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Soon after having my second child, I realized that my metabolism was NOT what it once was. I could not get back to my pre-pregnancy weight no matter how hard I tried. In fact, I was 15 pounds AWAY from that number. I thought, maybe this is just the weight I am now. I am older, that is a normal thing, right? I wasn’t too worried about it and decided to let it go. My weight has never been super important to me, so as long as my hubby was happy then I was good with my new normal.
What I do worry about is cancer. I am terrified of getting cancer and of getting sick overall. I started reading a ton of books about food and healthy eating. While I understand that no matter what I do I may still end up getting the big C, I can do my best to influence the factors that are in my control. For me, that has been cutting out processed foods and added sugars while trying to eat as clean as I can. I have replaced a number of bad habits with healthier ones and feel better than I have in a long time.
Another side effect of my healthy lifestyle: losing weight. I am back down to my “usual” and I didn’t even make an effort to get there. I don’t count calories, I don’t deprive myself, I don’t measure out portions. I was going to call this post: How Eating Healthy So You Don’t Get Cancer and Die Will Also Make You Skinny… but I ultimately decided my chosen title would be a bit more enticing to the masses.
Here are 10 ways to help you stay slim as you age:
1. Stop Eating So Much Sugar: I put this first since, personally, I think this has made the most difference for me in the way I look & feel. Sugar is in EVERYTHING these days. It is not just your mid-afternoon candy pick-me-up. Sugar is in your salad dressing, mayonnaise, coffee creamer, ketchup, pasta sauces, yogurt, granola bars… I can go on and on! When I started LOOKING at the sugar content in some of my favorite items I was shocked. I still eat fruit and have alcohol, but I have drastically cut down the amount of sugar I consume on a daily basis. I could seriously talk about this forever, but I will spare you. However, I highly recommend the book Sugar Crush for all the technical details about sugar and the effects it has on your body.
2. Don’t Drink on Weeknights: This was a hard one for me, and something I adhere to 80% of the time. Not only does alcohol have calories, it is metabolized in your body a certain way that makes it harder for you to lose weight. You are also more likely to grab unhealthy snacks and eat extra calories after a few glasses of wine. (since, honestly.. who can only have one glass?)
3. Eat Breakfast: I have always been a breakfast girl. Many studies have shown that breakfast eaters tend to weigh less than non-breakfast eaters.
4. Take Probiotics: I am in no way an expert on this topic, but I have been focusing on my pro and pre-biotic intake since reading the book, Brain Maker. Apparently, gut health is very important when it comes to staying slim and your overall health. Since adding more probiotic rich foods to my diet, I have noticed less bloating and increased energy.
5. Drink Green Tea: I only have one cup of coffee a day, in the morning. For the rest of the day I drink green tea. It is packed with antioxidants and gives your metabolism a little boost.
6. Start Your Day with Warm Lemon Water: Warm lemon water or water mixed with lemon and apple cider vinegar does amazing things for your digestive system when you drink it first thing in the morning. It also helps you start your day hydrated, which helps keep cravings at bay.
7. Eat More Fat: Fat is really good for you, as long as it is the right kind of fat. Many doctors believe the low-fat trend is what screwed us all up and helped kickstart the obesity epidemic. I eat avocados, coconut oil, nuts & nut butter, ghee and salmon all the time. I put a huge glob of coconut oil in my coffee every single day. These types of fat are not only good for you, but they are also filling and delicious.
8. Lift Weights: I used to be a cardio rat in college. Then I met my husband, a personal trainer who was getting his masters in nutrition to become a registered dietitian. He taught me SO much about diet and fitness, but the most important thing was that you need to lift weights to lose weight, especially as you get older. The extra muscle will help you burn more fat and calories throughout the day and help you tone up and slim down.
9. Get More Sleep: Sleep is apparently the solver of all things, now if only I could get some of it. Years ago, when I worked an overnight schedule I gained weight. I read that not getting enough sleep messes with your hormones, which causes you to gain weight easier. The past year I have really been pushing myself to go to bed earlier in an attempt to get more shut eye.
10. Treat Your Body Like You Love It: For this life, I was given just one body. This is what I am stuck with. I want to see my kids get married and have their own kids, I want to grow old and wrinkly gracefully while feeling strong and healthy. Fuel yourself with good, healthy foods… not crap that is processed and has an expiration date 3 years from now. Get out and exercise to keep your body healthy and feeling good. You and your body deserve only the very best.
These days, we worry about our kids health, our spouses health, our parents health… even our pets health! As women age, we pile on the responsibilities, take horrible care of ourselves, then wonder why we keep gaining weight. Since making the decision to finally start taking care of myself, I can honestly say I have never felt better. Fitting in my ‘skinny’ jeans is just the icing on the cake.