We all should’ve cut back on sugar a long time ago, but after 40, it’s especially important. “Lowering your sugar intake can lower the production of harmful compounds called advanced glycation end products (AGES) that can deplete the body of antioxidant stores and age us,” explains LeVeque. “AGEs are produced when proteins or fats combine with sugar, and the best way to keep internal production low is to keep blood sugar under control.”
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. My Diet and Exercise Routine! After 40!
For Brenda (and many of my patients), this high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet helped reset her insulin, estrogen, and other hormones. She lost weight, felt better, dialed down her hot flashes, and on her third visit seemed thrilled that finally she was back in the mood again. Especially for menopausal patients, I’ve found these nine hacks help optimally transition into this effective diet:
HMB—short for beta-hydroxy-beta-methylbutyrate—is a protein-related compound that encourages your muscles to use the macronutrient more efficiently, Bede explains. “Taking a HMB supplement can assist with muscle growth post 40,” she adds. Also consider a D-rich multivitamin. “Generally, men over 40 are deficient in vitamin C, Vitamin D, magnesium, B vitamins, and zinc,” says Kominiarek. Vitamin D is particularly important since it’s so crucial to both muscle and bone health, yet people tend to spend less time outside, exposed to sunlight after 40, Bede adds. It’s always better to score nutrients from real whole foods, but Kominiarek says supplementation is a must as we age.
over weight loss
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.
Boost your fiber intake and slim down by mixing some flaxseed into your favorite food. Flax is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to help reduce inflammation and promote weight loss, and they may even help you fend off another sign of aging, too: the dreaded wrinkle. Flaxseed is loaded with alpha linolenic acid, which researchers at Winnipeg’s St. Boniface General Hospital and Cuba’s VI Lenin University Hospital have linked to improvements in weight and cardiovascular status among study subjects. The omega-3s in flax have also been shown to trigger improvements in the texture and hydration of skin, fighting wrinkles in the process.
How My Day Went: An essential part of my morning is coffee and eggs. I will never, EVER be one of those people who is “never really hungry in the morning” or “always skips breakfast.” No matter how much I eat the night before, I wake up starving … and angry, and coffee and eggs are the only way to make it better. Breakfast is everything to me. Which is why prepping myself a caffeine-free, egg-free meal of hot water and lemon was … disappointing. But the taste was surprisingly pleasant, and the concoction did keep me fuller longer than I’d expected. I felt less of an impulse to snack mindlessly throughout the day.
Starting in your 40s, it's easier than ever for the pounds to creep on—and tougher to take them off. Thanks to a slowing metabolism you could be burning 300 fewer calories per day than you did in your early 20s, according to the American Council on Exercise. What's more, falling estrogen levels during perimenopause and menopause (which begin in your early 40s) can cause insulin sensitivity, which makes it harder for your body to control the amount of sugar in your blood, says Caroline Cederquist, MD, a board-certified bariatric surgeon and founder of the meal delivery service BistroMD. This can make your blood sugar levels more prone to spiking and crashing, which can increase your urge to snack—especially on high-carb, sugary junk, Cederquist says.
Difficulty on a Scale of 1 (I Feel Great!) to 10 (It Ruined My Life!): 3. The drink didn’t make me feel instantly Paltrow’ed, but it also didn’t make me feel actively bad. If I were someone who didn’t love/cherish breakfast, I could see myself making hot lemon water a routine. Since I do love/cherish breakfast, I’ll sip a cup on those afternoons I’m compelled to eat Cheez-Its recreationally.
“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.