Your Best Body at 30, 40, 50

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In your 50s

Eat a healthy breakfast. "It's one of the best ways to get your metabolism going and jump-start your day," says Baltimore nutritionist Angela Ginn-Meadow, RD, a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association. Choose a combo of whole grains for energy and a lean or low-fat protein to keep you satisfied (think oatmeal with almonds or whole-grain cereal with low-fat milk). Or whip up some eggs: Studies have shown that women who eat eggs for breakfast consume fewer calories over the course of the day than when they have bagels and other high-carb breakfast fare.

Ramp up your routine. Regular exercise may well be the magic bullet to preventing middle-age spread. A recent Harvard study of more than 34,000 women (average age: 54) found that among subjects of normal weight, those who did moderate exercise for about an hour a day kept the scale relatively steady for 13 years. Can't squeeze a full hour into your ultra-busy schedule? Save time by doing intervals -- short bursts of intensity followed by equal- or longer-length recovery periods, repeated several times.

Get a good night's sleep. How much time you spend on the pillow has a strong correlation to body weight, according to research. A Case Western Reserve University study of more than 68,000 women found those who slept five hours or less a night were 32 percent more likely to gain 33 pounds or more and 15 percent more likely to become obese than those who slept at least seven hours. Regular exercise can help you drift off, especially when menopause comes into play.


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