Maintain Your Weight Throughout Your 40s and 50s
We’ve all heard the saying ‘you are what you eat’ – this is especially true for women who are approaching their golden years. A 2010 study in the International Journal of Obesity found women gain an average of 12 pounds within eight years after menopause. The drop in estrogen decreases fat burning by 32 percent, the study notes. In the absence of estrogen, the hormone that is lost with menopause, women whose excess pounds once settled on their thighs or hips (in the form of subcutaneous fat) find the weight shifting to the belly as visceral fat wrapping dangerously around the body’s organs.
But there are preventive measures women can take to stay healthy when aging. Once women enter their 50s, they need about 1/4 to 1/3 fewer calories than in their 20s and 30s to maintain their weight, but you need the same amount of protein. So it becomes this challenge of doing more with less, and trying to pack more quality into fewer calories. This is because your metabolism, or the rate at which your body burns calories, slows down as you age.
- Don’t skip breakfast. It wakes up your metabolism – incorporate some lean protein such as eggs or egg whites. This is the time to have smart carbohydrates such as oatmeal or wholegrains.
- Instead of three big meals, have several small meals to keep your energy up and reduce hunger and cravings.
- Choose lean protein throughout the day.
- Snack on fresh fruits and vegetables – they keep you feeling full and supply nutrients, antioxidants and fiber.
- Drink lots of water (and have some tea) to stay hydrated.
- Add extra fiber to help keep you feeling full.
- Get some shut-eye. If you don’t get enough rest, it’s hard to lose body fat. Aim for 7-8 hours.
The other good news is that you can increase your metabolism rate by increasing lean muscle mass through strength training and aerobic activity. Your metabolism can also be affected by how frequently you exercise – the more physically active you are, the more you can boost your metabolism.
Meridan recommends the following:
- Include resistance training two to three times a week to help boost weight loss and build bone density. Without it, women tend to lose bone density after menopause.
- Commit to cardio! Do aerobic exercises at least thirty minutes four or five times per week, as the American College of Sports Medicine recommends. That can mean walking, jogging, biking, Zumba or any continuous movement. If you want more fat reduction, talk with your doctor about increasing the intensity or duration of your exercise.
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