Every Silver Lining Has A Touch of Grey: Weighing It Out As We Age

Published on: 09/20/2023
Sun peeking out from behind gray clouds
The phrase “every silver lining has a touch of grey” has multiple meanings as we age. For starters, there are the grey roots that keep coming on through no matter how often we use wonderful hair products to maintain our youthful appearances 😎. The phrase is also a reference to the awesome song “Touch of Grey” by the Grateful Dead. This phrase’s meaning is a reference to the idea that even a silver lining (a positive aspect) can be tinged with some grey (a negative aspect) when looked at more closely or deeply. This is keeping it real. There is the absolute beauty of the aging process, and there are the health challenges we face as we get older. Weight management becoming increasingly difficult as we age. It takes hard work and dedication. We are pushing back on the slowing down of our metabolism, the increasing speed at which our bodies store calories as fat, the lovely hormonal roller coaster, and the negative impact muscle loss has on our metabolism. It is exhausting just to think about it! But even with its challenges, striving for and maintaining a healthy weight is one of the very best gifts we can give to ourselves. There is so much to look forward to as we age, but the touch of grey in the silver lining is how hard it can be to maintain a healthy weight or our happy weight. When we can live our healthiest lives, we can live our happiest lives. So let’s break down what is happening and what we CAN do to try to improve our weight management and help us to age as healthfully and joyfully as possible.

How metabolism changes with age

  • Yes, the rumors are true, we do have a decreased metabolic rate as we age 🙁. Once we hit our 40s, our bodies start to naturally lose muscle mass.
  • What could muscle possibly be replaced with as we age? You guessed it/experienced it/will experience it…f’ing fat. So when you start to see fat in areas you used to have muscle, it is your body’s natural aging process. You know, it is all natural at least.🙃
  • Studies of body composition showed that during perimenopause, the rate of fat gain doubled, and lean tissue mass, started to decline.

The role of hormones and weight gain

  • Hormone production declines as we age. This may play a key role in the increased fat in our body mass and decrease in lean tissue.
  • And those stress hormones…When we are stressed, our bodies release cortisol. Too much cortisol can make metabolism slow down. That increases the risk of weight gain or makes our weight maintenance extra challenging. Stress can also make us tired and more likely to be emotional eaters.

The impact of muscle loss on metabolism

  • Muscle impacts our metabolism, or how much energy (calories) our bodies need. We lose muscle when we age, so if you keep eating the same way you did in your 20s, you are going to accumulate fat.
  • Muscle mass decreases approximately 3–8% per decade after the age of 30 and this rate of decline is even higher after the age of 60. This involuntary loss of muscle mass, strength, and function begins the age-related process of muscle loss or sarcopenia.
  • Research demonstrates how exercise, specifically anaerobic (weight lifting and strengthening) and proper nutrition can have dramatic effects on muscle mass and strength.💪🏽

OH MY…so what to do? Here are the highlights to help boost our metabolism as we age:

Muscle 
~Strength training builds cells in our muscles so that even when you’re not moving, muscle cells are burning calories. Muscle burns more calories at rest compared to fat. So get burnin’!
~TIPS: Strength train, consistently. Find the support you need to make this happen, perhaps a workout buddy, an app, a trainer, a coach, or whatever works for you. 

Hormones
~Diet and exercise can help manage symptoms of menopause, as well as our overall well-being.
~TIPS: A balanced diet (your peaceful plate), adequate intake of calcium and Vitamin D (aging gracefully), regular exercise – both strength training and cardiovascular exercises (like brisk walking, swimming, jogging, pickle ball :)).
        
Sleep
~Not the easiest thing to improve, but it is surely one of the most important
~TIPS: Prioritize getting enough sleep (7-9 hours each night) as it can help regulate hormones. 

Nutrition
~A balanced diet (your peaceful plate) -> mentioned above, but needs repeating!
~Eat nutrient-rich foods, including healthy fats.
~Be mindful of your portion sizes. Less is truly more.
~Eat breakfast every day.
~Space your calories evenly throughout the day.
~Stay well hydrated.
~Consume alcohol and caffeine in moderation.

Doing it all and still feeling stuck? Keep in mind that individual responses to diet and exercise can vary, so it is important to consult with a healthcare professional who can provide personalized advice based on your specific needs and health status. When you are working hard at losing weight, feeling you are doing all in your power but are not successful, there may be something going on in your body that is pushing back on all of your hard work. And your dietitian (that’s me 😊) is always here to support you on your path to living your best life, as your healthiest self. 

Embrace the journey. Set achievable goals. Stay positive. Be patient. Be peaceful. ☮️Lean into those around you for support and motivation. Never aim for perfection. Successful weight management is achievable with the right approach, even as we age, with a touch of grey.

