Strategies for staying slim through midlife

Recently, I participated in the first TransformAging online webinar; a two-day educational series for midlife women interested in improving their health and fitness. I shared many specific tips and tricks for keeping ‘menopot’ at bay.

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Below, I briefly outline what I consider to be the four most important lifestyle strategies for staying slim through midlife and beyond. Want more details? Action items you can implement today? Workouts and skincare tips relevant to your age and stage of life? 

The entire 6-part webinar series is available for purchase; watch, listen, pause and take note of what leading professionals in the field of midlife health and wellness think you should do to make the next half of your life the best half of your life.

Most people gain weight as they age.

On average, we gain about a pound a year during our 40’s and 50’s. (Although this trend tends to reverse after age 65, it’s due not to fat loss, but to loss of muscle mass and bone density; never a good reason to celebrate losing a few pounds 🙁 ).

Midlife weight gain occurs primarily because we (1) become more sedentary with age and (2) have a tendency to eat more calories than we expend, but also, in part, because (3) our bodies produce less of the fat-burning, muscle-building hormones of youth.

Fluctuating estrogen and progesterone levels contribute to middle-of-the-body weight gain by (1) increasing the rate at which women store both subcutaneous (below the skin) and visceral fat (the fat that surrounds vital organs deep within the belly) and (2) triggering changes in insulin sensitivity and glucose metabolism.

Translation: we’re less able to burn fat and more likely to store it, in particular, around our mid-sections.

strategies for staying slim through midlife

If only I’d appreciated 44 a little more…


Strategies for staying slim through midlife (and beyond)
  • Strength training reigns: midlife loss of metabolism is largely attributed to a loss in muscle mass. Muscle is metabolically active which means it burns more calories at rest than fat.

Prioritizing strength training over other forms of physical activity will not only elevate your metabolic rate, it will also improve bone density, enhance blood sugar regulation, lower stress (see below), make the activities of your daily life easier and give you a leaner, more youthful appearance. Pretty awesome for just 30 minutes of weight lifting, three times a week.

strategies for staying slim through midlife

One of the moves from last month’s 40+ Fitness Online Group Training Program

  • Sugar reduction: with loss of estrogen comes an increased sensitivity to carbohydrates. Your body may not process them as easily as it once did, resulting in those excess sugars being stored as fat.

In addition to lowering your daily calorie count, reducing your intake of added sugars (pretty much any ingredient ending with the letters ‘ose’) and simple carbohydrates (breads, cereals, pasta, white rice) will improve your body’s ability to regulate blood sugars and lower your risk of Type II diabetes. Aim for no more than 30 g of added sugar per day (that’s about 6 tsp).

  • Sleep more: the fluctuating hormones of perimenopause often trigger sleep disturbance. Difficulties falling and staying asleep. Middle-of-the-night insomnia. Early wake-ups. (I know, I’m experiencing them all myself).

Sleep plays an important role in the regulation of several hormone systems. It helps to re-set the hormones responsible for food cravings and feeling of satiety (leptin and ghrelin). It lowers cortisol levels (see Stress less below). It improves blood sugar regulation and hastens muscle repair and recovery. And don’t forget about it’s role in learning and memory. Aim for 7 hours a night, go to bed earlier, if, like me, you’re not able to sleep in.

strategies for staying slim through midlife

I’m faking it here 🙂

  • Stress less: Chronic stress disrupts nearly every system in the body. It raises blood pressure, suppresses the immune system, increases the risk of obesity, heart attack and stroke. Not to mention speeding up the aging process. Find ways to incorporate more stress-reducing activities in your day; walking, time spent in nature, reading, meditation, yoga and knitting have all been shown to reduce circulating cortisol levels.


Combine elevated stress hormone (cortisol) with elevated blood sugars, low estrogen and non-existent progesterone, and you’ve got the perfect ‘menopot’ storm. Not just an annoyance when it comes to buying jeans, but a serious health risk as well!

strategies for staying slim through midlife

Ready to push those storm clouds away?
I’d love to help you individualize and implement the strategies suggested above. Come Septembert 1st I’ll have 3 openings in my One-on-One Fitness Coaching schedule. One of which could be YOURS!
I’m passionate about helping midlife women become the fittest, healthiest and happiest version of themselves possible and I’d love to chat with YOU. 
Click here for more details and to apply to work with me.

1-on-1 Online Fitness Coaching with Fitknitchick







  1. great info here. I think it was helpful to give people an idea of how many sugar grams they should shoot for (30grams) Ina day because it is hidden everywhere–even in healthy foods.
    Lisa Froman recently posted…What I WonderMy Profile

    • Thanks for stopping by Lisa. I just want to re-iterate that the sugar recommendation is in regards to added sugar only. Not the sugars you find in fruit, veggies, dairy and grains. 30 g of total sugar per day would be extremely difficult to manage!

    Vegas 🙂
    CARLA recently posted…Im a Creative Giant.My Profile

  3. I’ll be 37 yrs old and I’ve been successfully maintaining a 60lb loss for over two years now. I know as I age I’ll have to adjust my calorie intake, but I’m feeling really good about where I’m, so bring it on lol 🙂
    Sara recently posted…So You Want to Lose Weight? Here’s How Part 4My Profile

    • That’s fabulous Sara! Sounds like you have all the tools and awareness to rock your 40’s (and beyond!). Thanks for stopping by and commenting 🙂

  4. The toughest part for me was I was already doing all of this so it was a search t find the ways for me to try to not keep gaining when it all started. I still have hormone stuff even after menopause so it is always a work in progress here.
    Jody – Fit at 57 recently posted…Gratitude Monday, IDEA Blogfest, Happy Bday, Cookies & KidsMy Profile

  5. I’ll be 62 in two months (how did that happen?) and I am 125-same as I have been pretty much my whole life because of healthy eating/exercise. I do notice where the too many glasses of wine end up when I am having a stressful week and “chill” with a half a glass in the evenings-but it’s an easy fix. 4:15 and getting ready for my run and my full day of chasing little ones at work!


  1. […] Strategies For Staying Slim Through Midlife via Fitknit Chick – Ladies it gets really hard past 35. These are a few simple things you can do to help your midsection from growing. […]