Some things, though, aren’t that simple. For instance, someone with a higher metabolism burns more calories at rest than someone with a lower metabolism, and can therefore get away with eating more food—even junk food. But a high metabolism isn’t a privilege reserved for a select few lucky enough to be born with it. You can raise yours and reap the benefits, too.
Boosting metabolism is the holy grail of weight watchers everywhere, but how fast your body burns calories depends on several things. Some people inherit a speedy metabolism. Men tend to burn more calories than women, even while resting. And for most people, metabolism slows steadily after age 40. Although you can't control your age, gender, or genetics, there are other ways to improve your metabolism. Here are 10 of them.
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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Beyoncé used the Master Cleanse fast to slim down for the film Dreamgirls, but it’s a harsh way to lose weight. You subsist on a beverage made of warm water, lemon juice, cayenne pepper, and maple syrup for three to 10 days. Weight loss is simply due to caloric restriction, not any magical properties in the brew, which offers little nutrition. In fact, Gwyneth Paltrow says she suffered hallucinations when she tried Master Cleanse.
Goddard says estrogen levels begin to decline as a woman begins perimenopause. “As a result, we lose muscle mass, and that loss results in a decrease in metabolism — we literally have to consume fewer calories to maintain or lose weight,” she says. “The loss of estrogen also leads to a propensity to deposit fat in the mid-section, which leads to further metabolic derangement (or an inefficient metabolism). It increases insulin resistance, can lead to pre-diabetes and diabetes, and increases the risk for heart disease.”
Allow me to cut to the chase: Going on a heart-healthy diet isn’t nearly as grim as you probably think it will be. Think it’s all chicken breasts and broccoli? Think again. According to leading nutritionists and the latest studies, you can eat chocolate, pasta, and wash it all down with some wine. (That is, of course, if you’re springing for the healthy options of all these so-called “bad” foods. More on that later.) What follows is a comprehensive compendium of all the mouthwatering cuisine—whether it’s a new dietary addition or a simple swap for an existing staple—you should eat to build a ticker as strong as steel. And for more ways to keep your heart safe, learn the 30 Best Ways to Lower Your Heart Attack Risk.
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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“Women over 40 have a very strong sense of self,” says Caleb Backe, a health and wellness expert for Maple Holistics. “They know what they believe in, and why they believe in it. Their confidence often comes from years of living with integrity of their values, and fighting relentlessly to make the world a better place. They know that the smallest things can make the biggest impact.”
“Many women find themselves sacrificing so much for their significant others, their children, their careers, and their volunteer service that by the time 40 hits, they haven’t done anything for themselves in years,” Honaman points out. “Retirement and empty-nesting will be here sooner than you think. Figure out who you are, and what you enjoy, so that you don’t wake up one day, look around, and wonder who that person is in the mirror.”
Want to have a faster metabolism? Install apps like f.lux or Twilight on your devices. They reduce certain parts of the light spectrum as your bedtime approaches. Studies have shown that LED lights in phones disturb the production of the sleep hormone melanin. A purring metabolism is greatly helped by a good night’s sleep. So take your late-night texting down a notch or two… At least in terms of screen brightness.
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:
Pull-ups require a lot of control, and they’re highly effective for building muscle and strength in the upper body — something that diminishes as we age. Pull-ups simultaneously engage the back, shoulders and arms, and by building those three large muscle areas, you’ll help keep your metabolism stoked for years to come. “Another great thing about pull-ups is that they can be done in many different variations, which work different muscles,” says Jim White. Speaking of muscles, don’t miss these 30 Best Proteins for Your Penis!
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I’m not referring to the slim style of jeans, I’m talking about too-small jeans! A lot of people keep too-small jeans for years in the hopes that they might fit into them someday. But that’s a slippery slope towards keeping a lot of unnecessary clutter in your closet! It’s best to just get rid of them. Besides, if you do end up losing some weight down the line, buying a cute new pair of jeans is a great way to reward yourself!
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As you age, your risk for heart diseases increases. And while spreading a teaspoon of salted butter on whole-grain toast every once in a blue isn’t detrimental to your health, loading your chicken recipes with butter and buttering your pans on the daily can. Butter contains seven grams of saturated fat per tablespoon, and using just two spoonfuls can put you over your daily limit of the fat.
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.
Even if you're sitting or lying down while reading this article, your body is still burning calories; the rate at which it does so is called your resting metabolic rate. As you age, your metabolism tends to decelerate by about 5% for every decade of life past age 40, so that if your resting metabolic rate is, say, 1,200 calories per day at age 40, it will be around 1,140 at age 50.
You have to limit your fat, simple carb and sugar intake, but increase your complex carb, fruit, vegetable and lean protein consumption. If you are exercising to lose weight, eat some lean protein and carbohydrates directly after finishing to properly refuel. Appropriate choices are beans, oatmeal, whole grain pasta, salmon, eggs and Greek yogurt. Some foods, like coffee, cause specific hormones, like cortisol, to be released and could be your enemy in the belly-bulge battle.
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!
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You’ve heard this buzzy phrase a bunch of times by now, right? It’s way more mainstream than you may realize, though—and much more attainable than you think. The basic rule of eating clean—and, forgive us for watering it down, nutrition pros and clean-eating fanatics—is to eat more real food and less fake food. Doritos are not food. Those sketchy frozen enchiladas by Big Store Name Brand are often not much better. And that cream of something soup you mix into every chicken dish is a way of life that’s making your waistline expand. To dig into how to be a clean eater, check out our Ultimate Guide to Eating Clean. If you start living by more of these rules, your jaw might drop the next time you step on the scale!
