Losing five or 10 pounds is not an unusual accomplishment. The key is making lifestyle changes to keep the weight off. Here are five steps to getting slim and staying that way for a lifetime.
- Modify your behavior to match changes that come with age. Aging starts well before 40, and as your metabolism slows, you can’t keep doing the same things you’ve been doing and still maintain the same weight. As you get older, try leaving food on your plate (those extra bites add up), eating smaller meals throughout the day rather than three large ones, paying attention to how food is prepared and watching those liquid calories from soda, wine and beer.
- Keep moving. Studies show that thin people more. Staying active is a key to keeping off weight as you age. Get up each and every hour, wash dishes by hand and run errands on foot whenever possible. Wear a pedometer with the goal of walking 10,000 steps a day.
- Eat plants at every meal. Include at least one fresh vegetable or fruit for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack time. Make sure vegetables and grains make up most of your diet.
- Stay super-hydrated. As we age, our thirst receptors get less effective and we can confuse thirst for hunger. When you feel hungry, ask yourself if you might be thirsty instead. Get in the habit of drinking water by carrying a bottle with you everywhere. To make water more appetizing, try flavoring it with a lemon or orange wedge.
- Get enough sleep. On average, those who weight less sleep more. Lack of sleep is not only unhealthy, but can also increase levels of cortisol, which has been linked to weight gain. Address health issues that can interfere with sleep, such as sleep apnea and bladder issues. Avoid eating near bedtime. Occasional use of over-the-counter sleep aids can also help to “reset” your sleep schedule.