Women and Weight

How to lose pounds and maintain your weight loss

March 2011

During a recent online health chat, a woman voiced a familiar concern. “The older I get,” she wrote, “the harder it is to lose or even maintain my weight. What can I do?”

The woman posed her question to Margaret McKenzie, MD, a staff physician at the Center for Specialized Women’s Health in Cleveland Clinic’s OB/GYN & Women’s Health Institute.

Dr. McKenzie responded with an explanation of why this was happening and what to do about it. Here’s what she said.

Dr. McKenzie’s Response

We have three things working against us:

  • Our genes (what family members look like as they age)
  • Our habits (the poor food choices or portion sizes we have gotten used to) 
  • Our slowing metabolic rate (we can't use up food fast enough, so our bodies store the excess calories)

Therefore, our approach has to be threefold.

First, if you have family members with weight issues, pay attention and note that this will be your tendency. So start with good habits early.

Second, we can no longer have the luxury of eating anything we want. We have to make choices about the number of calories we consume daily, and how and when we consume carbs as well as the amount of fat we consume.

Third, we have to move. Tailored regular exercise helps us to use up excess calories and stop the storage.

Once we lose the weight, we have to then stick to an approach or program to keep it off. This is the hardest part, so getting a good support system like friends and family to verbally keep you on track when you are regaining, cheating, etc. will help you stay on target.

Journaling and paying attention to everything you consume daily is very helpful as well as making exercise as regular as brushing your teeth: first thing in the morning and don't leave home without doing it!

Keeping track daily also helps me. I simply pinch my waist skin daily to keep track if I am gaining there again.

Weighing every day initially helps as well, until you get your hands around keeping the weight off long term.

The old rule still holds true: "Balance what goes in (meaning into our mouths) with what we work off (in the form of exercise).”

Learn More

Want to hear more from Dr. McKenzie? Read the full transcript of the August health chat online. Dr. McKenzie is one of many Cleveland Clinic physicians who make themselves available periodically to respond to health concerns online.

Check out the upcoming schedule as well as other chats related to nutrition and keeping your New Year’s weight loss resolution

To make a gift supporting the OB/GYN & Women’s Institute or any area of Cleveland Clinic, visit our secure giving site or call Institutional Relations and Development at 216.444.1245 or toll-free at 800.223.2273, ext. 41245.

Related Links

Cleveland Clinic Mobile Site