Your 40’s The challenge: You’re fighting belly flat.
Toning this trouble zone is harder now. “When you’re younger and producing more estrogen, fat travels to your hips and thighs,” explains Pamela Peeke, MD, a FITNESS advisory board member and author of Body for Life for Women. “Once you reach your 40s, you produce less estrogen and fat goes straight to your belly instead.”
Ignite your metabolism. The more muscle you have, the more calories you’ll burn on a daily basis. The key is protein: It fuels muscle growth and helps keep you full between meals, so you’ll eat less. Aim for 100 to 120 grams a day from a mix of lean meats, beans, and protein shakes. Have a daily does of calcium. Researchers say calcium may increase the activity of enzymes that break down fat cells in your body.
Blast fat with… fat. As your estrogen levels decline, your risk of cardiovascular disease increases. A diet low in saturated fat — no more than 14 grams for a woman eating 1,800 calories daily — and high in protective monounsaturated fat, like that found in avocados, walnuts, and olive oil, can help keep you healthy.
Water down your appetite. In your 40s and beyond, you burn about 100 fewer calories a day. To help keep the weight off, eat plenty of low energy-dense foods, like salads, vegetables, broth-based soups, and nonfat yogurt. These foods are filling because they have a high water content, which means you can eat larger portion sizes but still keep calories in check. Women on a low-fat diet containing H20-rich foods lost about one-quarter more weight and felt much less hungry than those who followed a traditional low-fat diet, according to a study from Pennsylvania State University.
Your 50s and Beyond The challenge: Your body seems to be working against you.
Call this the Me Decade. For the first time in years you have more time for yourself. Freed from the demands of raising small children, you’re cooking less and eating out more. On the inside you’re experiencing major shifts too. Sure, there’s menopause. But you may also start to notice a slower metabolism and digestive system. Part of this is normal aging. But how radically these things affect your body depends on how well you eat the right foods and get lots of physical activity.
Your Diet To-Do List
Eat your calories earlier. Can’t figure out why the pounds are creeping on even though you’ve reduced your portions? Eating less is only part of the equation. The other part is eating smarter. Right now, every calorie has to be the highest quality you can find. And when you’re burning only 1,400 to 1,600 calories a day (thanks to that slower metabolism), squeezing in all the nutrition you need can be tricky.
It gets even harder if you frequently skimp on breakfast and lunch so you can save room for dinner out. No matter how balanced that evening meal is, it can’t possibly deliver a day’s worth of nutrition. But it can pack a ton of fat and calories. And because you waited all day to eat it, you’ll be starving and likely to consume more than you planned.
A smarter strategy: Rearrange your meals, feasting by day and nibbling by night. That means a 300- to 400-calorie breakfast and a 400- to 500-calorie lunch, with a 200- to 250-calorie afternoon snack. Eating those calories earlier will make it easier to enjoy a small dinner out — an appetizer and a side salad, say — without going overboard.
Get savvy about supplements. Starting in your 50s, your body doesn’t use many nutrients as well as it used to. Calcium and vitamin B12 become an issue because your stomach produces less of the acid needed to absorb them. At the same time, your skin becomes less efficient at synthesizing vitamin D. Without enough B12 you may end up feeling run down and lethargic, while insufficient calcium and vitamin D weaken your bones and make your body less effective when it comes to burning fat.
In a perfect world, you’d get all of your nutrients from food. But if you’re scaling back portion sizes, that won’t work. Ditto if you’ve recently ditched dairy — a key source of B12, D, and calcium — because you’ve suddenly become lactose intolerant, a condition that commonly happens to women in their 50s. That’s why a vitamin makes good sense. Instead of a standard multi, look specifically for one designed for women over 50. Not only will it supply extra B12 and D, but it’s also low in iron, which is much less of a concern post-menopause. If your multi doesn’t provide the full 1,200 milligrams of calcium you need, take a daily calcium citrate supplement.
Outsmart diabetes. Your hormones aren’t the only things that are going haywire right now. Insulin, a hormone produced by your pancreas, may be out of whack as well. Normally insulin shuttles glucose (aka, sugar) from your bloodstream to your cells, where it’s used for energy. But as you age, your body often can’t use the insulin it makes as effectively as it once did. When this happens, a condition known as insulin resistance can develop, causing glucose to hang out in your bloodstream instead of traveling to your cells, where it’s needed. Trouble is, once insulin resistance starts, full-blown diabetes isn’t far behind.
The right diet can help. First, steer clear of refined sugars. Eat plenty of whole foods like fruits and vegetables (aim for four and a half cups daily). Choose whole grains over processed ones; they slow the rate at which your body digests and absorbs carbohydrates. That means lower blood sugar and less demand on your pancreas to pump out insulin. People who regularly feast on whole grains are 20 to 40 percent less likely to develop diabetes and cardiovascular disease than those who rarely eat them, according to a 2004 University of Minnesota School of Public Health review.
Don’t wait around for another year to pass. We are almost a week into November – are you any closer to achieving your fat loss goals? When you work with me I make it my personal mission to get you the results that you deserve. Let’s do this!
CLICK THE PIC BELOW TO ENTER OUR 6 MONTH FREE TRAINING GIVEAWAY!