Weight management at 40
You’re into your 40s, and have probably put on a bit of weight over the last few years, but you would like to stay healthy and ensure you don’t gain any more…
Over the years, your figure has probably gradually changed; it’s pretty inevitable and quite normal. It’s okay to be getting on for 45 with a few more kilos than when you were 20: a physical reality you should try to accept!
The trick is to now limit these few kilos you’ve put on over the years – to ensure your weight is stabilised – and you’ll need to be attentive so that the weight doesn’t slip on as you head towards the menopause.
The key to success is to watch your weight, eat a varied diet and never forget that all-important bit of regular exercise. While there’s no need to obsessively weigh yourself every day, checking your weight on a weekly basis will help you to react quickly: to avoid putting on extra weight and incurring all the bad consequences for your health and your self-image. Here is Doctissimo’s advice for keeping in shape...
A winning weight management strategy
You know yourself well, and you know what suits you. With a bit of maturity and hindsight, you are capable of managing your appetite better and you’ve learnt to appreciate quality rather than quantity.
As you already know, a balanced and varied diet is one of the keys to health and wellbeing. You may already pay careful attention to what you eat, but some well chosen foods can help to improve the nutritional quality of your meals even more... and help you to stay in great form while keeping in shape.
You particularly need to pay attention to the mix of fat and sugar found in most processed food, which is not helpful for middle-aged body systems – think cardiovascular disease, obesity, type 2 diabetes… Even reducing your intake of simple sugars and animal fats by 10 or 15% can have positive effect on your health. So take out those lamb chops and add some chickpeas, cut the chocolate cake and have some low-fat yoghurt with fruit – small ‘sacrifices’ that your body will thank you for.
3 pitfalls to avoid after 40
- Not getting enough calcium: As you inch towards the menopause, to keep bones healthy, and reduce the risks of osteoporosis later on, a calcium intake of 1,200 mg per day is recommended. To achieve this, you need to have 3 to 4 dairy products in your diet daily, which means milk, yoghurt, cheese... and low-fat is still rich in calcium. If you’re not a dairy food person, don’t hesitate to take a daily Calcium supplement.
- Being too much of a perfectionist: You want to do things too well... but watch out, a healthy diet doesn’t always mean the same food day in, day out without any treats once in a while! To manage weight without feeling frustrated, and especially so as not to put any lost kilos back on, eating needs to remain a pleasure.
- Reducing physical activity: Your kids are now teens and you may have slowed down a bit physically… but take care not to slow down too much! Staying active, or increasing your physical activity allows you to eat a little more, while still maintaining your ideal weight. To improve both your figure and your health, walk more, take the stairs, do 10 minutes of gym each day if you can.
Treat yourself, without risking your waistline
- Fat-free flavouring: fresh or frozen herbs (parsley, chervil, chives) are great to always have to hand to dress up crudités, salads and steamed vegetables. Make the most of dried herbs and spices, shallots, garlic and lemons… healthy food doesn’t need to be bland;
- Walnut or hazelnut oil: very rich in essential fatty acids, these oils have such a strong flavour that you’re sure not to add too much to salads;
- Frozen vegetables: ready prepared, tasty and original, theses can be steamed or tossed in a frying pan and dress up your vegetable platters in next to no time. Perfect for working mums who don’t always have the time or energy to peel and chop every evening;
- Go low-fat: you can still enjoy cheese, cream, milk and yoghurt in meaningful quantities if you go for low-fat dairy produce. You’ll get flavour and calcium, but with less dietary fat and calories. If you aren’t a fan of artificial sweeteners, avoid flavoured yoghurts and add a little bit of fresh fruit to plain yoghurt instead;
- Alcohol: develop strategies to reduce your (high calorie 0% nutrition) alcohol consumption. For instance on a night out, alternate an alcoholic drink with a sparkling water – already a 50% reduction! Try to avoid spirits mixed with coke, fruit juice, cocktails…, which give you a double whammy of both sugar and calories.
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