How to Rev Up Your Metabolism after 50
Feeling sluggish? Having issues with digestion, focus, and sleep? Your favorite jeans fitting a little tighter? And most importantly, are you interested in doable steps to optimal health? If you are like me, and most “tomatoes”, the answer to these questions is YES.
In my quest to better understand the metabolic changes, and challenges, faced by the 50 plus woman, I sought the advice, and expertise, of Dr. Daryl Gioffre, author of the best-selling GET OFF YOUR ACID: 7 Steps in 7 Days to Lose Weight, Fight Inflammation, and Reclaim Your Health & Energy.
A health visionary, wellness consultant, and longevity expert, Dr. Gioffre specializes in the alkaline/acid diet, based on the premise that ACID is that four letter word that is secretly destroying your health. An acidic lifestyle – consuming foods such as sugar, grains, excess animal proteins, processed food, and artificial sweeteners, along with lack of exercise and proper hydration – and stress –cause inflammation. And inflammation is the culprit behind many of our current ailments, from weight gain to chronic disease. It is Dr. Gioffre’s belief that if you will simply rid your diet of highly acidic foods, alkalize your body and balance your Ph, you will be on the road to fight inflammation, lose weight and reach new plateaus in health, fitness, and energy.
As a personal testimony, after following Dr. Gioffre’s protocol, I lost 8 lbs, lowered my LDL cholesterol levels significantly, and even discovered a new method of adding 12 mins. of exercise into my daily routine, without leaving my home! HINT: read below to find out what NASA has to say about the rebounder, or mini-trampoline.
Q.. What’s the biggest factor that makes the body after 50 more resistant to change? Is it metabolism, years of mistreatment such as physical inactivity and eating junk food, and lean muscle loss?
It’s your pH levels of how much acid is being dumped into your body. For example, the Standard America Diet is 90% acidic, consisting of primarily sugar and grains. Sugar and grains spike your insulin levels, and make sure store fat. The more sugar you eat, the more sugar you will burn as your primary source of fuel which is a very dirty burn, and then what will you crave more of? Sugar. No matter what your age, you need to train your body to burn FAT as your fuel source, not sugar. When your diet consists primarily of dark green leafy vegetables, and healthy alkaline fats, and you eliminate the carbs, your energy will increase, and your body will turn into a fat burning machine.
Q. What is the caloric need of a 50-year-old man and woman?
It’s not about caloric QUANTITY, it’s about QUALITY. Everybody is made up different biochemically and should have different caloric needs based on many factors including age, weight, height, and exercise levels. For example, a 50-year-old male who is active may need 2400-2800 calories, whereas a 50-year-old female who is inactive may need less, roughly 1600. With that said, when you are eating the way that promotes a healthy alkaline body, calorie counting goes out the window. And realize the body doesn’t run on calories, it is electric, and it runs on salt, specifically mineral salts.
So your goal is not to cut calories, but to increase foods that are high in minerals and phytonutrients, which are alkaline foods. You should be focusing on eating 3 meals a day, with the last meal (dinner) being the lightest of the three, with at least 3 hours before going to sleep. Each meal should focus on my 80/20 rule of health, where 80% or more of the foods you eat are alkaline, and no more than 20% acid. When you look at your plate, it should be primarily made up of dark green leafy vegetables and healthy fats, moderate protein, and little vegetable carbohydrates.
Now, let’s go back to the female who is 50. When you follow these guidelines, you can eat to your hearts content, and you will promote health and prevent chronic disease. Again, all about the QUALITY, not the quantity.
Q. If there is one thing people over 50 should know about metabolism, what would it be?
Our metabolism slows by 5% each decade, and our lack of mobility and the effect it has in our lymphatic system isn’t helping. At age 35, you’ll burn 100 fewer calories a day than at 25, and 200 fewer at 45. That could translate to 8-12 extra pounds each year. This is why as we get older, you need to better decisions about what you eat and how you move. Even though your metabolism may get slower with age, the question is what ultimately dictates this – lifestyle. Anticipation is the key to maintain a healthy metabolism as we age. If you know your metabolism will slow, but lifestyle choices can have an influence on that, start making changes now. Eat better, move better, and think better, and your metabolism will be better.
