Whether you’re looking to get in shape for that upcoming special event, or you’re facing a more sluggish metabolism with the onset of middle-age, here are a few tips to help you fight back.
1. Count Calories. No, I don’t mean you have to keep an eagle eye out on every single bite, but if you accurately count calories of each of your snacks and meals you will be better able to identify where you might be able to make some changes in your diet. As we age we need fewer calories simply to maintain our weight. If we continue to eat what we ate in our early 20s and 30s we will pack on pounds and not understand why.
2. Use each meal as a fresh start. You ate a cookie when you came home from work? Forget about it (after you write down the calories) and use your next meal as a fresh opportunity to eat a more balanced meal. The human body does better with a combination of some fat, complex carbs, and protein. If you allow yourself to reset each time you sit down to eat, then you will be less likely to either punish yourself for “breaking your diet” at lunchtime or to just give up and say, “I ruined my diet anyway.” Every time you sit down, be kind to yourself and gently remind yourself of your eating goals.
3. Protein is your friend. It doesn’t have to be meat, but protein is necessary to help build muscles. More muscle means a higher metabolism. By skipping out on the protein, you’re doing your body a great disservice. A general rule of thumb for an appropriate amount of protein is about 1.2 grams of protein for each kilogram of weight. For a 150 pound woman, that’s about 86 grams of protein. Having a little protein at each meal manages to stabilize our blood sugar.
4. Journal your food consumption. This seems to go hand in hand with the calorie counting, but this time you want to pay attention to your feelings each time you feel hungry. You want to retrain your body to only eat when it is truly hungry. And to give yourself some love and attention if you turn to food for any reason other than hunger. Journaling feelings helps us to recognize our food triggers and helps us to stay focused on our goals.
5. Eat good bacteria. Yogurt without added sugar or sweeteners is an excellent food. There has been some new information that suggests that obese people have a specific bacteria in their gut that is extremely efficient at pulling energy out of the food we eat. That means more calories are extracted. Yogurt bacteria has been shown to counter this.