Did you know that if you eat and exercise the same way at the age of 40 as you did at when you were 20, you will gain 2-4 pounds per year? If you are not exercising at all your weight gain will be even more.
Why is this? Your metabolism slows greatly as you age. Which means your body burns calories at a higher rate when you are young because your body is converting that food into body growth. Once you stop growing you don’t need as much food. But when you’ve been raised and praised for being a good eater it’s hard to switch gears. Plus it’s fun to eat food – and in America we have plenty of great tasting food!
Rabbit Food Diet is NOT the Answer
I’ve found that the best way for people to get started on a healthier diet is to use “portion control”. In another words, eat similar foods that you are eating now but control how much you ingest. If you suddenly switch to eating only carrots and celery every meal – how long will that realistically last?
Here is what the experts say you should do. Divide your plate into 4 quarters. Fill ½ your plate with fruits and veggies, ¼ with protein (meat), ¼ with carbohydrates (rice, potatoes, breads etc.) A trick I use is to eat all my ½ plate of fruits or veggies first when I’m the hungriest and then by the time I get to the more fattening part of my meal I’m not as ravenous and I don’t eat as much of the bad.
I don’t like the word “diet” because most people think of it as a short term fix that is really not enjoyable and maybe even painful. If you want to be healthy, you need to make the way you eat and exercise a lifestyle. Not a short term New Year’s Resolution.
After a month or so of portion control you can start replacing the fatty proteins for more lean choices. Like chicken breast sandwich or a pulled pork sandwich instead of a burger. Replace French fries with a side salad. Soon your body will not crave the fried foods that are so bad for you.
Diet + Exercise = Weight Loss
Of course the other half of this equation is to exercise more. I recommend our Cardio Kickboxing classes or Karate/Kickboxing Classes because group exercise programs are usually more effective at keeping people committed to their exercise routine. There is something fun about seeing the same group of people and instructors work out together and motivating each other. It’s like having a personal trainer and a support group all in one.
Next month I am going to write about how the winter months make our bodies crave “comfort foods” that cause us to gain weight and what we can do about it.