Dear Fitness Coach,
I have been trying to shed 15 pounds since my early 20s - I am 38 - and it just seems that my body refuses to let go of them as it is a constant battle. I am 165 pounds and would be very happy with 150. Should I just give up and be accepting of my muffin top?
You are not imagining it: Research has shown that your body has a certain weight set point and will defend this weight to the end. This is why you cannot seem to dip below 165. It doesn’t mean that it cannot be done, it’s just that it will take some extra effort!
To give you an idea why it seems you cannot lose the weight, you can most likely blame your hormones. They determine how hungry you are, how quickly you feel full and even how often you binge. The leptin hormone is produced by your fat cells and helps with appetite control. The grehlin hormone determines when you are hungry. Cortisol hormone is released under stressful situations and makes you crave high-sugar and high-fat foods (comfort foods).
However, you have more control over these surging hormones than you think. Healthy eating and exercise, which includes resistance training and cardio, will help regulate these hormonal fluctuations and rev up your metabolism. Following a low-sugar/high-fiber/moderate protein eating plan will reduce cravings and help you feel fuller longer. Exercise will help reduce your cortisol hormone and manage stress better. Plan on reducing your caloric intake by 500 calories a day, and you should be on track to lose those 15 pounds within 3 months.