How I accidentally lost 11 pounds during perimenopause by eating MORE!

Yes, you read that right! I lost 11 pounds -totally by accident- and that during perimenopause (I am 47)- where our hormones are going crazy and it is often much harder to lose weight. Yes, I lost that weight by eating MORE! Can you believe it? I still can not believe it myself!

I did not plan to lose weight! I was actually happy with my weight and my looks! However, there was one thing I did not like: my flabby arms! I was not happy with them and felt like they made me look older and the thing is: I am going for over 10 years 2x a week to a class called “Bodypump by Les Mills”. I absolutely love this class (a 55-minute barbell workout focusing on every muscle group: squats, deadlifts, clean and presses, lunges and bicep curls). It did not make sense to me, that my arms did not look very toned after all this time! I am lifting weights for so many years and I did not see some sort of muscle definition? 

Now, don’t get me wrong: I do not want to have muscle definition like a man. But… Jillian Michaels is my idol lol. I want her arms! 

So, I researched how to get more toned and more muscle definition and I found out that nutrition plays a huge role in this. I needed to increase my protein intake! Massively! I also found out that as we get older our muscle mass decreases and our organ tissue, blood components, and immune bodies decline all due to the lack of protein! Protein can help all of that!

I need to eat more protein!

The research was clear to me: I needed more protein in my body for so many reasons! I downloaded the MyFitnessPal App to keep track of my protein intake. For 2 weeks I just ate my regular food to track my macros (a term that was totally new to me) and my protein intake. I realized I wasn’t eating enough protein (even though I ate daily chicken or fish)- I ate only around 50-60g of protein/day. 

I am eating too much fat!

So, while increasing my protein intake, I quickly realized one thing: I apparently ate- while eating overall a healthy and balanced diet- way too much fat! This stems from me being on Keto many years ago (which I blogged about 2015): I lost the fear of fat as I experienced you can lose weight while eating fat. Problem is: if you start eating carbs again, you can not eat that much fat anymore lol. I also kept a constant fear of carbs from that keto time- which now I do not have that issue anymore! In fact: I eat more carbs than 3 months ago!

Up until 3 month ago I used to have 2 cups of coffee with heavy whipping cream in the morning (6 tablespoons contain 300 calories and 30 g fat! Today I only eat around 60 g fat in 1 day), often times I included an avocado for breakfast (I mean they are healthy, however, they are so fat lol- 1 medium avocado contains 21 g fat and a large one 30 g of fat, so I used to easily eat in 1 breakfast my daily allowance of fat- not even mentioning the butter that I put on my slice of bread lol) and in the evening I had often tons of almonds (easily like 30 almonds- makes 18 g of fat- nuts are like pure fat lol)  and cheese (clearly pure fat lol!). Wow, I can not even believe how much fat I used to eat! Avocados, nuts and cheese are healthy choices but MODERATION is key! And I was definitely missing moderation with these food items lol.

How much protein should I eat?

There are lots of different recommendations on how much protein you should take. The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for protein is a modest 0.36 grams per pound of your body weight. However, age also plays a role and we need more as we age and even more if we want to gain muscles! I like the approach from bodybuilders a bit more, which is basically 1 gram protein per pound of your body weight (some eat even more). 

I started to eat 100 g of protein in the beginning but then learned about macros (use the macro calculator!). I adjusted my macros in the MyFitnessPal App to 40 % Carbs, 30% Fat, 30% Protein. The MyFitnessPal App makes it so easy and calculates then everything for you! The numbers will also change according on how active you were. It is pretty crazy. The App is connected with my Health App which collects the data from my Apple watch and knows if I worked out (even what I did). It adjusts accordingly and increases my protein goal when I did my Bodypump class for example. I easily eat on those days 160g of protein now (vs 50-60 g of protein/day prior to starting this).

Here is an example where I ate 2115 calories on Sunday (and 165 g protein)!

Here you can see that it gave me 355 extra calories because of my workout.

My breakfast

My lunch

My dinner

I ate 165 g of protein!

What I eat in a day!

For breakfast I usually have a slice of bread (from the Lidl bakery of course) with some butter, 2 fried eggs, a tomato (or cucumber or cherry tomatoes or any fruit or veggie) and 2 cups of coffee with almond milk (no more heavy whipping cream lol).

Here you can see a couple examples of what I am eating! I basically cook all my meals!

For lunch and dinner I have: 
  • 1 source of protein (such as chicken, salmon, tuna, tilapia, shrimp, mussels, steak)
  • 1 source of carbs (usually a potato or jasmin rice, sometimes asian style egg noodles or even tortellonis lol)
  • Either a salad or vegetables

I always switch my meals up, so I don’t get bored. If for example I had chicken for lunch, I won’t have it for dinner.

I used to eat only around 1400-1500 calories a day. My husband always used to say that I don’t eat enough and I should actually be super thin lol  (more often than not I was not eating dinner but instead snacked on nuts and cheese with a glass of wine- basically I ate fatty nuts with fatty cheese and a high calorie drink- much worse than eating chicken, potato and vegetables) Today I eat 1800-2000 calories a day! I am so satisfied and happy.

I increased the amount of protein I eat a day and decreased the amount of fat that I used to eat. Again: I did this only to tone my arms (but of course legs, butt etc is fine by me too lol). But after a couple of weeks eating like that, I realized that I was losing weight, slowly but surely! 

That was such a big eye opener! I honestly thought this is crazy! I am increasing the calories I am eating and losing weight? How is that possible? 

My progress!

I also go now 3x instead of 2x to my Bodypump class and I am constantly trying to increase my weights on my barbell when I feel like it got too easy (for years I was using the same weights). I am super happy with my progress! I feel like I have the body I used to have 15 years ago and all that kind of by accident, no starving, no dieting, no hunger! I truly enjoy my meals and I am so happy about eating THE RIGHT THINGS FOR MY BODY! I feel so full of energy and healthy.

My gym has this InBody Scale that can measure your body fat etc and I gained 2.2 lb skeletal muscle mass and dropped 8.6 lb body fat mass. 

However, I do not find it always easy to eat 160g of protein everyday and find I have to supplement with protein powder and sometimes I reach for a protein bar (I like these) to reach my goal. I am currently using this powder and I like that it also contains creatine which helps maintain a continuous energy supply to your muscles during intense lifting or exercise, increases muscle growth and speeds up muscle recovery.

So, what about my arms? They have definitely improved. Less fat, less flab, more definition, yes, more toned. I am maybe no Jillian Michaels yet, but I am on my way. ;-)

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