Losing weight in menopause

I am one week into trying something new to lose about 10-15 lbs and keep it off. I routinely do 2 days of TRX and 1-2 days of aerobic on treadmill for 20 min. It looks like I should decrease my calories to about 1200/day to lose. I have read that if I decrease my calories too much that I will actually hold on to weight and not lose. Is this true?

Replies

  • kimny72
    kimny72 Posts: 16,027 Member
    No, but there are lots of other reasons not to lose weight too fast.

    With 15 lbs to lose, you should really only be set to lose 0.5lbs per week, maybe 1 lb if you must.

    Also remember the mfp goal does not include your exercise. Even if your goal ends up being 1200, you are supposed to log your exercise and eat back at least some of those calories as well.

    Check out the Most Helpful Posts threads pinned to the top of each sub-forum, lots of great info there. Good luck!
  • missysippy930
    missysippy930 Posts: 2,577 Member
    edited October 2019
    No, it’s not true, but women need to eat at minimum 1200 calories. No matter what age, gender, eating less calories than your body burns is how weight is lost. Exercise helps reach a calorie deficit, is recommended for overall health, but eating less calories than your body burns is all that is needed for weight loss. Decreasing calories below 1200 could cause other issues, but will not stop weight loss eating at a calorie deficit. Below 1200 is not healthy as it’s difficult to achieve proper nutrition.
  • lorrpb
    lorrpb Posts: 11,465 Member
    What are your stats? How did you come up with 1200?
    PS I love TRX! It’s important to get some training via a class or personal trainer to be sure you use correct form.
  • hegsmith68
    hegsmith68 Posts: 2 Member
    I’m not sure what you mean by stats, but when I plugged in my height and weight and age into the website formula that is what it recommended to lose. Yes, I am in a TRX class with an experienced trainer.
  • Lillymoo01
    Lillymoo01 Posts: 2,868 Member
    The only way eating less will cause you to lose less weight is that with less energy you tend to move less, so are burning less incidental calories during the day. Undereating will also force your body to prioritise where the energy needs to go for basic survival so some of its functions will slow down causing a slight decrease in metabolism. This also causes things like brittle nails and hair loss.
    Your body will never hold onto weight otherwise, conditions like anorexia would not exist. What does happen is that your body will instead get the required energy from your muscle, rather than fat storage. Just remember that your heart is a muscle and this can be put under great strain when you don't eat enough.
  • tariperri
    tariperri Posts: 2 Member
    Hi there! Tari hère. I have always worked hard on my weight but this last year I have noticed that I just can’t lose what I once lost. Are there any healthy supplements that I can be taking to increase my metabolism during this time?
  • Lillymoo01
    Lillymoo01 Posts: 2,868 Member
    tariperri wrote: »
    Hi there! Tari hère. I have always worked hard on my weight but this last year I have noticed that I just can’t lose what I once lost. Are there any healthy supplements that I can be taking to increase my metabolism during this time?

    No. You just have to eat less than you burn. Just wish it was as simple to do as it sounds though. A slightly slower metabolism as we age just means we burn a little less than we used to. Doing resistance exercises to build up muscle will help though.
  • AnnPT77
    AnnPT77 Posts: 26,977 Member
    The difference in "metabolism" due to age is truly small. You can check out what it means using an online TDEE calculator that shows a statistically-estimated BMR (basal metabolic rate), such as Sailrabbit. (BMR is calories we'd burn if in a coma, basically; as such it's close to what people kinda ought to mean by "metabolism", but sometimes people use odd definitions).

    For me, at my current size (5'5", 133lbs), if I were age 20, my estimated BMR would be about 1400 (+/- a little depending on which research-based statistical estimation formula is used). But, guess what, I'm actually 64. That means the statistical estimate for my BMR is around 1200.

    Let that sink in: Between age 20, and age 64, looking at the average woman of my size, metabolism drops by about one serving of peanut butter per day. (I think that's pretty underwhelming, as a change over 44 years.)

    Sure, consistently over-eating by 200 daily calories will add (yikes) 20 pounds a year. But it isn't 200 estimated calories lower BMR all at once: It's more like 4-5 daily calories decline per year, on average.

    There's something else more important, actually two something elses:

    1. Daily life activity.
    2. Body composition.

    Let's look at that in reverse order, body composition first. Let's assume I'm sedentary, and fire up the Sailrabbit calculator again. But let's add something new: Let's assume I've stayed active and strong from age 20 to 64, so I have exactly the same muscle mass, therefore exactly the same body fat percent. For the sake of discussion, we'll assume it's 25%. Now, for the formulas that actually take body fat percentage into account, Sailrabbit says my 20 year old self, and my 64 year old self would be estimated to have . . . exactly the same BMR. Exactly the same metabolism.

