Funny how as your waistline expands, your interest in tracking the numbers wanes. Don't let it. It's no longer advisable to guesstimate your weight by the way your favorite jeans fit (or don't fit). Headlines that scream, "Stop Being a Slave to Your Scale!" are missing the point: Post-40 weight gain sneaks up on you. If the plane symbolizes your body, then its instrument panel is your scale -- it provides you with important data. Once a week, same time, same scale, weigh yourself and see with your own eyes what's happening with your body.

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Baking up a batch of fluffy pancakes for breakfast is one of life’s simple pleasures, but the syrup that you choose to drizzle your hotcakes with may be spelling trouble for your tummy. Maple-flavored syrups like Log Cabin’s and Aunt Jemima’s are made with high fructose corn syrup, a sugar that has been linked to metabolic syndrome including abnormal weight gain, increased triglycerides, and increased harmful visceral fat around the gut, Princeton researchers found. Instead, stick to real maple syrup, which contains trace minerals.

"Stay away from processed, high sugar, junk food, even fruit juice," says Michael Mountain, author of Ultimate Fat Loss Solution. Stick to protein, which increases metabolism by 30 percent for up to 12 hours, whereas carbs and fat increase metabolism by 4 percent for less than one hour. And don't forget fiber—it binds with metabolized fat and removes it from the body.
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.
“Menopause is right around the corner, which means muscle mass and bone density both start to decline,” Honaman says. Most women in their 40s are aware of this. “For me, that was a far stronger motivation to get to the gym and to adopt a more healthy lifestyle than the motivation of showing up at the pool in a bikini had been decades earlier. It’s about more than just vanity; the health stakes are higher now that ever before.” What's Making You So Hungry?
SOURCES: Fred Pescatore, MD author, The Hamptons Diet; and medical director, partners of integrative medicine. Samantha Heller, MS, RD, senior clinical nutritionist and exercise physiologist, New York University Medical Center, New York City. Victoria Shanta-Retelny, RD, Northwestern Memorial Hospital's Wellness Institute, Chicago. Rachel Beller, director, Brander Nutritional Oncology Counseling and Research Program, John Wayne Cancer Institute, Santa Monica, Calif. Yoga for Weight Loss & Belly Fat, Complete Beginners Fat Burning Workout at Home, Exercise Routine
IN ALL MY YEARS counseling clients – including many celebrities and dignitaries who must remain unnamed – I've never recommended celebrity-endorsed quick fixes like cleanses over common sense. But whether I like it or not, celebrity fad diets are often mimicked by their fans of all ages, who may be vulnerable to eating disorders and unrealistic expectations about how these eating plans will actually change their lives (or not). Fortunately, there are a few celebrities whose eating, exercise and lifestyle habits my colleagues and I applaud. Here are a few famous folks you can follow with a clear conscious (for now, at least):
“The 40s are a prevention decade,” says Larsen. “It’s time to get on track and stay there.” If those babies are now big kids, and you’re juggling commuting and carpools, it’s easy to slip into sedentary habits. “I see a lot of people let themselves go,” says Larson. “I’m honest with my clients. You do not want to go into middle age or menopause overweight. Because you will not know what hit you. Eat well, stay active, and practice healthy habits as a family.” 

Eating well isn’t just about skipping out on processed junk food. It’s also about filling up your plate with clean, healthy foods that can actually assist in your weight loss. Healthy fats like those found in olive oil, avocados and nut butters nourish your body while helping you feel full longer—which means you’re less likely to overeat. Incorporating healthy sources of protein like eggs and salmon will also help you feel more satiated as well as fuel the muscles you’re building through that regular strength training we mentioned above! Hungry during the day? Keep a small pack of heatlhy almonds or other nuts in your bag to snack on in a pinch.  Just a handful will keep you satisfied until your next meal, all while providing healthy protein, fat and fiber. Don’t wait until you’re tummy is growling! Be prepared.
The Deal: Alves revealed to Delish that the secret to her hot bod is … swapping some meals with baby food. “I did a cleanse, and there were a lot of puréed meals, and my body just agreed with it,” she said. “I was getting really swollen in my stomach area, so I felt my digestive system needed a break. It wasn’t realistic to do all puréed meals, so I do a combination.” For my experiment, I would swap two meals a day with puréed baby food.

