8 Crazy Truths About Healthy Weight Loss and Hormones

Your healthy weight may not be the number in your head. If you’ve been attached to a number on the scale, been attached to the scale period, you’re potential for self-sabotage is high.

This post is all about how the days of “eat less, exercise more” have caught up to you and how your metabolism has suffered. I’ll share the common mistakes, the how to restart your metabolism, with a lifestyle that doesn’t include over exercise or undereating.

This episode is brought to you by Flipping 50’s Fit-U, dedicated to women over 50 with 20 or more pounds to lose. Weight loss and particularly, fat loss, after 50 is different. Not impossible, just different.

I use only research featuring women in perimenopause, menopause, and beyond to create programming. I also employ 30+ years of experience as a coach, personal trainer, who has worked with midlife women to know what works, what questions to answer – before you may know to ask them.

You’ll identify your “stinking thinking” from science that’s decades old  – that’s been replaced – but that’s hard to grasp as an over abundance of information is coming at you today.

The Scale Lies.

Checking your weight is not enough. It doesn’t tell you body composition. You can buy one that does. It doesn’t tell you if you’re dehydrated, you’re going to appear fatter since you store water in your muscle.

It doesn’t tell you if you’re retaining water weight since you had potentially higher in sodium or sugary foods you’re not used to. It doesn’t tell you that you have inflammation from any cause – eating foods that aren’t ideal for you, or from too much exercise. It doesn’t tell you that you may be constipated and may just be used to that feeling not even questioning it.

Calories counting is a myth.

The truth is you can eat about 300 kcals more a day if you’re consuming quality calories than if they’re poor in nutrient density. The volume of food you can consume can increase, stay the same, or be less depending on the meal. You can choose avocado, salmon, nuts and seeds. You can consume plates of vegetables.

Healthy weight loss doesn’t occur at a controlled speed. You may have noticed! A piece of chocolate cake is not the same as a piece of salmon. They have very different effects on the body. Even though the calories might be the same.

One will spike blood sugar, and therefore insulin. Fat storage starts and fat metabolism halts. Game over.

The same will happen if you have fruit on an empty stomach. It may seem more logical that the same is true of wine on empty, which is most often when you drink it. You will tend to – if you love your wine – look for someone who will give you the answer you want about drinking wine. That’s been my experience. If you’re ready to change you will, if you’re not you’ll ignore the steps you can take to improve your chance for fat burning (and for sleep).

You don’t exchange a glass of wine for other calories during the day and make it “okay.” This, friends is a myth. 

Eating less signals your body to burn less.

Dieting is stress. When you are eating too little, your body is stressed. A stressed body holds onto every calorie. It’s a form of self-protection. Meanwhile, in old school thinking you believe you’re being “good.”

You’ve learned if you’re hungry and grumpy that’s part of the diet process. Because (totally illogically), you think if you feel like crap you’ll eventually feel great. How wrong is that?

Makes no sense when you think about it. Keep doing what never worked – permanently – and in fact do MORE of it and you’ll get better results?


That’s pretty close to insanity.

The more times in your life you’ve fallen for eating less and losing weight from restriction, then gained it back, or gained dozens, or hundreds of pounds, the more damage to your hormones that regulate weight you’ve done.

It’s time to reset and restore. Start nurturing instead of starving. We all know a 20-something woman is now or has (maybe she was you) dieted and restricted and lost weight.. only to gain it back, get exhausted, not sleep, have gut issues. She may have thinning hair and when she does “eat”? She eats garbage. She likes to bake and cook. All of course under the premise of taking care of her health, and giving.

She may share this passion with others. Unfortunately, for her, it’s not healthy. It could have been you. It may still be you. Yet now, you’re the adult in the kitchen to care and prep for someone else. And because you haven’t made peace with food, it’s all you think about.

Exercising more can put you into stress mode.

Some women are just more likely to dial up the exercise. More is better, right?

Wrong. Again it’s a stress signal for your body. Cortisol will – especially if you are eating less – come back with a vengeance. You are putting one foot on the brake and one on the accelerator. How well does that work?

You’ll forfeit any growth hormone and testosterone benefits when you eat less and exercise more because cortisol is king, queen, prince and princess of the mountain. You cannot get fit without adequate calories and protein. Most importantly, without rest & recovery you’ll limit that supply of endorphins and serotonin that could help you too. Burnt out, your body won’t give you those any more during exercise.

Relying on “diets” creates a co-dependency that leaves you without a life plan.

No liquid diet, three-day reset, or 28-day magic (my program included) will support a lifetime of freedom around food if you don’t start with a healthy diet and relationship with food. Healthy weight loss is not a temporary thing. You get there with a long game.

You have to stop identifying as someone heavy. You have to lose the idea of someone who can’t experience healthy weight loss. You have to in short, start living. You’re going to have to stop the ways that never led to healthy weight loss sustained for a long time in order to attain healthy weight loss that lasts forever.

Women in their 50s and 60s and 70s have done it. Stop believing you can’t. It’s different, yes. Because the right way was always different. You’ve now exhausted the don’t-work ways. Now you can get on with a healthy approach.

