’t have even dreamed of at 22, and I was in great shape then (or so I thought)! In fact, I would love the opportunity to go back in time and take on that whipper-snapper and show him what real conditioning looks like. I also feel better, have more energy, and an improved mood and outlook on life, and the list goes on. The main reason for this is two-fold:  (1) I never slowed down, and (2) I learned how to program my subconscious brain. If you want to make something big happen, it always important to ask…

Who’s the boss?

It’s actually your subconscious mind that is the boss of your body, and your subconscious will always make sure it is right. If your subconscious believes that you will be out of shape when you are middle aged, it will, behind the scenes, do everything possible to make that happen. If you’ve ever had that frustrating experience of thinking “Why did I do X (eat the chocolate cake), when I wanted to do Y (eat nutritious, healthy food today), you’ve experienced your subconscious mind at work.

Your conscious mind is of course powerful as well, but the subconscious always outranks it. Think of it this way: Instead of being the boss of your body, your conscious mind is the tool that “programs” your subconscious mind. It’s kind of like the executive assistant to the real boss. The right suggestions, phrased in the right way, with enough consistency, will get through to the boss and change opinions. Then the boss can make the executive decisions that change the course of the company.

Your subconscious brain is way more powerful than we realize. In addition to controlling all your conscious and unconscious actions throughout the day, it also controls your metabolism to a very large extent. I have worked with people who are eating right, exercising properly, drinking their water, and doing all the correct things “by the book,” but because they see themselves as out of shape, or expect a certain outcome, their subconscious fetches that for them and makes it happen.

What your subconscious believes, you can achieve

How does your subconscious brain do that? Besides changing your actions, it can also change the very nature of the atoms that make up your tissues. Your belief system and faith in who you are and who you will become can either slow down your molecular vibrations or speed them up. I know it sounds pretty kooky, and I thought so myself when I first started learning this stuff years ago, but there is science to back it up, and I am now convinced this really is the case.

You can actually make things happen just by believing they will happen. It’s about faith, and it’s not all metaphysical either. Jesus, my Savior and hero, taught the importance of faith many times. In Mark 11:24 for instance, He says, “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” This is where I got the idea for visualizing your “after picture” to get results faster and train your brain for permanent fitness. I don’t believe He gives us things that aren’t right for us, but if it is good for us and we are within His will, He will give it freely to us, just like you would for your own child.

Have you ever talked to the skinny person that says without doubt, “I can eat anything I want and never gain weight?” I think we all have, and most of us feel jealous. Well, the fact is, those people don’t really eat that bad, but when they do, they don’t gain weight – just like they said. This is partly because when they eat a whole bunch of garbage, their particular body type and metabolism compensates for it later by causing them to eat less, or better food for a while, but the other part is that their FAITH in their statement keeps their metabolism elevated so they burn the junk food off. Their subconscious brain believes it and it makes sure it happens by talking to the parts of the body responsible for metabolism adjustment, resulting in secretion of the right chemicals and hormones, along with the atomic vibrations necessary to stay thin.

The reality of age and fitness

Now for the physiology side of things. As far as the research shows, your muscle mass should decline no more than 2% per decade after the age of 40. Some studies show even less of a decline! This means that when you are 80 years old, you should still have at least 92% of the muscle you had at age 40. If your strength and muscle declines more than that, it’s because you are slowing down and you have chosen to get old, not because of anything “mother nature” decided for you. Since muscle and metabolism are closely linked, keeping muscle is the best way to maintain your metabolism. The best way to keep it of course is to keep moving.

Learn to be a fit, older you

Below, I have listed only a few of studies that confirm the science behind preventing metabolism declines with lifestyle choices, but there are many more. I would encourage you to do your own research on PubMed or through Google. Educating yourself is the best way to drive this fact home in your own brain and to convince your subconscious that you can actually take control by programming it in the right way.

The bottom line is that whatever you believe will happen, will happen. Your brain is more powerful than exercise, proper nutrition, supplements, or anything else. All that stuff is important – don’t get me wrong. I’m just saying that while it does serve it’s purpose physically, it also helps the program the brain mentally, because while you are following through with the right habits, you are also changing your beliefs and programming your subconscious in a very effective way.

Proper brain training is the most important component to aging well and staying fit. There are sadly too few people (and almost no trainers) besides me talking about this, but I encourage you to check out a couple of my favorite authors on the subject, Dr Amen and John Medina. If you want training that incorporates these ideas, the X Gym is your place.  For more info on this subject and specific brain training techniques, check out my book at www.crackingyourcode.com.

Resources:

American Journal of Physiology, E281, 633-639

Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, 82, 3208-3212

Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab, 264: E450-E455

J Nutr Health Aging. 9(6):408-19.



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