After a certain age, regardless of whether you are male or female, it is clear that gaining weight is easier than losing it. There’s nothing wrong with feeling good about a few extra pounds, but when those extra pounds are making you feel insecure, you may be wondering what the best ways to lose them are in a healthy way as your metabolism slows down, hormones play tricks on you, and your nutritional needs change. Family obligations and other life circumstances slow down your activity level as you age. In addition, body fat increases, metabolism slows, and muscle mass decreases in the 40s. This is why losing weight in your 40s is more difficult than in your 20s. Let’s talk about these changes your body goes through and why it’s harder to lose weight in your 40s. Forget about drastic diets and other very restrictive diets, the only secret to losing weight at any age is mainly in two things: a balanced diet and regular physical activity. The goal is to burn more calories than you burn. However, this cannot be achieved unless you change some of your daily habits.
How to lose weight after 40?
Everyone’s journey to weight loss is different, but whether you’ve always been a consistent exerciser or want to make some new changes, the path to your goals can change—especially as you age. If you notice that losing weight after the age of 40 is much more difficult, don’t panic. There are a few factors to consider: Your metabolism, body composition, and hormones are changing. This means? Weight loss strategies that once worked may no longer be the best solution. Or it may take a few extra weeks before you start seeing results.
1. Eliminate processed food from your diet
According to experts, the first step is to get your diet in order and exclude certain foods that are not good for you. Let’s start with industrial and highly processed food, which is often too fatty, too sweet and too salty, and replace it with wholesome, fresh food without added sugars, toxic additives and excess fat.
It is especially important to prioritize fiber in large quantities to ensure a good transition, but we must not forget proteins and healthy fats, which are essential for the proper functioning of the body.
2. Eat more fruits and vegetables
Vegetables in particular are generally low in calories but full of vitamins and minerals, and you can eat them in large quantities. They’re high in fiber, which makes you feel full, and they’re also packed with nutrients, experts say. Fruits and vegetables can also be used for portion control. If you want to fill half your plate with vegetables, it can help you reduce the portion sizes of other foods, and you’ll feel just as satisfied. Because vegetables are low in calories, this strategy can help you reduce your total calorie intake at each meal, helping you lose weight.
3. Focus on protein
The body has to work harder to digest protein (which means it burns more calories) than it does to digest fat or carbohydrates, so experts recommend a strategy of increasing protein intake. Although we don’t encourage high-protein diets, increasing your protein intake from 15 percent of total calories to 30 percent can increase the amount of calories your body burns during digestion, which can help you lose weight faster.
4. Watch your portion sizes
Also pay attention to the portion sizes. By taking your time with your food, chewing it slowly, and practicing mindful eating, you can avoid biting off more than you can chew and eating more than your appetite requires.
5. Prepare a nutritious breakfast
If you love breakfast, what you eat in the morning can set the tone for the rest of your day (whether you’re 40 or not!). A breakfast rich in lean protein, fiber and plant-based fats is the best option for reducing hunger and cravings later in the day, experts warn. In other words, start with a proper breakfast and you may end up cutting calories for the rest of the day.
6. Intermittent fasting
As part of more mindful eating, it might also make sense to try intermittent fasting, where you fast for about 13 to 16 hours a day and just eat the rest of the hours. Among other things, this method reduces calorie intake, allows more time for digestion and allows you to pay more attention to what you eat.
If possible, it is also recommended that you try to cook your own meals and don’t fall into the trap of ordering ready meals or ordering from restaurants, as this will only encourage you to overindulge.
7. Add foods that regulate hormonal balance to your diet
It’s no secret that hormone levels change during menopause. During menopause, the content of the hormone estradiol decreases. Since this hormone helps regulate metabolism, its decrease can lead to weight gain, experts explain. However, you can help with these hormonal changes by paying attention to your diet. Eating foods rich in phytoestrogens (dietary estrogen), such as flaxseeds, sesame seeds, nuts, and soybeans, can help offset these hormonal changes.
8. Get a good night’s rest
Sleep problems can be a symptom of menopause, so it’s not unusual for women in their 40s to have trouble getting enough sleep. Weight loss also depends on sleep and managing daily stress. It is important to know that lack of sleep interferes with the proper functioning of many important hormones, and chronic stress increases the production of cortisol, a hormone that affects appetite and fat storage in the stomach. Unfortunately, this can also lead to weight gain. When you sleep less than seven hours of restful sleep, metabolic changes occur that can make it significantly more difficult to lose weight. The appetite hormone ghrelin increases while leptin (which controls hunger signals) decreases, triggering an increased desire for food, especially foods high in fat and sugar. Insulin resistance increases, which can trigger fat storage in the body.
That’s why it’s important to get 7 to 9 hours of sleep, limit stimulants before bed, and take care of your mental health by using relaxation techniques like meditation or breathing exercises.