Q. How does one’s diet have to change if he or she is over 50? We are talking about people who generally eat a balanced diet. I read that the biggest change is eating less.
Eating less would be the quickest way to sabotage your health. Being healthy is not about deprivation, it’s about moderation. When you deprive your body by eating less, it goes into starvation mode. What does our metabolism want more of when it thinks we are starving? Stored energy. What is a great source of stored energy is body fat. So when you cut back on your diet and eat less, your metabolism thinks you’re starving and never knows when it’s going to get its next meal. Because of this, it holds onto body fat, and slows down its metabolism. As I mentioned before, age should not have any bearing on what you need to eat.
Your body needs fuel every day in the form of alkaline foods, high in Omega 3 fats and dark green leafy vegetables. Second, when you focus on 3 meals a day, your insulin levels drop, and there is no sugar for you to burn. Your body needs energy, and so it turns to fat which is a very clean fuel. In fact, 95% of the calories for energy in your body are stored as fat, only 5% stored as sugar. Sugar was designed for flight or fight (if I see a saber tooth tiger, I need to RUN, and sugar is a quick burning energy allocated for that). You have 140,000 calories of fat for fuel.
So when you reset your body’s metabolism to burn fat instead of sugar, you literally move towards a state of ketosis and become a fat burning machine. But again, it’s not about cutting BACK on foods, it’s about eating the RIGHT foods. Cut out the sugar and the grains and add the greens and the fats.
Q. What are some roadblocks people in their 50s will face when trying to lose weight?
Bad information. I can’t tell you how many clients come in trying to lose weight, and they hit a plateau. Their doctors or nutritionist, or even the internet, is telling them to do certain things that are actually working against them! Here are the most common things I see they need to avoid.
- First and foremost, you need to ditch the concept of grazing. Eating every 2 hours accomplished only 1 thing – fat storage! When you eat every 2 hours, your insulin levels stay elevated, and again, you burn sugar instead of fat for fuel. Insulin turns sugar immediately into fat.
- Avoid Moderate to High Sugar Acidic Fruits (for example, bananas and berries) – they are high in sugar, and the bad kind which is fructose. Fructose gets shuttled directly to your liver where it is stored as fat. Low sugar alkaline fruits are fine, which are lemons, limes, grapefruit (they are citric acid, but alkaline-forming inside your body because they are low in sugar and high in minerals), avocados, tomatoes, coconut oil/meat/flakes/milk, and to some degree, watermelon. If you are going to have a sugar fruit like a banana, add some raw nut butter (almond butter) or coconut butter, as the healthy fats slow down the metabolization of the sugar and prevent the insulin from spiking.
- Limit high intensity workouts like spinning and cross fit. These exercises are fine in moderation. But I can’t tell you how many times I have had clients who spin every day in hoping to lose weight. At first, they will lose some weight, as this happens when any change occurs. But as you continue, the body will hit a plateau, or even worse, ADD some weight.
The reason why is high intensity exercises like the eons mentioned here produce LACTIC ACID as a byproduct of working out. When you spin for example, the body is working anaerobically (without oxygen), and in the absence of oxygen, to get energy, they burn sugar. The lactic acid that is produced is toxic, acidic, and if you don’t give your body minerals to neutralize the acid, the body will retain fat instead. Gaining weight is an ACID problem! This is why I recommend all of my clients who are working out to take Alkamind Daily Minerals during or immediately after the workout. The calcium, magnesium, potassium, and sodium bicarbonate will neutralize the acid, preventing the fat from taking over.
- Stress out about not losing the weight! Stress is your enemy to weight loss. Emotional and mental stress produces a stress hormone called cortisol, that puts your body into a state of ‘fight or flight’. When this happens, your body goes into survival mode. In addition to storing fat, the digestive system will completely shut down. Both of these happen when your body gets stressed, because for all it knows, there is danger and it needs to hold onto everything (fat) for scarce times. This was an evolutionary life saver as our ancestors didn’t have access to food 24/7 like we do, and they lived in fast OR famine. During famine, the stores of fat literally saved their lives.
