Weight Loss For Women ~ Especially As We Age ~ High-Protein, Low-Carb Healthy Eating

Weight Loss For Women ~ Especially 40 And Up

Can a petite, mid-aged woman really eat like the other big boys in the Carnivore Tribe ~ and reach their ideal body fat percentages?  Well, maybe, but we must be more strategic.

I am petite, and in my mid-fifties.  I know I look quite lean.  But, I have my areas ~ my thighs, and my lower belly pouch ~ that quickly show fat gain when I'm out of integrity with my diet and lifestyle.  (I've reposted some pictures previously posted on the LivingYourTrueNature blog, below.)   As a small person, every couple pounds makes a big difference.

I prefer to be able to tweak, or 'biohack' my dietary intake so that I can eat enough to feel satisfied, not deprived, and not inadvertently over eat, which was a huge challenge on a whole-foods, plant-based diet, as I was always eating a lot, and always hungry!!!

I tweak which foods I choose, how I stack my meals, meal timing, etc., in order to achieve satisfaction in a manner that is enjoyable, sustainable, and most effective for reaching my desired health and body composition goals ~ without having to worry or over think it.

As an aside, for a great book on Intermittent Fasting, check out Don's book, Primal Fasting (only $7.50 on Amazon), or you can make a donation, and download it as an e-book on his website.

With all the training I do, I can see very clearly when my thighs are leaning out, and when they are becoming fattier.  For one, I can see the semblance of muscles while training, or not!  Also, the girth around my thighs has increased by about .5 inch, from 19.5-20 inches at their widest.

My waist has gone up one half to three quarters of an inch from 25 inches ~ achieved after several months low-carb/hypercarnivore.  My weight has gone up to 105 pounds, from 101-102.  While this is not a lot, I prefer to reverse this weight/fat gain trend before it becomes more difficult, and really dial in my personal low-carb/hypercarnivore sweet spot.

That being said, if my total weight and ideal body composition trends upwards as I build more lean muscle, I'm fine with that.  It's how I feel ~ my level of comfort, energy, and overall sense of wellbeing that counts.

Post-menopausal women on average gain 1.5# per year.  According to the  National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2003-2004, published in PubMed:

The median intake of protein on a percentage of calories basis ranged from 13.4% in children aged 4-8 y to 16.0% in men aged 51-70 y. Even the 95th percentile of protein intake did not approach the highest acceptable macronutrient distribution range of 35% for an age/sex group. The highest 95th percentile of protein intake was 20.8% of calories in men aged 51-70 y. Given the demonstrated benefits of higher protein intake on weight management, sarcopenia, and other physiologic functions, efforts should be undertaken to ensure that Americans consume the recommended amount of protein (17-21% of calories as expected from MyPyramid food patterns)

To that last line, "Given the demonstrated benefits of higher protein intake on weight management..." efforts should be made to "ensure that Americans consume..." I would add 'at least' the minimum amount of protein recommended by the government food pyramid, which has established minimum amounts for most people to avoid deficiencies.

Protein is essential for growth and repair of your body.  Protein provides numerous other functions in the body as well.  We are always in need of  growth and repair functions!

When you eat animal foods high in protein, you will reach a point where you simply do not want anymore at that particular meal.  If your body is still looking for an essential nutrient, you will most likely crave it, such as a source of fat for essential fatty acids.

Bottom line:  Protein provides a high level of satiety.   You can eat less total calories when you eat a larger portion of protein-rich foods while remaining satisfied and balanced.   As an older and petite women, this is essential to realizing our weight loss goals, and maintaining our ideal body composition.  For us, every calorie matters!

While I was thinking that having enough fat intake would best allow me to sustain my blood sugar balance, focus and energy for several hours between meals, I've surprisingly had an even easier time with higher protein meals.  I had been experiencing some fatigue again, although nothing like when I was vegan.  However, I wasn't feeling as perky as I am now again feeling, having upped my total protein, and slightly decreased my total fat calories.

