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Author Topic: A thought about nutrition for ACTIVE mature women  (Read 1564 times)

cara4art

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A thought about nutrition for ACTIVE mature women
« on: May 14, 2013, 02:18:39 PM »
It seems that when I look around almost all the advice for mature women including those post-menopause don't really address nutritional needs of us active ones, who do do something significant on most days of the week. It seems that most of the advice assumes that we're all inactive, etc. since it seems that the majority of mature women are often inactive. I can't imagine an active older woman having the same nutritional needs as one who isn't, because of the demands placed on our bodies by a solid fitness program. For instance, even with all the low-carb, low-calorie admonitions around menopause and after - just try getting through a good workout or long dance session without some healthy carbs. Sure, if one is small AND sedentary all the time, one doesn't need as much food and one's metabolism has had a double-whammy applied to it with both age, and muscle loss if one is not doing something about that. But for someone who IS working out in different ways, surely we can eat more quality food in general(in a style that agrees with our bodies)including good carbs. Just some thoughts here - maybe someone else who is active might have their own.

sashamy

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Re: A thought about nutrition for ACTIVE mature women
« Reply #1 on: May 14, 2013, 03:54:20 PM »
Cara, i have not changed my diet too much since menopause at age 47 ( now 56) and am somwehat of an exercise nut. The only changes I made was to eat more fiber and  low glycemic foods throughout the day. These seem to sustain me better during and after some hard workouts. Once i began eating foods with a lower glycemic index, I shed over 10 pounds without dieting ( i have never been on a diet in my life).

cara4art

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Re: A thought about nutrition for ACTIVE mature women
« Reply #2 on: May 14, 2013, 05:33:32 PM »
@Lara:  It sounds like you're doing just fine, finding what works for you. I tend to follow my own drummer pretty much, as I got into exercise and healthy eating EARLY(in mid-20s after I had mono), and the habits stuck with me. Not only did they stick with me, they got more refined over time. I agree with you about the high-glycemic carbs if one is highly-sensitive to them. I will also say that staying away from processed foods in general is good practice. Basically, unless an item is very simple(with no sugar, refined flours, other sweeteners, too much salt or HFCS), like, say, tuna or beans, nothing in a can, bottle or box is really food. But many women at menopause and after, if they have NOT eaten well during their life or exercised, do find that the chickens come home to roost as it were. I consider the insight gained that came to me back in my mid-20s illness a real gift, as a lot of people don't get that until much later. I don't believe in "diets" either. I tried it at first when in mid-20s to lose some weight and all, and a bit would get lost, and then come right back. "Low-calorie" and I also tried "low-carb" Atkins-style back then. It wasn't until I got into fitness that the weight took care of itself plus the quality of what I was eating improved a whole lot anyway. The weight stayed off too. To this day I don't find "calorie-counting" that useful as I tend to eat smallish portions of certain stuff anyway, and I lack the patience for keeping track of just how many grams of this or that too. Yet I'm disciplined in what I eat and quality thereof, and of course about my workouts. I don't know anyone around me in real life who is really, of my age. Menopause for me was around 50 - I'm now 65(66 next month).

makinalist

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Re: A thought about nutrition for ACTIVE mature women
« Reply #3 on: May 15, 2013, 12:00:49 AM »
As long as that active mature woman realizes that things change after menopause even if she remains active and eats the same diet.  Middle-aged women get thickening through their middles unless they work harder than before to prevent.  New study by the Mayo Clinic just released about this:

http://www.startribune.com/lifestyle/health/205701571.html?refer=y
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sashamy

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Re: A thought about nutrition for ACTIVE mature women
« Reply #4 on: May 15, 2013, 07:31:50 AM »
I don' t think I am working out harder, but I had to rethink my exercise routine. When I was younger I concentrated mostly on aerobics and also played tennis and racquetball several times a week. Also hiked and swam,etc. i continued my aerobic routine even in my 40s, but noticed it was not working for me as it once did. So I incorporated weights and did lunges and other weight bearing exercises. Wound up with overuse injuries and it took a physical therapist to enlighten me about exercising.

I have not really changed my eating habits except for giving up soda a number of years ago. I never really liked sweets so passing up desserts has never been a problem for me. I started first doing Pilates in addition to walking and running and I saw remarkable results because it targeted those muscle groups I had been neglecting. Then I discovered yoga and the results are even more remarkable bcause it has greatly toned me, increased my flexibility, and helps reduce stress (in other words I sleep much better) and even though my blood pressure has always been good my doctors noted that my numbers have declined a few more points - now 110/60 without any medication.

Stress effects on the body may be the one thing that study did not address.

