During a woman’s younger years, she may find it easier to eat a little less, exercise a little more, and maintain a steady dress size while occasionally snacking on her favorite chocolate or ice cream. Then, suddenly, she’ll hit forty and realize that her body just can’t balance itself out the same way, and that her schedule is really too busy to start working on a new, all-inclusive health regimen.
The fact of the matter is, as a person ages their body’s metabolism becomes increasingly slower. A woman’s metabolic rate falls 5% every decade starting at the young age of 20. Of course, proper nutrition and exercise throughout those years can slow the process, but the nature of things is eventually inevitable.
As you reach your forties and become more concerned with both your looks and your general health (cholesterol, heart disease…) here are a few simple tips to get started. Remember, the process will most likely take a while, and results will be slower than they were when you were 25. Don’t give up easily, and don’t get discouraged- the better your body feels, the better your mind will feel.
- Beware of Stress Fat: a lot of the weight gained at this age shows up around the waist. This is often a result of the stress hormone cortisol, which urges the body to store energy in case of an emergency. High levels of cortisol (and with it, fat) can lead to heart disease, high-blood pressure, high cholesterol, stroke, diabetes and even cancer. It is important to deal with stress and anxiety in order to begin losing this weight.
- Watch the Time: Over-eating during the evening, as the whirlwind of the day winds down and time becomes available, is a number one cause of slow metabolism and weight gain. These hours are often mindless or stressful, leading to large, often instant meals and additional cups of coffee.
- Plan Your Meals: Instead of snacking on little tidbits throughout the day with plans to eat a large meal at night, make sure to set up three or four smaller, healthy meals to eat each day. Pack a lunch if you know you won’t have time to prepare one later, and make sure to get a real breakfast in within an hour of waking up. These meals will allow you to monitor your eating throughout the day, avoid unhealthy snacks, and eliminate the large late-night meals.
- Exercise, Exercise, Exercise: Of course, physical activity is key in maintaining a healthy, fit body. Though you’ve heard it countless times- skip the elevator and use the stairs. Do jumping jacks or jump rope when you get a private moment, or maybe sign up at the gym. Go swimming, walk the dog, run on the treadmill, ride a bike… All of these activities will not only burn calories, but also improve your general health, as well as significantly reduce stress and improve your mood.