Reporter: Shannon Samson
Doctor Pamela Peeke is an internationally recognized expert in the fields of nutrition, metabolism, stress and fitness. She doesn't mince words when talking about what it takes to stay trim. And you better believe, it takes some work.
Dr. Peeke says obesity is a national epidemic and when it comes to the over-forty crowd, "Low and behold, it's all about the belly." Dr. Peeke says research shows people who put on weight around the middle are more at risk for heart disease, diabetes and cancer.
So, she says it may be better to ignore the scale and get out the tape measure, trying to keep your waist under 35 inches for women, 36 for men. "Oh sure, you're doing the exercise and the rest of it. "A",are you that regular with it? "B", how intense is that? are you walking like 'Night of the Living Dead' in a little trance maybe at two miles an hour, or are you really moving it along here girlfriends. The other thing is, are you lifting weights? You better be. If you don't lift weight, you don't lose weight, period, end of story."
Three pound or five pound weights won't do it, she says. To fight fat after forty, it's all about intensity. As for what you eat, "You say, 'Well, I'm eating healthy food.' That's wonderful, you're eating mountains of healthy food. You've got to start knowing what a woman sized portion is and a man sized portion is."
She says eat five small meals a day, and finish your last one at least two hours before going to bed. Think protein, smart carbs and smart fat. "Reduced fat chunky peanut butter on a whole grain cracker. Love it! That will keep you going for a couple hours. It will also cut your appetite. You won't feel hungry. Feels great, but it takes planning. If you fail to plan, you plan to fail."
Dr. Peeke says nothing puts fat on faster than what she calls "toxic stress," feelings of hopelessness, helplessness and defeat. It raises levels of the stress hormone cortisol which makes you crave carbohydrates and other comfort foods. So, managing stress helps manage your weight.