A rigid eating plan creates physical and psychological reactions that make you want to eat.

Every signal from your brain to your gut to the rest of your body is going to tell you to eat. It’s the nature of the game. Your hormones jump into action when they aren’t being nourished. They’ll do everything they can to protect you.

Then when you do eat, they revert to the way cavemen feasted and fasted when they found food and then went long periods without it. But you’ve got more going on during menopause and beyond.

Your changes in estrogen, testosterone, and progesterone are going to set you up for more fat storage and a lot less fat burning. Until you ditch the thoughts around food and fat as your enemy, and begin to identify food that’s good, taking pleasure in it, your body may not support your mind’s effort.

A binge-purge cycle occurs – whether small or full-blown when you go “off” anything. 

If you don’t have a good relationship with food in the first place a diet is not going to improve it. You won’t start having a good relationship with food because you’ve lost weight. You’ll begin to better your relationship with food – likely eating more than you’re used to – and then begin to experience healthy weight loss.

Physical breakdown that leads to injury and or illness is likely.

If you’ve had years of skimping or dieting and of “treating” or eating junk your micronutrient levels may be so low that injuries and illnesses occur frequently.

Even things like plantar fasciitis are more than just wearing high heels and carrying extra weight. Breakdown of muscle as well as bone is in part hormones, but also a lack of a diet sufficient in micronutrients.

A healthy weight loss is not about creating lack in the body but rather abundance. An abundance of micronutrient dense foods can support estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone balance. Cortisol, insulin and ghrelin and leptin levels improve so that you can leave cravings that sabotage behind.

More than you need to know a specific heart rate zone for fat burning, you need to know and read the clues your body is sending you about hormone balance.

Healthy weight loss happens after 50. It just won’t happen without a change in the way you think about healthy weight loss.

Need support? Consider Fit-U – it’s an online DIY program dedicated to fat loss for women over 50. And though it’s DIY, you get:

  • A pre-program coaching session sent to you right away so you can get your mind right
  • Weekly Exercise videos – created for you if you’ve got 20 or more pounds to lose
  • A coaching video for the mindset you need to replace old thoughts
  • A fully fleshed out journal and resource guide to use during and long after
  • Live coaching in your private Facebook group

Right now it’s 50% off and we’re open for enrollment. It ends the first week of May. Make May and June your months to reset.

Was this episode helpful? Please leave a rating in iTunes!

  1. Visit Flipping 50
  2. Click “listen in iTunes”
  3. Click Ratings and Reviews
  4. Make your 5-star review (no matter what you think we want the real review!)
  5. Know how much I appreciate this!

Brain Makeover: The Reboot Your Brain Event

Do you need to reboot your brain? What if the secret to cravings, brain fog, burn out was more than exercise and dieting? If you’ve been completely in the physical, a shift to above the shoulders may be in order.

So this episode of Flipping 50 is going to appeal to you! Leah Lund is a Neuro Nutrient Therapist, Hypnotherapist, Rapid Transformation Therapist and Health Coach. She founded One Whole Health to help women reboot their brain to move past anxiety, overwhelm and food or body issues into vibrant health, mental clarity and the courage and capacity to live a fulfilling, happy life.

Her unique Brain Makeover Method  uses Neuro Science, Neuro Nutrition, Hypnotherapy and other techniques as the springboard to help you feel happy and confident and find freedom from anxiety, depression, overwhelm, emotional eating, cravings, low energy, brain fog, insomnia, pain and burn out.

Leah is host of the Reboot Your Brain Event, happening now as we post this episode.

For fitness after 50 and feeling good at every age you need to be firing all cylinders. Learn more about your brain fitness and how to optimize it for your body and your mind’s health. Let’s get started.

Questions we covered in this episode:

  • Why is it hard to get ourselves to do the things that we want to do and that are good for us?
    How can we train our brain to do these things?

“Don’t believe everything you think.”

  • What is neurotransmitter deficiency?
  • What is Neuro Nutrition?
  • What are signs of neurotransmitter depletion?
  • How can you change a deeply ingrained sub-conscious belief?
  • What is emotional capacity?
  • What do women fear most about aging?
  • What’s happening at your event Reboot Your Brain?

Learn more:


Connect with Leah:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/onewholehealth/ 

Instagram: @leahlund_onewholehealth 
Twitter: @onewholehealth

You Tube: Leah Lund-The Brain Coach

Linked In: https://www.linkedin.com/in/leah-l-lund/   

Special Events and Programs

Reboot Your Brain on-line show starting April 29, 2019
The Vibrant Woman-signature women’s group coaching program


Interested in Brain Health? You might also like:

Instant Energy

Retrain Your Brain for More Energy

Natural Remedies for Hormone Health and Optimal Weight

When you want to feel better and want natural remedies that support your body’s ability to heal itself, look no further. This episode has a wealth of tips for food, living, and using essential oils- a favorite health remedy topic for Flipping 50 listeners.

