02-19-2017  10:56 am      •     

(CNN) -- Thirty was not a good year for Michelle Jackson. A few weeks before her birthday, she lost her job. Then her husband left her -- with a 1½-year-old at home.

So it's understandable that as her 40th birthday approached, the Milwaukee resident was nervous.

Sure, she had a new job that she loved and her husband had returned. But the medical data analyst was more than 150 pounds overweight, despite working every day with experts who stressed the importance of staying healthy.

Around her 38th birthday, Jackson came across an article about weight loss. It discussed aging and how middle-aged women have to work out three times a week just to maintain their weight.

After 40, Jackson remembers reading in horror, metabolism slows and the pounds don't come off as easily.

Unfortunately, says CNN's diet and fitness expert Dr. Melina Jampolis, that's not a myth.

Jampolis says she sees evidence of it all the time in her practice -- women over 40 who are attending spin class every day and restricting calories, frustrated because they can't drop five pounds.

There's nothing magic about the age of 40, Jampolis says. But in the premenopausal years, a woman's sex hormones start to change. The body produces less healthy estrogen, and more estrone -- a type of estrogen that comes from your body's fat tissue.

More estrone leads to insulin resistance and a loss of muscle mass. And with their hormones going crazy, women start to crave carbohydrates and sweets.

"It's like PMS on steroids," Jampolis says. "The best thing to do is a preventative attack in your 30s. It's going to be much, much harder to lose the weight in your 40s."

Jackson decided to take control of her upcoming milestone.

"At the time I was 38. (I thought), 'I'm going to turn 40 regardless. Why don't I accomplish something in two years instead of being in the same place?'"

She launched her mission: "Fit By 40." But starting a new lifestyle was easier said than done.

"I'm regarded as a pretty great home cook and take a lot of pride in that," Jackson wrote in her iReport submission. "I've also never been any good (with) sports -- physical sport typically conjured feelings of embarrassment. It was daunting to consider eating differently and exercising regularly because I was contemplating something larger: losing the compliments on my cooking and facing embarrassment at the gym."

Always data-obsessed, Jackson started using SparkPeople.com to plot her weight along a goal line. She cut her calories to 1,600 a day and started logging 30 to 45 minutes at the gym three times a week.

Jampolis says weight training needs to be a priority for women before and after 40. More muscle leads to a higher calorie-burn -- essential when your metabolism decides to limp along.

Also important is eating a healthy diet, Jampolis says. Vegetables, fruits and grains should be spaced out between several servings of lean protein.

"Women are super busy in their 30s; they're usually raising kids or kicking butts in their career," she says. "They really need to put (the focus) back on themselves to make a smooth transition to their 40s."

On the new plan, Jackson's weight dropped at a steady rate. Since March 2011, she's lost more than 100 pounds. Along the way, she realized she had always known how to get healthy. The problem wasn't a lack of information. The problem was motivation. "If you had asked me when I was at my heaviest how being heavy had impacted me, I would have said, 'not at all,'" Jackson says. "I was comfortable in my own skin."

She didn't consider herself unhealthy at 330 pounds. Yet after losing weight, she stopped snoring, went off her asthma medication, felt less pain in her knee while walking and threw out the acid reflux medication she used to take before bed.

"Michelle is a driven, determined and strong-willed force," her friend and co-worker Krissy Fischer says. "When she committed to weight loss, there was no doubt she would succeed. Michelle was never shy, but she has become even more confident, outgoing and self-assured as she has lost weight."

Jackson won't reach her goal weight of 164 pounds -- a healthy body mass index for her 5-foot-8 frame -- by her birthday in February. She could add more intense workouts or drop her calorie intake, but she wants to maintain a lifestyle she can keep up for the rest of her life.

As her big birthday approaches, she isn't nervous anymore. "I'm excited for it," she says. "I've taken 40 into my hands."