According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2013-2014, published in the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases:

  • More than 1 in 3 adults were considered to be overweight
  • More than 1 in 3 adults were considered to have obesity
  • About 1 in 13 adults were considered to have extreme obesity
  • About 1 in 6 children and adolescents ages 2 to 19 were considered to have obesity 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, the dietary intake for adults age 20 and older include a:

  • Mean carbohydrate intake for men of 47.4% (of total kilocalories)
  • Mean carbohydrate intake for women of 49.6% (nearly half of their dietary intake!
  • Mean protein intake for men of 16.1%
  • Mean protein intake for women of 15.6%
  • Mean total fat intake for men of 33.6%
  • Mean total fat intake for women of 33.7%  (most of this fat is from plant oils)

 If so many of us are over weight, or obese, and we are on average consuming 15-16% of our total calories as protein, I'd say, give a higher protein diet a try.

I have tried both a higher-fat, keto-carnivore diet, and a higher-protein, low-carb or hypercarnivore  approach which I recommend in my Trust Your True Nature Low-Carb Lifestyle, and have found more than once now that a higher protein approach is more effective for developing lean muscle mass and fat loss.

I know that the big boys in the Carnivore club recommend  eating lots of ribeye, or fattier cuts of meat.  But I am not so sure this is appropriate women over 40, or those of us who are more petite, or starting out over weight.  (Learn more about the Carnivore Diet at meatheals.com.)

If you need to lose weight, then you must eat less fat and less total calories than you are burning.  It is much easier to do this when consuming a higher percentage of your total calories as protein.

If, for example, I am keeping my total calories to 1600, and I consume 160g of protein (x 4 calories each) = 640 cals + 90g of fat (x9 cals/g = 810 cals), the total calories (so far) = 1450.  This is excluding any calories from carbohydrate at the moment.  640 calories is roughly 45% of 1450.  If the remaining calories are from a carbohydrate source, that percentage will go down slightly, since the total calories will be going up.  This is a roughly 2:1 ratio of protein:fat.

How am I making this two-to-one protein-to-fat ratio work?

It's not that hard, but it does take a little planning, and an awareness of which foods deliver a higher percentage of calories as protein to fat.  In my next post, I'll put up my recent meal strategy, with some easy prepping you can do all at once over the weekend.

For this post, I decided to create a chart to show the comparison of total protein, fat, and calories in grams of selected meats, which you can see below.

Here is a video of a recent shopping haul.  The meals were at the very beginning of upping my protein.  

You can also read about my Marilyn Monroe Diet in Reverse approach ~ which also works, providing my total intake is being monitored. (Meaning I can't just eat an entire 1 pound T-bone with butter on top every day!)

What do I think caused my body fat to begin to creep back up a bit?  (Aside from butter on top of steak, or half and half lattes?)

No doubt, cutting out my fat-fueled morning coffee may be all I need to do to avoid unwanted fat gain.  However, I had an 'ah ha' moment while preparing the chart below.

We were eating a lot of chuck roast, with the visible fat, and that is about the fattiest meat, aside from a brisket.  We also switched from the 85% lean ground beef to 80% lean.

In short, we were switching things up which was working for Don, but not so much for myself.  At least not without balancing it elsewhere.  And, since I was being lazy about posting meals on Cronometer for a while, it caught up to me.

300g of chuck roast are a whopping 990 calories, with more grams of fat than protein!

Note the ground beef total grams is half of the rest of the meats.  Just double to
compare ground beef from other meats.

I was previously maintaining my ideal weight while still enjoying butter and heavy cream.  However, I was not scrutinizing the amount of protein to fat in chuck roast, which is inverse to what is best for me at this time.  It's all about the total context of the diet.  Increasing fatty meats, while still consuming the heavy cream and butter has started to tip the scales up, something I am now correcting with leaner cuts of meat.

