The Skinny on Staying Fit
One of my first jobs in college was as a aerobics instructor in a fitness club in the late 80's. It was the era of Jane Fonda, spandex leotards and leg-warmers. I would sail through a dozen high-impact Jumping Jacks, my 20-something body quivering with effortless grace, while the rest of my 40-something class heaved and panted through the routine. Now in my 40's, that image fills me with envy. After two kids, a sluggish metabolism, and a body that feels decrepit, I've found (like many others before me) that it's not easy to lose the pounds any more. At cocktail parties and at meetups, the most common lament I hear from people is that they'd like to "exercise more regularly." Exercise is very important for health and mood (those aerobic highs aren't exaggerated!) and everyone knows this - and yet it's often tough for people to stick to an exercise routine.
Here's my cheat sheet...
1. Make working out a part of your daily routine: I'd like to work out every morning because it fires up your metabolism for the day, you have more energy, yadda, yadda, yadda. But with carpool schedules and writing deadlines, that doesn't always happen. The only way to avoid the "Darn it! I'll just exercise tomorrow!" hump, I've found, is to pencil it in for the latter part of my day. "6-7 p.m.: Workout" written on a yellow note stuck to my car's dashboard for the remainder of the day has a funny way of settling in my subconscious.
2. Cut the C.R.A.P. (Caffeine, refined sugar, alcohol, processed foods): Limit coffee to two cups a day or switch to green tea. While caffeine may help burn fat, too much spikes cortisol production. If you have excess weight at the sides of your waist, blame sugar. Studies show that 40 to 60% of sugar you eat is converted to body fat.
3. Don't fear late-night snacks: It's a myth that eating late causes the body to store calories as fat," say registered dietitians Lyssie Lakatos and Tammy Lakatos Shames, authors of "The Secret to Skinny." But research shows that after sundown your internal clock does make you hungrier for sweet, starchy, and salty foods. So try these healthy tricks:
2) Dove's almond dark chocolate promises - At 210 calories for 5 pieces, it is possible to stop at just 5 ... or 6.
4. Build strength straining into your workout: Yes, I too had heard and read it all along- after 40, women need to focus on strength training to maintain their shape. But only when I began going to a personal trainer once a week did I see my waistline whittle. Am I back to my pre-40 weight? Nah! Not by a long shot. But, I do feel healthier, and fit better in my clothes. Working out with a trainer is not for everyone, but training videos and apps that help coach you in strength moves—lunges, squats and planks, abound on supermarket shelves. My favorite - Quickie Workout (anchorbayentertainment.com)