Strength exercise is absolutely imperative for women over 40, says Dr. Peeke. It’s at this time when muscle mass begins to decrease. “If you’re not paying attention, you’ll drop muscle incredibly fast,” she says. Forget going to the gym. She recommends popping in a workout DVD (like Fit After 40) that focuses on bodyweight resistance training, like squats, lunges, pushups, and burpees.
“This is a great way of eating that I highly recommend to many clients, and I even model in my own life,” says Elizabeth Shaw, RDN, who is in private practice in San Diego and is the co-author of Fertility Foods Cookbook. “Since the premise of the diet is designed to help people who have high blood pressure, low-sodium foods are recommended. However, considering that most Americans exceed their daily sodium levels anyway, it’s not surprising that dietitians recommend this style of eating for treating many different conditions, such as heart disease and obesity.”
Eat More Produce. Eating lots of low-calorie, high-volume fruits and vegetables crowds out other foods that are higher in fat and calories. Move the meat off the center of your plate and pile on the vegetables. Or try starting lunch or dinner with a vegetable salad or bowl of broth-based soup, suggests Barbara Rolls, PhD, author of The Volumetrics Eating Plan. The U.S. government's 2005 Dietary Guidelines suggest that adults get 7-13 cups of produce daily. Ward says that's not really so difficult: "Stock your kitchen with plenty of fruits and vegetables and at every meal and snack, include a few servings," she says. "Your diet will be enriched with vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, fiber, and if you fill up on super-nutritious produce, you won't be reaching for the cookie jar."
Okay, this one's not for weight loss per se, but if you've got high cholesterol or are at risk for heart disease, your doc might suggest switching up your diet to get your numbers in check. According to the American Heart Association, that means all the basic tenants of eating healthy—the (almost boring) things you've heard before—eat more fruits and veggies, whole grains, low-fat and non-fat dairy, chicken, fish, nuts, seeds, and vegetable oils. But it's what you're eating less of that really counts. Fewer high-cal foods like sweets, fatty and processed meats, full fat dairy, trans fat, and fried foods is a sure-fire way to not only lower cholesterol, but also cut calories to lose weight. Win-win.
Oolong, a Chinese name for “black dragon,” is a light, floral tea that, like green tea, is also packed with catechins, which help to promote weight loss by boosting your body’s ability to metabolise lipids (fat). A study in the Chinese Journal of Integrative Medicine found that participants who regularly sipped oolong tea lost six pounds over the course of the six-week time period. That’s a pound a week!
Not much of a coffee drinker? Tea is also a natural diuretic, and types of herbal tea such as dandelion or fennel root can also lend a hand. In fact: When a recent study compared the metabolic effect of green tea (in extract) with that of a placebo, researchers found that the green-tea drinkers burned about 70 additional calories in a 24-hour period.
A great pick-me-up for dieters, Bai5 serves up a gentle 35 mg caffeine plus 200 g of antioxidant-rich white tea. A study published in the journal Nutrition and Metabolism showed that white tea may be especially powerful at targeting fat cells, with the ability to simultaneously boost lipolysis (the breakdown of fat) and block adipogenesis (the formation of fat cells) due to high levels of fat-fighting compounds called catechins, belly-fat crusaders that blast adipose tissue by revving the metabolism, increasing the release of fat from fat cells. The folks at Bai tell us their most popular flavors are coconut, blueberry and mango & pomegranate.
Talk about heart ache: high blood pressure stresses arteries, and can make you more susceptible to heart disease. To eat to lower your blood pressure, you just need to focus on heart-healthy bites. The American Heart Association recommends loading up on fruits, veggies, whole grains, low- or non-fat dairy, beans, lean meats, and fish. Bonus: no one's ever gotten fat eating more kale and beans.