Losing weight after 40 is definitely more challenging than losing weight as a teenager.
As you get older, your body goes through various changes, some of them include a slower metabolism, thinner skin, muscle loss, and less stomach acid.
These changes can make it difficult to lose weight, and therefore, make proper nutrition even more important.
In this article, I’ll go over 10 changes you’d want to make for losing weight after 40.
1. Bump Your Protein Intake
Adequate protein intake is important for sustaining the build and repair process of muscle tissue.
Since your metabolism slows as you age, it’s especially important that you maintain muscle mass.
Muscle is a metabolic active tissue, which means it burns calories even when you’re at rest. Therefore, more muscle mass will yield a faster metabolism.
Not only that, but studies (1) have shown that loss of muscle mass and strength can lead to weakness, fractures, and poor health in the elderly.
Other studies (2) show that the average adult loses 3-8% of their muscle mass every 10 years after the age of 30.
This study (3) showed that elderly people who ate the least protein each day lost 40% more muscle mass than those who ate the most.
How Much Protein to Eat
Here are 4 ways to prevent losing muscle during weight loss.
Keep in mind that while protein is crucial for sustaining the build and repair process of muscle, the process itself won’t happen without breaking down the muscle fibers through strength training.
In order words, eating protein by itself won’t magically make you gain muscle mass.
Foods High In Protein
Some foods high in protein include lean ground turkey, lean ground beef, whole eggs, low-fat cheese, greek yogurt, egg-whites, chicken breast, tilapia, sea bass.
If you’re having a rough time getting enough protein from those sources, you can add some whey protein as well.
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2. Understand Your Body
Since you’ve been on this earth for quite some time now, it’s likely that you know which foods your body processes better.
However, don’t feel bad if you don’t.
When you’re over 40, you need to pay even more attention to your nutrition.
Since you’re not moving as much as you did before, and your metabolism has slowed, you don’t need to eat as much as you once did.
So focus on eating foods that keep you full for longer and don’t upset your stomach or cause bloating or inflammation.
Here’s an article on how inflammation can be slowing your progress.
You may also have to switch up your exercises and go for things that are easier on your joints like swimming or weight lifting.
Yes, weight lifting when done properly (not like the young kids who just go to lift heavy things) can help you build stronger muscles and bones to prevent age-related injuries.
3. Add Weight Lifting
One of the best ways to lose weight for women over 40 is to add some form of resistance training.
Muscle loss is one of the main your metabolism slows.
The average adult loses 3-8% of their muscle mass every decade after turning 30, therefore, it’s important to lift weights to preserve it. (1)
Weight lifting creates micro-tears in your muscle fibers, which your body then repairs to build stronger muscles.
Without tearing muscle fibers, the body wouldn’t need to adapt to any stimulus and build stronger muscles.
Being a low-impact form of exercise, and a great way to increase bone density, weight lifting is better for preventing age-related injuries.
If you have a slow metabolism, here are a few things you should stop doing.
How to Lift Weights
When doing so, make sure you lift weights that are challenging enough for you while keeping proper form.
Focus on slow and controlled movements to stimulate your muscles. Don’t pay attention to the kids who just care about who can lift the heaviest.
Try weight lifting at least 2-3 times a week.
Some women are concerned that lifting weights will make them bulky, however, this doesn’t happen without years of hard work and meticulous dieting.
Here’s a great piece written about why lifting weights won’t make women bulky.
4. Swap Sugary and Highly-Processed Snacks for High-Fiber Ones
Another great way for losing weight after 40 is to eat more high-fiber snacks.
Fiber is an important nutrient needed for maintaining a healthy digestive system.
Eating enough fiber will help you better absorb the nutrients from the foods you eat and prevent any health issues related to nutrient deficiencies, which are very common as we age.
Fiber also slows the digestion process, which will help you stay full for longer and reduce your cravings and chances of overeating and putting on unwanted weight.
The recommended daily fiber intake is 14 g per 1000 calories, with a minimum of 25 g and a maximum of 75 g.
Some foods high in fiber include vegetables, fruits, legumes, beans, whole grains, and oats.
Here are 10 low-carb snacks that are diet-friendly.
5. Eat More Nutrient-Dense Foods
What you eat becomes even more important for losing weight after 40.
Since your metabolism is slower and your activity levels tend to decrease, you won’t need as many calories as you did when you were younger.
This means that it’s crucial that you choose foods that will give you enough energy and nutrients without too many calories.
Therefore, limit your intake of highly-processed and sugary foods, and fill your diet with more whole foods, like potatoes, oats, whole-grains, vegetables, fruits, beans, and legumes.
Due to their high fiber content and low glycemic index, these foods will not cause too much of a spike in your blood sugar levels.
Instead, they will keep you with steady energy levels throughout the day and increase satiety.
If you’d like to find how much you should be eating, you can explore my article on how to calculate your macros and TDEE.
6. You Need to Hydrate More
This study (7) showed that people who are less hydrated are more likely to have a higher body mass index.
Unfortunately, aging can make you more prone to dehydration.
Also, your kidneys, which are responsible for regulating water and electrolytes, typically lose function as you get older. (10)
How Much Water to Drink
Aim to drink at least 1/2 ounce of fluid per pound of body weight per day.
For example, if you weigh 200 lb, you should drink at least 100 ounces of liquid each day.
How to Get More Water in Your Day
Here are a few good ways to make sure that you get enough water throughout the day:
- Carry a water jug or bottle with you.
- Make it a habit to drink two glasses of water at each meal
- Drink two glasses of water first thing in the morning
In fact, this study (11) showed that people who drank a glass and a half of water before each meal lost about 44% more weight than those who didn’t.
Here are a few ways drinking more water can help you lose weight.
7. Get Lots of Sleep
Another great way to lose weight for women over 40 is to get a little more sleep.
67% of adults between ages 55-84 mentioned having sleep problems, according to the National Sleep Foundation poll.
If you’re having trouble getting high-quality sleep, consider making some of the following changes:
Exercising can help you reduce stress, which is a common reason people have trouble sleeping at night.
It also makes you tired, which can help you fall asleep faster.
Cut down on caffeine
Even if you drink coffee very early in the morning, it can still affect you later at night. So you can slowly cut back on caffeine.
Here are 6 awesome night-time habits for weight loss.
8. Pay attention to your hormones
Since hormones control almost everything in your body, hormonal alterations that come with age can make your body act weird.
For example, lower estrogen levels cause a decrease in insulin production, which can increase the risk of obesity and diabetes. (4)
Other hormones, such as leptin and ghrelin, can increase hunger and cravings, which can lead to overeating and weight gain.
A good way to keep your hormones in check is by making some changes to your diet and lifestyle.
Following a high-sugar and refined carbohydrate diet over a long period of time can increase insulin resistance.
Insulin resistance is when your body doesn’t respond well to insulin, leaving sugar in the bloodstream.
This is why some women over 40 tend to do so great on the keto diet.
9. Find Support
Another great tip for losing weight as you age is to find support.
It can often be a little boring and un-motivating to jump on a weight loss program or exercise routine by yourself.
Not only that, but you’ll also have someone to keep you accountable and motivate you when you feel like quitting or skipping a workout.
10. Find an Active Hobby You Love
Another tip for losing weight as you age is to find an activity you love.
It is difficult to do something you don’t like forever. That’s why many people fail when trying to lose weight.
They jump on diets or activities they don’t like and as soon as they’re done, they jump back to their old habits and regain the weight.
In order to have long-term success, you need to find an active hobby that you love.
Here are a few I can think of:
- hot yoga
- rock climbing
I hope you loved this article about 10 changes to make for losing weight after 40!
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