April 6, 2010

Turtles and Hormones

Does anyone know exactly how slow a turtle moves?

According to The Physics Factbook, in a speed test a giant male tortoise could only move 15 feet in 43.5 seconds despite the allure of a female! That is one motivated turtle, but he's still VERY slow!

One adult wood turtle covered a distance of 450 feet in 25 minutes. No curvy sweet smelling shell waiting to reward him.

And, a migrating bog turtle traveled just 56 feet in a day and took two weeks to cross a meadow 600 feet wide. That's a lot of rose-smelling, don't ya think?

Okay, why the fascination with turtles? Because, evidently, I have morphed into one, at least where weight loss is concerned.  Thirteen pounds down in 3 months...not exactly what I was hoping for. But, giving up is simply NOT an option. Even if I move like a migrating bog turtle, the journey is reaping rewards all along the way, and by golly I am determined to enjoy every last minute!

One very probable cause of my new turtle speed is that my female hormones are playing around instead of doing what they've always done, work hard in the background without me noticing. Estrogen is dropping sharply, I haven't had a period since mid-January, and my body is doing exactly what it is supposed to do in that environment...hold on to fat in order to protect my bones. Who knew?

So, after doing some research on how to battle through lower estrogen production and win this battle with fat, I've created a new plan. Whether or not you are in the same age bracket as me, these are ALL very helpful and healthful tips to train our bodies to cooperate with our weight loss efforts and goals.

Reduce Sugar.
Not just the white or brown granules, but also foods that turn to sugar at a speedy-as-a-hare rate....white bread, white flour, and anything made with those substances. Also, cutting way back on any grains, even healthy whole grains because when you look at the glycemix index chart, whole grains are still one of the quickest carbs to metabolize into sugar. And, sugar causes insulin to be released. And excess insulin makes us fat and keeps us fat.

This doesn't mean I can never have sugar or whole grains. It just means that they need to be treated differently. I love how The Zone program handles whole grains....like a condiment!  Since totally eliminating sugar and whole grains is a DRASTIC move (and since turtles don't do anything drastic), I won't be doing that unless some medical condition demands it. (After all, I'm a turtle, right?) But, I CAN begin to look at them like a condiment.

Eat foods that balance estrogen.
Broccoli, cauliflower, kale, brussel sprouts. I can handle the first three, but you won't be smelling brussel sprouts in my house anytime soon!

Also, though there seems to be controversy surrounding it, soy-based products historically have been shown to balance progesterone and estrogen. I will be doing more research on foods that can actually act like medicine to help with this very normal stage of life I'm in right now. Any ideas or sites I can start with?

Nothing terribly intense or over the top...30 minutes of walking/jogging/running each day and 20-30 minutes of strength training 2-3 times a week. Strength training, while so very important for women at any age, is particularly essential for women over 50 when muscle and bone density naturally decrease. Exercise can help, interestingly enough, to replenish.

The experts agree that we should be drinking the equivalent of our weight divided by two in ounces of water every day. That means if someone weighs more than 128 pounds, the typical 8 - 8 oz glasses a day is simply not enough. The benefits of drinking adequate water is well documented, and there are a couple of those benefits that women over 50 definitely need:  improvement with our metabolism, lubrication of our joints and regulation of body temperature.

Pretty simple stuff. I love that it's so simple. Turtles like simplicity. :)

I know there is much more to learn, and would love to hear what you all have heard and learned. Even if you are under 50 (and many of my readers are), what advice would you give me to get my weight loss moving again?

Still workin' it,


  1. I take soy isoflavins to help with the drop in hormones every month. They help with moodiness--I've noticed a large help with my moods since going on them in january. I've also heard that women in countries that eat large portions of soy products do not have menopause issues like we do in the US. fact? fiction? don't know. But worth checking into! So maybe the soy will help with more than moods?

  2. wow, i'm a vegetarian, and i was just reading that eating soy is really bad. here's an example of what i found: http://www.soyonlineservice.co.nz/03summary.htm. it seems to me that as soon as you start researching anything about food and eating there's so much contradictory information that it's hard to know which end is up. ugh.

    good luck to you cheryl. i really admire the way you're hanging in there even though the results have not been what you hoped for so far. you're my hero.

  3. Very interesting! Remember that slow and steady wins the race. Studies show time and time again that slow loss is more likely to stay off! But I know it is still frustrating. Sometimes when I plateau I actually add food in for a day or two to increase calories. I think sometimes my body slows my metabolism in response to my dieting, thinking I am going to starve it. So mixing things up can often get the scale moving again for me.

  4. Be proud of the 13 pounds lost! That's a great accomplishment! My best advice: Eat when you're hungry (tummy growling hungry) and stop immediately when you're full....doesn't matter how much is left on the plate! Your body knows exactly how much it needs. Hang in there!

  5. Even though my female hormones aren't too way out of whack (yet!), your advice is exactly what I need to be following and I too have learned that from experience. Doing that on vacation has been tough...but at home, I can do it easily if I put my mind to it!

    You will get there...migrating bog turtle pace or not!

  6. I am not sure what my hormones are doing any more since my hysterectomy over a year ago, I certainly know that they are affecting my body.

    I also ran out of my Medifast bars this week and spent a good deal of time reading the labels on higher protein bars in Walmart yesterday. In most cases, it seems the higher the proteins, the higher the sugars (not just carbs, but SUGARS). Shopping takes much longer now. BTW, the South Beach chocolate peanut butter bars won second place to the Medifast bars with 15g of protein, 6g fat, 6g suger, and 180 calories.
    Special K protein plus cereal won in that category.


  7. Not too sure what to think of soy. That article Terri shared is pretty scary.

    The simplicity of eating when hungry and stopping immediately when full...that is attractive to me. One of the BEST results of the last three months is that I now actually crave salads!

    Thanks, everyone.

  8. I feel the same about the brussel sprouts!

    You are doing a great job. Great info!


  9. I can totally relate to your post Cheryl! Thanks for the great info!
    Amanda :)