By the time you hit your 40th year, you start to see your body changing. Weight gain becomes the norm. Many people both men and women but especially women start to accumulate fat mainly around the midsection.
It becomes harder to lose weight even when you are relatively active. And the normal things you have done to keep the weight down may not work.
Cook healthy food
At 40 and beyond, we can no longer eat all the donuts and cake we want. Not if we want to lose weight.
So what exactly should you eat more of in your 40s to keep the bulge in check?
First and foremost pay attention to how you cook.
Avoid frying foods or cooking food in butter for the most part. Try grilling meats and vegetables instead.
Also, avoid heavy sauces. They are in many cases laded with fat. They taste great, and it is hard to stop but your waistline will thank you when you do stop eating such.
Eating healthy means eating more vegetables, fruits, wild-caught fatty fish like salmon, and lean meats. It is especially important to avoid all processed foods and trans fats.
Eat a high fiber diet.
Many people just don’t eat enough fiber. As a woman over 40 increasing your fiber intake can help you lose weight.
A high fiber diet helps in many ways including reducing a bloated belly.
Fiber helps to get unwanted stuff and toxins out as well.
Toxins make one fat because they require fat for storage as the body attempts to keep them away from the rest of the body to avoid making you sick.
A 2009 randomized controlled study in The Annals of Internal Medicine found that increased fiber intake has a positive impact on weight loss.
So go ahead and load up on those fruits and veggies, or seeds such as chia and flax seeds.
Whole grains are great too. Just eat in moderation to keep carbs consumption down.
Eat more protein
Eating more protein is great for weight loss when you are older or at any time really because protein keeps you feeling full longer.
And that means you don’t feel hungry for long stretches of time and of course, then you eat less.
That also means you avoid filling up on snacks and consuming too many calories.
Of course, fewer calories consumed dependent on activity can help control weight gain.
Try to aim for 30 grams of proteins per meal.
Protein also builds muscle. Since this is the age when muscle loss is prevalent, eating to increase muscle is important for weight loss. Remember muscle burns fat.
Include more omega threes fatty acids in your diet.
Aim to eat fish such as wild-caught salmon 3 times a week.
There are many benefits of Omega-threes including weight loss.
This is most likely due to their anti-inflammation effect.
Inflammation causes many chronic health problems and can lead to weight gain. A 2009 study in Obesity Reviews found that consuming omega 3s helped reduce body fat.
Researchers found Omega 3 consumption led to the death of fat cells and lead to changes in gene expression in cells that oppose fat deposition, increased fat oxidation, and energy expenditure.
These actions combined make eating omega three rich foods a great choice for keeping weight down.
When you are over 40 you need a variety of ways to lose weight and keep it down.
While the study encourages further studies, increasing omega 3s intake has many other benefits as well such as helping with brain health and mood, and heart health.
So eat that salmon, just make sure it is reared appropriately and if wild-caught, mercury-free.
You may also wish to include other rich sources of omega threes in your diets such as flaxseeds, and nuts in your efforts to lose weight in your 40s and beyond.
Here is a visual image of what a portion size is.
Reducing your portion size is as important as what you are actually eating.
Calories need to match the level of activity in order to lose weight. And as we get less active as we grow older then it is important to eat less.
Sometimes it is a good idea to use utensils that show you what a portion size is.
So I use and love these portion control containers, that come with a 21-day meal plan and recipe book to kickstart your weight loss for 21 days. And I also recommend these portion control plates. The plates show you just the right amount of food on a plate with a section for your meat, side, and vegetables.
In a world where portion sizes have gotten bigger and bigger, to lose weight we have to watch how much we eat especially during perimenopause and menopause years.
Let the sunshine on you
Vitamin D deficiency is rampant and has an impact on weight gain. Many obese people also tend to be vitamin D deficient research shows.
Additionally, low vitamin D is also associated with depression, and depression can lead to excess weight due to a lack of energy to take care of one’s self.
Besides, vitamin D deficiency does make one have less energy as well. And with less energy and fatigue, exercise and the will to make healthier choices fall by the wayside.
It is especially important to have your levels checked if you are black, have other medical conditions, or are elderly as in these groups are more likely to have a deficiency.
Also if you spend all your days indoors you may have a deficiency.
And it is hard to keep your levels up when you live in the northern hemisphere where is it is cold several months in a year.
And remember to keep the sun exposure brief to avoid sunburn and skin cancer.
Everything in moderation.
Check with your doctor if you suspect or think you may be deficient in vitamin D before you supplement as vitamin D is actually stored in the body and too much can be toxic.