My guest, SABRINA ANN ZIELINSKI is a certified group fitness and martial arts instructor, health coach, lactation consultant, and a natural health guru. The mastermind behind the allergy-friendly food recipes and do-it-yourself remedies featured on NaturalLivingFamily.com, she’s known as “Mama Z” to many fellow moms who are looking for natural ways to care for their families. Mama Z started NaturalLivingFamily.com in 2014 with her husband, Dr. Eric Zielinski, to help people learn how to safely and effectively use natural remedies such as essential oils.

Now visited by more than six million natural health seekers every year, NaturalLivingFamily.com has rapidly become the number one online source for biblical health and non-branded essential oils education.

Questions about Natural Solutions we cover in this episode:

  1. How can you use essential oils to help balance hormones? 

“Put the healthcare back in your own hands.”

Sabrina’s favorite blend:

  • Clary sage
  • Geranium
  • Ylang lang

10 drops each in 10 ml + fractionated coconut oil (MCT) or organic jojoba oil

EO Natural Remedies shopping list:

  • Chamomile
  • Lavendar
  • Orange
  • Rosemary
  • Cyprus
  • Thyme

For a Foot massage or diffuser:

  • Chamomile
  • Lavendar
  • Vetiver

Equal parts of each of those 10 drops each + carrier oil

Use 2 drops each in diffuser.

Another option:

  • Lavendar
  • Chamomile
  • Peppermint

Equal parts of each of those 10 drops each + carrier oil 

  1. How should women best use essential oils to set themselves up for success during peri/menopause?

Sabrina shared three areas to add EO blends to your body.

Detox bath to reduce inflammation:

  • 1 cup Epsom salt
  • ¼ cup ACV
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 6-8 drops lavender
  • 1-2 drops of lemon

Soak 30-40 min. in hottest water you can stand. 6-8 drops to 1 ounce carrier oil.

Use on areas you sweat a lot.

Want a lotion you love? Visit naturallivingfamily.com

Natural Remedies to hair loss or thinning hair?

  • Peppermint
  • Rosemary
  • Lavendar
  • Tea tree
  • Magnesium with gel with seaweed extract

Used on roots of hair immediately out of shower daily.

Once a week use castor oil with same 8 drops for one ounce. Pour it on head. Use a shower cap. Let it set overnight.

  1. What are some foods you’d like to see women eating?
  • Focus on the lists: Clean 15 and the Dirty Dozen
  • Fiber
  • Polyphenols
  1. As a group fitness instructor, what are some of the best ways you like to recommend women get active and stay motivated to exercise?
  2. What are some of your favorite detox tips to lose weight and balance hormones?
  3. Can you share one of your favorite food recipes from your new book?

Fat Burning Roll on

  • Lime 4
  • Peppermint 3
  • Grapefruit 3
  • Cypress
  • Euclapytus
  • Carrier oil

Kale & Avocado Super Pesto

  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 10 oz curly kale
  • 2 ¾ fresh basil leaves
  • 1 oz fresh thyme
  • 8 garlic
  • ¾ water
  • ¼ lime
  • 1 tsp Pink Him salt
  • ½ tsp white pepper
  • 2 drops lemon essential oil

Add to food processor. Blend

  1. Any last thoughts you’d like to share about The Essential Oils Diet and what else can people discover from your book?

May 7 is the publication date for their newest book!

Looking for natural remedies for hormone balance?

Essentialoilsdiet.com which will show you all the new book bonuses.


Was this episode helpful? Please leave a rating in iTunes!

  1. Visit Flipping 50
  2. Click “listen in iTunes”
  3. Click Ratings and Reviews
  4. Make your 5-star review (no matter what you think we want the real review!)
  5. Know how much I appreciate this!

You’ll also love these resources:

Kill Cravings and Boost Energy with Essential Oils

Flipping 50’s Health Tips Round Up

In spite of the popularity, and the science behind it, High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is not the panacea for fitness. It’s a part of a plan. It punctuates a week of exercise. Now that HIIT has lived beyond trend and fad science is beginning to support the place it has for optimal risk:reward ratio. For women flipping 50 (or others more susceptible to the negative effects of stress) the exercise goal always to impose a reasonable amount of stress without it becoming a negative stressor.

Are you making any of these common HIIT mistakes?

HIIT Mistakes

You skip the warm up or cool down.

Do not miss the warm up if you want to keep doing HIIT. High Intensity exercise is usually about going faster or doing it against more resistance or both. Those kinds of movements, whether jumping or swimming or something in between, add greater amounts of stress to joints and ligaments. Give them a longer warm up in order to prevent injury.

Then there’s this: do not miss the warm up if you want to burn more fat and feel more comfortable doing it! The better you’ve got circulation and respiration humming before the real work, the bigger your energy expenditure.

Do not skip the cool down if you want to have a better next workout. You again decrease risk of injury, this time by bringing things back to rest and stretching those muscles you’ve work. The sooner and better you recover the better you’ll be able to workout next time.

You skip eating before.

It’s likely to decrease performance and energy expenditure. The higher the intensity the more your body relies on carbohydrates to get that fire burning. Even if you want to lose weight- actually especially – you want to eat. You may feel sick and or off balance or shaky. It’s not necessarily the exercise it’s the lack of nutrition.