While sun-worshipping can have you looking more leather bag than human, a little controlled exposure to UV rays can yield some serious benefits for your weight. According to research conducted at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, overweight women between 50 and 75 who had adequate vitamin D levels shed more weight and more body fat than those whose levels remained low. A study in Psychopharmacology also reveals that subjects with depression who popped a vitamin D supplement experienced improvements in their mood in just five days, so don’t be afraid to let the sunshine in.
At her home in Bedford, N.Y., the lifestyle guru treats all of the staff who tend to her estate to cappuccinos and breakfast every morning. The meals tend to vary—on one recent morning, Stewart made poached salmon with lemon juice—but the one constant is her signature drink. “We have green juice every morning, everybody drinks green juice because it’s like power,” Stewart told Katie Couric for her self-titled podcast.” In it she uses spinach, celery, parsley, mint, and a piece of fruit—either pears, mango or papaya. “It’s very good juice, everybody loves the juice,” she says.
Do you remember when the only person you had to feed was yourself? Those days are gone. For many women over 40, the main concern is getting enough food on the table to satisfy one husband and two or three children -- fast. And more often than not, those meals are composed of what you know the kids will eat. The trouble is, many of these are unhappy meals for an adult on a diet. Cheeseburgers? Pizza? Macaroni and cheese? Don't get me started. Rather than tailoring your dinners to your children's whims, maybe it's time they started eating more like adults. Pasta primavera. Broiled scallops. Grilled salmon. Or just add a big bowl of steamed vegetables as the first course. If these menu changes feel drastic, try alternating kid days with grown-up days. It'll be healthier for all of you.
Choosing the right fat is also key to staying healthy. Aging is associated with increased cholesterol, triglycerides, fat mass, and BMI. While fiber plays a part in reducing cholesterol levels, the types of fat you eat can also keep you healthy as you age. We’re talking beautiful, glowing skin, shiny hair and more! The key is to focus on unsaturated fats, particularly anti-inflammatory omega-3s.
If you eat healthy and exercise regularly and still can’t lose weight, your thyroid might not be working like it should. This happens in about 5% of people, and it's most common in women and people over 60. In addition to weight gain, it can also cause fatigue, joint or muscle pain, and depression. Medications can help, so get it checked if you think it might be an issue. How To Lose Belly Fat | Is Menopause Really to Blame Over 50?
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.”
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It’s time to sniff your way slim. Switching up your fragrance can do more than make you smell delicious, it can also help you shed those extra pounds as you age. The results of a study published in the Journal of Neurological and Orthopaedic Surgery reveal that sniffing scents like apple and mint increased weight loss among study subjects, so seek out fragranced products, like tea tree shampoo or apple-inflected perfume, for maximum effect. 9 Ways That Can Help You Reduce Menopausal Belly Fat
A 2003 study demonstrated that a low-calorie diet that’s rich in almonds could help people shed weight. Not only do the good monounsaturated fats in almonds have an effect on insulin levels, say scientists, but also give dieters a feeling of fullness, meaning that they are less likely to overeat. So stock your pantry with almonds, walnuts, and nut butter. What's Making You So Hungry?
You need to cut calories to lose weight. But going too low delivers a double whammy to your metabolism. When you eat less than you need for basic biological function (about 1,200 calories for most women), your body throws the brakes on your metabolism. It also begins to break down precious, calorie-burning muscle tissue for energy, says Dan Benardot, PhD, RD, an associate professor of nutrition and kinesiology at Georgia State University. "Eat just enough so you're not hungry—a 150-calorie snack midmorning and midafternoon between three meals (about 430 calories each) will keep your metabolism humming."
Whether due to the night-waking of young children or hot flashes from the onset of perimenopause, middle-age is when sleep quality goes downhill for many women. Lack of sleep has long been linked to an increased risk of obesity and diabetes, because it’s harder for the body to regulate glucose leading to something called insulin resistance, which can cause weight gain. Building Muscle After 40 While Burning Fat (Dumbbell Workout)
If you want a slimmer waistline, your best diet plan includes getting rid of any fast-burning carbohydrates such as sugar, white bread, rice noodles and potatoes. For a list of carbs to avoid, check out these seven. Switch carbs like these out for slower-burning alternatives like berries, 100 percent whole-grain bread, whole-grain pasta, or pasta made from beans, lentils, or sweet potatoes. These slow carbs will provide you with slow, sustained energy and help fight sugar cravings. They’ll also help to keep insulin levels low so you can stay healthy and trim through your 40s and beyond. Here are some superfoods that all women should add to their diet.
If you’re an avid reader of Eat This, Not That! You likely know that low-fat foods aren’t the best for neither your waistline nor your health. Many seemingly diet-friendly foods that are labeled low in fat sneak in added sugars to make up for the lack of flavor that results from stripping out the fat. And when it comes to yogurt, which already contains natural sugar in the form of lactose, you definitely don’t want the extra added sweet stuff. Not to mention, fats found in dairy have been shown to keep you satiated and slim down your gut.
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According to a study in The New England Journal of Medicine, folks who eat at least 100 grams of fruit per day—about half an apple, or a whole banana—saw their heart attack risk plummet by about 33 percent. While apples contain cholesterol-busting pectin, bananas are an excellent source of blood-pressure-slashing potassium. Slating both into your diet is a solid choice. And for more ways to be a smarter eater—and all around person—bone up on the 20 Things Your Doctor Is Likely to Get Wrong.
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“To balance hormones, such as leptin, the diet must contain high fiber vegetables to stabilize leptin levels by making you feel full longer. They’ll balance cortisol, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants,” explains Lisa Avellino, Fitness Director at NY Health and Wellness. “The fiber found in cabbage, broccoli, or Brussels sprouts help stabilize blood sugar and insulin by slowing down digestion.”
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.