6. You’re 40 or older
That daily muffin might have been okay once, but skip it now if you want to prevent middle-aged spread. “As we age, we lose lean muscle mass, so our metabolism slows down, especially if we don’t exercise every day,” says Larry Tucker, an exercise sciences professor at Brigham Young University in Utah. In a recent study involving 192 middle-aged women, Tucker found that the women who became more restrained in their eating habits were 2.4 times less likely to gain 6* pounds or more over three years compared to those who didn’t become more careful. On average, women who developed greater eating restraint consumed about 200 fewer calories a day than their counterparts.