Finding your own fitness recipe after 40

A study conducted by Univeristi Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) Medical Center in 2015 shows that women in Selangor tend to gain weight after 40 years old, and more so if they are married and with kids. I am in that category – 42, married and I love food and always feel like munching away. Is it the food, hormones, lifestyle, genes that make me gain weight? The list goes on and I continue to wonder why.

Even though I don’t have weight problems, I could easily gain weight and have high body fat level should I lead a sedentary lifestyle or consume poor diet. Now, I manage to control my weight by having a balanced diet and frequent exercises.

What I have learned is – Everyone is different and we need to find our personal recipe to manage fitness. What works for me, may not work for you and what works for you may not work for me.

However, this should not stop us from sharing each other’s experiences. So here are the 3 things I added on and 3 things I reduced in my daily routines.

The 3 things I cut down :

  • Eating carbs after 7pm. This is super duper important to me. I only eat carbs in the morning and anytime before 7pm. After 7pm, I only eat non-carbs food like fruits, vegetables, nuts and high protein food. I do not starve after 7pm but if I feel really hungry late night, I would just go to bed to skip the thoughts of eating at night. I enjoy my food better in a good way when I chew my food longer. So chew more, then you eat less.
  • Consuming sugar. I drink about two tumbler size milk tea a day and I like things sweet. Therefore, I have to replace sugar with stevia and I use fresh milk in my tea. I never use condensed milk at all at home. I use grounded fresh stevia leaves in my tea and now I have a stevia in a planter box sitting next to my kitchen.
Fresh stevia from the garden

Fresh stevia from the garden

  • Processed food. I avoid eating anything processed in manner. I make my own meat patties and chicken fillets every weekend for a week’s family consumption. This is a lot of work but fun. Here’s my family favourite recipe for meet patties which we eat in the morning or afternoon together with bread and veges

    1. Meat patties ingredients : Chopped mushrooms, ground beef/chicken, homemade breadcrumbs, grated carrots, rosemary, chopped onions and egg for binding. Air fry the patties

    Beef patties

    Beef patties

    2. Flavour your chicken and fish fillets with root-type herbs and spices: Cut chicken or fish (mackerel or snapper) into slices and cook with freshly chopped root-type spices like ginger, lemongrass, fresh tumeric and galangal/lengkuas (my personal favourite). Add salt if needed. You can add your leaf-type spices or herbs like curry leaves, kaffir lime leaves, oregano or rosemary into your marination.

    You can also add honey onto cut chicken and top it up with lemon juice. You can be creative putting together spices of your choice. I prefer to cook them in a slow cooker to retain moist and flavour. Sometimes I bake them in a covered dish – to retain the moist.

The 3 things I add up:

  • Exercise. I try to run at least 4 times a week, 45 mins/run, 20 km collective mileage/week and improve my timing.

I run because it is the easiest and fast. You can run wherever you are.

  • Water. I drink more water because of running. I usually place a liter of water by my bed so that I can drink before I go to bed.
  • Fresh nutritional food and snacks with low calories. There are certain snacks that are low in calories, good for munching and packed with vitamins and minerals. You can also make your own low calorie snacks like muffins. These are my favorites.
    • baby carrots. 1 baby carrots – 4 calories
    • cherry tomatoes. 1 cheery tomatoes – 3 calories
    • japanese cucumber. 1 cup – 16 calories
    • blue berries. 1 cup  – 82 calories
    • strawberries. 1 cup – 46 calories
    • almonds. 1 almond – 7 calorie
low calorie muffins

low calorie muffins using brown sugar, fresh fruits and whole wheat flour

My BMI is kept below 20 and I weigh myself everyday to monitor activities or food I consume. I know this is not recommended but it works for me. I still eat ice cream, cakes and chocolates occasionally like twice a week but I try to make healthier choices.

Other than the above, I donate blood at least twice a year. I find donating blood is a good way to remind myself to keep eating balanced, nutritional food. Not only it helps someone who is in need of blood, but it also helps improve my blood circulation.

Finding your own recipe can be fun, so do find your own recipe and make sure your recipe is backed by healthy choices!


Do Low Vegetables and Fruits Intake Contribute to Overweight Status of Healthy Reproductive Age of Malay Women in Selangor?