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When a woman hits midlife, she is often faced with what is called the Fat-and-Forty Syndrome. Slowly but surely, she shifts from her twenties form and figure (which is normally a muscle-to-fat ratio of 2.5 pounds of muscle to 1 pound of fat) to her middle-age stance (which is normally less pounds of muscle to more pounds of fat).

Her old clothes may still fit, and she may still have the same size 28 waistline, but the substance that used to fill the curvy behind, is now filling up the “saddlebag” sides, or worse, the “love handles” in front.

Women become generally fat at age forty because of the slowdown of activity, sometimes because of hormonal changes and deterioration of aging muscles, but oftentimes because of “the good life”. If women can be conscious of that they have a tendency to lose muscle and gain fat as they age, they can make an effort to beat the fat-and-forty syndrome.

Here are some suggestions:

1. Strengthen those muscles. Don’t exercise to burn calories -- exercise to strengthen your muscles. Muscles that are required to increase in size and strength burn calories even while you sleep. With muscles demanding sustenance, the body will burn the excess fat.

2. Never mind what the scale says. With strength-building exercises, you will build muscle and burn fat. Which means that your weight will remain the same. The important thing is that you are in better shape and form because of the muscles that have taken over the fat. Strive to stay in the “2.5 lbs muscle to 1 lb fat” ratio.

3. Don’t believe in crash diets. They merely upset your metabolism. After the diet, your body will bounce back, thinking it has been starved to death and react by storing fat in order to survive.

4. Follow a healthy lifestyle. Stick to a moderate-calorie and well-balanced diet. Drink plenty of fluids. Supplement with vitamins and minerals if you are not able to get enough from your regular diet. Minimize stress.

5. Stay active and involved. Delay aging and muscle deterioration by keeping those muscles working and well toned. If you can maintain an active lifestyle, no matter how old you are, you will always be proud to be firm-and-fit.