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Regain your youthful figure

Published 9:29pm Friday, February 7, 2014

It is true that your metabolism naturally slows by about 5 percent each decade. At age 35, you will burn 100 fewer calories each day than you did at age 25. At age 45, you will burn an average of 200 calories fewer per day. Another factor that comes with age is a decrease in muscle mass. Many are also affected by the negative consequences that result from their earlier years of fad dieting. With a slower metabolism and loss of muscle tissue stacked against you, you may want to throw your hands up and admit defeat, but buying larger pants does not have to be your fate!

When your metabolism slows, as a result of aging, it does not mean you should shift to slow-mode too. In fact, it is extremely critical to stay active throughout your life, no matter your age. The combination of a slower metabolism with inactivity is a sure way to weight gain. In fact, experts estimate an 8-12 lb. weight gain per year for inactive individuals over the age of 45. If early adulthood had you so busy that exercising was never a part of your lifestyle, it is never too late to begin. Adding aerobic activity to your daily regimen is a simple way to improve overall health and get you on the road to a slimmer figure. Additionally, making good food choices is essential for regaining your youthful body. Women especially need to be cautious about their diets; changing levels of estrogen often result in added cravings for sugary and fattening foods. Make it a practice to skip dessert and late night snacks. High quality meals that are lower in calories will produce the results you are looking for.

If you feel too overwhelmed by the weight that has snuck up on you, or are discouraged by past attempts at losing weight, take it one week at a time. Set small goals for yourself. Perhaps, begin with a schedule of brisk walking two days per week until you progress to five to seven days a week. Adopting healthier lifestyle habits will set you up for long term success rather than the short lived results that come from crash diet attempts. You don’t have to adopt a specific diet; simply make small changes and stick to them. For example, be aware of how many servings of vegetables you eat each day (three to five is recommended). Notice how often you have sugary snacks, and try to have fruit or even nuts instead. Drink more water. Buy a reusable water bottle and attempt to drink the recommended 64 ounces each day. Be calorie conscious. Calories add up quick, and it is easy to consume too many.

No matter your age set a goal today to get out of the rut you have been in. Write down a few changes you personally would like to make this month. Stick with those changes and progressively work on other habits you would like to improve. With consistent effort, you can change the unhealthy habits you have accumulated over the years, and avoid the common middle-aged middle. Be patient; don’t dread the habit changing process. Soon, your youthful body will reappear!

Muscle tissue burns up to three times more calories than fat. Wow! That means, the more muscle mass you lose the fewer calories you will burn. Or, in other words, the more body fat you have, the easier it is for you to gain more. A typical body fat percentage for mid-life is 40 percent. But, this number can be reduced with regular exercise and proper nutrition (a healthy body fat range is 25 percent for women and 14 percent for men). Weight training in particular can help maintain muscle mass, and essentially help you burn more calories.

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