Women's Health

By Gary Brown

November 16, 2007 9 min read


Exercise, nutrition tips for a changing metabolism

By Gary Brown

Copley News Service

The book remains a nutritional text for women but its subject has become less a simple diet and more a plan for a lifestyle.

"The Woman's Day Guide to Lasting Weight Loss" (Filipacci, $17.95) offers, as its subtitle promises, "10 Simple Steps to a Healthier You at Any Stage of Life."

Author Kathy Keenan Isoldi espouses what has become known as a Mediterranean diet.

"Recent research supports that eating a Mediterranean-like diet can improve weight loss results and aid weight loss maintenance," said Isoldi. "Additionally, the benefits of increased longevity and decreased disease risk associated with following a Mediterranean-like diet has a long scientific history.


The main components of the diet include increased intake of fruits and vegetables, increased intake of healthy nonsaturated fats (avocado, nuts, seeds, olives, olive and canola oil) and an emphasis on eating whole grains. These are the foods that form the foundation of the Woman's Day guide."

The book attempts to address what many other diets don't acknowledge, the author said - that a woman's metabolism varies as part of a changing cycle of life. It addresses the weight concerns of women at such stages in life as the college, new mother, and post-menopausal periods.

"Women have different concerns when it comes to losing weight," said Isoldi. "Hormonal shifts, childbirth and menopause are just a few of the many biological differences that make it more difficult for women to achieve and maintain a healthy weight. Additionally, women juggle many roles in life and require very specific and practical guidance to detour them around the many obstacles they face in maintaining a healthier lifestyle."


Exercise is emphasized in the Woman's Day guide. While women can lose weight without exercising, the author acknowledges, they likely have a better chance at maintaining that weight with an active lifestyle.

"There are so many benefits to adding more exercise into your life, and you don't have to join a gym or buy expensive equipment to reap these rewards," said Isoldi. "Try to walk a bit more each day, take the stairs instead of the elevator and cook your own dinner instead of buying take-out foods."

Isoldi said that seniors face even more problems attempting to maintain weight because of their decreasing metabolism and increasingly sedentary lives.

"Women who are over 65 years of age have a much lower metabolism than women in their 40s or 50s," the author explained. "The reduced metabolic rate is mostly due to a loss of muscle mass. Additionally, as women age they are more likely to succumb to an illness that will interfere with daily activity. Therefore, the bottom line is that seniors burn fewer calories every day.

"Many seniors have spent their early years being very busy and now they find they have too many free hours. Eating during those free hours can lead to unwanted weight gain. Planning alternatives to eating from boredom and matching physical activity with ability aid seniors in maintaining a healthier weight."


Isoldi, who has written articles for Parenting magazine and is a contributing editor to Woman's Day, includes both activity advice and recipe suggestions to her book, which also includes an exercise log, daily menus, a food intake work sheet, weight loss graph and a progress report page.

"Losing weight, improving your health and, in the process, changing your outlook on life is a journey," she writes. "Like all journeys, it is best embarked on with a plan - a road map of sorts."

- - -


For those in later years:

- Choose activities that help reduce stress and increase your physical activity level during and after menopause.

- Recognize that aging can cause a loss of muscle mass, so your body requires fewer calories to maintain the same body weight.

- From "The Woman's Day Guide to Lasting Weight Loss"


- More than one out of every two women, or 61.8 percent of women over 20 years of age, are overweight or obese.

- There are 127 million Americans who are overweight; 60 million Americans are obese; 9 million Americans are severely obese.

- The number of individuals who suffer from being overweight or obese now exceeds the number of those who are starving. Globally, there are 800 million individuals who are starving and 1 billion who are overweight or obese.

Source: "The Woman's Day Guide to Lasting Weight Loss"


1 1/4 pound salmon fillet, patted dry

1/8 teaspoon onion powder


2 teaspoons canola oil

1/2 cup chopped onion

2 garlic cloves, chopped

1/2 red bell pepper, chopped

20 pitted small green olives, sliced

6 sundried tomato pieces, sliced

Yields 4 servings.

Remove broiler pan; coat pan with nonstick spray. Heat broiler. Measure salmon at thickest part.

Place salmon on middle of sprayed rack; sprinkle with onion powder.

Broil 10 minutes per inch of thickness.

Meanwhile, prepare salsa. Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic; saute for 2 minutes. Add red bell pepper; cook 3 minutes. Add olives and sundried tomatoes; simmer on low heat 3 minutes.


1 1/2 pounds small red potatoes (about 16)

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

1/4 cup fresh parsley

1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon

1/4 teaspoon onion powder

Salt and pepper

Yields 4 servings.

Wash and scrub potatoes and place in a large saucepan with cold salted water to cover. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat and simmer briskly until potatoes are fork-tender

Drain potatoes, cut into quarters and return to the saucepan.

Add oil, basil, parsley, tarragon and onion powder and toss well. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and toss again.


1/2 cup dry pearled barley

1 cup boiling water

2 teaspoons olive oil

1 yellow onion, chopped (about 1 cup)

2 (28-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes

4 cups nonfat milk

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1/3 cup chopped fresh basil

Salt and pepper

Yields 10 cups.

Rinse barley in cold water and place in small bowl. Add boiling water, cover and let stand for 30 minutes.

Heat oil in medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook, stirring, until golden brown, about 3 minutes.

Drain barley and add to pan along with tomatoes. Simmer over low heat for 30 minutes, stirring often.

In separate medium saucepan, add 3 3/4 cups milk and heat slowly over low heat. Whisk the remaining 1/4 cup milk with flour. Add flour mixture to heated milk in pan. Continue to heat slowly over low heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Do not bring to a boil.

Stir milk mixture into tomato/barley mixture. Stir in basil, season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.


2 teaspoons olive oil

1 large yellow onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, chopped

8 cups water

2 to 4 chicken or vegetable bouillon cubes

2 cups small broccoli florets

2 cups baby carrots, sliced crosswise

1 1/2 cups thinly sliced celery

1 cup green beans, rinsed and cut in half

2 medium bell peppers (1 red, 1 yellow), quartered lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise

Salt and pepper

Yields 10 cups.

Heat oil in large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring until golden, about 3 minutes.

Add water, bouillon cubes and vegetables and bring to a boil.

Simmer until vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

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