Today, those of us over 40 face a twofold challenge: We're living longer and we're no longer out there pitching hay to the cows at 5 a.m. To lose weight, we need to get to know our bodies and their new biological rhythms -- and adjust to them.
Time your eating to take advantage of your body's natural rhythms. Don't like to eat breakfast? Sorry, but there's no way around this one; eating a good breakfast is one of the key habits experts have identified that keeps thin people thin. When members of the National Weight Control Registry (people who have maintained a weight loss of 30 pounds for between one and six years) were surveyed, 78 percent reported eating breakfast every day and almost 90 percent reported eating breakfast at least five days a week. This was one of the only factors researchers identified that those in the registry had in common!
When it comes to burning calories, it's a fairly simple equation. What goes in must be burned off, or it sticks. Acquiring weight is absurdly easy -- eating just 100 extra calories a day (100 more than what your body burns) will lead to a nine- to ten-pound weight gain over the course of a year, experts say. How much is 100 calories? Not a lot: A can of Coke contains 155 calories, a chocolate bar more than 200. Of course, that cola or chocolate chip cookie is no problem if we're walking or running it off. But after 40, our activity level tends to decline, too. So the challenge is to bring the two into balance.