Aging gracefully has become something to be proud of, thanks to celebrities such as Jane Fonda and Sophia Loren leading the way. Getting older means recognizing what’s important (friends, family, Fluffy and Fido) and appreciating the simple joys of life (a sunny day, a perfect rose, a sweet strawberry). There’s just one Catch-22 for many of us: Weight gain.
The good news: A slowing metabolism doesn’t have to result in weight gain as you age. By enhancing your life with exercise and making some simple food swaps, you can maintain a healthy weight and better your overall health. Try these tips for success:
- Exercise: You don’t have to run a marathon or join a gym to benefit from a fitness program. Exercise boosts your metabolism, tones your muscles and provides important benefits as we age, such as improving our balance to prevent falls. Try walking just 10 minutes three times a day to burn calories and tone your body. Consider getting an assortment of fitness DVDs so that you can work out any time. For example, Gaiam Yoga Conditioning For Weight Loss Program with Suzanne Deason is designed to show you how to use yoga moves to shed pounds while elongating your body and toning your muscles.
- Fiber up: Fiber is sometimes called the zero-calorie carbohydrate, because some diet plans calculate “net carbs” by subtracting the fiber in foods from the total carbohydrates. But regardless of what diet you’re following, fiber is ideal for filling up your tummy with minimal calories. For example, you can fill up at breakfast by making Hodgson Mill Oat Bran Hot Cereal for 120 calories per serving and 6 grams of fiber. Mix with Walden Farms Calorie-Free Pancake Syrup for a flavor that resembles pancakes topped with maple syrup.
- Become a veggie virtuoso: Low in calories, high in fiber, minerals and vitamins, vegetables are a dieter’s best friend. Experiment with a wide range of organic canned and fresh vegetables, from kale to cucumbers, from purple cabbage to broccoli. A colorful plate means a reduction in weight! You can make an enormous salad with Romaine lettuce, chopped carrots, sliced tomatoes, jicama, red onions and Tillen Farms Pickled Crispy Asparagus. Top with zero-calorie salad dressing such as Walden Farms Calorie-Free Balsamic Vinaigrette.
- Protein power: Protein fills you up and helps your metabolism function at its best. Bypass fatty red meats and go for lean protein, such as skinless chicken breast, water-packed tuna fish like Natural Sea Chunk Light Tongol Tuna Without Salt Packed in Water and beans, such as Eden Foods Organic Cannellini White Kidney Beans.
- Dessert: Don’t deprive yourself of sweets, but choose wisely. Consider a treat such as one square of the highest quality dark chocolate, such as Chocolove Dark Chocolate Bar with Almonds and Sea Salt, with a juicy apple.
Joanne Eglash, Vitacost.com’s Diet Diva, has a master of science in holistic nutrition and more than 15 years experience as a nutrition consultant, blogger, author and journalist. She has written for a wide range of publications and websites, including ediets.com,Natural Health magazine, Shape magazine, Success magazine, Energy for Women and Chefs. Joanne is currently the national Diets columnist for the online news and entertainment site, Examiner.com, and a features food columnist for Yahoo.