Q. Can supplements help with losing weight at this age?
Absolutely! However, you should take supplements not to promote weight, but rather to detoxify the body, and give it a nutrient that it is deficient in. For example, if a plant wilts, you give it water because it NEEDS water, and our bodies are no different. There are a few supplements that we are ALL deficient in, even children, but with that said, you still need to run these by your health care practitioner:’
Vitamin D3 – 5,000 IU
Omega 3 Fatty Acids – 3 grams
Probtiotic (refrigerated kind, and rotate every 30 days to get different strains)
Anything above and beyond this, requires blood work to determine what you are truly deficient in. I recommend doing a micro-nutrient depletion test to eliminate the guess work. When your body has all of the nutrients it needs, it will regulate its weight and metabolism in a more efficient manner.
Q. What are some of the best exercises people over 50 can do to lose weight?
Avoid or limit high intensity exercises like spinning and cross fit as they are anaerobic and produce lactic acid in your body which is bad.
The rebounder is otherwise known as the mini-trampoline and is my favorite form of exercise. NASA did a study showing that it was 68% more effective than running at improving cardiovascular health and weight loss. Plus, they are inexpensive, healthy for people dealing with back pain, requires very little time, and can be done in the comfort of your own home.
I begin every day with a glass of Alkamind Daily Greens, and then I do the rebounder for at least 12 minutes. The rebounder stimulates your lymphatic system, which is what I call the 2nd cardiovascular system. It acts like a vacuum, literally pulling out the acids and toxins from your tissues and shuttles them into your blood to be eliminated from the body. For 12 minutes, do a gentle bounce with the balls of your feet staying on the rebounder at all times. After the 12 minutes, feel free to bounce up and down to alkalize your body and increase your heart rate.
Practicing yoga relieves stress that can build up acid in the body and also encourages deep breathing, a naturally detoxifying, alkalizing practice. At the same time, it builds strength without shifting muscles into the anaerobic exercise the workouts above do, which leads to acid buildup. So less lactic acid in the muscles means less acid to fight after completing your workout.
Aother great aerobic workout, swimming is low-impact and amazing for staying in shape. It also works wonders on your lungs. Your body learns to use oxygen more efficiently, to breathe in more fresh air and breathe out more carbon dioxide. And deep breathing is one of the best ways to fight acid. Many people find swimming to be a big-time stress reliever too, so you’re fighting acid on multiple fronts.
Q. Is there any healthy alternative to sugar? Unsweetened drinks are really not very tasty.
Stay away from all forms of fructose like agave as they are your most acidic and dangerous form of sugar. Agave is 90% fructose, and fructose gets shuttled directly to your liver where it turns into fat. Honey is 52% fructose, and even coconut nectar/sugar is 40% fructose. Artificial sweeteners like aspartame are even worse. They are in anything ‘diet’ like diet cola, or sugar free. Aspartame is a neurotoxin that has sweetening properties to it. Many people drink diet sodas because they think they are losing weight, but research shows that it can continue to more weight gain than refined sugar. It increases your cravings for carbs and increases the amount of fat your body stores. It does so by 2 amino acids, aspartic acid and phenylalanine which stimulate insulin and leptin and an adverse way.
The best substitutes for all the above mentioned are organic stevia, and Lo Han, otherwise known as monk fruit. But have a zero glycemic index which means it will have no effect on your insulin levels and have sweetening properties more than sugar.
Q. Is eating while standing up bad for you? If so, how exactly? (I come across studies saying yes and no)
According to a 2007 study that involved adult women that was published in the “Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, they concluded that the average person will consume less food and fewer calories when sitting down to eat can help When you look at this from a common-sense stand point, people who stand when they eat are usually doing so because they are stressed or in a hurry, and usually a combination of the two. When you are emotionally stressed, your body will produce less hydrochloric acid (HCL) which is necessary for proper digestion of food. When you sit down to eat, you’re more likely to eat slowly. It takes about 15-20 minutes for your digestive system to let your brain know that it is full, so when you eat too fast, you tend to eat much more than your body actually needs.
