Carrie was forty-eight years old when she started my plan because she wanted to lose about 20 pounds. Although she had once been very active, jogging and going to weekly yoga and dance classes, she had become fairly sedentary in the last seven years. Carrie was especially concerned about the amount of fat she had gained in her abdominal area because she had read about the health risks associated with abdominal fat. She wanted to halt the trend of her fat gain before it became a serious problem.
Carrie was in for some unpleasant surprises. While no one would have considered a 5-foot 8-inch-tall woman to be obese at 158 pounds, Carrie discovered that she had a body fat percentage of 34.5, which put her into a high-risk classification. She thought she knew a lot about good nutrition, but when we evaluated what she was eating, we saw that she was trying to eat mostly vegetarian meals and not doing a very good job of balancing out the three food groups. Her diet consisted mainly of salads mixed with small amounts of tuna, cheese, breads, too many desserts, and pasta, with an occasional chicken breast or omelet thrown in for good measure. When I explained to her why she should be eating 30 percent acceptable fats, 40 percent low-glycemic carbohydrates, and 30 percent lean protein, it was a revelation. She had been suffering from frequent colds and flu and didn't realize how she was compromising her immune system by eating only small amounts of protein.
Since Carrie had stopped jogging to save her joints and had moved away from the city where her dance classes were located, she had stopped exercising except for walking about four times per week. She had read enough to know that if she continued on her present path, her health would deteriorate when she entered menopause, so she was determined to change her lifestyle, eating habits, and approach to exercise.
Carrie's lipid profile was actually pretty good. Her total cholesterol was 193, her LDL was 102, her HDL was 70, her triglycerides were 96, and her glucose was 99. But everything is relative. I have noticed several things over the last two decades. People who are approaching middle life and rapidly gaining fat in the abdominal area, especially women, are not going to have a good lipid profile for long. Carrie's high body fat and her low metabolism from poor nutrition and little exercise were about to tip the scales toward higher cholesterol and triglycerides. With the gain in fat around her waist, she was definitely headed for a reverse fat pattern. I have also noticed that people like Carrie who have acceptable cholesterol and triglycerides even though they carry a large amount of body fat should really have superior lipid values, not just good or borderline values. In Carrie's case, we saw how true this was because her values dropped significantly with weight loss.
As soon as Carrie began to follow a nutritionally balanced, low-glycemic food plan and my program of resistive exercise and interval training, she began to lose fat dramatically. After four weeks on my Fat-Burning Metabolic Fitness Plan, her scale weight was 149 pounds, her body fat was 27.8, her total cholesterol had dropped to 174, her LDL was 114, her HDL was 48, her triglycerides were 60, and her glucose was 103. After twelve weeks on my program, she saw even more dramatic changes. Her weight dropped to 136 pounds and her body fat to 20.5 percent. This represents a loss of 22 scale pounds but actually works out to a loss of 26.7 pounds of fat and a gain of 5.8 pounds of lean muscle. So in just twelve weeks Carrie exceeded her original goal.
When she had her blood work redone, she was astonished to see that her total cholesterol had dropped further to 137, her LDL to 61, her HDL had risen to 66, her triglycerides had dropped to 52, and her glucose to 84. Few people can brag of having an LDL lower than their HDL. Her numbers were as good as those of any Olympic athlete.
With a body fat percentage of 20.5, Carrie had dropped from a size 12 dress to a size 6. She told me, "I had no idea that eating and exercising right would make such a dramatic difference." Whenever someone in her family comes back from their yearly physical with high cholesterol and triglycerides, she tells them about my program. Recently she told me, "My brother in Pennsylvania called and said that he had been to his doctor. He had gained 30 pounds, his triglycerides were 300, and his cholesterol was 323. I read him the riot act! Then I went right down the list with him, coaching him with everything you had taught me and promising to send him a copy of your books Lose Your Love Handles and Maximum Energy for Life. Yesterday he called me back and told me that he had lost 16 pounds, his triglycerides had dropped to 156, and his cholesterol was now 232, just from following your program. Thank you, Mackie."
Carrie was smart enough to recognize that her fat was rapidly migrating from below the belt up to her midsection. Even though her body fat was getting very high, she caught herself before she developed serious health problems. She is now on my maintenance plan and feels great. A few months ago she told me that she had just celebrated her fiftieth birthday. "I may have hit the big five-oh, but I feel better now than I ever have in my life. What a great way to make my debut into middle age."
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If you’re overweight, you are not a bad person. You’re simply overweight. But it’s important to lose the extra pounds so you’ll look good, feel healthier and develop a sense of pride and self-esteem. Once you’ve lost the fat, you’ll need to maintain your weight.