A woman struggling to button her pants

Stop Gaining Weight as You Get Older

Are you seeing the numbers on your scale go up year after year… and decade after decade? If so, you’re not alone. In fact, one study of more than 18,000 younger women found that they gained an average of twenty pounds over a 16-year period. It’s easy for weight gain to become a vicious cycle as you age. When you put pounds on your belly, that fat doesn’t just sit there. Instead, belly fat is an “estrogen factory”—and excess estrogen makes you gain still more fat around your belly.

In addition, belly fat increases inflammation, which is one of the biggest causes of obesity. So it’s no wonder that two-thirds of us are overweight by the time we reach our fifties. Luckily, there are ways to fight back—and there are specific strategies you can use to stay slim at each stage of your life. Today, I’ll tell you how to keep those pounds off decade by decade.

Your 20s: Baby fat and “desk belly”

In your 20s, one of the biggest triggers of weight gain is—you guessed it—pregnancy. We all know it’s tough to lose those post-pregnancy pounds! But that’s not all. At this age, you’re likely to be sitting on your behind at a desk all day. What’s more, when you do get home, you’re probably too tired or too busy to exercise. There’s also a good chance that instead of grabbing a salad for dinner, you’re making a big meal for your family—and the more you cook, the more you eat.

What’s the answer? To get rid of that “baby fat” fast, cut the carbs and focus on lean proteins, veggies, and healthy fats like coconut, avocado, and olive oil. Also, get your family to eat better so you can join in their meals without putting on pounds.

Next, do high-intensity interval training or HIIT, which gives you big benefits in a short time—as little as ten or fifteen minutes a day. Finally, have your doctor check you for a vitamin D or iron deficiency. Either one can make you tired and cause you to gain weight.

Great snack for losing weight: Additive-free beef jerky.  It’s portable, it’s low in carbs and calories, and it gives you a big shot of energy.

Your 30s: Missing muscle, dropping hormones, and skyrocketing stress

In your 30s, you start to lose muscle tissue—and less muscle mass means less fat burning. In addition, your hormone levels start to drop. This can make you hungry, and it’s also the reason your body starts to shift to an “apple” shape, with pounds piling on your belly. If you’re juggling kids and work, you’re also under a ton of stress—and that stress raises your cortisol levels, giving you a “cortisol tire” around your belly.

What’s the answer? Do resistance training to build muscle and “rearrange the furniture.”  Keep sticking to a healthy diet, and reduce your stress with meditation, breathing exercises, yoga, or Tai Chi. Ask your doctor to do a circadian rhythm hormone test to see if your hormones are unbalanced—and if they are, look into bio-identical hormones.

Great snack for losing weight: Coconut chips for cravings; SeaSnax for thyroid-supporting iodine.

Your 40s and Beyond: Burnout and a wonky metabolism

In your 40s, your hormones take a huge hit—not just your sex hormones but human growth hormone (HGH), which helps break down fat and prevent it from settling on your belly. And while you’re eating the same amount, your metabolism is slowing down. What’s more, your body is burned out from years of pregnancy, breastfeeding, and stress—and that can make you tired and overweight.

What’s the answer? Do “mini-fasts,” which send your HGH sky-high. Start a food journal, and practice mindful eating instead of following old habits. Renew your zest for life by trying new adventures, from ballroom dancing to zip-lining.  And have your doctor check your hormones again, as well as testing you for common nutritional deficiencies that can cause fatigue and weight gain.

Great snack for losing weight: Filling soups and broth, to satisfy your cravings without putting pounds on your belly. These simple but powerful strategies can help you break the weight-gain curse and stay slim whatever decade your in. They’ll also make you healthier, happier, and more energetic. What’s more, they’re easy to put into action, even if you have a crazy-busy life. So resolve to make every decade better than the one before… and then go do it!

Keep thinking Big and living BOLD!