Q. When is the best time to eat the salad – before the meal or save it for last?
Dark green leafy vegetables work well with most food combinations, and therefore, from a digestion standpoint, it doesn’t make much of a difference. Salads typically combine very well with proteins or starches. With that said, if I wanted to make my digestion as optimal as possible, the only food group I would want to eat the salad first is with heavy proteins like steaks. Animal proteins tend to digest slowly in the stomach, and foods that are eaten afterwards that tend to digest more quickly (like high water content fruits and dark green leafy vegetables) will get backed up behind them and can ferment and literally rot while they wait. Other than that, a big salad should ideally be combined with every meal.
Q. I know your stance on dairy. You gave me a very detailed answer last time. I just wanted to ask whether cottage cheese fall in that category?
While it does have fats which are good and typically easily digested, the downsides of cottage cheese are far more than any upsides. First and foremost, it is dairy. Dairy is acidic and inflammatory, causes mucous production, and is the #1 allergy in children. In addition, the milk to make cottage cheese is first pasteurized, not only killing off bad bacteria, but also any possible beneficial components that may have been in the milk. Once the cheese milk is prepared, a starter culture is added to generate lactic acid from lactose. The pH is dropped to about 4.5 which is HIGHLY acidic to allow the casein in the milk cheese to begin to precipitate. In addition to the acidic pH that is created, casein is one of the most carcinogenic compounds in food, is found in cow’s milk. Cheese also is one of the foods that typically accumulates mold and fungus.
Q. Are there any safe dressings or salad dips when it comes to efforts to lose weight?
Stay away from vinegar because they are loaded with sugar and yeast and are acidic. Anything acidic that goes into the body will make you retain fat to neutralize the acid. The one exception is apple cider vinegar as it is unpasteurized and unfiltered and does have an alkaline-forming effect inside your body. With that said, the best option is fresh squeezed organic lemon juice or lime juice, with extra virgin olive oil.
Here is my favorite dressing from the Alkamind 7-Day Alkaline Cleanse.
MARINATED KALE SALAD WITH DR. DARYL’S FAVORITE DRESSING
Blend on high speed in small blender or food processor until completely smooth:
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, 2 tbsp. lime juice, 2 tbsp. Braggs Liquid Aminos, 2 tbsp. red onion, minced1 clove garlic, 1/2 tsp. chipotle powder, 1.5 pitted dates, 1/4 tsp. sea salt (Celtic grey, Himalayan), pinch cayenne pepper
1 bunch kale (or Romaine lettuce), 1 avocado sliced or diced, 1 yellow or red bell pepper (no green, they are acidic), 1 tomato, sliced
Mix salad dressing ingredients in a mini blender or food processor, set aside. Slice red or yellow peppers and add to kale. Add dressing and thoroughly mix to soften up the kale. Plate, then add sliced avocado and tomatoes, and additional sea salt to taste.
Note: this dressing can also be used as a fabulous dipping sauce for veggie sticks –great alkaline snack on the cleanse.
Q. What’s your stance on spicy food as a metabolism booster and potential helper in weight loss?
Spices like ginseng, cayenne pepper, black pepper, oregano, cinnamon, cumin, cardamom, and turmeric are a big part of my diet and cooking because they help you maintain a healthy weight by boosting metabolism and suppressing your appetite. These spices increase thermogenesis in your body burns fat to create heat, which also helps to boost metabolism and reduce your fat stores in your body. In addition to their ability to help burn fat and balance blood sugar levels, these spices are some of your best sources of antioxidants.
Founder of the Gioffre Chiropractic Wellness Center and Alkamind, Dr. Gioffre’s work has been praised by clients Kelly Ripa, Bobbi Brown, Petra Nemcova, Tracey Ullman, Ty Bollinger, The Truth About Cancer, and Ocean Robbins, CEO, the Food Revolution Network.