Carrying a few extra pounds now that you’re in your 40s? Lots of us do and a slowing metabolism often gets the blame, but as werecently told you, a new study suggests our metabolism doesn't really start to slow until age 60.Dr. Natalie Azaradmits she was “definitely surprised” by those findings, but she says it’s actually great news because it means we might “have more control over our weight destiny” than we thought.
So if it’s not a sluggish metabolism, why do so many folks gain weight in midlife? It’s complicated, but factors like diet, exercise and sleep make a difference.And these strategies can help shed unwanted pounds in our 40s and beyond:
- Scrutinize snacks-Dr. Samuel Klein, director of the Center for Human Nutrition at Washington University School of Medicine, says one big problem is people seem to increase their snacks. Ready for a shocker? He says eating a candy bar a day will lead to a 24-pound weight gain in three years! So watch your snack habits.
- Beware of bad food influences from your partner- Research shows we mirror the behavior of people we eat with and people may take on bad food habits of their partners. If you’re watching your weight, don’t let your boo’s nightly ice cream treat become your downfall.
- Encourage your family to eat healthier- It’s easier to lose weight if you’re not the only one in the house sticking with a healthy eating plan. And onestudyfinds just having a supportive spouse may lead to less weight gain in midlife.
- Try to improve your sleep- Research has shown that not sleeping wellfuels appetiteand affects that part of the brain that controls willpower. Plus, if we don’t get good sleep, we feel more tired and may be less likely to exercise.
- Eat less and move more- Sounds simple, but it’s really about eating less processed food, since people don’t tend to overeat broccoli or quinoa. And as we get older, it’s good to add balance and strength training to the workout routine.
- Maintain, maintain, maintain- It’s so much easier to maintain a healthy weight than to try to lose excess pounds put on over the years. Klein points out that aging increases the risk of diseases and the risk is higher with excess body fat, so losing weight will boost your chances of not getting those diseases and having a healthier lifespan.