Author Archives: Jennifer Tempest, FNP

About Jennifer Tempest, FNP

Nurse Practitioner A native of Michigan, she received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Oakland University and a Master’s of Science in Nursing from the University of Michigan. She started her career working in a step-down cardiac unit then discovered her enthusiasm for women’s health care after transferring to a labor and delivery and postpartum nurse. Jennifer has always been passionate about promoting health and wellness for women at all stages of life. She loves educating others and has a special interest in contraception management, wellness and nutrition as well as weight loss. Jennifer loves to spend time outdoors paddle boarding or hiking with her significant other and their adorable Boston Terrier, Tucker. She loves to travel and has been to places as remote as Iceland, and additionally has visited five states while working as a traveling nurse. Jennifer enjoys various podcasts and feels it is important to continuously learn and grow both personally and professionally.

The Facts About Metabolism and Weight Loss

The Facts About Metabolism and Weight Loss

You’ve probably heard that your metabolism dictates how much weight you’ll lose, or how successful you’ll be at staying in shape. But is this just a false assumption, or is it true? Does metabolism actually matter in weight loss?
It’s true that metabolism can have an impact on your weight. However, despite popular belief, there are many additional factors that go into your personal ability to lose weight.

What Is Metabolism?

Metabolism is a complex chemical process that converts what you eat and drink into energy. Your metabolism is what fuels the energy for your basic bodily functions, like blood circulation or breathing. Metabolism, or your metabolic rate, is how fast or slow your body burns calories, even while at rest.

Our metabolic rate is partially determined by our genetics. This means that a large portion of it is out of your control.

Factors that affect your metabolic rate are:

Your Sex

When compared to individuals in similar age and weight groups, males typically have less body fat and more muscle mass than females. This means that males usually burn more calories. [1]Buchholz, A. C., Rafii, M. Pencharz, P. B. (2001). Is resting metabolic rate different between men and women?.The British journal of nutrition, 86 (6), 641–646.https://doi.org/10.1079/bjn2001471

Your Body Composition

Individuals with larger body compositions and higher muscle mass have a faster metabolic rate than individuals with smaller bodies.

Your Age

As we grow older, we tend to gain more weight from fat and lose our overall amount of muscle. This can slow our metabolisms as we age.

Your metabolism isn’t the only factor that determines how many calories you burn each day. The types of foods you are eating and the amount of physical exercise you engage in have a huge impact.

The two other factors that impact your weight are:

Physical Activity

The amount of calories your body burns through physical activity on a daily basis is largely dependent on what exercise you’re doing. Even when you’re going about your daily routine, your body is building calories. If you engage in an intense workout, you will be burning a lot more calories.

Thermogenesis (Digestion of Food)

Our bodies get our calories from food, but it actually takes calories in order to digest it. The entire digestive process, from eating, absorbing, and storing proteins from the food you eat, accounts for some of the calories you burn daily.



What Happens to Metabolism While You’re Losing Weight?

While you’re losing weight, your metabolism can actually drop. [2]Mph, L. R. W. (2018, January 8). How to lose weight without slowing metabolism. How to Lose Weight without Slowing down Your Metabolism | Ohio State Health Discovery. Retrieved May 26, 2022, from … Continue reading This is because there is less body weight or muscle mass to support. Individuals who experience a lower metabolic rate while trying to lose weight may have fallen prey to one of the endless numbers of unsustainable fad diets. Many fad diets that encourage fasting, liquid cleanse, or elimination of essential food groups can produce significant results, and quickly.

But at what cost? Reducing that many calories at one time isn’t sustainable. You will lose weight in the short term, and your metabolism may momentarily spike, but you’re not going to get the results you want long term. Losing weight efficiently means maintaining a healthy metabolism. Switching to a healthy, sustainable diet and increasing calorie burn can help you achieve your desired results.

Ways to Boost Your Metabolism

Add Interval Training to Your Exercise Program

Interval training is a type of workout that spaces out periods of high-intensity activity with periods of rest. Studies have found that High-Intensity Interval Training burns more calories during activity, and causes your body to continue to do so after exercise. [3]Danzer, H. (2016, April 27). Calories burned during HIIT exercise vs moderate exercise.Iowa State University Digital Repository.Retrieved May 26, 2022, from … Continue reading

Add Strength Training to Your Exercise Program

When you add more muscle mass to your body, you’ll increase your metabolic rate, and start burning more calories while at rest.

