6 Surefire Ways to Stay Slim After 35

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3 Simple Strategies

Since metabolism and hormone function vary so much from woman to woman, and from year to year in the same 40- to 50-ish woman, even experts can't pinpoint an individual woman's likely midlife weight gain. All, however, say that it can be significant. My own fear of a 10-pound gain between 40 and 50, they agree, is thoroughly justified. Indeed, Dr. Goodman's research confirms an average gain of about a pound a year during perimenopause.

Luckily, they also emphasize that such whopping gains are not inevitable. The trick, says Dr. Peeke, is to think of calories as you would your checkbook: Calories in must be balanced by calories out. The following tips will help you come out even at the end of the day.

Keep moving, all day long.

Even if you're hitting the gym three times a week as you've always done, chances are you're not doing the other little calorie burners that used to pepper your days. One reason my daily walk doesn't cut it anymore is that it's no longer being boosted by the countless hours I spent chasing down suicidal toddlers headed straight for the street, walking the floor with a sick baby, or pushing a stroller for blocks on end. So take the stairs at work, park on the far side of the mall, walk a couple of laps around the soccer field while your kids are at practice. It all adds up. One easy way to track how many calories you burn is to strap on a pedometer first thing in the morning. A quick glance now and then throughout the day will let you know how you're doing and remind you to get moving. Even if you're only burning extra calories a few at a time, it is a lot easier than forgoing food.

Lift the other kind of weight.

Midlife women lose bone density and muscle tone, both of which are crucial to weight maintenance. So in addition to whatever aerobic activity you've been committed to, you should now spend at least 20 minutes twice a week on weight or resistance training. Remember, muscles burn calories more efficiently than fat cells do, which means they're working to burn calories even when you're not working out.

Unload the stress.

For most women, stress is an unavoidable side effect of a full, demanding life. Throw in the haywire hormones of perimenopause, and many of us find ourselves in a daily stress fest. Besides being bad for our health, stress can trigger the release of the hormone cortisol, which in turn can stimulate hunger. In addition to upping your aerobic and weight-training workouts and enjoying the stress relief they provide, circumvent stress eating by finding activities that calm you down before you feel the urge to binge -- a cup of chamomile tea, a half hour with a good novel, a hot bath.

Continued on page 4:  3 Eating Strategies

 

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