cara4art

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Re: A thought about nutrition for ACTIVE mature women
« Reply #5 on: May 15, 2013, 04:26:39 PM »
I was never into sports that much(in fact I really didn't like them), but got into weight-training way before it was known just how much good it could do for women. This was back in '79-80 when most people thought it was downright weird for a woman to want to strengthen herself. All I can say is when I saw a gym was that my immediate thought was that this looks like a great way to get in shape, etc. Along the way, I had to endure the taunts of people making fun of me for doing this. Mind you, it isn't like I looked like a full-on competitive body builder(although in late '81 and early '82 my trainer did have me compete in a couple of very local contests). My so-called well-meaning girlfriends who weren't doing a THING themselves for exercise kept telling me how damaging this was to a woman's body - utter nonsense! In fact, the exact opposite when properly done and nutrition excellent! Even with all the solid info out there about the benefits for mature women in particular about weight/resistance training, many are not getting the message. I see very few women anywhere near my age at my gym, and in my other classes(Pilates and hoop dance), I'm consistently the oldest person by far there.
There are many women who did only aerobic-type of exercise, and still found themselves putting on fat, because they were losing muscle mass and replacing it with fat, which happens with age if one is not doing anything to counteract that very real phenomenon(that affects women worse than men it seems). Resistance-training of one sort or another is the antidote to that. That's what I meant by workouts(but I also do other stuff like Pilates and dance and some cardio as well). One absolutely doesn't have to become weak, stiff and lethargic as one ages. Yes, the carb connection is real, if one is not eating the right kind of carbs and in amounts that actually work with one's physiology. Some women are more carb-sensitive in general even when they are young(I see this all the time over on MUA) - what are they going to do at menopause? They'll have no room to restrict further LOL! Yes, protein is very important, but in this country, people are hardly deficient in protein if they are eating a healthy unrefined diet that does include some direct lean protein sources. But far more people are loading up on junk carbs, sugar, too much salt, unhealthy fat and alcohol(aka the typical American diet). It is these items in that last sentence that are causing the problem in addition to very little, if any exercise, let alone any weight training.
About the widening of the waist, this happens to one degree or another to just about every woman at menopause and as we get older. Aside from the hormonal shifts accounting for part of this, digestion changes and carbs(especially refined starchy ones)do tend to get stored as fat instead of being used for energy. Another overlooked aspect of the waist issue is that the hipbones do widen by a full inch with age, accounting in many cases for nearly a 3-inch gain in the waist from a younger state. This is why even healthy, relatively lean women can find themselves with a somewhat larger waist than before. That one poor lady in the article at the link above found herself with a FIVE-INCH gain in her waist - yikes! For me, it was an inch and a half, but I'm on the small side to begin with, and was actually slightly underweight going into menopause.
Often, women who don't lose the weight they need to lose prior to menopause have a really hard time losing it afterward. In another article I read somewhere, a woman's doctor had warned her about this. She didn't follow through, and she was more overweight than ever before.
About that link, it makes good points, but the fact of the matter is that mainstream medicine often doesn't quite know what to do with women, as our physiology is more complex than men's. For instance, most of the drug tests are run on men, because it's simpler for the researchers etc. But women do react very differently to drugs, foods, etc. It's up to us to find our own ways with sympathetic practitioners' aid.

sashamy

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Re: A thought about nutrition for ACTIVE mature women
« Reply #6 on: May 15, 2013, 06:41:46 PM »
Cara, I love what you write about fitness and wish you and I could be workout buddies.

cara4art

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Re: A thought about nutrition for ACTIVE mature women
« Reply #7 on: May 15, 2013, 10:56:52 PM »
For the record, about carbs, most of my carbs come from entirely whole grains, fruits and vegetables and of course the combo starch+protein of beans and legumes. I'm for the most part vegetarian with supplemental eggs, a little dairy and seafood. But much more of my food IS vegetarian really These days they call this way of eating "flexitarian" which means that most of the time one eats vegetarian, but includes what I mentioned.. Quinoa, steel-cut oats and sprouted grain products are favorites for grain-based carbs, I love potatoes from time to time, and only rarely indulge in sandwich type of stuff. I will have tortillas(whole-grain)on hand, but even more, the produce is where it's at for non-starchy carbs. I would just DIE if someone told me I couldn't eat fruit LOL, or various beans and legumes(combo starch and protein).
And about carbs storing as fat after menopause, that applies mostly to refined starchy ones, although some people are so sensitive that they even have to give up ALL starchy carbs whatsoever. I would hate to have to do that myself LOL!
One thing I found out when on a pre-contest diet(twice, for those little local contests), is that although the strict extremely low-fat and low-carb combo does work to get rid of fat, and in its final stages subcutaneous water(so muscle definition is much sharper), it is certainly not sustainable and I found the lack of carbs in particular really hard. It was also a recipe for overeating on stuff afterward that I don't even necessarily eat on a regular basis. So low-carb is NOT for me - but healthy carbs are with more of them coming from less starchy sources. This isn't to say that I never eat starchy ones - I do, at least twice a day and I'm fine with it. What counts is what works on one's body. There are different metabolic types - one a predominantly protein type(these thrive and love low-carb diets and turn their cholesterol and blood sugar issues around on these when nothing else helps plus they drop the weight), others are carb types which do well as all the way to strict vegan diets, and mixed types which need a balance of protein and carbs(but even within this category a person can lean more protein or carb - I lean toward more carb myself).
All of what I write here is based on personal experience along the line, and what I've picked up in my research. Always learning! If it can help anyone, all the better:)

Karcha

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Re: A thought about nutrition for ACTIVE mature women
« Reply #8 on: July 12, 2014, 04:51:04 PM »
Hi I'm new to this forum, looking forward to new information.

Pankitty

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Re: A thought about nutrition for ACTIVE mature women
« Reply #9 on: March 06, 2016, 05:53:56 PM »
I've always been active and at 64 I still visit the gym for resistance training. I do a total body circuit, three sets, twelve to fifteen reps one day, take two days off, repeat circuit, two days off, etc. This seems to work very good for me at this age.

I started weight training about 30 years ago when I stopped doing modern dance classes. But my workout routine was much different then. It was more intense, focused on body sections on successive days and consistently 5 or 6 days a week.

I always had an hourglass figure until I reached about 60 years old. Then my waist started to get thicker and if I gained a few pounds it started to take a LOT of focus to get it off. Now it feels as though blasting may be the only option. 🙂

I also find that I need to eat less food to maintain a desirable weight.

I do a lot of walking - we are golfers and routinely walk the 4 1/2 miles of a golf course.

But all this being said, I feel like I've been watching my weight and dieting for the last 50 years! It's a never ending battle.