Improve Your Eating Habits

You don’t need to go on a super strict diet or a fad fasting program in order to make your eating habits healthier. The CDC recommends making a list of your eating habits, reflecting on which ones can be leading to weight gain, and reinforcing new behaviors in their place. [4]CDC (2022). Reflect, Replace, Reinforce.Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved May 26, 2022, fromhttps://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/losing_weight/eating_habits.html

You might find that you’re eating too quickly or snacking out of boredom during the day. Once you recognize what habits can be improved, you can find new, healthier solutions. This could mean taking time to sit down and enjoy your meal when you can or replacing boredom snacking with an activity that gets you outside, like going on a walk.

Incorporate Metabolism-Boosting Foods Into Your Diet

Metabolism-Boosting Foods

Eating foods that are rich in protein and fiber can make you feel fuller for longer and boost your metabolism. Try swapping out foods that have empty calories, like junk food or fast food, for meals that incorporate different kinds of legumes, berries, or seafood.

Practice Good Sleep Hygiene to Be Well Rested

Sleep hygiene is a term for the process of putting yourself in a state to get the best sleep possible. Good sleep hygiene means avoiding large meals before bedtime, not using electronic devices in your bed, and keeping your bedroom at a cooler temperature in order to get a good night’s rest. Being well-rested can boost your metabolic rate, reduce stress, and prevent you from making poor dietary decisions.

Is Weight Loss Related to Raising Metabolism?

Although it’s tempting to be able to pinpoint your weight gain on a slow metabolic rate, the reality is that weight gain can be due to a range of factors. There are instances where someone’s metabolism may be significantly contributing to their weight gain. However, that’s under rare circumstances and is usually the result of a medical problem.

The truth is that your metabolism is part of a natural, genetic process in your body, and it generally cannot be changed. Everyone’s body adjusts their metabolism to their own particular needs.

In reality, the basic principles of weight loss are simple. You need to expel more calories than you are retaining. However, it can be much more complicated than that on an individual basis.There are a range of factors that can contribute to weight gain and weight loss that have absolutely no correlation to your metabolic rate. Maintaining weight loss in the long term has less to do with biology and can depend on everything from your psychological state, environment, and even your socioeconomic class. [5]Hall, K. D., & Kahan, S. (2018). Maintenance of Lost Weight and Long-Term Management of Obesity. The Medical clinics of North America, 102(1), 183–197.https://doi.org/10.1016/j.mcna.2017.08.012

In addition to your biological metabolic rate, genetics, physical activity, and eating habits, external factors that can impact your weight include the following.

Birth Control

 Birth Control can impact your ability to lose weight

Because of the way certain birth controls impact your body’s hormones, it can impact your ability to lose weight and can actually allow you to gain weight in certain circumstances. Not all methods of birth control are linked to weight gain, and not all weight gain is a result of the hormones released from birth control.

If you are concerned about the impact birth control may be having on your weight, the first thing you should do is speak to an experienced gynecologist. The knowledgeable staff at Arizona Gynecology Consultants can help you determine what side effects you may be experiencing from your personal birth control. They can also discuss what alternative options there are for you. If your birth control is not contributing to your weight gain, speak to one of our experts about our Medically Assisted Weight Loss Program. It may be the solution for you.

Stress

Being under stress can greatly influence your metabolic rate, and can cause individuals to gain or lose weight. If you are working long hours, or are a parent always on the go, you may not have time to sit down and slowly eat a meal, let alone plan something out that is healthy in advance.

Eating quickly on the go doesn’t allow your body to properly start the digestive process. Your stomach can become full before the signal reaches your brain to stop eating, causing you to overeat in the process. If we don’t take the time to stop and chew our food, then we don’t get all of the important vitamins and nutrients out of it. Additionally, more food can go undigested by our bodies.

Stressed individuals are less likely to practice good sleep hygiene, resulting in an inability to have a good night’s sleep. Lack of good sleep can impact your bodies in so many ways, including our weight.

Experiencing a significant lack of sleep can impact hormones in your body that control your hunger and appetite levels, causing you to overeat during the day. In addition, lack of sleep consequently gives you more hours to be awake, and therefore more time to potentially be eating. If you are a bored snacker who can’t seem to sleep, you will have extra time to consume more calories than you actually need.

Psychological Well-Being

In addition to stress, there are other ways your psyche can relate to weight gain. Individuals who are experiencing depression, anxiousness, or other mental conditions may undereat or overeat, greatly affecting their hormonal balance and metabolism.

