As your metabolism starts to dip, it’s more important than ever to make healthy choices. (Photo: Getty Images)
Feel like the scale has gotten stuck since you hit your thirties? You’re not alone.
It’s normal to experience a slight drop in your metabolism every year during adulthood, says Robert Ziltzer, MD, an obesity medicine physician at the Scottsdale Weight Loss Center in Arizona.
In addition to a sluggish metabolism, women may also find it difficult to eat healthy as they juggle responsibilities at work and at home. Plus, premenstrual symptoms, which can include fluctuating weight, tend to get worse for women in their late thirties, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
But this doesn’t mean you should give up on your weight-loss efforts. Use these tips to keep the scale steady throughout your thirties.
1. Get clear on what motivates you. “Try to connect with the real reason you want to lose weight,” says Jonny Bowden, PhD, a Los Angeles-based board-certified nutritionist. “Beyond a slimmer waist, what do you really want? Is it more energy? Better sleep? More mental clarity? The ability to run a block without getting winded?” Once you’ve identified your goals, write them down. Seeing the bigger picture might help you make better day-to-day decisions, Bowden says.
2. Eat five times a day. Yes, you heard that right. Dr. Ziltzer recommends eating three meals and two snacks a day, with the snacks limited to fewer than 200 calories each. Choose high-protein bites that will leave you satisfied for two to three hours, such as yogurt, beef jerky, boiled eggs, protein shakes, deli meats, and snack bars low in sugar. And don’t forget to eat breakfast, which has been shown to help boost weight loss .
3. Get plenty of protein. Make sure all your meals and snacks have at least 14 grams (g) of protein and 25 g or less of carbs, Ziltzer says. A good example: one 6-ounce (oz) container of plain, nonfat Greek yogurt has up to 17 g of protein and 6 g of carbohydrates.
4. Beware of 100-calorie snack packs. “These tend to be high in sugar and low in protein, so they don’t fill you up,” Ziltzer says. “Instead, they spike insulin, a hormone that builds fat.” For example, a 100-calorie pack of mini chocolate chip cookies has 1 g of protein and 8.5 g of sugar. A cup of edamame, on the other hand, packs 17 g of protein and 3 g of sugar for 189 calories. Another reason to cut down on sugar: It can help control symptoms of PMS, the NIH notes.
5. Resist the urge to clean your kids’ plates. No one likes throwing away food, but constantly finishing what’s left on your kids’ plates adds up. For example, munching on three chicken nuggets while you clean up adds an extra 142 calories to your dinner. And finishing half of a small order of fast-food fries adds another 136 calories.
6. Serve healthy food the whole family will love. Eating healthy isn’t just about you — it’s about keeping your whole family healthy. Plan good-for-you meals that will benefit everyone, suggests Bowden. Get your kids in on the action by inviting them to plan meals with you.
7. Trick out your weight-loss plan with technology. For weight loss motivation, look no further than your pocket. Many smartphones have built-in pedometers that will measure the number of steps you take each day, Ziltzer says. Aim to log 10,000 steps a day. You can also find free apps and websites that will help you track the foods you eat and calculate your daily calorie intake.
8. Find friends with similar goals. Obesity can be “contagious,” meaning you could gain weight if you hang out with people who are obese, suggests a 2007 study published in The New England Journal of Medicine. That’s not to say you should give someone the cold shoulder because of their weight. But keep in mind that your peers have an influence on the choices you make, Bowden says. Surround yourself with friends who enjoy getting active (like the ones who think a 10-mile hike on the weekend is a good time).
9. Make sleep a priority. If you have a baby or young children at home, you know that getting a good night’s sleep can be a challenge. But logging enough Z’s is crucial when it comes to losing weight. According to a 2014 article published in the Annals of Medicine, sleep deprivation may affect hormones that regulate your appetite, and that can lead to weight gain. To get more shut-eye, keep your bedroom at an even temperature and stick to a regular bedtime routine, recommends the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
10. Consider supplements. Although the jury is still out on whether or not supplements speed weight loss, they can still improve your overall health, Bowden says. Start with a multivitamin, and if you want to add in more, try fish oil, vitamin D, vitamin K, and probiotics, he suggests. Before trying supplements, it’s a good idea to consult your healthcare provider.
This article originally appeared on EverydayHealth.com: 10 Weight-Loss Tips for Women in Their Thirties
By Marie Suszynski, Everyday Health Contributor
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