It is possible to lose up to 10 percent of our muscle mass as women after age 30.
You may not even notice it at first as you are busy.
You run a household and a job and all the other projects we women take on. So yea, the usual walk may not cut it here.
Exercise smarter. That belly fat requires more than crunches and a walk around the neighborhood. ( it was my go-to exercise for so long. And it worked then).
The best thing to eviscerate the fat is weights. Lifting weights will help you build muscle and that is when the fat starts to fall off. Remember muscle burns fat.
Another type of exercise good for menopause weight loss is aerobic exercises.
Try swimming. Swimming is great for muscle strength and toning. It provides a low impact exercise that doesn’t cause wear and tear on your joints.
That is of course the last thing we need, especially now.
Other great exercises to do to tone and build muscle include squats, and push-ups, and even dancing.
Do yoga too. It is a great way to have a lean body.
Yoga improves muscle strength tone and makes bones strong.
An additional bonus is that yoga keeps our stress level down, and increases energy and happiness.
Avoid artificial sweeteners
When they invented artificial sweeteners and demonized sugar we thought, hurrah, now we can eat sweets, and cakes and drink diet soda guilt-free! But well, were wrong.
We thought it is okay too to put those little colorful drops in water for a better nonwater taste and all will be good. And we thought we can drink other things and eat things that say diet on them because, well, they don’t have sugar. And we were wrong on that too.
Many of all those things don’t help keep your weight down.
Most of the foods and drinks contain artificial sweeteners.
Artificial sweeteners may cause obesity research is finding. A 2010 research study published in the Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine, found evidence that since the invention of artificial sweeteners like aspartame, obesity has risen steadily.
Many people go for diet or light hoping to keep the weight down, but these artificial additives end up causing obesity.
Track your habits
One good way to see how much you are eating as well as your activity level is to track it. Keep a journal and record what you ate and the calories consumed in a day.
You see your calories should match your activity level and during the 40s, and beyond your calories should be less than what you ate in your thirties. Track them as it is easy to be unaware of our habits. Then you can see where you need to cut down.
Drink water and watch what you drink
It surprises me so much to see how many people say they don’t drink enough water.
If you want to lose weight, staying hydrated is important.
Now you don’t have to drink only water to be hydrated. You can drink soups, smoothies, wholesome juices, and other liquids.
Just steer clear of additives like artificial sweeteners or sugary drinks.
Caffeine will also dehydrate you so be careful about tea and coffee.
Drinking water and staying hydrated is important because sometimes people eat when they are thirsty. Water also makes you feel full so you avoid eating more than you need to.
Prioritize your sleep. When you don’t sleep enough you have too much-circulating cortisol, the stress hormone which can lead to insulin resistance and weight gain.
Remember with insulin resistance there is too much sugar and the excess is turned into fat.
Sleep also gives you more energy so you are able to exercise more and even make better judgments and have better resistance to temptations such as sugary and fattening foods.
And research finds that when you don’t sleep enough, it messes with your hormonal balance, and some hormones like ghrelin your hunger hormones are elevated.
This makes you eat more and of course, that makes you gain weight.
During the 40s life is busy. Many people are busy raising kids, and days are filled with activities. It is then easy and tempting to just grab whatever on the go. It is important to be careful with your choices of food.
As a part of being mindful, try to eat mindfully. Pay attention to your food. Have a conversation with others at the table with you and stay away from devices including TV.
When you eat mindfully you can see how much you are eating and realize easily when you are full. It helps you not to overeat.
And overeating is of course bad for weight loss.
As part of being mindful, keeping a food journal is a great idea as mentioned earlier as well.
Do you have a good friend in your corner? Recruit them to keep tabs on you or do his new way of living with you. She or he may also need to keep the pounds down and so you both can help each other to stay the course.
Having someone who can hold your feet to the fire and call out your excuses is so important when you are trying to do the hard thing- trying to change a whole way of life- because literary, that is what losing weight after your 40s really means.
Trying to change behavior and habits is really hard and an accountability partner can help.
When you have a person who cares and tells you the truth, lets you know when things are not right, and can hold you accountable then you are likely to keep up with life changes such as doing the hard work of keeping the weight down after 40.
Try intermittent fasting.
Restricting when you eat in a program like intermittent fasting, is a great way to lose weight when you are a woman over 40.
Going for a long time before eating allows time for elevated blood sugar to normalize.
It keeps insulin lower for a longer time. Insulin is a fat-storing hormone and needs to be at optimal levels.
Keep your eating to a regular schedule and limiting it to an 8-hour window can help you lose weight after 40.
Eat for gut health
Eating for gut health will also help you with weight loss.
