Your Best Body at 30, 40, 50
In your 40s
Don't ignore dairy. Fat-free or low-fat milk, yogurt, cheese, and other dairy products are not only crucial for protecting bone mass (which is already starting to dip in your 40s) but they may also play an important role in weight loss. A recent study from the University of Alabama at Birmingham suggests that women who take 1,000mg of calcium daily could lose 4 inches of hidden belly fat in a year. One easy way to add calcium and satisfy your sweet tooth at the same time? Have a glass of fat-free milk mixed with light chocolate syrup.
Multitask your workouts. By their mid-40s most women start to see a loss of lean muscle tissue, which can slow metabolism and make strength training more important than ever. At the same time, shifting hormone levels can increase fat stores, especially around the stomach, which calls for more calorie-burning cardio. The solution? Circuit workouts that combine several bouts of fat-burning cardiovascular exercise (brisk walking, jogging, or cycling) followed by a few strength exercises that work several muscles simultaneously (squats, lunges, push-ups, planks). Do this combo a few times through for both strength and cardiovascular payoffs, says Coopersmith.
Watch for stress snacking. The ever-present demands of family, work, and dozens of other obligations can leave you longing to dive into a bag of potato chips, so keep healthier choices -- baby carrots, apple slices, air-popped popcorn -- on hand for the times you have the urge to munch. Or get your oral satisfaction from sugar-free gum. Researchers from the University of Rhode Island found that volunteers who chewed gum for an hour in the morning consumed 67 fewer calories at lunch.