I know you’re confused by fasting, eating, and what to eat. But the body burns carbs at high intensity and they are not your enemy. If you’re tired all the time, not recovering from exercise so you feel ready to go again come next workout, test a few more carbs sandwiched around your workouts. Not everyone is able to eat only fat or fast and feel good. At midlife? It’s likely to stress you further.

Your intervals are too long.

You can really only maintain true High Intensity for up to 30 seconds or a minute. It’s OK, and sometimes important to do longer intervals if you’re training for longer duration events. To find short workouts you can find time to do and increase fat burning you want to keep intervals short.

I do prescribe 3-minute intervals, even 8-minute intervals for clients doing triathlons or half marathons. But if your goals revolve around life, health, and not an athletic endeavor, shorter is better.

HIIT Mistakes

Your interval training session is too long.

A peak of 45 minutes total per week has been shown in a recent ACE study to correlate with positive effects. More than that tips the cortisol and injury scale.

Don’t start with 45 minutes of HIIT. Start with one session of 10 minutes of intervals a week. Increase to 12 then 15 minutes after a couple weeks. Progression is usually missing when you’re in a hurry to get results yesterday’s yesterday.

Note: The “session” refers to the time dedicated to both work intervals and recovery intervals in this instance.  Warm up and a cool down time are not included.

You have too little rest between.

If you skip or skimp on rest between, or don’t allow your body to truly recover, you just get a cloudy workout. You’ve got to have the highs and the lows. Both are equally important.

The landmark study by Tabata that coined the term was done on elite male athletes working at 110% capacity. They were used to hard work and did 20 second work intervals and 10 seconds recovery.

You, my dear, are not male, 20, or an elite athlete (if you are, thanks for stopping by). So this formula has nothing to do with common sense or science for a beginner or a restarter unaccustomed to exercise. Rest should always be longer than exercise for a beginner. At the least it should be equal as you progress. And only after you know you’re in hormone balance would you make the rest interval shorter in duration than the work interval.

If you’re doing it, beware of form. In consecutive intervals with minimum rest your form is likely to fall apart toward the end either decreasing results or increasing injury risk.

You have too much rest between.

You do want to rest between enough for that heart rate to come down. Monitor it using a heart rate monitor (if you’ve been tested to know what it should be when you are recovered) or by your rating of perceived exertion (RPE). That is, you feel like you can do another interval full out. If you stay at that low level too long you’ve lost a little of the self-imposed stress you’re attempting with HIIT.

Not too little, not too much, but just right. You want the Goldilocks recovery.

Your intensity isn’t high enough.

It’s not a jog and a walk. If you can recite the alphabet without need for a break you’re not working hard enough. If you are capable of running faster and you’re jogging, you’re not at your HIIT. Every one can do an interval.

Being a beginner may be a limiter for stress on joints and muscles(choose activity wisely) but you can get breathless. Emphysema and asthma patients often do better with interval training.

Your “hard” interval speed or resistance will change over time. Use your perception of “hard” from say a 8 , 9 or 10/10 scale to determine how hard you’re working.

HIIT Mistakes

Your form is wrong.

If you’re doing a do as-many-repetitions-as-possible kind of interval oh, so common online and in bootcamps, you’re going to fall apart. The most common exercise used by what I call a lazy trainer? Burpees. There are half a dozen things that can go wrong in a burpee. Do them all faster and you’re on your way to injury.

After 50, if you haven’t gotten wise before it, move fast between exercises, but complete exercises with proper form. Some exercises lend themselves better to interval training than others.

You’re using weight and doing as-many-as-possible.

Danger, Will Robinson. This is a recipe for injury for two reasons. One, when momentum is emphasized form falls apart fast. Second, if you’re lifting heavy weights on other days you’re destroying your recovery. It all counts.

Just because you’re in the weight room one day and in a studio doing bootcamp (or your living room doing P90x) the next, your body doesn’t know it. If your muscle never gets time to repair and rebuild fitness can’t happen. You’re not going to boost metabolism that way. You’re breaking down your muscle. Really after 50 you can’t afford that.

You’re Doing HIIT Too Frequently For You

If you’re trying to do it every day you’re missing the balance that creates fitness. You’ve got to do some high, some moderate, and some low intensity exercise. You sprinkle those HIIT workouts in and the days between them while you’re recovering is when you get fit.

Some exercise requires recovery (HIIT) and some exercise is recovery. You can still move –and should – but lower intensity and alternative types of exercise are best between HIIT.

You hate it.

If you chose exercise for it’s fat or calorie burning reputation (you should actually choose strength training and fill in with cardio options) and you can’t see yourself doing something for life, rethink. Dreading the workout is a sure fire way to prolong the stop and start that may have made you reach for HIIT in the first place.

Any exercise mode can be interval training. Find your jam. Run, walk, row, bike, swim, dance.


HIIT Mistakes

Coming up next on the blog: FAT, FIT, HURT: IS HIIT REALLY THE BEST?

