Befriend your bathroom scale

Befriend your bathroom scale

Weigh yourself each morning so you notice right away if the number is trending up instead of down. “If you gain weight, and if you focus on it early and it’s only a few pounds, you can lose it quickly, but if you let it stay, basically it reprograms your body at a higher weight and it makes it hard to lose because you get hungry,” Tucker says. Learn more about the benefits of weighing yourself daily.

Focus on your food
Between your kids’ karate lessons, appointments with your accountant, and all the other obligations facing the modern middle-aged man, you might not be giving your meals the respect they deserve. “People on the go tend to overeat,” says Bettina Mittendorfer, Ph.D., a research associate professor of medicine at Washington University in St. Louis, but eating slowly and mindfully can help your weight-loss efforts. Instead of eating in your car on the way to work or shoveling in lunch between meetings, plate your food, take a seat, and chew slowly so that you enjoy each bite. Adding crunchy elements to your meal, such as sliced jicama or cabbage, can also help you slow down and eat less. One more thing: See if the next episode of the hottest show on Netflix can wait until after dinner. (Hint: It can.) Eating in front of the TV is associated with weight gain, according to research published in the journal Obesity.

Stop drinking sugar
Sugary foods and drinks fill you with calories—about 150 calories in a can of Pepsi, for example—but they don’t satisfy your appetite. “A soda goes down quickly,” says Mittendorfer. “Eat the equivalent in a salad, and you’ll stay full longer.” (You’d have to eat more kale than you can stomach to hit 150 calories.) Among the benefits: People who stop drinking soda and other sugar-sweetened beverages gain less weight over time than those who do, a study review from Australia suggests.

Mix up your workouts
If you’ve been leaning on one type of exercise up to this point, now is the time to mix it up. In a recent study from the University of Illinois at Chicago and Iowa State University, older people who did a combination of 30 minutes of aerobic exercise and 30 minutes of resistance exercise three days per week reduced their body fat percentage and gained muscle. (They also showed improvements in blood pressure and cardiorespiratory fitness, important boosts to an aging heart.)

Resistance training is particularly effective in helping you build muscle, which burns more calories than fat, and aerobic training is particularly effective for helping you lose fat, says study author Elizabeth Schroeder, a doctoral candidate. “Together, they lead to a favorable body composition change and increasing strength and fitness with aging leads to a better quality of life and maintained independence,” she says.

For strength, “focus training on the legs and large muscle groups of the upper body with compound lifts, such as squats, deadlifts, bench press, and pull-ups,” Anton says. “These lifts engage more muscle groups then isolated lifts and typically lead to a greater increase in muscle gains while stimulating fat metabolism.” (And check out our resistance training for beginners.) For aerobics, find something you enjoy, whether it’s running, cycling, swimming, or even walking.

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(Check out the best cardio workouts that aren’t running.) Even better: Interval training, which combines periods of intense work followed by periods of lighter activity. If it’s been a while since you worked out, consult a personal trainer to assess your mobility so you know where to start

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