🥒Veggin’ out this month, with all veggie-based recipes – enjoy! 🥒

Picture

THAI FRYIN’ TOFU NOODLES
Tofu is an excellent addition to your plate, whether you are a regular meat eater or not. Tofu contains 10 grams of protein in a 3/4-cup serving, which makes it an awesome plant protein source. Tofu provides you with a boatload of nutrition including calcium, manganese, iron, and all the essential amino acids your body needs. Whether you are already a tofu lover or never got off the fence, give this tasty and simply nutty recipe a try!INGREDIENTS
1 pound block of extra firm tofu
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
½ teaspoon sesame seeds
¼ cup peanuts, crushed 
4 green onions, chopped
8 ounces whole wheat thin spaghetti (or udon or soba (gluten-free) noodles)
PEANUT GINGER SAUCE
¼ natural peanut butter
¼ cup low-sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons honey
½ teaspoon chili paste
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
2 garlic cloves, minced
½ teaspoon fresh ginger, minced
1/2 teaspoon fresh ginger
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
Garnish: extra sesame seeds and red pepper flakes, if desired

PREPARATION
Press tofu either in a tofu press; or place on a clean kitchen towel on top and bottom of tofu block. Place a heavy pan on top (an iron cast skillet or pot is great – anything heavy). Let sit for at least 30 minutes.

Whisk all the peanut sauce ingredients together in a deep bowl until combined. Set aside until ready to use.

Slice tofu into cubes. Sprinkle tofu with red pepper flakes and sesame seeds, stirring well to get on all sides.
Preheat the air fryer for about 2 minutes at 400 degrees. Lightly spray all sides of tofu and fry for about 8 minutes, stirring twice during cooking time. 

Meanwhile, prepare the noodles according to the package directions. Drain and place in a serving bowl with prepared sauce, keeping warm. 

Add tofu, crushed peanuts, and green onions. Stir well to combine. Garnish with peanuts, green onions, red pepper, and sesame seeds, if desired. Serve with a side salad or your favorite veggie. Makes 2 servings. 


Picture

ROASTED BUTTERNUT SQUASH AND PASTA
Yes, it has been an extra plant-based month for us over here! As soon as butternut squash arrives from the farm, I am ready to embrace fall :). I tried to keep this simple for a busy weeknight with some quick cooking tips and one roasting pan for the veggies. The combination of roasted squash, shallots, garlic, and cheese, a chilled glass of white wine, even make Monday night not so bad!INGREDIENTS
2 cups peeled and chopped butternut squash (purchase pre-peeled and chopped for a time saver)
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon miso paste (red or white)
3-4 garlic cloves, peeled and minced (also can go with jarred here; about 1 ½ tablespoons)
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
½ shallot, peeled and chopped fine
6 ounces whole wheat or whole grain pasta
¼ cup fresh Pecorino Romano cheese (or Parmesan), shredded
Optional garnish: fresh parsley, balsamic glaze

PREPARATION
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. While the oven is heating, place chopped squash in a microwaveable bowl. Add olive oil, miso paste, garlic, salt, and pepper, and mix well. Cover with a microwave-safe lid and microwave for 8-10 minutes, to start to cook the squash. 

Remove from the microwave and mix in the shallots. Pour mixture onto a roasting pan and cook in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes, or until squash and shallots are lightly browned. While veggies are cooking, prepare pasta according to the package directions. 

Place the drained pasta and roasted squash mixture back into the pasta pot. Stir gently to combine. Divide the mixture into two dinner bowls. Garnish with fresh parsley, balsamic vinegar, a touch of extra cheese, and pepper, as desired. Makes two servings.


Picture

BAKERY ZUCCHINI BREAD
This is a take 2 for me, as I had created this bread years ago for a cookbook. Years later, and after many baking sessions, I cut out almost all of the sugar by adding mashed bananas and some nonfat Greek yogurt for some protein and moisture. Let’s just say the taste and consistency are some of my favorite recipe updates. 😋This could be part of your breakfast with some nut butter on top and fruit on the side or as your grain for lunch or dinner. INGREDIENTS
3 whole eggs (or egg substitutes if preferred)
2 overripe bananas, mashed
¼ cup light brown sugar
½ cup unsweetened applesauce
½ cup Greek yogurt, plain, nonfat or low-fat
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups grated zucchini (about 1 large or 2 small)
1 cup white flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
½ teaspoon cinnamon
Nonstick cooking spray

PREPARATION
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Spray 2 medium-loaf pans with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.

Using an electric mixer, beat eggs in a large mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Add mashed bananas, brown sugar, applesauce, yogurt, and vanilla. Mix on low for about 1 minute. Stir in zucchini. Sift the flour, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon into a small bowl. Slowly add to wet mixture, mixing until well combined. 

Pour mixture evenly into the 2 prepared loaf pans. Bake for 35-38 minutes. Cool and slice into 12 slices per pan. Makes 24 (1-slice) servings.


Once in a while you can get shown the light, in the strangest of places if you look at it right

Scarlet Begonias — The Grateful Dead

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

MEET THE AUTHOR
Jacqui portrait

With a longstanding dedication to healthy cooking and eating, I promote nutrition with a rebellious twist: the belief that perfection is not required for success on your wellness journey. 

Learn More

VIEW CATEGORIES
DOWNLOAD MY FREE MEAL PLANNING GUIDE 
Jacqui portrait

Unique Insights and Tools for Meal Planning Harmony

Download the free guide

VIEW RECENT POSTS

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This