Do you ever wonder why some women over the age of 40 seem to have the hardest time shedding those extra pounds? I mean one day you’re eating three chocolate chip cookies as an acceptable part of your lunch routine and the next, you can literally SEE where those chips went: right to the hips. As women, we comb through all the likely suspects: eating what our kids eat, a new job as “mom taxi” to every sport imaginable, and the obvious loss of time to focus on… you.
While these are all viable culprits, research indicates another plausible, physiological explanation for those new friends we so lovingly call “love handles” and it has a name: slowing metabolism.
I don’t “feel” slower…why is my metabolism?
Type in “women over 40 and weight loss” into Google and it might provide both a sense of relief (yes, I’m not alone!) and some unnerving realizations, (oh, I’m not alone…). Although it’s as common as gray hair, this new mid-life phenomenon has got some pretty interesting roots. A recent article written by Good Housekeeping regarding weight loss sheds some light on the subject: “your metabolism slows by 5 percent each decade. Compared to age 25, you’ll burn about 100 fewer calories a day at 35 and 200 fewer at 45…do nothing and you could gain between 8 to 12 pounds a year.” Thankfully, there’s hope for all of us who have recently (or not so recently) joined the over 40 club.
Speeding up Your Slowed Metabolism
Ok, it’s upon us. 40 is here and she brings a multitude of exciting life changes. Some more welcomed than others. So, how does one send those love handles packing for good? Let’s investigate a few ways you can “rev” your engine and kick your metabolism up a notch:
1. Grab Some Protein
Lean proteins such as chicken, fish, and meat are the building blocks to building muscle, not fat. When combined with exercise, these foods will help to strengthen muscle, while kicking fat to the curb.
2. Get Back to Exercising
Life gets crazy: kids, work, maintaining that semi-clean house. However, now is not the time to stop looking out for you. Finding it hard to get motivated? Join a gym that has a membership which includes some group-based exercising. Getting active with others boosts your confidence and your metabolism at the same time!
3. Switch up Your Workout Routine
Ok…we get it. You’re a runner. Keep up with your routine whatever it may be, but begin to add in some interval training as well. Light weight training will improve upon whatever cardio you’re doing and give you that much needed full body workout. Add bursts of speed to your workout and rev that metabolism even more!
4. Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate!
Invest in a water bottle you’ll love and want to take with you everywhere.
5. Get More Sleep
Sleep deprived? Then it’s time to cash in on some much-needed sleep. In a study conducted by Harvard Medical School scientists, weight loss becomes a challenge for women with less than seven hours of sleep: “when the scientists followed 68,183 women for 16 years, they found that those averaging five hours of shut-eye per night were 32 percent more likely to gain 33 pounds than those who got seven hours a night”. Grab your favorite blanket, darken those shades and catch up on some much-needed rest. Say “hello” to Mr. Sandman.
With all the unexpected and, sometimes, unwanted, changes mid-life brings, you can easily find ways to change with it. Metabolism changes seem to be one of the more challenging parts of being over forty but, you’ve gone through change before. Just think of this as another chapter of an already exciting adventure!