You might also like: 

Heart Pumping, Fat Burning Interval Training After 50

The Training Bible on Recovery, Intervals, and Weight Training

tropical green recovery smoothieTropical Green Recovery Smoothie

Once you start your day with a green drink you’ll never look back. Mentally I love the idea that the first thing going in is micronutrient dense veggies and naturally detoxifying ingredients. Physically it raises vibration and energy. Cognitively you never have to deal with the brain fog that carbs, chemicals, or too much coffee bring on.

Every ingredient offers something that heals, soothes, or energizes … in a vessel that tastes delicious.

This tropical green recovery smoothie offers a less ripe banana for resistant starch, mango for a bit of natural sweetness and vitamin A. Avocado adds healthy fat and reduces inflammation. I add either Blue Algae (detoxification) or super greens (with chloryphil for detox) and a big handful of spinach. Then I add vanilla Plant or Paleo Power (I love to rotate) for the muscle building amino acids (and the collagen for gut, skin, connective tissue in Paleo Power) and a serving of Fiber Boost, maca and ground flax seeds (for estrogen balance). So very good and good for you. It’s hard to beat a meal that gives you all of this and can be made in less than 3 minutes.



Blend all ingredients in a high powered blender with enough water to the thickness you like. (I like a bowl I can spoon!)

Try it? Share your results!

Leptin resistance, less discussed than insulin resistance, often exists in overweight and obese women and interferes with ability to lose weight.

Do you couch-compensate?

If you do your run, walk, zumba, do you subconsciously compensate the rest of the day with less activity?

You may be at risk if you’re in menopause. And it may be sabotaging your results.

A 2019 study shows the more women in menopause exercised the less active they were in their daily lives. Say you decide to relax on the couch instead of do housework, you enjoy a glass of wine (or two) on the deck instead of taking the stroll around the neighborhood… it all adds up.

To potentially, more weight and body fat.

In fact, it negatively affects your hormone levels, namely leptin tested in this study. Leptin is your satiety hormone, telling you to push away from the table or leave food on your plate (gasp!) because you’re done.

Leptin often misfires in overweight or obese individuals. It’s more common among those who are over-exercising yet under-moving. It’s a phenomenon likened to the all-too-common overeating but undernourished. And it’s relative. You don’t have to be a marathoner to be doing too much for you.

Not New News

Literature has long suggested that the amount of all day every day activity N.E.A.T. is more associated with overweight and obesity than is a gym or at home “workout” session. Even in gym-rats and regular exercisers. If they were more inactive the rest of the day, they are potentially doing less good than a moderate exerciser on the go all day.

Find the right dose of exercise to make you inclined to be more active all day.

Especially if you’re feeling so deserving that you overcompensate with food and or over couch-compensation, your exercise mindset can put you at risk.

How to Avoid Workout-to-Couch Trap

Track ALL your steps. Try removing your tracker when you’re exercising and compare your non-exercise activity time (N.E.A.T.) on days you exercise to days you don’t. Or to you before you start an “exercise” program to after you start an exercise program.

Mindset matters when it comes to exercise.

Is it punishment? Is it enjoyment? Is it rewarding? Are you trying to burn it off, tone it up, remove it, change it, because “it” now isn’t acceptable.

Exercise plans matters, too.

Is it an appropriate duration, frequency, intensity level for you? Is it based on your “allastatic load”? [the whole sum of stressors from all sources of life] 

It can’t be just “exercise more.” In fact, that may contribute to hormone imbalances including leptin resistance. Less exercise – but the right exercise at the right time balances hormones. Too much, the wrong kind, or too much of the wrong kind of exercise could be killing your best energy and healthy weight.

Why You Care About Leptin

Leptin messages your brain how much fat you carry. It is the satiety hormone that tells your brain you’re full when you’ve consumed enough. But it can go haywire and in many obese adults leptin resistance is common. If you have leptin resistance you have plenty of fat but your cravings are high and you burn fewer calories when you are active.

What contributes to leptin resistance?

  • High stress levels
  • Lack of sleep
  • High insulin levels (cravings>snacks>insulin>fat stores>cravings….)
  • Too much exercise (of the wrong kind at the wrong time)
  • Simple carb and sugar consumption

Solutions for leptin resistance:

  • Avoid processed foods – they cause inflammation and increase cravings
  • Avoid foods you’re intolerant to – they drive inflammation up, test don’t guess
  • Eat soluble fiber – higher fiber consumption prevents and reduces obesity
  • Exercise –do it late in the day for leptin resistance (not for all hormone balance)

You’ll boost your growth hormone by 60% with strength training than steady state exercise

You’ll double your energy expenditure from HIIT vs. continuous (steady) training

You’ve got to avoid injury and overtraining: HIIT all the time increases injury risk (there’s an upper limit)

  • Sleep – take steps to support sleep in every choice you make all day
  • Eat protein – protein and fiber together kill cravings and support fat burning
  • Stop snacking – those small meals all day don’t give your liver the break it needs
  • Lower triglycerides  – reduce carbohydrates except for resistant starches (cut sugar!)

