5 Strategies to Fight Fat over 40

Posted by on Feb 4, 2012 in Blog, Exercise, Food | 1 comment

Featured on www.mylalifestyle.com

The magic number: 40. You’ve heard all the cliches…it’s when your birthday cards from friends begin announcing “Over the Hill”. I prefer the one, “Life begins at 40”. That being said, our bodies do begin to shift as we reach the magic number. Back in our 20s we could eat, drink and be merry and do a few minutes in the gym and be as good as new. Or perhaps we’d cut back on our calories or alcohol for a few days and poof–weight loss magic! Now, those tactics may not work so well. Our metabolism has slowed down a bit. Hormones have shifted. We have become overwhelmed with responsibilities and let our health take a back seat.

What to do? In my work with celebrities and athletes, I often employ these 5 strategies for dropping pounds and getting lean. Now it’s your turn!


1. Change your workout.

Do you do the same routine over and over at the gym? Our bodies are incredibly efficient at adapting to routine. Mix it up! Burst Training or High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is an effective way to blast fat during your workout and for several hours later you will continue to rev your metabolism. Here’s the formula: The whole idea is to work at high intensities for short durations (typically under 60 seconds), recover at a low-intensity to let your heart rate go down (typically 90 seconds) then repeat again for a total of eight intervals.

The value in these “bursts” is they can create a strong fat-burning hormonal response. Low-intensity aerobic exercise simply doesn’t have the same effect on boosting your hormone levels.

In fact, researchers from Australia found that women who did only 20 minutes of interval training three times per week were able to lose more belly fat than women who did 40 minutes of long, slow cardio. So switch your program to short-burst exercise and you’ll get more results in less time!


2. Start your day with Protein!

Think of protein as your “fat burning food”. Instead of starting your day with coffee and muffin or a banana, go for the protein. Typical “breakfast” foods spike your insulin levels and put your body in “fat storage” mode. However, by starting with protein, like eggs or a Whey-based protein shake, your body begins burning fat and you will have less carb cravings throughout the day. Make sure you have protein with lunch and dinner as well. Cut carbs after 5:00PM for added benefit.



3. Get your ZZ’s.

As you sleep, two important hormones are produced: leptin and ghrelin. They work in a kind of checks and balances system to control feelings of hunger and fullness. Ghrelin, which is produced in the gastrointestinal tract, stimulates appetite, while leptin, produced in fat cells, sends a signal to the brain when you are full. So what’s the connection to sleep? Lack of sleep causes leptin levels to drop and ghrelin levels to rise, so your appetite is stimulated and you don’t feel full after eating.



4. Check your Stress.
Cortisol, the stress hormone that you can read more about in my previous article can cause weight gain if it is unbalanced. Cortisol levels rise when our bodies or minds are stressed. When cortisol is elevated, we release sugar into our bloodstream and cause insulin levels to spike, setting up the fat storage scenario again. Taking certain herbs like Rhodiola can help support the body’s stress response and keep cortisol in check. Yoga, meditation, caffeine reduction and getting more sleep are all helpful in reducing cortisol levels.


5. Check your Engine
Rule out any metabolic dysfunctions by asking for a full body work up.  A complete Thyroid panel is a good place to start.  Make sure to get your TSH, T4, T3 and TPO antibodies tested to rule out a thyroid disorder.  Check other hormones as well; Estrogen, Progesterone, DHEA and Testosterone can all have an effect on your metabolism.  Saliva testing is recommended for these particular hormones. If imbalances are found, using a Bioidentical hormone preparation can balance your hormones and improve your quality of life.
Remember, fat does not have to happen at 40.  Take charge of your health now and give yourself the edge you need to stay lean and fit.

Image Credits:  1: weightlossbestexercise.com/, pic 2: cbsbaltimore.files.wordpress.com, pic 3: 4.bp.blogspot.com, pic 4: goodhealthhabit.com
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One Comment

  1. sigh….
    it really is about actually *doing* the things that are good for us.
    I think many women don’t get the right blood work and never know what’s really causing problems. This is a good list.

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