Admit it. You look at food and feel as if you are gaining weight. You exercise enough but aren’t losing weight. Don’t worry, 40 is the new 20. Forget the tiara, silly titter and the hormone twist. Celebrate the curvaceous you, with lazy brunches, kids, sangrias and more...
“Your body starts burning fat after 20 minutes of slipping a workout,” says Mumbai-based nutrition consultant, Tripti Gupta. “So a minimum 40 minutes workout is required daily. A three-five days workout every week with a healthy diet is a must to get fitness levels.” So ladies, you can choose from one hour of brisk walking, tennis, cycling, swimming and gyming.
Physiological aging begins at 25 and at 30, internal ageing starts. As your metabolic rate winds down, the inches begin to pile up. “Most women turn Google doctors and take to crazy diets that increase the fat percentage in the body. When you are in your 40s, you need to build up lean muscle tissue for better stamina, overall toning and strengthening your core and posture. Once you do this, everything falls in place, including the weight loss,” says Leena Mogre, director, Leena Mogre Fitness, Mumbai,
“No zumba, no aerobics, can compensate for weight training. At this age, the body needs a challenging routine to be pushed out of the comfort zone. The moment you rev up your basal metabolic rate, you will burn calories even while resting,” says Leena.
Any activity done as a chore is not a workout. These activities are required to keep us on our feet. When any of these actions are performed consistently for at least 40 minutes at a certain speed to increase our pulse rate, then it is called a workout. Our fat burning process needs our pulse rate to shoot up and stay there for a fair number of minutes; casual activities and chores do not ensure that. Says Pooja Bhatia Arora, a fitness trainer in Bengaluru, who has just turned 40 herself, “Aqua or water workouts are highly recommended. In an aquatic environment, there are less chances of injury as the buoyancy of water cushions the joints. The weight of the water adds to the resistance, resulting in a higher calorie burn.” An accurate fitness assessment done by a certified expert is needed. A balanced exercise routine will take care of cardiovascular strength, muscle strength, core strength and flexibility. Opt for nutrient-dense food, says Mumbai-based dietician Sarika Nair. “Eat proper breakfast, it prevents food cravings later in the day. Make protein your friend. In our 40s, our muscle mass is at least 10 per cent lower than the earlier decade,” adds Nair.
High quality proteins such as eggs, chicken, fish, lentils, legumes, soy, nuts and dairy is good for maintaining muscle mass. Replenish calcium levels through dairy, ragi and dried dates, and work in the morning to boost Vitamin D intake. Give up the obsession of chasing numbers in vital statistics, says Bengaluru-based nutritionist Hannah Kurian. “The focus should be more on improving metabolism BMR rather than counting calories. Inch loss means fat loss. A sound diet and exercise plan increases muscle mass and stamina level.”
The solution lies in smart pruning of calories. Says Deepalekha Bhattacharjee, a Chennai-based dietician. “Avoid fried and fatty foods, Aim for complex carbs, proteins, salads without dressing, soups without cream and healthy desserts. The zero carb route is a big no. Work the superfoods into your daily intake. A calcium and probiotic-rich diet keeps our digestive flora healthy.
Peri-menopausal and menopausal women report changes in their sleep patterns. Difficulty falling asleep, waking up in the middle of the night, and insomnia. Sleep deprivation is linked to elevated cortisol levels that lead to fat gain.” Shalini Bhargava, fitness expert
"Opt for roti rolls over sandwiches for dinner, replace packet cereal with dalia porridge for breakfast, make quinoa dosa or millet roti or chia pudding to boost your superfood index. A high protein breakfast is a must as most muscle breakdown happens at night."
Dhvani Shah, diet specialist, FIMS Clinic, Mumbai