Last, stop dieting. Focus on micronutrient density. Make every bite count. Too few, too low quality, or junk calories each starve your body or confuse it, which slows your metabolism.

Start cooking. Buy and eat real food. Meal prep in your own kitchen is inversely related to risk of obesity. [So is being slightly lesssocial, more active, and working in an active job.] Many ways to cheat the system exist today for those with time constraints.

  • already-chopped blends to start soups (onion, celery, carrots)
  • crockpot or Instant Pot
  • High-powered blenders (soups, smoothies, pesto, dips, dressings)
  • One-pan (or pot) meals made-ahead

Leptin resistance can create a vicious cycle making weight loss seem impossible. The good news is, it is reversible. Don’t rely on willpower. It’s not a discipline problem, girl. It’s literally chemical and the right steps in the right sequence can support you.

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Need support? Flipping 50’s Fit-U features an exercise program designed around fat loss and hormone balance after 50 while taking care of joint needs that are often present with extra weight. You’ll get the food and lifestyle changes right with your exercise videos weekly for 9 weeks and me – live- in your private Facebook group.

Calories burned from exercise don’t make you fit. They don’t make you thinner or happier. Especially after 50 movement and physical activity is important. However, the decades of conditioning you’ve had for counting calories in vs. calories out could backfire on your desire to be fit.

Do you need to exercise to get fit? Yes of course! For health and wellness, mentally, cognitively, and physically you need it. It’s not optional. If you want to thrive you need it. Never before has exercise been more important. Our contemporary lives make it necessary.

Yet, never before midlife have you potentially had more reason to flip the emphasis you place on exercise to something other than piling up minutes, miles, or counting calories.

Strength, stamina, muscular and lean legs and arms that we all undeniably envy don’t come from calorie counting. Not from what you take in and not from what you burn.

Why don’t calories burned from exercise matter? For several reasons:

1) Its hard to accurately count calories burned from exercise.

It’s impossibly inaccurate to predict simply based on your weight and your speed how many calories you burned.

Two women who weigh the same could both be exercising at 4.5 mph. For one that’s jogging and for the other that’s only a mildly paced walk. Are they exercising at the same intensity? No. You can imagine they’re breathing differently, right?

They are using different amounts of oxygen. Calorie burning is about use of oxygen. It’s a simple equation. For every 1 liter of oxygen consumed 5 kcals are burned. That’s only simple if we can measure it though.

Unless we actually put in you in a lab hook you up so we can measure the amount of oxygen in the air you breath in minus the air you expel we really can’t predict how much oxygen you’re consuming. Trust me, there is nothing simply about that, or comfortable.

In fact, as you dream about yourself svelte and sleek and fit, you actually drool and expel mucous into the mask as you sweat uncomfortably like a pig. Welcome to my lab. For years I taught undergraduate students how to perform this test. Recently to begin my “fittest year” I sat on the bike behind the mask – something I hadn’t done for a couple decades. It wasn’t pretty.

Fitness trackers aren’t great for everything

A prediction is pretty inaccurate. Fitness trackers get highest points for Heart Rate accuracy (But unless you know where it should be? That is not helpful! Psstt: It’s not based on your age!!!)

Fitness trackers fail pretty miserably for the most popular exercise: walking, and for those with greater body mass. Seven trackers tested (including FitBit Surge and Apple Watch) were off anywhere from 27% to 93%. So if you’ve got that tracker to tell you how many calories you’re burning so you can lose weight? It’s false information.

Might it help motivate you and see you did more in your week 4 than you could in your week 1? Yes. That’s an appropriate use. But if you are at all tempted to think calories out can be used to adjust calories in, you’re heading the wrong way. Make a u-turn.

2) Hormones, not calories determine fat burn and fat storage.

Say you’re exercising “hard” every day or just long every day. You’re potentially increasing your cortisol levels. A body under stress holds on to fat – in spite of a calorie deficit – and will not lose weight.

You may be logging lots of calories burned on your tracker but it has no way of measuring your hormone balance. You could be driving yourself into fat storage rather than fat burning if you’re increasing cortisol.

All exercise is stress. We’re made for some stress. It’s necessary for life. But fitness is about finding your goldilocks of stress, from all sources and managing that together with exercise. If you’re stress hormone levels are out of balance (too high when they should be low, too low when they should be high) you’re probably frustrated. Exercise isn’t working as you think it should.

That said, exercises that relax you, (not necessarily the same exercise that someone else will find relaxing) and support optimal cortisol levels can increase fitness by first enhancing your wellness and hormone balance. Yoga, a hike outdoors, digging in your garden… might be the jam for you. Though not notorious on the calories burned from exercise charts they may be your ticket for fitness.

3) Tracking Calories Burned and Consumed Gives a False “Freedom”

Measure calories burned from exercise and calories consumed from food and you’re in control, right? Not so fast.

Actually, this feels more like a jail. It’s as if you put yourself between these two eat less and exercise more parameters and you’ll be free. The truth is you’re bound to obsessive counting, tracking, measuring and … exhaustion. You never truly relax.