Recently Published by The Skanner News

  • Default
  • Title
  • Date
  • Random
  • WASHINGTON (AP) — One month after the inauguration, the stretch of Pennsylvania Avenue in front of Donald Trump's White House still is a hard-hat zone. Skeletal remains of the inaugural reviewing stands poke skyward. Random piles of plywood and cables are heaped on the ground inside crooked lines of metal fencing. The disarray outside the president's front door, though not his fault, serves as a metaphor for the tumult still unfolding inside. Four weeks in, the man who says he inherited "a mess" at home and abroad is presiding over a White House that is widely described as itself being a mess. At a stunning pace, Trump has riled world leaders and frustrated allies. He was dealt a bruising legal blow on one of his signature policies. He lost his national security adviser and his pick for labor secretary to scandal. He's seen forces within his government push back against his policies and leak confidential information. All of this has played out amid a steady drip of revelations about an FBI investigation into his campaign's contacts with Russian intelligence officials. Trump says his administration is running like a "fine-tuned machine." He points to the rising stock market and the devotion of his still-loyal supporters as evidence that all is well, although his job approval rating is much lower than that for prior presidents in their first weeks in office. Stung by the unrelenting criticism coming his way, Trump dismisses much of it as "fake news" delivered by "the enemy of the people" — aka the press. Daily denunciations of the media are just one of the new White House fixtures Americans are adjusting to. Most days start (and end) with presidential tweets riffing off of whatever's on TV talk shows or teasing coming events or hurling insults at the media. At some point in the day, count on Trump to cast back to the marvels of his upset of Democrat Hillary Clinton in the November election and quite possibly overstate his margins of support. Expect more denunciations of the "dishonest" press and its "fake news." From there, things can veer in unexpected directions as Trump offers up policy pronouncements or offhand remarks that leave even White House aides struggling to interpret them. The long-standing U.S. policy of seeking a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? Trump this past week offered this cryptic pronouncement: "I'm looking at two-state and one-state, and I like the one that both parties like. I can live with either one." His U.N. ambassador, Nikki Haley, the next day insisted, "We absolutely support a two-state solution." Trump's days are busy. Outside groups troop in for "listening sessions." Foreign leaders call or come to visit. (Or, in the case of Mexico's president, cancel out in pique over Trump's talk about the planned border wall.) After the president signed two dozen executive actions, the White House was awaiting a rush order of more of the gold-plated Cross pens that Trump prefers to the chrome-plated ones used by his predecessor. Trump hands them out as souvenirs at the signing ceremonies that he points to as evidence of his ambitious pace. "This last month has represented an unprecedented degree of action on behalf of the great citizens of our country," Trump said at a Thursday news conference. "Again, I say it. There has never been a presidency that's done so much in such a short period of time." That's all music to the ears of his followers, who sent him to Washington to upend the established order and play the role of disrupter. "I can't believe there's actually a politician doing what he says he would do," says an approving Scott Hiltgen, a 66-year-old office furniture sales broker from River Falls, Wisconsin. "That never happens." Disrupt Trump has. But there may be more sound and fury than substance to many of his early actions. Trump did select Judge Neil Gorsuch to replace the late Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court, a nomination that has drawn strong reviews from conservatives. But the president is regrouping on immigration after federal judges blocked his order to suspend the United States' refugee program and ban visitors from seven Muslim-majority countries, which had caused chaos for travelers around the globe. Some other orders on issues such as the U.S.-Mexico border wall and former President Barack Obama's health care law are of limited effect. Trump says his early actions show he means to deliver on the promises he made during the campaign. "A lot of people say, 'Oh, oh, Trump was only kidding with the wall,'" the president told a group of police chiefs recently. "I wasn't kidding. I don't kid." But the Republican-led Congress is still waiting to see specifics on how Trump wants to proceed legislatively on top initiatives such as replacing the health care law, enacting tax cuts and revising trade deals. The messy rollout of the travel ban and tumult over the ouster of national security adviser Michael Flynn for misrepresenting his contacts with Russia are part of a broader state of disarray as different figures in Trump's White House jockey for power and leaks reveal internal discord in the machinations of the presidency. "I thought by now you'd at least hear the outlines of domestic legislation like tax cuts," says Princeton historian Julian Zelizer. "But a lot of that has slowed. Trump shouldn't mistake the fact that some of his supporters like his style with the fact that a lot of Republicans just want the policies he promised them. He has to deliver that." Put Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., in the camp of those more interested in substance than style. "I'm not a great fan of daily tweets," McConnell said Friday, referring to the "extra discussion" that Trump likes to engage in. But McConnell was quick to add: "What I am a fan of is what he's been actually doing." He credits Trump with assembling a conservative Cabinet and taking steps to reduce government regulation, and promised: "We like his positions and we're going to pursue them as vigorously as we can." The challenge may be to tease out exactly what Trump wants in the way of a health care plan, tax changes and trade policy. At his long and defiant news conference on Thursday, Trump tried to dispel the impression of a White House in crisis, squarely blaming the press for keeping him from moving forward more decisively on his agenda. Pointing to his chief of staff, Reince Priebus, Trump said, "You take a look at Reince, he's working so hard just putting out fires that are fake fires. I mean, they're fake. They're not true. And isn't that a shame because he'd rather be working on health care, he'd rather be working on tax reform." For all the frustrations of his early days as president, Trump still seems tickled by the trappings of his office. When New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie visited the White House last week to discuss the national opioid epidemic over lunch, the governor said Trump informed him: "Chris, you and I are going to have the meatloaf.'" Trump added: "I'm telling you, the meatloaf is fabulous." ___Follow Nancy Benac on Twitter at http://twitter.com/nbenac
    Read More
  • FDR executive order sent 120,000 Japanese immigrants and citizens into camps
    Read More
  • Pruitt's nomination was strongly opposed by environmental groups and hundreds of former EPA employees
    Read More
load morehold SHIFT key to load allload all