WHAT IT IS: According to their website, The South Beach Diet is “a food-lover’s diet”. Divided into three phases (the first two are the most strict), the program is said to eliminate cravings, kick start weight loss and maintain for life. While there’s no counting calories or strict portion sizes, followers must say goodbye to bread, rice, potatoes, pasta, baked goods, and fruit – at least for the first two weeks. Relatively simple in principle, it replaces “bad carbs” and “bad fats” with “good carbs” and “good fats."
Wondering why the same tried-and-true tricks you used to lose weight back in your teens and twenties no longer work after 40? From a biological point of view, the answer is pretty simple: If we maintain the same diet and exercise habits we began in our twenties, most of us will inevitably put on some weight — and the process of losing weight becomes much more difficult in middle age. Why is this? Our body composition, dietary needs, and hormones all shift, beginning for some as early as the mid-thirties. In order to maintain a healthy weight, certain lifestyle habits must be developed to counteract those changes. Here are five things you need to know about losing weight after 40:
Green tea blasts away the sort of flab we get more of as we age. Researchers attribute the fat-burning properties of green tea to catechins, specifically EGCG — the name of a group of antioxidative compounds that fry adipose tissue by revving the metabolism, increasing the release of flab from fat cells (particularly in the belly), then speeding up the liver’s fat-burning capacity. Green tea is so powerful for weight loss that we made it the centerpiece of our new 7-Day Flat-Belly Tea Cleanse! Test panelists lost 4 inches from their waists!
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At the grocery store, take a turn down the organic produce aisle. Pesticides found on conventionally grown produce, called "obesogens," are blamed for slowing metabolism and predisposing some people to gain weight. "One of the biggest hidden causes of weight loss resistance is toxicity," says Virgin. "Buy organic whenever possible and choose the cleanest, highest-quality cuts of meat," says Virgin.
Once you hit the big 4-0, it’s not only the number of candles on your cake that signifies you’re getting old, it’s also the achy feeling in your joints and the inability to slash those last five pounds off your frame. While aging in reverse is a miracle we’d all like to get in on, there are a few tweaks you can make to your diet to help slow down the process, such as eliminating certain foods that age you.
Eating protein at breakfast is especially important. "The longest period of muscle breakdown occurs at night, when you're sleeping and not eating for hours at a time," explains Dr. Paddon-Jones. "If you skip breakfast or start your day with a protein-light meal—like a bagel, toast, or cereal—you're missing out on flipping that muscle-building switch back on."
Don't think you have time to hit the gym circuit? You can get great results with only two 15-minute lifting sessions a week. Westcott's research, published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise in January 1999, found that doing just one set of 10 reps reaps about the same muscle-building benefits as three sets, as long as they're performed to muscle fatigue. Bonus: Weight training also gives your metabolism a short-term boost. When women lift weights, their metabolisms remain in overdrive for up to two hours after the last bench press, allowing them to burn as many as 100 extra calories, according to a study published in June 2001 in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.
Your go-to fast food joints achieve perfectly crispy fries by frying the spuds in oil that has been reused over and over again. A study in the Canadian Journal of Dietetic Practice and Research found that heating oil to the smoking point during stir-frying may decrease the amount of polyunsaturated fatty acids because of oxidative degradation. Those are the heart-healthy fats that nourish your skin and joints. Instead of grabbing a bag of fries at the drive-thru, opt for baking your own at home with a brush of olive oil and fresh herbs.
Additionally, attempts to lose weight on low-calorie diets can lead to even more lost muscle. Studies have found that regular resistance or strength training may be a better alternative than your daily runs to preserve and gain muscle — even when coupled with a low-calorie diet. Aerobic exercise is still important, just don’t make it your only form of activity. Menopause Belly. What causes it and how to beat it.
It's one of the most frustrating realities of dieting—if you cut out too many calories, your metabolism thinks times are lean and puts the breaks on fat-burning to conserve energy, Hunter explains. Here’s the trick to keeping your metabolism revved up while dieting: Eat enough calories to at least match your resting metabolic rate (what you'd burn if you stayed in bed all day; calculate yours here). That's about 1,330 calories for a 5-feet-4-inch, 150-pound, 40-year-old woman.
Spicy foods have natural chemicals that can kick your metabolism into a higher gear. Cooking foods with a tablespoon of chopped red or green chili pepper can boost your metabolic rate. The effect is probably temporary, but if you eat spicy foods often, the benefits may add up. For a quick boost, spice up pasta dishes, chili, and stews with red pepper flakes.
Eat clean. Our metabolism gets damaged by the chemicals and preservatives in our foods. Things like pesticides, growth hormones, trans fats, HFCS, etc. have all been linked to obesity and have even been labeled "obesogens" within the health and wellness community. Consume your foods in their most natural form as often as possible and this will have a huge impact on your metabolism overall.
“Hormones dictate how our body utilizes the energy we give it,” says nutritionist Lisa Jubilee. “Between our reproductive, thyroid and growth hormones, appetite, insulin, and hunger hormone leptin and ghrelin, our bodies have to perform a tricky balancing act to keep us lean, energized and viable reproductive beings.” Those tasks have become much more difficult because of the hormone residues we consume via cage-raised foods. If you want to give your metabolism a leg up, Jubilee says, switch to organic, grass-fed, pasture-raised beef, eggs, and dairy products, thereby avoiding those nasty hormones at mealtime.
Want to maximize your fat-burning potential after 40? Start by making sure you’re getting plenty of calcium in your diet. The results of a study conducted at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville reveal that obese women who consumed more calcium lost 11 pounds of body fat in over a 12-month period. Even better, increasing your calcium intake can help increase the strength of your bones, reducing your risk of a fall or fracture.
It can get overwhelming to keep up with all the superfoods out there, we know. But if there’s one amazing food you should be getting more of (and that we know you’re not), it’s seaweed. The sea plant is a great source of iodine and you can enjoy seaweed in sushi, broth-based soups, as chips or snacks, and more. “Without sufficient levels of iodine, your thyroid function becomes impaired and it’s harder for your body to burn fat,” says nutritionist Dana James of Food Coach NYC, who suggests sneaking sea vegetables into your diet at least three times a week. Seaweed also contains a compound called alginate, which has been shown to significantly cut fat absorption, says Tanya Zuckerbrot, RD, author of Miracle Carb Diet: Make Calories and Fat Disappear–with Fiber. 5 Exercise Methods That Burn Belly Fat Faster
Skipping those salty snacks will put you on track for more weight loss in a hurry, no matter what your age. Research conducted at the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine reveals that, contrary to popular belief, salt tends to make people hungry, not thirsty. Two groups on simulated missions to Mars were examined over the course of 105 and 205 days, respectively, with one group receiving saltier foods during the final weeks of their mock voyage. Researchers discovered that those given saltier foods actually drank less water than those on a low-salt diet, but complained of hunger more often. However, as expected, the saltier food did increase study participants’ water retention, meaning it can exacerbate the water retention and bloating issues associated with menopause, too. Salt isn’t the only habit making you heavy; the 37 Worst Breakfast Habits for Your Waistline could have you packing on the pounds with every passing year.