    Normally, body composition declines as we age. But we have a lot of control over that. Moreover, there's research studies showing that people can add muscle even in their 80s. Sooner is better, like if a person started at, say, 50 instead of 80, they'd build muscle at a better rate, and have a head start.

    Yes, adding muscle is very slow, especially for older women, so this is a gradual investment. But strength increase is pretty fast (through neuromuscular adaptation, basically how efficiently we use existing muscle fibers), and strength is useful in everyday life. As we get stronger, we're able to do more, which feels good. Moreover, strength exercise improves appearance, and tends to increase bone strength. Since osteoporosis and especially hip fractures are significant causes of decline, and accelerators of mortality, among women, that's meaningful. There are lots of reasons getting stronger is a great time investment for aging women.

    The TRX you're doing may create enough muscle challenge for you, if it's new to you, now and for a while. To keep getting stronger, progressivity (gradually, incrementally increasing challenge) is going to be needed. Adaptations of TRX exercises, or maybe eventually different exercise modalities, might eventually be useful if you want to maximize results.

    Now, activity.

    Commonly (though not universally), we're less active in everyday life than we were when we were young (with more active jobs, active hobbies, young families to chase around, getting our remodeling/decorating/landscaping done to create a comfortable home, etc.) compared to when we're older (often more sedentary jobs and hobbies, settling in to the comfy homes we've created or even downsizing, maybe hiring more services (lawn, cleaning), engaging in more social events that are just food and drink without the dancing and stuff, etc.). There's research showing that fidgety people burn up to low hundreds more calories daily, compared to placid, non-fidgety ones. It's pretty easy to think that an average younger person may be a hundred or two hundred daily calories more active than an older one, maybe even more.

    Now, this activity isn't BMR, it's NEAT (non-exercise activity thermogenesis). But it's actually a big component of the average person's daily calorie expenditure, for most people a bigger factor than intentional exercise. And, like exercise, it's significantly under our individual control.

    Happily, these two factors conspire in a positive direction, if we harness them: Getting fitter makes movement easier, so makes incidental daily movement more likely. More incidental movement - like chores, longer window shopping, any kind of daily-life movement - burns more calories and pushes fitness forward that tiny extra bit, too. Positive cycle!

    Another positive cycle: A half hour of more intense exercise becomes easier as we get fitter, and that more intense exercise isn't more fatiguing for our fitter selves as the mild exercise was for our unfit selves. That means we can readily get more calorie burn out of our exercise as we get fitter, even at the same time investment. (If anyone tries to tell you our bodies "get used to an exercise" and "don't burn as many calories", that's mostly not true. The same exercise feels easier as we're fitter, but it's the same amount of work, in the physics sense of work.)

    So, sure, "metabolism" slows as we age. But two things under our control affect BMR on the one hand, and NEAT on the other. Working on those helps us burn more calories, and get fitter, a double win. So, we have ways - in addition to the obvious method of increasing exercise - to increase our calorie expenditure.

    Some useful links:
    http://community.myfitnesspal.com/en/discussion/10332083/which-lifting-program-is-the-best-for-you/p1
    http://community.myfitnesspal.com/en/discussion/10610953/neat-improvement-strategies-to-improve-weight-loss/p1

    P.S. 1200 calories was too few for me, when I had more weight to lose than you do, and (probably) was older. I felt great at first, energetic, not hungry . . . until suddenly I didn't. I got weak and fatigued. Even though I corrected my eating as soon as I realized, I got weak and fatigued. I was lucky there weren't worse consequences. With so little to lose, the other folks are right that you should be shooting for 0.5-1 pound a week loss, tops, and eating back a reasonable estimate of exercise calories on top of it.

    Best wishes!
  • workinonit1956
    workinonit1956 Posts: 1,043 Member
    As someone who lost 45 pounds at age 62-63, I would (if you haven’t already) set your rate of loss to a half pound a week and eat back most of your exercise calories.
    Personally, I didn’t find it any more difficult to lose weight post menopause.
  • kshama2001
    kshama2001 Posts: 26,173 Member
    tariperri wrote: »
    Hi there! Tari hère. I have always worked hard on my weight but this last year I have noticed that I just can’t lose what I once lost. Are there any healthy supplements that I can be taking to increase my metabolism during this time?

    Exercise.

    For more details, see Ann's post above.
  • kshama2001
    kshama2001 Posts: 26,173 Member
    hegsmith68 wrote: »
    I’m not sure what you mean by stats, but when I plugged in my height and weight and age into the website formula that is what it recommended to lose. Yes, I am in a TRX class with an experienced trainer.

    In addition to height, weight, and age, you also chose a weekly weight loss goal, and one that was too aggressive for someone who only has 10-15 pounds to lose. Drop your weekly weight loss goal down to a half pound a week.

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