Ways To Eat Healthy As You Approach 30
Face it my friend—you’re only getting older.
It happens to us all, and there’s nothing to be done but accept it. After the physiological peak of our early twenties, the body’s overall condition begins its slow decline. Left unchecked, this can lead to assorted health problems and unwanted weight gain over time, which will likely piss off your doctor and leave you feeling a bit sheepish when it comes to taking off your shirt at the beach.
But don’t panic—you’re not over the hill yet, and there’s plenty you can do to maintain a robust physique and good all-round health well into your 30s and beyond. Here are three of the biggest changes you can make to battle the bulge and stay fighting fit:
1. Eat a Little Less
All else being equal, our calorie requirements drop at a steady rate as we begin to get older. In college you could have eaten a full 12″ pizza and relaxed while your metabolism incinerated it like a piece of tissue, but now that cheesy bastard tends to linger. The problem is, we rarely adjust our eating habits to compensate—we just keep on scoffing like we’re forever 21.
Solution: You need to start dropping those calories, my friend. And I’m not talking about a drastic reduction, either. Instead of cleaning your plate every time, try leaving something for the dog. Swap the candy bar for an apple, and replace sugary drinks with their “diet” equivalent (or better yet, plain water). Simple as that.
2. Get Enough Protein
Your testosterone levels also take a hit as you start to push on in years. You begin to lose muscle mass as a result, and with it goes your strength, coordination and metabolism. This is a problem, because you need that muscle mass to keep your metabolism revved, maintain the health of your bones and joints, and, of course, to look good.
Solution: Start adding more protein (meat, fish, eggs, dairy) to your diet now, and make an effort to incorporate some form of functional strength training into your weekly routine, if you’re not doing so already. This will boost your flagging testosterone levels and help you preserve that all-important muscle mass. Just don’t go nuts—any excess protein that your body can’t use ends up stored as fat, which completely defeats the purpose.
3. Watch Your Alcohol
I don’t mean sit there and stare at it—I’m saying the booze needs to go! OK, so we’re not necessarily talking cold turkey here, but alcohol can be a huge source of calories depending on how heavy and how often you drink. And that’s not to mention the general toll it takes on the body as you push on in years.
Solution: I recommend slowly weaning yourself off beers, stouts and ciders, and opting for spirits or (dare I say it) wine instead. You can get just as buzzed on vodka or whiskey, and it’ll take way less time to work it off on the treadmill. I totally get it—I like to party too. But cut down the alcohol consumption just a little bit as you get older, and you’ll thank yourself for it later.
Remember, there’s no need for any drastic upheaval in your lifestyle. Just start making small changes over a gradual period, and you should have no trouble maintaining or even improving your health as you leave the physiological invincibility of your 20s behind.
Q: What are you doing to maintain your health as you get older? Let’s hear your plans in the comments below!
David Carroll is a freelance writer, self-published author, and chief health-nut at thepaleotoolkit.com. Outside of work, he loves hurling (an amazing Irish sport), playing video games and hanging out with his dogs. Follow him on Twitter (@DavidAshCarroll) and Google+.