In 35 years of experience where I’ve worked with adults both through a university exercise clinic and in private settings where I oversaw over 250,000 personal training sessions in 6 years, the common theme for customers who sought and achieved weight loss, was fear.

They feared regaining the weight. Every shift of the needle by a pound or two pounds sent them to caloric restriction and exercise increase. The mythological destination of weight loss, the when-I-get-here-I’ll-be-happy NEVER happened.

Further, those who continued to eat less and exercise more often ended up with some chronic fatigue, weight regain, or return to habits that put weight on in the first place. The body will do everything it can to signal you to eat more if you’re starving it.

Starving it, that is of micronutrients. Your body’s cravings are a sign of micronutrient deficiency. When you start exercising more… you deplete micronutrients further. When you eat less, you have fewer micronutrients coming in.

That’s no conditions for fitness improvement. 

Why We Count

We do like control. So counting seems a very intuitive way to control what’s happening. Unfortunately, it’s a formula that just doesn’t work. Particularly for women with hormones wildly up and down.

Your hormones work thanks to micronutrients. You need to balance that, count the goodness going in, being absorbed and digested, along with finding an exercise and rest ratio that improves you doesn’t break you down.

Tracking calories alone (in or out) completely ignores the state of sleep deprivation, stress, or recovery your body is in. There’s no telling how ready you are for exercise or how well you’ve fueled your body to adapt positively.

There are numbers that matter. But you’re unique and no estimate at this point in time is very accurate for measuring energy expenditure (calories burned). The bigger message: knowing that still doesn’t give you the results you want.

If you’re stressed you can exercise all day and eat next to nothing (totally the WRONG approach but the one you learned years ago) and you will not improve fitness. You might just increase fatness and fatigue.

Replace your calorie counting with an emphasis on quality. Quality calories. Quality exercise. Do less exercise and eat more food. Quality matters oh, so much more than actual numbers – which are nearly impossible to know anyway.

If you can’t completely stop – or you’ve been a calorie counter for decades and it’s automatic – be mindful of the type of calories you consume and let go of thinking you’re an in/out equation.

In terms of calories expended from exercise:

A short bout of strength training won’t burn a lot of calories, but it does more to balance hormones than an hour of treadmill walking or an hour of strength training for that matter.

That old idea that you don’t have time is true if you think it takes an hour. It doesn’t. Equate an hour of slogging through exercise to a donut. Ten or twenty minutes of quality exercise could be far better for you. Equate that to a yummy piece of salmon or black bean burger topped with avocado. Calories may not be that different. But the results will be.


You might also like:

Long Workouts Don’t Work

Why This Trainer Tells Clients to Exercise Less

10 Limiting Beliefs to Dump Before Starting an Exercise Program


Hormone balancing doesn’t have to rely on bio-identical hormones. You don’t have to wonder if you can afford functional doctor or bio-identical hormones, or supplements. You first need to understand how to exercise – and support it with habits including eating the right foods at the right time. Hormone balancing gets its foundation in the habits you do daily.

Hormone balancing will be a struggle if you ignore the powerful impact your small daily habits have.

If you’ve let a cup of coffee turn into two or three…

If you’ve let your workout slide to the side in favor of working another hour…

If you’ve let sleep take the back seat to some Netflix binge…

If you’ve let a drive through or picking up food at the moment you’re already tired and cranky become a habit…

Hormone balancing is harder.

But exercise to lose fat and punish calories out of you does not work and in fact backfires for most women in midlife.

In this episode I elaborate on 10 tips for Hormone balancing that are key to the After 50 Fitness Formula for Women including:

  • Do your intense workouts early
  • Light workouts are best late
  • Restore before you do more especially if you’re in adrenal fatigue
  • Get deep sleep
  • Choose your activities for the joy not for the calories or fat burning
  • Go pro – eating a high protein meal 60-120 minutes after a tough workout

If you change the way you think about exercise you’ll better be able to support your hormone balancing.

Share your comments with me below this episode!

You may be thinking hormone balancing is something you’ve got to see a doctor for, and while a practitioner can be helpful- and necessary – YOU are your first and best ally in hormone balance.

Need support? Join the 28 Day Kickstart! Try it solo or better yet, do it with a friend!




Place the chicken in bottom of crockpot. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Add thyme and garlic. Pour the broth over the chicken. Add the carrots, onion. Cook on high for 4 hours. Add the kale in the last half hour of cooking. Season to taste and break the chicken up with a fork as much or little as you like.  Serve and keep the leftovers for lunches or freeze for busy days later.

This version fits a paleo diet but you could also add wild rice or serve over brown rice for a heartier meal.  If you’re sick this one is nice to have in the freezer. Add a sweet potato if you prefer it to gluten-free brown rice.

For kids? Use gluten-free noodles. It’s that much more similar to the old standard they’re used to. Go easy on the kale and gradually increase it for those non-veggie overs when its so easily detected!

Flip: I cheated and bought chopped onion, shredded carrots (and chopped celery) to do this once I was on my feet and able to make it to the store. This chicken soup went together super fast and I went back to reclining. Even the soothing smell of it cooking is somehow healing. Of course you can do anything in an Instant Pot but I love the slow cooking method for some things.

