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Midlife Weight Gain: Fight Back!!
by Kim Farmer

It will happen to all of us as we reach and surpass the inevitable 40 year milestone age: The muffin top belly that hangs over our belt line, thighs that meet each other in the middle all too often, and the surprising (and unfriendly) 10-15 pounds that shows up on the scale apostrophesomehowapostrophe. With a slowing metabolism, added life stressors and hormonal changes, it makes it that much harder to keep the body we used to have. Follow these tips to help your body come closer to your pre-40 physique:

1. It is easy to blame our hormones for our increased stress and/or lack of energy, but in reality hormones account for only 2-5 pounds of weight gain, the rest is attributed to poor lifestyle choices. Simply recognizing (and appreciating) that changes occur in your body when you age is the first challenge; the rest will fall in line once you commit to doing everything in your control to keep your body as healthy as it was before changes due to aging started occurring. Eating less (not more), exercising consistently, and making healthy food choices are just three things that are MUSTS.

2. Work hard NOT to gain weight. If all other things stay constant and you donapostrophet change anything that you are doing, your body will NATURALLY want to gain weight. You need to make changes in the amount of food you eat and the type of foods that you eat and what you do for your exercise routine in order to keep your weight constant (unless you are blessed with a naturally high metabolism). The quality and amount of food that you put in your mouth will show its face in your waistline, blood pressure, cholesterol levels and other factors. Quality is all about eating whole foods, fruits, and vegetables, whole grains, lean protein while avoiding processed foods.

3. Your goal weight should not increase just because you hit midlife! In fact a better goal than weight to focus on is body fat percentage and circumference measures. For a man, a body fat percentage of 17% to 23% is pretty good for 40-plus. For women, 20% to 25% is a good goal. Maintaining a good muscle base with strength training is important in order to get within this range of a body fat percentage. Also, a man should work to keep a waist circumference below 40 inches and a woman below 35 inches.

4. Change up your exercise routine. Most people continue to do the same exercise routine for years, but of course your body will acclimate to the same intensity and movement. Be sure to change up your cardio routine, add strength training intervals and change the intensity to challenge your muscles and your heart. As you age, your metabolism will decrease making it necessary for most people to either increase the length of their exercise segment to burn more calories and/or eat less.

Fight the aging battle with consistent (and varied) exercise to reduce stress and burn calories, eat quality foods that are nutrient rich, and control portion sizes. This will help keep your body fat percentage and circumference sizes down AND fight risk factors for disease.

About the Author:
Kim Farmer is a Personal Trainer and Clinical Exercise Specialist working in the Denver Metro area. She can be reached at 720-436-3899 or kfarmer@milehighfitness.com or visit her website at http://www.milehighfitness.com/.