In some cases, certain medications can be the source of fluctuating hormones, resulting in weight gain or weight loss. It is not unheard of for depression and anxiety to be a side effect of certain birth controls. Speaking to the experts at Arizona Gynecology Consultants can help you identify if your birth control is causing you psychological side effects as well as any other birth control options available to you.

Sometimes, trying to lose weight and failing can cause someone to become depressed, or anxious about their eating habits. Having the support of a Medically Assisted Weight Loss program can give you the support you need to lose weight and keep it off.

seeing your gynecologist regularly to ensure optimal health and wellness

What’s the True Link Between Metabolism and Weight?

While metabolism is linked to weight, a slow metabolism alone isn’t often linked to weight gain. The true link between metabolism and weight loss is not as strong as individuals are often led to believe. Successful, long-term weight loss results from keeping an eye on your personal eating choices, activity level, and overall health. That includes seeing your gynecologist regularly to ensure optimal health and wellness.

References

References
1 Buchholz, A. C., Rafii, M. Pencharz, P. B. (2001). Is resting metabolic rate different between men and women?.The British journal of nutrition, 86 (6), 641–646.https://doi.org/10.1079/bjn2001471
2 Mph, L. R. W. (2018, January 8). How to lose weight without slowing metabolism. How to Lose Weight without Slowing down Your Metabolism | Ohio State Health Discovery. Retrieved May 26, 2022, from https://health.osu.edu/wellness/exercise-and-nutrition/how-to-lose-weight-without-tanking-your-metabolism#:%7E:text=As%20we%20drop%20the%20weight,less%20body%20weight%20to%20support
3 Danzer, H. (2016, April 27). Calories burned during HIIT exercise vs moderate exercise.Iowa State University Digital Repository.Retrieved May 26, 2022, from https://dr.lib.iastate.edu/server/api/core/bitstreams/13938fcb-a701-4170-a543-b520a18306a4/content
4 CDC (2022). Reflect, Replace, Reinforce.Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved May 26, 2022, fromhttps://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/losing_weight/eating_habits.html
5 Hall, K. D., & Kahan, S. (2018). Maintenance of Lost Weight and Long-Term Management of Obesity. The Medical clinics of North America, 102(1), 183–197.https://doi.org/10.1016/j.mcna.2017.08.012
women checking for heart disease

Women and Heart Disease: The Increasingly Prevalent Problem

This entry was posted in Healthy Aging and tagged on by .

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for women. In fact, it accounts for 1 in every 5 female deaths.[1]January 31, 2021. Women and Heart Disease. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/women.htm This number is shocking to many women, as it is often perceived as more of a “man’s disease.” However, it is vitally important that women understand the risks they face. This is especially critical for women of color, as they are disproportionately affected by the disease.

The increasing impact of heart disease on women is picking up awareness. It’s what inspired the launch of Wear Red Day back in 2003 on the first Friday in February. The goal was to raise awareness for this disease that is largely preventable and treatable, yet still taken too lightly. Wear Red Day continues to be an essential awareness movement in the fight against heart disease for women worldwide. While the risks of heart disease can be discouraging, women can take proactive steps to protect their health by understanding the risk factors and symptoms of heart disease.

What Is Heart Disease?

Heart disease is a broad umbrella term that refers to any disorder of the heart or blood vessels. It can include problems with the heart muscle, valves, heart rhythm, or coronary arteries. The most common type of heart disease is coronary artery disease (CAD), which may lead to a heart attack.

In a healthy heart, the arteries are clear and unobstructed. These blood vessels supply oxygen-rich blood to your heart muscle by carrying it from your lungs to the heart. In people with CAD, cholesterol can build up on the walls of these arteries and form a substance called plaque. This build-up of unnecessary plaque is known as atherosclerosis, and it narrows the coronary arteries. As a result, blood doesn’t flow as freely to the heart, and the risk for a heart attack increases.

What Are Common Symptoms of Heart Disease?

Common Symptoms of Heart Disease?

A few common signs can indicate you may have heart disease.[2]Fang, J., Luncheon, C., Ayala, C., Odom, E., & Loustalot, F. (2019). Awareness of Heart Attack Symptoms and Response Among Adults – United States, 2008, 2014, and 2017. MMWR. Morbidity and … Continue reading 

These symptoms can include:

  • Heart attack. Chest pain, shortness of breath, nausea, and lightheadedness are a few signs that you may be having a heart attack. Individuals who have a heart attack, or multiple attacks, should be checked out to see if they may have heart disease.
  • Arrhythmia. An arrhythmia is an abnormal heart rhythm. This can cause your heart to beat too fast, too slow, or irregularly. Symptoms of an arrhythmia can include a fluttering feeling of palpitations.
  • Heart failure. This occurs when your heart can’t pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs. Symptoms of heart failure include shortness of breath, fatigue, and swelling in the legs and feet.

