"You don't have to go to the gym or go for a run, but be sure to move in some way," says Ann Kulze, M.D., a member of the Medical Advisory Board for the Wellness Councils of America and author of Dr. Ann's 10-Step Diet (Top Ten Wellness & Fitness, 2008). "A healthy metabolism requires regular movement, so don't sit for more than two hours without getting up."
Let me see if this sounds familiar: you’re over forty and exercising regularly. You eat a balanced diet and pass on dessert at parties. And yet, you can’t get rid of those extra pounds. If this scenario describes you, you’re not imagining things. Oftentimes, losing weight does get harder as you get older, even if you’re someone who has always been able to easily manage your weight with diet and exercise. Starting at age 30, most people begin to lose about half a pound of muscle per year. What does this have to do with weight loss? The more muscle you have on your body, the better your metabolism works. So it’s not just in your head: losing weight after 40 is more difficult than when you were younger. But you don’t have to feel like weight loss after 40 is impossible. Here are six ways to lose that extra weight after 40.
Recent research suggests that women on average will lose muscle mass twice as fast as men the same age, and that can make a huge difference in their ability to lose or at least maintain weight, Peeke says. Muscle is far more "metabolically active" than fat, meaning that lean, more muscular people have an easier time burning calories at rest than to people with higher proportions of body fat.
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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.
Why does eating lots of fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids (salmon, herring, and tuna) help amp up metabolism? Omega-3s balance blood sugar and reduce inflammation, helping to regulate metabolism. They may also reduce resistance to the hormone leptin, which researchers have linked to how fast fat is burned. A study in Obesity Research found rats that ingested large doses of fish oil while exercising lost weight. Take omega-3 fatty acid supplements; Hyman recommends 1,000 to 2,000 milligrams per day. Hate the fishy after-burp? Try flaxseed oil, walnuts, or eggs fortified with omega-3s. Or check out supplements (by brands such as Nordic Naturals) that have no fishy taste.
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.
Unless you’re spiking your home-baked goods with hidden veggies and swapping sugar for stevia, you should actively avoid these sweets. Store-bought muffins and cupcakes make our list of foods that age you because they can contain a full day’s worth of added sugar—and the effects of the sweet stuff on aging are quite bitter. A report in Clinics in Dermatology states that glucose and fructose can compromise the collagen and elastin that support your skin’s elasticity, so avoiding baked goods with added sugars is a sure-fire way to keep wrinkles at bay.
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Many people become more sedentary as they age because the effects of injuries and impact have made working out a painful prospect. That’s why swimming is a great workout. The fact that it’s low impact is just one reason: It also builds endurance. One study of men and women who engaged in swim training for 12 weeks showed that their maximum oxygen consumption improved by 10 percent, and stroke volume (the amount of blood pumped with each heartbeat, which indicates the organ’s strength) improved as much as 18 percent.
Difficulty on a Scale of 1 (I Feel Great!) to 10 (It Ruined My Life!): 1. This is worth a try! If you’re someone who doesn’t like to impose major restrictions on yourselves, adopting a low-key plan to eat fewer carbs (when possible) is relaxed and completely doable. Especially if you don’t beat yourself for the occasional slip-up, like eating pasta in bed, which happens to each and every one of us!
Experts agree that including a weekly cheat meal into your healthy-eating plan can actually help you reach your weight loss goals. Having a strategy is key: “By planning your cheat meal, you know what you’ll be eating and can cut a few extra calories earlier in the day,” says Jim White, RD, ACSM Health Fitness Specialist and owner of Jim White Fitness & Nutrition Studios. “This also allows you to really pick a favorite food instead of wasting calories on something you didn’t enjoy.” Amy Shapiro, MS, RD, CDN, Real Nutrition NYC, gives similar advice. “Pick your poison. If you’re going out, pick your splurge. Are you going to dig into carbs like a bread basket or pasta or dessert? Or are you planning on tossing back a few cocktails?” She urges cheaters to avoid consuming all three of those common categories in one sitting. “Focus only on one,” she says, adding that by saving the others for another time you can “enjoy without going overboard.”
A striking new study published in the journal Diabetes suggests that simply turning on the AC may subtly transform a person’s stores of brown fat, the “good” fat stimulated by cold temperatures, that serves to keep us warm by burning through “bad” fat stores. Participants spent a few weeks sleeping in bedrooms with varying temperatures: a neutral 75 degrees, a cool 66 degrees, and a balmy 81 degrees. After four weeks of sleeping at 66 degrees, the men had almost doubled their volumes of brown fat. Cool! (In fact, your bedroom is an often-overlooked weight loss booster. We found 20 Surprising Ways to Lose Weight While You Sleep.)
While most Americans consume plenty of protein, research shows that some women begin skimping on the muscle-sustaining nutrient as they age, consuming less than the RDA. Calorie-conscious dieters also tend to cut back on protein, when they should be doing the opposite. "Cutting back causes your body to rob your muscles for energy, leaving you thinner but also flabbier and weaker," says Dr. Apovian. "Not only does losing muscle make your clothing fit poorly, but you begin to burn fewer calories, so even if you're eating the same amount, you can easily regain the weight you shed." Having less muscle mass also makes you weaker, making it harder to do simple activities, so you become more inclined to crash on the couch. Eventually, the scale climbs back up and you start all over again, chipping away at muscle mass and putting the chill on your metabolism with each diet you try.
10. You’re not eating enough FAT – if you’ve been on a low fat diet for a long time or you don’t eat enough healthy fat, you are more likely to be eating too much sugar. Low fat products often contain more sugar or food additives. We need good fats to be able to make our hormones, to feed our brains and to absorb our vitamins. Fat doesn’t make you fat, it actually helps to burn fat!
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Don’t have a dinner companion? Try eating in front of a mirror instead. According to a study published in the Journal of the Association for Consumer Research, people who ate in front of a mirror were more acutely aware of their poor food choices, finding them less pleasurable. And for more clever hacks, check out these 50 Genius Weight-Loss Motivation Tricks.
It takes the body extra effort to break down whole grains than more refined and processed grains, like the flour ordinarily used to make bread and pasta. You can help keep your metabolic rate elevated by consuming foods that the body has to work harder to digest. Your go-tos are whole foods that are also rich in fiber. We’re talking brown rice, oatmeal, quinoa, and sprouted grain bread.
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Exercise can help you preserve lean muscle and increase your declining calorie-burn rate, but your children and parents are at ages that require extra care and time. Combine these obligations with a demanding job, and it's tough to meet the 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise and two strength-training sessions recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Kourtney’s not the only Kardashian who’s been a devotee to the low-carb lifestyle. Kim has jumped on the bandwagon, too, and, according to a story published in June 2016 in People, reportedly lost 60 pounds (lbs) after having her son, Saint, while on the Atkins 40 diet. Atkins 40 is a version of the Atkins diet designed for people with less than 40 lbs to lose, and has been around since the 1970s. Atkins is essentially the original keto diet and involves a very limited intake of carbs and high amounts of fat. The main difference is that on the Atkins diet you’ll slowly reintroduce carbs, so ketosis likely will only come into play during phase 1.
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They say that snacking throughout the day is supposed to make you feel fuller without consuming as many calories, which the former Spice Girl Victoria Beckham took to heart after giving birth to her daughter Harper Seven. To slim back down post-baby, she cut out sugar from her diet and adapted the "Five Hands" meal plan that prescribes snacking on five palm-sized amounts of high-protein foods like salmon, yellowfish tuna sushi, and scrambled eggs in a day.