While Don has to strive to get enough calories to feel adequately nourished each day, I must strive to feel adequately nourished on less total calories each day.

Bottom line:  I can't eat like the big boys...including my husband!  And, I suspect, many other women, especially middle aged may have the same experience.

Every person must still do their own experimentation.  I have heard some women say flat up that they do not like, nor crave fattier cuts of meat.  That is their direct instinct telling them to eat leaner.  TRUST THAT INNER KNOWING!

It's still a matter of math.  Eat more foods that are the most satiating, and you will feel good throughout the day on less total calories.  That in itself will help you feel lighter.  And you will more easily realize your weight loss goals.

Here is a chart comparing the main dairy foods I consume.  I choose accordingly, aiming to get both a  minimum of 1200mg of calcium per day total (from all foods) and up to 2200mg which is considered a safe and appropriate amount, depending on the source.  (I'm supplementing with homemade eggshell calcium.)

I really enjoy the meat + milk combo.  I find it incredibly satisfying, and still have no desire for vegetables. If you prefer eating vegetables, eat vegetables.

I've recently been adding a small handful of strawberries to my yogurt or cottage cheese, which ups the vitamin C a bit.  (There is vitamin C in meat, but the USDA data bases does not add this amount to their listings.)

Cottage cheese is helpful when I need to boost my total protein.  Cheese is helpful when I just want something to balance out the meal, and I have not gone over 100g of fat for the day.  As you can see from the chart, cheese is a great source of calcium.

I've reposted some pictures from May 1, 2017 through now.  May 1, 2017 was the beginning of our low-carb journey.  We continued to eat plenty of veg and fruit for several months, before starting our hypercarnivore approach, towards the beginning of 2018.

May 2017, just began low-carb diet on L, summer 2018 on R.  

These were the first TWO months on low-carb.  As you can see, I'm no stranger to
fatty thighs, and lower-belly bloating.

Top L was soon after beginning low-carb, post 5+ years vegan (June, 2017.)   Top R was mid-Aug, 2017,
about 3.5 months low-carb.  Bottom R - end Aug, 2017.  
Waist 25.75 within 2 months, low-carb, down a little since vegan which briefly reached ~25.25-25.5 in.
By end of July, 2017, 1-1.5 months later from the above, my waist was down to 25 inches.  A clear
sign of fat loss.  All these pictures are from the first 2-6 months low-carb, still eating some veg and fruit.
And I wasn't being shy with the whipping cream either!

I weighed 127 pounds at my heaviest,  right before getting married.  I am now about 105#, up from 101-102# which I had been maintaining for several months.  At five feet, I essentially lost one-fifth of my body weight.

My waist did reach about 25.25 or a little more while vegan, shortly after an episode
of being very sick over the holidays.  Wasn't eating much so I lost weight.  This was just before
I turned 50 (I'm now 55.)  Still, quite a difference in muscle tone and definition from here versus now!

Reminder:   Each of us has our ideal weight and body composition.  When you realize it, you feel it.  It's a subtle, yet huge difference.  You just feel Right in your body.  There is a zesty-ness factor that can only be experienced.  Once you get there, you won't want to lose it again!  It feels good to feel alive ~ as we all should be feeling!

If you have a heaviness feeling, if you feel sluggish, if your thighs are smacking each other uncomfortably when you walk, or you feel embarrassed to be seen nearly naked, even by your eyes only, then you are not there.

Try a high-protein, low-carbohydrate, hypercarnivore diet!

Take The Hypercarnivore 30-Day Challenge, and see for yourself!  You can download my 25 page e-book for free by subscribing to my strongspiritwoman.com website.  I'll be using the emails to notify those subscribed of upcoming specials, and when I am ready to launch a subscription-based service, and possible online forum.

The Trust Your True Nature Low-Carb Lifestyle is available in paperback,Kindle, or as an e-book.

August 7, 2018

Aug 19, 2018

Sept 22, 2018 for this and those below.