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So I formulate a plan to really buckle down and get serious: I will eat my burgers on lettuce leaves instead of buns, spiralize zucchini in place of pasta, and abstain when we take the boys to the ice cream shop. I will give up cheese. I will stop making homemade bread. And pie. I will strip my diet of all starches and sugar. Maybe I will go Paleo. Or vegan. I'll do that Gwyneth Paltrow cleanse. And start recording every morsel that passes my lips with one of those calorie-tracking apps.
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VB6, the term popularized by food luminary Mark Bittman, encourages eating only vegan foods and meals until 6 p.m. This translates to a higher intake of fiber-rich, plant-based foods throughout the day. (Think walnut-topped oatmeal for breakfast rather than eggs and bacon.) Considering that the average American consumes only half of the daily recommended intake of fiber, that’s a win!
"The main culprit that slows metabolism and often leads to yo-yo dieting is what I call shrinking muscle syndrome," says Caroline Apovian, MD, director of the Nutrition and Weight Management Center at Boston Medical Center and the author of The Overnight Diet: The Proven Plan for Fast and Permanent Weight Loss. Starting at age 30, most people begin to lose about half a pound of the metabolism-revving tissue each year. Poof! Gone, just like that. And at age 50, the rate doubles. "The average sedentary woman may have lost nearly 15 pounds of muscle by the time she reaches her late 50s, a change that could cause her to gain nearly the same amount in body fat," says Wayne Westcott, PhD, a Prevention advisory board member and the director of fitness research at Quincy College in Massachusetts.
It isn’t so much the metabolism slowing in my 50’s as it is the bad habits associated with youth. A box of Mac and Cheese was not a bad choice when competitive and highly active, I needed the carbs. But the mindset that a full box is a single sized serving remains despite the slow down in activity and metabolism. That’s where the real challenge lies. Too many years of eating rabbit food only after it was processed into a rabbit (or steer preferrably) with potato or corn as the only acceptable vegetable.
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