But there are certain things everyone over the age of 40 should be doing to guarantee that the second half of life’s big game is as exciting as the first half. After all, once you hit 40, your body begins to lose muscle mass, the lean tissue that helps you burn fat and calories; women drop about half a pound of muscle per year after crossing 4-0, according to Pamela Peeke, author of Body for Life for Women. That’s why 40 tends to be the dividing line between those who are headed for a long, healthy lifetime of lean, and those who are headed for an early (and probably much larger) grave.


I’m 64 and was in the same boat, Barbara. Stressed, long hours at work, family obligations, with no time for the gym or to go on weekend bike rides with my friends. I started walking the 3 miles to and from work as the most efficient way to get daily exercise. As a bonus, the walking helped relieve my mental stress, to some degree. (I am lucky to have a pleasant and safe 3 mile route to work, and realize not everyone is so lucky.) Despite all that walking, though, I gained 15-20 pounds over 2 years. This year, I got a little more time to take up weekend biking again, but still the weight did not budge. So, I decided to try Weight Watchers when I found that there is an on-line only option (who needs another weekly meeting to go to when she is already stressed for time?). It turned out to be the key for me. I have lost 37 pounds in 4.5 months and am now only 6 pounds from my target (what I think is my ideal) weight. You can have your Fitbit feed into the WW app on your phone, making it easy to track your walking and biking contributions to “fitpoints”, which help to determine how much you can eat and still lose weight. What WW really does is make you mindful of everything you eat (because you log it all on an easy to use phone app), and guides you to making better choices (basically, avoid processed foods, white flour, white rice, sweets, etc most of the time, though you can have all of these once in a while and still stick to the plan). For me, the plan has been easy to follow; I rarely feel deprived on it. There are no special foods or supplements to buy, I can go to restaurants or to meals at the homes of friends and relatives and either choose the most suitable items available to eat, or make up for excesses pretty easily either before or after the fact. I don’t know if my plan will work for you or others, but wanted to throw it out as an option in case it might.
"Everyone knows that doctors lack information on nutrition. This has been a big part of the problem. It has taken a passionate layperson such as myself to come up with a science-based program that works. Somersizing is based in science. Somersizing promotes eating real foods, including complex carbohydrates, and avoiding chemicals and preservatives.
Case in point: In a 10-week preliminary study led by Dr. Apovian and Dr. Westcott, baby boomers who exercised regularly and followed a moderate-calorie diet (1,200 to 1,500 calories for women; 1,500 to 1,800 for men), while simultaneously increasing their protein intake to 1.5 g/kg of ideal body weight, lost nearly 5 times more weight than participants who exercised without changing their diets. They also lost 4 more pounds than exercisers who increased protein intake but didn't keep calories in check. Even better: The calorie- and protein-conscious group gained more muscle, reduced their blood pressure, and dropped 2 inches from their waists. 

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Load up on low-fat dairy: Women who consumed milk, yogurt, and cheese three to four times a day lost 70 percent more body fat than women who didn't eat dairy in a study published in the January 2003 American Society for Nutritional Sciences Journal of Nutrition. The reason: Calcium, along with other substances in dairy, actually revs up your metabolism, telling your body to burn excess fat faster, according to study author Michael Zemel, Ph.D., director of the Nutrition Institute at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. And no, fortified o.j. won't do the trick. The best results come from dairy products instead of from other calcium-rich foods (like broccoli), calcium-fortified products (such as orange juice) or supplements. Women reap the largest fat-burning benefit when they consume three servings of dairy and 1,200 milligrams of calcium a day, Zemel's research shows.
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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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. 

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I'm on the cusp of my fiftieth birthday. My forties have been hard, as reality and gravity collided with me in the middle. But they've also been THE most clarifying and freeing decade of my life. As I look to my future, I fully expect the years to come to be full of wonder. But these last ten years have been lonely too. I've found the voices of women to be somewhat hushed in my middle-ages. It's tempting to sit down quietly in a culture that feeds on youth, as if we have nothing valuable to say.
A good chunk of the canned soups sitting on supermarket shelves can pack in a half day’s worth of sodium as well as additives such as appetite-spiking MSG. Instead, opt for meal prepping your own soup at home with grass-fed bone broth and store leftovers for easy use. “When we ingest bone broth, it acts as an intestinal Band-Aid, protecting and healing the lining of the digestive tract which aids digestion and helps us absorb extra nutrients from the foods we eat,” nutritionist Lauren Slayton, MS, RD tells us. Not to mention, bone broth is chock-full-of collagen, which helps turn back the clock on our skin. 

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“I always start with ginger tea, which is black tea with milk, honey, ginger, and cardamom,” Top Chef host Padma Lakshmi told Eat This, Not That! about her breakfast ritual. “Then I’ll have a green juice with kale, beets, mint, apple, carrots, and ginger or a three-egg-white, one-yolk scramble. If I’m hungry, I’ll add half a cup of one percent cottage cheese to the eggs.”

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Absolutely agree. I’m coming up to 64 years old and have managed to loose weight, gain lean muscle and strength by a combination of healthy eating and regular vigorous exercise. I prefer to do my gym sessions in a functional gym where I can combine HIIT training with some basic weight training and strength exercises such as prowler pushing, battle rope exercises or tyre flips. Over the past 6 months I’ve seen an amazing change in my body shape and I’m now maintaining a healthy weight and body mass index as I shed fat and gain lean muscle. The key to success is to enjoy a varied training schedule and not get stuck into repeating the same exercises every session.

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