“The chemical messengers that control our metabolism begin to decline in our early 30s which makes it very difficult to maintain an ideal body weight or even lose unhealthy fat weight,” says Robert Kominiarek, D.O., medical director and hormone specialist at the Alpha Male Medical Institute in Springboro, OH. Once you hit 40, add lower testosterone, higher blood glucose, and higher insulin levels to the list of physiological changes that now make losing extra insulation about as difficult as keeping your full head of hair. 
Without kids or a spouse, a lot of women in their twenties have the freedom to eat out with friends whenever the hell they want. That means you eat way more calories from that yummy Thai restaurant than you would if you actually used your stove, says Ansel. But you can still stay on track without sitting at home. Since most restaurants have at least one healthy option, make it your goal to order first, she says. "Research shows people follow the lead of the first person to order in a group,” says Ansel. And instead of revisiting the same old high-cal spots, do your homework and suggest new (healthier) joints that your friends will like, too. Another option: Eat half of your meal, and box the rest for leftovers tomorrow night.

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Our bodies need dietary fat—particularly healthy oils—in order to lose weight and function properly. The right kinds of fats and oils help quash hunger, maximize your metabolism, and speed nutrients through your body. Healthy monounsaturated fats like olive oil can actually help the body to burn calories. Extra virgin olive oil may also increase blood levels of serotonin, a hormone associated with satiety. Plus, olive oil is also loaded with polyphenols, antioxidants that help battle many diseases such as cancer, osteoporosis and brain deterioration.

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“Cutting back on processed carbohydrates is essential for weight loss after 40,” explains Jennifer Cassetta, clinical nutritionist, personal trainer and health expert from ABC’s “My Diet Is Better Than Yours.” “Maintaining blood sugar and insulin levels is vital to weight loss, so cutting back on foods that spike blood sugar and insulin is a must.” A good place to start would be by replacing the refined carbs in your diet with unsweetened steel-cut oatmeal. Oats are a solid source of blood sugar-regulating magnesium, a nutrient that also helps boost fat burn. Easy Weight Loss Tips For Women Over 40 Years Of Age

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.

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The older you get, the more likely it is for your hormones to get out of whack and affect your weight. One main hormone that will be affected is estrogen. Imbalances in estrogen can cause your body to retain more fat and fluid, and can even lead to depression. Another problematic hormone is cortisol, which is directly related to retention of fat in the abdomen. Cortisol is released by stress, and as you age it is also released in higher levels. Though exercise can help alleviate stress and get your hormones in check, you should consult a medical professional for your specific needs. 

The older you get, the more likely it is for your hormones to get out of whack and affect your weight. One main hormone that will be affected is estrogen. Imbalances in estrogen can cause your body to retain more fat and fluid, and can even lead to depression. Another problematic hormone is cortisol, which is directly related to retention of fat in the abdomen. Cortisol is released by stress, and as you age it is also released in higher levels. Though exercise can help alleviate stress and get your hormones in check, you should consult a medical professional for your specific needs.
IN ALL MY YEARS counseling clients – including many celebrities and dignitaries who must remain unnamed – I've never recommended celebrity-endorsed quick fixes like cleanses over common sense. But whether I like it or not, celebrity fad diets are often mimicked by their fans of all ages, who may be vulnerable to eating disorders and unrealistic expectations about how these eating plans will actually change their lives (or not). Fortunately, there are a few celebrities whose eating, exercise and lifestyle habits my colleagues and I applaud. Here are a few famous folks you can follow with a clear conscious (for now, at least):

