Hi, I read your column often and finally decided to send in a question. I am a mother of two teenage boys. My husband and I are in our forties and both work full time, and I also take a few courses a year through AU. We are very busy and find it difficult to do much besides living everyday life and taking care of our family. I also have a widowed mother who does pretty well on her own, but needs support sometimes.
Over the last few years my husband and I have both put on weight. We eat out a lot and I know that’s not a good choice, but we just don’t have the time to prepare healthy meals. We would rather spend time with our kids watching a movie, than preparing a big meal. I’m wondering if the weight gain has something to do with our age. I have heard that it’s harder to lose weight over 40, but I have friends over forty and they are not all over weight, so there must be a way to accomplish this. Do you have any suggestions that won’t require a huge commitment? Thanks, Nicole.
Most things in life that are worthwhile require a huge commitment. This is your health and if you don’t take care of yourself you will not be able to take care of anyone. There are health issues directly related to lifestyle choices. High blood pressure, cardiovascular problems, type two diabetes and some types of arthritis can result from a sedentary lifestyle and bad food choices. After age forty many women’s hormones become unstable. This is something you should discuss with your doctor.
As well your body doesn’t process sugar as well as it did in your twenties and thirties—the insulin imbalance may make you feel hungry, therefore leading to weight gain. Increasing protein and carbohydrates can help with this. Also, the metabolism begins to slow down in your forties, also resulting in weight gain. All of these things can be controlled with a lifestyle change. Become more active. Going for a 30-minute walk daily can help with the weight gain and also with heart health. Perhaps arrange some hikes with your kids, make it a family outing, rather than sitting and watching a movie. Try to make meal prep a family affair. Give each person a veggie to chop up, and prepare enough for a few stir fries, that way when you don’t have time the veggies will be done and you can quickly include them with some meat and rice and have an easy and delicious meal. When you are preparing meals, such as chili or lasagna, make an extra serving and freeze it for those days when you don’t have time to cook. These changes definitely require commitment, but you will find it is well worth it in the long run. Good luck Nicole.