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Since You Asked: How Can I Lose Fat and Maintain Muscle?

Muscle is important to our healthspan. Susan shares tips on maintaining health and strength while losing weight

Dear Susan,
I want to lose fat and maintain muscle mass. My question is: Is there a way to eat for weight loss while preserving muscle mass?

A reader who wants her cake and eat it too

Dear reader,
Ah, this is a weighty matter (puns, I love them): shedding pounds while clinging to those precious muscles like a toddler to a pacifier. Fear not, midlife fitness seeker, for the answer to “can I lose fat and maintain muscle” lies in the magical world of macronutrition! Grab your calculators and protein shakes, because we’re about to get nerdy.

First off, let’s get one thing straight: your muscles are like divas. They need constant attention, specifically in the form of protein. Most people do not consume adequate amounts of protein. In fact, the older we are, the more protein we need. To maintain your muscle mass while you’re trying to send those extra pounds packing, you need to eat enough protein to keep your muscles happy and singing show tunes. The other beautiful thing about protein is that it makes you feel less hungry, especially if you are in a calorie deficit.

The Protein Principle

Here’s the science: to preserve muscle while losing fat, aim to consume about 1.2 to 2.2 grams of protein per kilogram of your body weight per day. Yes, it sounds like a lot, but your muscles are worth it!

Step-by-Step Macro Magic:

  1. Calculate Your Body Weight in Kilograms: If you’re not on the metric train yet, take your weight in pounds and divide by 2.2. Voilà! Kilograms! Weight (kg)=Weight (lbs) ÷ 2.2.
  2. Determine Your Protein Needs: Multiply your weight in kilograms by the protein factor (1.2 to 2.2 grams). Protein (grams)=Weight (kg)×(1.2 to 2.2). For example, if you weigh 70 kg (about 154 lbs), you should aim for: 70×1.2=84 grams (minimum); 70×2.2=154 grams (maximum).
  3. Spread It Out: Divide your protein intake across your meals to keep your muscles well-fed throughout the day. Aim for at least 20-30 grams of protein per meal.

Balancing Act: Macros

While protein is the star of the show, don’t forget about your other macronutrient friends: carbohydrates and fats. Balance is key!

  • Carbs: Provide energy for workouts, helping to spare that muscle mass. Choose complex carbs like whole grains, veggies, and fruits.
  • Fats: Essential for hormone production and overall health. Think avocados, nuts, and olive oil.

Exercise: Lift and Sweat

Incorporate resistance training (lifting weights or bodyweight exercises) to signal to your body that those muscles are needed. Combine this with some cardio to keep your heart healthy and assist in fat loss. Muscle is one of the key factors in longevity and quality of life!

Final Note

Remember: it’s a marathon, not a sprint. Gradual weight loss of about 0.25kg per week is ideal, the slower the better. Weight loss shouldn’t be a “quick fix.” The focus should be on improving healthspan. And always consult with a healthcare or nutrition professional before making significant changes to your diet or exercise routine. Reach out to me if you need more information on coaches.

So, gear up, eat smart, and let those muscles shine as you trim down. Your future self will thank you, and your muscles will sing your praises in perfect harmony! And in all truth, if you follow a macronutrition plan, you actually can have your cake and eat it too!!! 

See medical disclaimer below. ↓


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The ideas expressed here are solely the opinions of the author and are not researched or verified by AGEIST LLC, or anyone associated with AGEIST LLC. This material should not be construed as medical advice or recommendation, it is for informational use only. We encourage all readers to discuss with your qualified practitioners the relevance of the application of any of these ideas to your life. The recommendations contained herein are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. You should always consult your physician or other qualified health provider before starting any new treatment or stopping any treatment that has been prescribed for you by your physician or other qualified health provider. Please call your doctor or 911 immediately if you think you may have a medical or psychiatric emergency.

Susan Guidi
Susan Guidi has been the owner of Advanced Ultrasound Services for more than 25 years. She is a pioneer in diagnostic ultrasound technology. Susan trained at John Hopkins Hospital. She taught some of the first courses in ultrasound in Chile and then received her master’s degree in Paris, France. She is a mother of 3 and grandmother of 7. In her spare time Susan is a standup comedian and improv artist. At 65 she became a bodybuilder and motivational speaker. Last year at 66 she produced, wrote and performed her One Woman Show, "What if Wonder Woman was 66."


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