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Capsacian, a molecule found in spicy chiles, has been shown to raise body temperature and speed up fat loss — although only temporarily, and only by a small percentage. Celi says there’s also some evidence that chemicals called isothiocyanates, which are present in pungent foods like spicy mustard, wasabi, and horseradish, may help activate brown fat and speed up metabolic rate. Bloody Mary, anyone?
If you really want to speed up your metabolism, start with changes to your daily activity. You'll see the greatest benefit if you can move more throughout the day. Then make diet-friendly food choices that help you to feel more energized. And lastly, skip the metabolism-boosting pills and potions (unless your doctor prescribes it). Most of them don't work and some even cause harm.
To clarify, we’re not betting that all the marinaras in the pasta aisle should be avoided like the plague—just some. Processed pasta sauces may contain tomatoes or tomato paste as the first ingredient, but oftentimes, these sneaky saboteurs also contain loads of inflammatory oils, added sugar, and salt. And alfredo sauce is no exception: the creamy white stuff can contain around 20 grams of fat per half-cup serving—an excessive amount to ingest in one sitting.
Seeing as Jenny McCarthy began her career modelling nude for Playboy in 1993 and won playmate of the year, it’s no surprise she is still as sexy as ever at 45. She has gone on the act in BASEketball, Diamonds and Scream 3. The mother of one is also a former co-host of The View and became an autism ambassador after her son was diagnosed with the condition.
"So it's extremely important to know that muscle is very metabolically active and that you don't want to lose it. That being said, a typical can man can lose over the course of the age of 30 through the age of 50 anywhere between 5 and 10 pounds of muscle mass. A woman could definitely lose that -- that's a given because she, through repeated dieting and decreased physical activity, will lose that," Peeke says.
Gluten-free breads and other products are fooling you with their healthy-looking labels. Studies show that gluten-free replacements of foods that normally contain the protein are not healthier than the real thing — and they’re more expensive. Often, these breads have significantly less fiber than bread made with real whole wheat. As you get older, fiber is one of the nutrients you need the most. It keeps you full and ensures that your digestion keeps moving regularly. 3 Easy Tips To REVERSE "Metabolic Slowdown" AFTER 40 (And Burn MORE Fat)
Whole grains, vegetables, fruits, beans and legumes, fresh herbs and spices provide the proteins, carbohydrates and fats that give you energy and even blood sugar levels. Healthy fats (olive oil, avocado, fish oils, seeds, nuts, soybeans) promote longer-lasting, stable energy levels. Lean proteins (fish, soy foods, white meat poultry, lean meats and low-fat dairy) offer essential proteins for better digestion and muscle building.

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Experts say weight training is the best way to crank up your resting metabolic rate. "As you get older, your resting metabolic rate drops, but weight training can rev it right back up again: A pound of muscle burns up to nine times the calories a pound of fat does," explains fitness expert Westcott. In fact, a woman who weighs 130 pounds and is muscular burns more calories than a sedentary 120-pound woman of the same height. Regular strength training can increase your resting metabolic rate anywhere from 6.8 to 7.8 percent. (That means that if you weigh 120 pounds, you could burn around 100 more calories a day, even when you're just watching TV.)

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There’s another big reason to put your energy into eating well: you probably don’t have as much time to focus on working out. “In your 20s, the first instinct to drop pounds is often to hit the gym with increased intensity. But for those of us who are older and might be leading busier lives, running to the gym for an hour each evening isn’t always a feasible option,” says Pam Nisevich Bede, RD, CSSD, sports dietitian for Abbott’s EAS Sports Nutrition. (These 8 at-home workouts can certainly come in handy!) “A healthy diet is now your best friend when trying to lose weight.” It comes with added perks, though: A balanced diet can also energize your day, allowing you to make healthier decisions, and fuel your workouts most efficiently, she adds. 

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