What Are Some Risk Factors for Heart Disease?

Various factors can increase your risk for heart disease.[3]Hajar R. (2017). Risk Factors for Coronary Artery Disease: Historical Perspectives. Heart views : the official journal of the Gulf Heart Association, 18(3), 109–114. … Continue reading 

Some of these include:

  • Smoking. Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States. Smoking increases your risk for heart disease, stroke, and lung cancer.
  • High blood pressure. Blood pressure is the force of blood against the walls of the arteries. It can damage your heart and blood vessels over time if it is too high.
  • High cholesterol. Cholesterol is a type of fat that is found in the blood. Too much cholesterol can build up on the walls of your arteries and form plaque.
  • Diabetes. With diabetes, the body isn’t able to correctly produce or use insulin. The hormone insulin helps the body convert sugar, starches, and other food into energy. People with diabetes are at a higher risk for heart disease.
  • Obesity. Obesity is a condition in which you have a BMI of 30 or more. A high BMI can significantly increase your risk for heart disease, type II diabetes, and other health issues.
  • Lack of exercise. Regular physical activity can help lower your blood pressure, cholesterol, and other risk factors for heart disease.
  • High stress levels. Stress can increase the risk of heart disease. It can also worsen other symptoms of heart disease, such as angina and arrhythmias.

How Does Heart Disease Affect Women Differently?

women discussing heart health

Many people ask, “why is heart disease higher in women, and how does it affect them differently?” Women and men often experience different symptoms of heart disease. This can make the condition more difficult to detect in women.

Some of these differences include:

  • Heart disease occurs in different arteries for men and women. In women, heart disease often occurs in the smaller arteries that can be difficult to see, while men are more likely to have blockages in the larger coronary arteries on the surface of the heart.
  • Women have a higher chance of dying from heart disease than men. It can be more difficult to detect or treat because women have heart disease in the smaller arteries. This leads to more fatal outcomes for women than men.
  • The difference in hormones. Once a woman has advanced through menopause, a notable shift in hormones makes women more susceptible to heart disease. Estrogen is no longer produced, increasing the risk of high blood pressure and other cardiovascular conditions.
  • The impact of diabetes. Interestingly, women with diabetes are more likely to develop heart disease than men with diabetes. Being a diabetic woman can erase any previous advantages in heart health. However, this can be mitigated through natural and medical interventions.
  • The impact of smoking. Smoking has more negative effects on women than men. For example, women who smoke are more likely to have a heart attack than their male counterparts. These differences in symptoms and risk factors can make it more difficult for women to identify or treat heart disease.[4]Keteepe-Arachi, T., & Sharma, S. (2017). Cardiovascular Disease in Women: Understanding Symptoms and Risk Factors. European cardiology, 12(1), 10–13. https://doi.org/10.15420/ecr.2016:32:1

The question “are females at a higher risk for heart disease?” is an absolute yes. This is why it’s important for women to be aware of the signs and symptoms of heart disease and know their risk factors. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, don’t hesitate to speak with your doctor.

How Does a Woman Know If She Has Heart Problems?

There are a few different ways that a woman can find out if she has heart disease.

These include:

  • Heart health screenings. Most heart health screenings include blood pressure, cholesterol, and glucose tests. This can help identify risk factors for heart disease. Consistently monitoring these numbers can help you catch any problems to combat with treatment early on. This can also be addressed in your annual women’s wellness exam.
  • Stress tests. These tests can measure how well your heart works during physical activity. How it’s done depends on the type of stress test you are having. Some stress tests include walking on a treadmill or riding a stationary bike.
  • Echocardiograms. This ultrasound of the heart can show how well your heart is working and identify any problems. They are conducted by a cardiologist and are non-invasive.
  • Electrocardiograms. This is a test that records the electrical activity of your heart. It can help identify any abnormal rhythms occurring that may signal heart disease.

If you are concerned about your heart health, be sure to talk to your doctor. They can help identify any symptoms or risk factors for heart disease and get you started on a treatment plan.

What Is the Most Common Age for a Woman to Have a Heart Attack?

After 55 years of age, women are more likely to have a heart attack than at any other point in their lives.[5]Woodward M. (2019). Cardiovascular Disease and the Female Disadvantage. International journal of environmental research and public health, 16(7), 1165. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16071165 This is due to the fact that women’s risk factors for heart disease increase as they age. Additionally, many women do not realize they are at risk for heart disease until it’s too late.

