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  • How to have a 30-year-old’s body at 50

    March 21, 2016 4 min read

    One day, after dropping off her two kids at school, the conversation among Sarah Schenker and her circle of friends quickly turned to a popular topic: age — or, rather, how to prevent aging. “The other mothers were complaining about hitting 40, and I quickly jumped in and said, ‘I’m already there,’” recalls Schenker, now 43. “They were shocked. The usual reply is, ‘We had no idea!’ Most of the parents tend to be younger than me.” So Schenker, a registered dietician, along with her friend Peta Bee, a health and fitness journalist, decided to be of service to their fellow ladies. The result is their new diet and fitness guide, “The Ageless Body: How To Hold Back the Years To Achieve a Better Body”. The book offers attainable advice on how women in their 50s and 60s can maintain the body of a 30-year-old. “There are so many women that are into their nutritional health and diet and trying to hold back those aging years. Many reach a certain point and they think, ‘I am too old now, so I give up,’ but that’s not an acceptable way of thinking,” says Schenker. Schenker’s own turning point came eight years ago when she took a look in the mirror. “I had a bit of a tummy,” she recalls. “So I started to practice what I preached in terms of nutrition and exercise. I started to fuel my body with more vegetables and paid attention to my portion control.” Bee’s “aha” moment came when she looked at photos of herself as a teen. “I was really skinny and scrawny — because I wanted to be slim — but I was not strong and healthy,” recalls the 47-year-old, who weighs the same as she did when she was 30. The first step for women attempting to reverse the aging process, Bee says, is to recognize and accept that your body is changing. “What worked for you in your 20s is not going to work for you now,” she says. “Portion control and exercise are key.” That means eating less (between 1,600 and 1,700 calories a day), fasting for four hours between meals (no snacking) and sometimes skipping breakfast — yes, the most important meal of the day — if you’re not hungry. Conventional wisdom holds that people who eat breakfast are slimmer and more inclined to eat healthy, but German researchers found that eating breakfast did not mean people ate less throughout the day, while Cornell studies have shown that skipping the morning meal can actually aid with weight loss. Schenker and Bee advocate a diet richwith, among other things, iron (women approaching menopause are more likely to become anemic), vitamin C (to boost skin health), vitamin D (which helps with calcium absorption and immunity) and healthy fats (which help “oil” the aging body by lubricating the joints). For dinners, the pair recommends dishes such as grilled sea bass with sweet potato and broccoli, a tofu stir fry, and a meat dish like turkey-and-bean chili once or twice a week. The experts also stress not exercising for extended periods of time — that means skip themarathons, and try running for shorter, more intense bursts. (Think sprints and hill work.) Lift weights — you lose a pound of muscle mass a year after the age of 35 — and work on your abs. Working out four times a week for 45 minutes is enough to avoid the signs of aging, like tummy fat, flabby arms and a flat rear. And don’t hit the gym two days in a row: Exercising on non-consecutive days helps the body recover, which means you’ll be less likely to quit by midweek. Bee says the best remedy for an ageless body is not obsessing about diet and exercise: “Generally [it’s about] just being active — it is not all about going to the gym for a workout.” For Bee, that includes coaching teens in track and field twice a week. “Their target point is to always beat me, but quite often, I outrun them,” she says. “That is the best part of therace, because at the finishline I get asked my age quite often.” Thetake-away? Don’t take getting older so seriously. “You only get one life,” says Schenker. “And don’t you dare skip on a glass of wine — it makes more of a merry time!”

    5 tips for an ageless body

    Go ahead, skip breakfast. Women over the age of 35 who try it say it makes a difference in their weight, and they tend to eat healthier throughout the day. Breakfast is not nutritionally “better” than brunch, so don’t feel guilty if you’re not peckish enough to chow down at a certain time of the day. Feel full longer. To stay satiated, eat protein at every meal. While you shouldn’t ban carbs from your diet, build only one meal a day around them, and make sure they’re from whole grains.
    Fruits and fats are OK. Fruits are chock-full of fiber and nutrients and can jazz up a savory meal. A range of fats both healthy (nuts, oils, seeds) and saturated (lean meats), in moderation, is OK. Don’t fuel (or refuel) your workouts. The idea that it’s necessary to eat before a workout is a misconception, and a cottage industry of energy bars and sugary sports drinks has been built around it. Eating well will suffice for the level of exercise you’re doing — 45 minutes a day, four times a week. Less exercise is more. As you age, less exercise will serve you better in the long run, though you’ll need to up the pace and intensity. Plus, overexercise leads to dreaded “gym face” — that gaunt look when one has sunken cheeks and hollow eyes. Via New York Post:

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