To eat for gut health means eating foods that are considered prebiotics, or contain healthy bacteria such as fermented foods like Kimchi, yogurt, and kombucha. Vegetables, bone broth, and foods high in collagen are some of the best ways to boost gut health.
See these related posts: How to Fix and Heal Leaky Gut Naturally: And Signs and Symptoms You May Have Leaky Gut Syndrome
The best foods for leaky gut
The Gut-Brain Connection: How Your Gut Health Affects Your Mental
Eating food that is good for the gut health not only keeps your gut clean, but it helps with the elimination of such things as estrogen that causes weight gain and it lowers inflammation in the gut, and systemically.
Eating foods that feed gut bacteria is crucial for digestion and gut health and a great way to manage weight.
Balance your hormones
The main problem- the real root cause of the difficulty losing weight in the 40s and beyond is really hormonal imbalance.
Hormones are chemical messengers that pretty much direct metabolic action as well as anabolic action, energy use, hunger and satiation, and more.
There are several hormones that generally tend to be out of balance when weight won’t budge.
These imbalances are in cortisol, progesterone, insulin, leptin, thyroid hormone imbalances.
All these hormones play a part in metabolism and energy production and expenditure, muscle and bone strength and glucose use, and fat storage.
So how do you balance these hormones?
The best way is naturally though the guidance of a naturopathic doctor.
On your own, you wan to make sure you are eating a holistic healthy diet. Stay away from artificial sugary, foods made with toxic ingredients like high fructose corn syrup, and trans fats.
Be careful about your gut health. Leaky gut is another problem that can lead to inflammation and hormonal imbalance.
Control and manage stress levels. cortisol, the stress hormone cause weight gain especially around the middle, back, and shoulders, and is associated with insulin resistance and high blood sugars.
All these issues lead to weight gain.
Additionally using herbal supplements may also help you to balance your hormones so you can finally start to lose weight even after you hit your 40s.
See how to balance your hormones naturally for a step by step guide, and also see these supplements for hormonal balance.
Take care of your mental health.
If you have mental health problems like depression, it is easy to gain weight and it is hard to shake it off. Speak to a mental health professional and get help.
One thing though is that it is important to discuss appropriate medications because some depression mediation also can cause weight gain.
But the lack of energy and the brain fog of depression overall are a health crisis that requires professional help.
You may find with metal health help you will have more energy to exercise, choose better foods, and keep the weight down.
Sometimes the depression and other mental health problems are due to bad food choices.
See how to eat for brain health and these 14 best foods for anxiety and as well as Nutrition for depression
Related post: The best teas that calm anxiety naturally
Reduce the stress level
Stress is bad for all your health and really impacts weight.
Stress times and situations can make you eat more and be more mindless about what and how much you are eating.
And excess stress changes the way the body metabolizes and uses energy.
When you are stressed the body stores fat, especially around the middle (source)
just in case you need to run from a lion or get that project done or feel with difficult work situations, spouse or kids’ needs- all the modern day’s stressors.
But although you don’t run exactly, the body thinks you need that extra energy store.
So try to reduce stress by finding calming activities like yoga, even just practicing self-care making sure to calve some time to nourish your soul.
Do things that calm you and make you happy.
Has your thyroid checked?
It is common to be overweight when you have hypothyroidism as well as other hormonal imbalances such as PCOS, and these seem to actually go together.
Hypothyroidism means you either have a problem with your thyroid or a problem in the Hypothalamus, and the hormones system involved in the production of your thyroid hormones has malfunctioned. And therefore your thyroid levels are low.
Since thyroid hormones are involved in metabolism, when they re low, your metabolism slows down which leads to weight gain and trouble losing weight.
If you feel off and tired all the time and you have excess weight that won’t budge in spite of doing what you have always done to lose weight to keep weight down, have your thyroid levels checked.
You can see your regular doctor, however, a naturopathic doctor may perform a more complete panel as opposed to the usual TSH, T3, and T4 levels.
Losing weight after 40 is not easy when there are all these changes taking place in the body such as loss of muscle mass, hormonal imbalances, bones loss, a slowed metabolism, plus external factors such as stress, and reduced activity, and living in the modern world full of bad for your foods, and excessive toxins exposure. But we want to be healthy and losing weight is essential, especially losing that very dangerous belly fat.
So we need to follow the above tips to keep weight after 40 down. And let’s be real, we want to look good in our clothes too. I know I do.
I hope these tips will help you to go forth and get inspired to start losing weight after 40. And do tell me in the comment how you keep weight after 40 down, or which of these tips you have tried.