Many diets nowadays recommend giving up carbs as a way to tone up and drop a dress size. But are carbs bad in reality for women over 40?
We’re often asked about carbs by our clients who are looking to get the scales moving and drop a couple of dress sizes. Often, these women have been trying all the things which worked in their 20s and 30s, but stepping on the scales at the end of the week and seeing ZERO results. They’re looking for answers.
This can be really frustrating! So, we’re going to reveal the truth about carbs for women over 40 in this blog.
We’ll let you know what nutritional approach we recommend to our clients, so you too can drop two dress sizes, fit back into all your clothes and feel incredible wearing anything they like – all in 12 weeks or less!
Misconception: Carbs are fattening
The common misconception believes that low carb dieting leads to quick weight loss. By why?
The average diet is made up of about 50% carbohydrates, so by default, if you go low carb you cut out 50% of your calorie intake. Therefore your body will need to get the extra calories from somewhere (i.e. body fat). It’s not magic, it works simply because you reduce your calorie intake.
The second explanation is due to water weight. When your body stores carbs it also stores a lot of water. In fact, for every 1g of carbs stored, you store 3-4g of water. So, if you cut out carbs, you’ll lose 5lbs or more of water weight. People often assume this is body fat, but that isn’t the case.
This quick initial weight loss then leads people to assume all carbs are fattening, so they then feel they need to avoid all carbs in their diet.
The impact this has on women over 40
Sustained, low carb dieting, plus regular exercise, can lead to a number of bad things in a woman’s body, especially for those over forty. It can cause:
- Decreased thyroid output
- Increased cortisol output
- Impaired mood and cognitive function
- Muscle catabolism
- And suppressed immune function
Basically, your metabolism slows, your stress hormone (cortisol) goes up, and you lose muscle tone.
The other issue for women in particular is that restricting carbs can disrupt the production of female hormones like estrogen and progesterone, which can lead to things like:
- Blood sugar swings
- More body fat (especially around the middle)
- Loss of bone density
- Mental health issues
- Chronic inflammation and worse chronic pain
- Chronic fatigue and disrupted sleep
And for women over forty, who are already going through a whole host of hormonal changes related to menopause, this is like throwing fuel on the fire!
It becomes easier to gain weight around the middle (even if you a “dieting” with low carbs) and more difficult to lose that weight again.
Not all carbs are created equal
Refined carbohydrates, such as highly processed breads, cakes and pastas, digest very quickly and easily, meaning it only keeps you full for a very short period of time.
Additionally, it will assimilate ALL of the calories as it digests so easily, whereas with unrefined carbohydrates, a lot more calories are burned to break it down. This means refined carbs won’t trigger leptin properly (your fullness hormone), so you’re still hungry afterwards (and will be likely to overeat).
Many of our clients when they start are worried about eating rice or potatoes, thinking it’ll cause them to gain weight because these are carbs…
However, these are unrefined carbohydrates or complex carbohydrates. They have a different molecular structure, and digest very slowly. Plus, they keep you full for hours afterwards!
Our clients do something called the Diet Makeover for the first 2 weeks of our Fit Over 40 program. This is where they cut out 4 hormone-disrupting foods, called the WADS foods (wheat, alcohol, dairy and sugar). They still eat complex carbs like rice and potatoes, and they can still lose up to a stone of proper sustainable weight loss!
Women in their 40s and 50s need to eat in a way that works with their changing body and hormones.
Cutting out carbs entirely actually disrupts your hormones more, and for most people it’s unsustainable long-term. So, it’s only ever temporary, and so the results are only ever temporary…
You need to eat (and exercise) in a way that optimises your hormones and body for weight loss. This includes less refined carbs (wheat, sugar, alcohol). Plus, you need to eat the right amount for you. Lastly, don’t forget to keep cortisol levels optimal.
Inside our Fit Over 40 program we call this approach Hormonally Balanced Eating. If you’d like to find out more about how our plan can help you, simply click here!
To find out more about how Trinity can help you see the results you deserve, simply click here.