What Can Women Do to Reduce Their Risk of Heart Disease?

healthy foods to combat heart disease

There are a few things that women can do to reduce their risk of heart disease.[6]Saeed, A., Kampangkaew, J., & Nambi, V. (2017). Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease in Women. Methodist DeBakey cardiovascular journal, 13(4), 185–192. https://doi.org/10.14797/mdcj-13-4-185 

These include:

  • Limiting your intake of saturated and trans fats. Both fats are known to increase the risk of heart disease due to their effects on cholesterol levels. They are found in everyday foods such as processed meats, fast food, and baked goods. By limiting your intake of these foods, you can reduce your risk for heart disease.
  • Eating more fruits and vegetables. These foods are high in antioxidants and other nutrients that can protect your heart. They also contain fiber, which can help reduce cholesterol levels. Ensuring that you are getting the recommended five servings of fruits and vegetables each day can make a difference in your overall heart health.
  • Exercising. Committing to a regular exercise regimen has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease. Exercising also has many other health benefits, such as reducing stress levels and improving sleep. Staying active can also reduce your risk of obesity and diabetes, which are associated with an increased risk for heart disease.
  • Maintaining a healthy weight. Obesity is a major risk factor for heart disease and can significantly increase your heart attack chances. Additionally, obesity can increase the likelihood of developing other conditions like hypertension and type II diabetes.
  • Quitting smoking. Smoking can increase your risk of heart disease due to its damage to your arteries. It also increases your risk for other conditions such as lung cancer and stroke. Quitting smoking can be difficult, but it’s important to try. You can speak with your doctor about the best way for you to quit smoking.
  • Limiting alcohol. Drinking too much alcohol can damage your heart. It can also increase your blood pressure and lead to weight gain, which are risk factors for heart disease. Limiting your alcohol intake to one drink per day can help reduce your risk for heart disease, and it’s even better to go days without drinking if you can.
  • Reducing stress. Stress can trigger a heart attack or worsen your symptoms if you already have heart disease. Taking time to relax and unwind is vital for your overall health. If this is something that you struggle with, talk to your doctor about healthy techniques or resources to help you reduce your stress levels.
  • Knowing your family history. If you have a family history of heart disease, be sure to share this information with your doctor. They can help identify any symptoms or risk factors you may have and advise you on how to reduce your risk. Having this information will keep a physician more keenly aware of your health, specific to your genetic predispositions.

Talk to your doctor about other ways to reduce your risk of heart disease. They may recommend lowering your blood pressure and cholesterol levels by making lifestyle changes or taking medication. They may also recommend getting a flu shot or pneumonia vaccine to reduce your risk for complications from other conditions that can affect your heart.

Take Control Today: Women’s Fight Against Heart Disease

Women's Fight Against Heart Disease

Heart disease is a serious condition that can have life-threatening consequences. To reduce your risk, it’s important to make healthy lifestyle choices and be aware of your heart’s current state. Women across the globe are fighting against this disease every day, but we’re not alone.

Make heart health part of a healthier lifestyle. As part, schedule regular exams and develop a narrative with your doctor about your health concerns, needs, and aspirations.

References

References
1 January 31, 2021. Women and Heart Disease. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/women.htm
2 Fang, J., Luncheon, C., Ayala, C., Odom, E., & Loustalot, F. (2019). Awareness of Heart Attack Symptoms and Response Among Adults – United States, 2008, 2014, and 2017. MMWR. Morbidity and mortality weekly report, 68(5), 101–106. https://doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm6805a2
3 Hajar R. (2017). Risk Factors for Coronary Artery Disease: Historical Perspectives. Heart views : the official journal of the Gulf Heart Association, 18(3), 109–114. https://doi.org/10.4103/HEARTVIEWS.HEARTVIEWS_106_17
4 Keteepe-Arachi, T., & Sharma, S. (2017). Cardiovascular Disease in Women: Understanding Symptoms and Risk Factors. European cardiology, 12(1), 10–13. https://doi.org/10.15420/ecr.2016:32:1
5 Woodward M. (2019). Cardiovascular Disease and the Female Disadvantage. International journal of environmental research and public health, 16(7), 1165. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16071165
6 Saeed, A., Kampangkaew, J., & Nambi, V. (2017). Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease in Women. Methodist DeBakey cardiovascular journal, 13(4), 185–192. https://doi.org/10.14797/mdcj-13-4-185