40 gets a bad rap, although not as bad as it used to. Since trading in several bad habits for exercise, I’ve enjoyed better health and serenity in my thirties and forties than in any other time in my life. That being said, I have noticed that my metabolism is not what it used to be. I’m sure years of yoyo dieting have not helped, nor did two pregnancies (and three babies) in two years. It seems these days I have to work three times as hard just to maintain. But, when I complain (some might say rant and rave) to the best trainer in the world (otherwise known as my dreamy husband) he asks me what the alternative is. Sometimes I want to punch him right in the six-pack. Here are some things I found helped after my metabolism shut off after 35.
• Drink water. Blah blah blah. I know. If I hear one more person tell me how awesome water is for me I’ll throw up on them. But it is. Drink more.
• Stop drinking diet sodas. And regular sodas too. Arrrghhh..this one broke my heart. Before my first pregnancy I sustained a 6-8 bottle a day diet pepsi habit. I had a fridge in my office for my diet pepsi. I still love it so. Sadly, it is toxic. The science has pretty much proven that besides probably eating a hole in your blood-brain barrier (which can’t be good), diet sodas trick your body into overproducing insulin and basically rendering you incapable of metabolizing sugars properly. Not good.
• Limit wheat. Now I’m not really on the anti-gluten bandwagon (or is gluten okay again? I stopped keeping up). It makes cakes and cookies delicious, in my opinion. But breads and pastas, even whole wheat ones, do not metabolize well and can impede weight loss. Especially after your metabolism stops ticking along as fast.
• Build lean muscle. Women of my generation were taught in our formative years to burn fat by long, low intensity cardio and to do a lot of reps at light weight or we’d ‘bulk up’. Now, hopefully you have been reprogrammed to understand that this is complete doodoo, but if you haven’t let me tell you. This is complete doodoo. You need lots of lean muscle to burn calories faster. You will NOT bulk up unless you are also taking illegal steroids. Don’t take illegal steroids, k?
• Move more. We can’t blame everything on our metabolisms. The fact is as we progress in years we also face circumstances that make us more sedentary. Weekend jogs and hikes have been replaced by sitting around with the littles and as we advance in our careers we get nice cushy desk jobs (accompanied by nice cushy desk butts). Add 15-20 minutes of high intensity cardio to your day and you’ll be amazed.
Above all, enjoy all these stages in life. I like to say, I’ve earned my wrinkles! The goal of fitness is NOT to stay young forever, but to enjoy your life to the fullest at every stage.