I am 59...very close to 60. I have gained about 30 pounds and can't seem to get the weight off. I have gone through menopause and need ideas for what exercises I should be doing, diet that will help boost my metabolism. Can you help me?

The aging process is usually paralleled with an overall decrease in metabolism. This means you are burning fewer overall calories and this can lead to weight gain. Also, people with a decreased metabolism tend to get less physical activity then they once did, also contributing to weight gain. The overall fat percentage in your body can increase after menopause, especially with women. Many women see a shift of body fat distribution—less fat in your legs and arms and more fat found around your midsection.

Diet and exercise play a huge role in weight gain as we age. Following a healthy diet and getting the right amount of exercise can help you to maintain and lose weight if needed. There are a few nutrition suggestions to help keep your metabolism moving. Make sure you are eating breakfast every day. Studies have shown that those who eat breakfast can maintain and/or lose weight more effectively than if you skip breakfast. Try some whole grain oatmeal topped with fresh berries or a yogurt-based fruit smoothie made with blueberries, low fat yogurt, ground flaxseed and low fat milk. Remember to never skip meals. I encourage people to eat smaller more frequent meals. This can help keep hunger at bay and prevent overeating at a meal. Each mini meal should consist of a complex carbohydrate, lean protein and a little healthy fat. For example, pre-cut vegetables and whole grain crackers go well with hummus. Tuna (packed in water) goes nicely in a whole-wheat wrap with low fat cheese and vegetables. Make sure you are consuming adequate water throughout the day and be wary of liquids that add extra “empty” calories (fruit punch, soda, etc). Monitor your portion sizes. If you are eating “small” frequent meals, make sure that you are following the suggested portion/serving sizes on the package. It may be helpful to meet with a registered dietitian to assist you with making calorie goals.

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