Make it? I’d love to hear how it went.

Chicken Soup and Recovery

A study done by my alma mater decades ago revealed Chicken Soup was as good or better than many things for recovery “drink” from exercise. So if you’re getting after it and it’s hot, humid, replenishing the sodium lost in sweat can help! I definitely resort to chicken broth in the latter hours of Ironman -but even if you’re not doing that kind of distance, chicken broth and soup are oh, so good. Bone broth is a big part of the gut-healing benefits. Whether you’re recovering from a workout or the flu, chicken soup is a winner.

So Much Nutrition in a Bowl

You’ve got options with soup. It’s so easy to change this base of chicken soup (it’s from the Double Your Energy in 14 Days guide) depending on your need. More energy? A little more potato. Evening meal for boosting sleep? The potato or rice. Making it to that quota of veggies? Add not only the kale, (spinach will do), but broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots or mushrooms.

P.S. I’m updating the DYE in 14 Days guide- if you’re seeing this in April ’19, come back in a week or two and get the up to date book!

exercise when you're sickShould You Exercise When You’re Sick?  

This winter and spring I’ve gotten this question quite a bit. I’m feeling as if I’ve done far too much research on the topic this cold and flu season for my tastes. As it is I have suspicions that a little mold and stress around the home front has contributed to my 3rd bout of sick in about 8 weeks!

Here’s the low down on whether or not to exercise when you’re sick.

“Moderate exercise has no effect on the duration or severity of the common cold.”

That came out of a study done at Ball State University. Researchers concluded that if you’re symptoms are neck up – things like sinus and nasal congestion, sore throat – exercise neither helps or hurts.

But wait a minute.

Have I influenced you enough yet? Are you asking whether that’s research that was done on peri-menopausal, menopause, or post-menopausal women? Who tend to do too much and push and push until they drop?

Well, it wasn’t. It was on male subjects average age 29.

Still, there may still be some truth to the fact that moderate- I repeat, moderate– exercise can be helpful if you just have a cold.

What works when you’re well doesn’t when you’re sick

You may do well with short HIIT when you’re well. That isn’t necessarily what will help you get well though. It’s only moderate exercise-induced that increases in stress hormones reduce excess local inflammation. In doing that you may improve your recovery from a viral infection.

Very intense exercise, including prolonged exercise, on the other hand – like HIIT or marathon running – can briefly suppress immune function. Marathon running, by the way is relative. If it feels long for you, then it’s too much.

Trying to do your long slow routine or your HIIT workout sick is more likely to prolong your illness and or weaken your immune system further. If you’re frequently sick – or injured for that matter – and you’ve been exercising a lot or increased significantly, you may have evidence you’re doing more than your body can handle.

Other rules for exercise when you’re sick

Definitely if you have the flu or fever or congestion in your chest, exercise is a bad idea. So you can let go of that guilt or thinking that you’re getting “behind” if you miss a workout.

Essentially, your body isdoing a workout. It needs to be able to dedicate all systems to that. Your immune system is working overtime to fight the infection. That is physical enough stress.

Should you sweat it out when you’re sick?

Some have the idea that they should sweat it out. Not so much. Not with exercise, nor with the sauna. A small shot of increased body temperature can help get you over a common cold but more than that could lay you flat again.

For women in midlife, already more susceptible to the negative effects of stress, exercise while sick can lead to chronic or adrenal fatigue. That kind of long-term damage lasts months or years.

If you feel weak, muscles ache, or have a fever it’s time to rest and give your body a chance to fight the infection.

Definitely not exercising can be a hard pill to swallow for some. Try to reconcile that as much as your mind may want to your body may really not have that much interest.

Exercise After You’ve Been Sick

Once you are a week past fever and chills be smart. Don’t resume where you left off.

You want to ease back into it with walks, and progress to moderate workouts. Test yourself. Know that though it may be good to do a little, your endorphins may take over and inspire you to do so much you’ll regret it.

Getting some fresh air and daily walks can be good to boost your mood and get your strength back even while you’re not fully back to yourself. Just be easy on your personal expectations!

What might help speed your recovery is Vitamin C. One study showed that even in subjects already taking a supplement, therapeutic doses at the onset of a cold, chills, and achy muscles helps the body resist inflammation and it’s also hormone regulating. Doses of 4  – 8 grams were used during the first days of illness in the studies. Increase your dose carefully.

Don’t Be That Girl

“I don’t know if I should really be here or not.” 

Said the middle aged woman checking in a Planet Fitness when I was traveling last week. Bless the young staff woman behind the desk that said what we were all thinking, “Don’t make me sick.” Exactly! If you wonder, stay home. At the least do damage to just you. Don’t spread it around.

This is just a how-to-make-friends and prevent-enemies tip. No one wants to be next to someone coughing, or endlessly blowing her nose at the gym. Then holding the same weights or the same elliptical. No thanks. So while you may feel ready for a sweat session, no one around you is ready to get their sneeze on.


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