While losing two or three kilos in your mid-20s was a cinch, it becomes increasingly difficult as you get older. The metabolism, which slows down with every year we gain, is to blame. Slimming down from 40 is a little more difficult than in younger years – but it is definitely not impossible! However, we caution: Of course, all of this doesn’t work without the right diet and enough exercise. All this not only helps you lose weight but does you good overall and keeps you fit. However, let’s start with the basics: Why is it getting harder and harder to stay fit?
Losing weight over 40: The body changes naturally
Losing weight at 40 is different from losing it at 20 or 30. This is because of a few things that change in the body:
- We tend to gain weight naturally from 40 onwards, as the metabolism slows down and calorie consumption decreases – our bodies need fewer calories with increasing age. If the body was previously set up for growth, from now on, the organism switches to “maintaining body mass”. In order to counteract gaining weight, the diet must therefore basically be changed.
- While the fat percentage increases, muscle mass is reduced – unless this is actively counteracted with sport and exercise.
- Furthermore, the growth hormone somatotropin level, which is important for building muscle, decreases.
- A particularly tricky issue: The change in body composition is not initially reflected on the scales. Because fat cells, unlike muscle, burn fewer calories, the calorie requirement falls steadily. To prevent gradual weight gain, in other words, you should adjust your exercise and eating habits.
When you are in the prime of your life
If you are turning 40, you have several reasons to celebrate: You are at the peak of your career and sex life, which should positively impact your self-esteem. But that birthday is also a milestone of sorts; several things will be more difficult from now on. High on that list is weight loss. While it is getting easier to put on a few pounds, losing them, on the contrary, will become more and more difficult. While that doesn’t mean you can’t be in top shape, it will require more work to achieve that goal.
The hormones are to blame
One reason why losing weight becomes more difficult after the age of 40 is that the metabolism slows down from year to year, making it harder to burn calories. Your body also tends to lose muscle mass, which, in turn, has an impact on calorie-burning – muscle can burn faster than fat.
Worse is yet to come. As early as perimenopause (the time before menopause), the estrogen levels begin to decline, which comes into full effect during menopause. This can cause insulin sensitivity, giving the body less control over the amount of sugar in the blood. When blood sugar levels constantly rise and fall, this can increase cravings for unhealthy foods. But in some women, the perimenopause can start around age 40.
11 Ways to Lose Weight After You Turn 40
As we said earlier, weight loss after 40 is difficult, but it is not impossible. In fact, you can do it. Below are 10 tips on overcoming a slowed metabolism and getting rid of excess weight once and for all.
Create a list of reasons why you want to lose weight
Forty-year-olds are more successful at losing weight than younger people when they have a clear reason for doing so. Perhaps you’re tired of your weight going up year after year, or maybe your doctor has told you that obesity threatens your health. “A firm resolution eases the way to any goal; It helps when you stumble. If you aren’t really convinced of something, leave it alone,” advises psychologist Pamela Peek.
Do you know what your ideal portion should be?
One half of a serving (lunch, dinner) should consist of vegetables. It has a lot of fiber and water, so it makes you full without having too many calories. Vegetables also contain many antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, thereby reducing the risk of disease. Each meal should also contain protein. Roughly speaking, one serving of protein should be as big as the palm of your hand. Great sources of lean protein include Greek yogurt, eggs, chicken and fish. Plant sources of protein include legumes, quinoa, edamame or hemp seeds.
As we all know, cutting out carbohydrates in the diet is not sustainable in the long run, meaning carbohydrates should be on your plate, just in the healthiest form possible. Give whole grains, beans, fresh fruit and starchy vegetables like sweet potatoes a try. Healthful fats like extra virgin olive oil, avocados, nuts, seeds and fatty fish are important for a strong heart, sharp mind, and firm skin. However, they are high in calories, so make sure you eat appropriate amounts. This is about 1/2 teaspoon of olive oil, a quarter of an avocado, or two tablespoons of nuts or seeds per serving.
Changing your approach to sweets
You may not be able to snack as much as you did in your 20s, though that doesn’t mean you can’t indulge every now and then. But before eating something unhealthy, you should ask yourself if that chocolate chip cookie is really what’s filling you up. If it is, grab it and really enjoy every bite. If it doesn’t, go for an apple instead. By all means, remember to mindlessly munch in front of the TV.
Pay attention to your portion size
It’s not important if everything you eat is healthy. Even grilled chicken, brown rice, or broccoli can be harmful if you eat too much of it. Unless you reduce your portion size, you won’t lose weight. Calorie amounts differ for each person, and doctors warn that daily intake should not be less than 5000 kJ without medical supervision. It’s important to determine your basal metabolic rate, which should never fall below, or you risk a yo-yo effect because your body will be starved.
You can learn how to calculate your basal metabolic rate HERE. It is not a bad idea to start writing down your diet. In fact, There are a number of cool sites on the internet and mobile apps where you can write down everything you eat and drink (plain water and unsweetened tea are not necessary, of course)! The websites count calories and the composition, i.e. if you are eating enough protein and how many carbs you are eating.
Control your plate
Reviewing your diet is a good first step on the road to a leaner body. Limiting refined carbohydrates and processed foods should be the foundation. This helps combat age-related insulin resistance and promotes stable blood sugar levels. Rather than carbohydrates, it would be best if you focused on protein to curb hunger and achieve a longer feeling of fullness. It also helps stop age-related muscle loss.
Intermittent fasting to consider
There are several types of intermittent fasting: in addition to weight loss, research has shown that intermittent fasting has a positive effect on insulin levels in the blood, which can prevent diabetes. This doesn’t have to be a prolonged fast, and you can stick to 12/12, which is 12 hours you eat, 12 hours you are without food. The most common variation is 14/10 – 14 hours of fasting, which is followed by a 10-hour window in which you can eat. Another variant is 16/8.
Eat more often, but in smaller portions
Increased insulin resistance can make you feel hungrier. Breaking your daily food intake into three medium-sized meals and one or two snacks in between helps keep blood sugar levels stable, in turn fighting cravings for sweets.
Be mindful of your alcohol consumption
Alcohol can be a threat to a slimline, so you have to watch not only the amount but the kind as well. “Try to stick to low-calorie alcoholic drinks. Allow yourself no more than four glasses of wine a week, and be sure to include them in your calorie intake. So when you have a glass with dinner, make sure you skip dessert,” Largeman-Roth advises.
Do not be afraid to change your strategy
When you get older, some of the tricks that used to work may no longer work. So, do not be afraid to occasionally think about whether everything you are doing is good for you. Do not be afraid to change your diet or training methods if it isn’t. Your body is a challenge, and this challenge becomes even greater as we get older.
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Once you reach 40, losing weight through dietary changes alone is no longer possible because declining levels of hormones such as estrogen and testosterone cause muscle breakdown, which makes it increasingly difficult to burn calories. “Four to five workouts a week will help you stay in shape. However, females are mistaken if they still believe that strength training is not for them.
To the contrary – strength training helps build muscle, helping you burn the calories you take in faster,” says Cederquist. However, it would be best if you stretched and warm-up before exercising, or the risk of injury increases. If you are overweight, ask your doctor. On the other hand, in case you don’t know how to get started, you should hire a personal trainer to coach you and create a customized workout plan.
Get even more exercise
On top of strength training, you should engage in some form of aerobic activity for at least 30 minutes a day. You could dance, bike, run, or even take a brisk walk on your way to work really all you need. The aerobic activity helps burn the calories you take in, keeping your cardiovascular system in shape. Feeling like it’s too much for you, that you just can’t keep up? Any activity counts, Even if you only go to the gym once a week.