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You've been watching what you eat, recording your meals using [Link Removed] 

Now let’s take it a step further: come up with a plan for your nutrient intake.  To become lean and healthy, in addition to doing some kind of cardio exercise 3-5 times a week, and strength training 2-3 times a week, you have to know how to feed your body correctly.

After all, we are what we eat.

An ideal diet for a healthy woman in her 40s or beyond is 1200-1500 calories a day (use a caloric need calculator to analyze your specific needs).  

Get these calories in 6-7 meals a day with some carbohydrate, protein and fat at each meal. This might be a 350 calorie breakfast, lunch and supper with a 150 snack mid-morning, mid-afternoon and in the evening.  Or you might try 6 evenly divided meals of 200-300 calories.  A great example of snack is an apple and 8 almonds or walnut halves.

These calories should be divided as follows:

50% Carbohydrates.  This should be primarily fresh vegetables (yes, vegetables are carbs!) Two or three servings of fresh fruit a day, and one or two servings of whole grains a day.  Try to keep those grains as close to their original appearance as possible.  I eat steel-cut oatmeal, brown rice, quinoa, and bulger wheat.  

Limit your processed grains (anything made with flour) to a  maximum of 5 servings a week, making sure to choose the whole grain options. One serving would be one slice of whole wheat bread or one whole wheat tortilla.

White foods (white flour products, white rice, white potatoes, sugar) should be avoided.  If you must consume these products, do so only once or twice a week.  

30% Lean Protein.*  Fresh or frozen fish, chicken and turkey breast, beans, and tofu are the best sources of protein.  If you choose to eat red meat, look for words like “loin” or “tenderloin” as these are the leanest cuts of meat.  

If you are cutting back on animal products, try a protein powder drink.  Many are available with very low carb/fat content, for example [Link Removed] fat, 3g carb, 28g protein).

20% Fat.  We need fat.  Our bodies use fat to heal and build new cells.  Fat makes our cell walls flexible, our skin soft and hair shiny.  

The best fats to consume are those high in Omega-3s.  These are found in deep-water fish, avocadoes, flaxseed, and walnuts.  Mono-unsaturated fats such as olive oil are excellent too, but the health benefits of olive oil are ruined when it’s heated.  Try to keep it for dressings.  

There is some evidence that our current emphasis on grain based oils, high in Omega-6s, are not beneficial.  Limit or avoid: corn, canola, vegetable, or soybean oil.  Try to get your fat IN the foods you eat not added to the foods you eat.

From experience, I can suggest that you plan your day’s menu. there is nothing like trying to plan your dinner and realize you need 100g of carbs, 20g or protein but you’ve exceeded your fat allowance for the day!

Yeah, I know it’s a challenge.  These are NOT diet recommendations I’m making, though.  These are LIFESTYLE changes I’m suggesting.  If you are in 40s (or even your 50s) you have the potential to be only half-way through your life.  Wouldn’t you like the second half to be as healthy and active as the first?

Like I said: you are what you eat.

Bettereveryyear, Your links have been removed, please consider upgrading to premium membership.


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