After turning 40, your metabolism has already changed drastically. It’s a tough pill to swallow, but it’s the reality of it.
Whoever said 50 is the new 20 clearly wasn’t talking about weight loss. Wits, intelligence, life experience, yes.
Your body at 50 years old vs. 20 years old is just different. There’s no other way to say it. And unfortunately, it IS harder to lose weight the older you get (1).
As unfortunate as it may sound, the elixir of youth has not yet been invented. So for the meantime, women who are between 40-55 years old will be subjected to hormonal decline brought about by aging and menopause.
Aside from the hot flashes and mood swings, research says it can also increase the chances of developing obesity (2).
There are some lucky women that don’t experience this and are able to successfully maintain their slender figures and ageless physique.
But they’re like VIP’s who belong to an elite organization while most of us remain non-exempt from the wrath of mother nature.
Now, before you get annoyed with my negative pep talk, let me redeem myself by telling you there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.
Menopause is inevitable but losing weight after age 40 is not impossible — it’s only a little tricker than it was 10-15 years ago.
With the proper diet, the right exercise, and the correct mindset, anyone can lose weight.
Anyone with determination, anyway.
Are you ready to know how to start? Here are the big guns you need:
1. Have the Right Mindset
The first thing you need to know and accept is the fact that age changes your body. We can’t do anything about that – unless you have a magic potion that will stop aging. I do not.
Instead of hating our bodies, why not start listening to it? We only have one, anyway.
Kathryn Smerling, an NYC-based therapist, said that we cannot shift our weight from the outside without being aware and possessing the correct inner resolve and intention. And she’s right!
Our mindset should be focused on self-care. It means our reason to lose weight should not be sparked with our low self-worth and self-deprecating thoughts.
If your mindset is wrong, you are bound for failure.
The right mindset should be “I need to lose weight because it is what’s good for me.”
If you need motivation, think about how many good things can come from losing weight such as better health, longer life, and more enjoyment.
2. Understand Hormonal Changes
According to Harvard, our estrogen hormone levels drop steeply or spike higher than normal after age 45 which results in weight gain. In fact, about 30% of women aged 50-59 are not just overweight, but pretty much obese (1).
But why? It is because estrogen has a direct connection to body weight regulation.
A study has shown that a lower estrogen level leads to eating more and being less physically active. If that’s not enough, it also slows down your metabolism which ultimately leads to middle-age spread (2).
Because low estrogen level means weight gain, then it is only logical to think that estrogen hormone therapy can reverse the effects and promote weight loss.
But if you are not comfortable with this choice, there are still other alternative options to choose from to help you lose weight after age 40 such as diet and exercise.
You can start by incorporating some healthy foods that are known to boost estrogen.
You can also read more about how hormones affect weight gain in this article.
3. Choose Your Diet Wisely
According to Livestrong, women over age 45 generally weigh more than they did in their 20s. Don’t worry though, there’s no shortage of diets to out there to choose from.
But you need to consider your choices carefully because your body is not the same 20 years ago.
What used to work when you’re younger may no longer be effective for you today.
So, here are the best diets you need to know to start your weight loss after age 40.
A low-carb diet is basically restricting yourself from eating carbohydrates.
You need to avoid foods that are full of sugar and trans fats as well as those who are low-fat products, highly processed foods, and starchy vegetables.
According to a study, this diet can reduce the accumulation of stubborn fluff and puff around our middle region (1). In fact, it has successfully helped postmenopausal women lose 21 lbs, 7% body fat and 3.7 inches from their waist within 6 months.
That’s why it’s also a core principle of our highly successful 21-Day Fat Loss Challenge!
This is a no-brainer. We all know vegetables are good for your health so when we choose to implement a vegetarian diet, the benefits go beyond weight loss.
According to research, vegan diets can help decrease fat and saturated fat more than the pesco-vegetarian, semi-vegetarian, and omnivorous diet counterparts at both 2 and 6 months (1).
A word of caution about vegan and vegetarian diets:
A plant-based diet is ONLY healthier when you cut out processed foods entirely. i.e. Do NOT substitute meat or dairy for processed, “fake,” soy-based meat/dairy products.
A balanced diet gives your body the nutrients it needs to function correctly, especially if you’re over 45. But it is not as restrictive and offers more food choices than the previous two.
Basically, your meals should include a protein source, a fat source, and low-carb vegetables.
So if you can’t let go of either steak or potatoes, then this diet is for you.
If you’re really trying to ditch the pounds fast, continue to eliminate carbs in this diet. Only add them back in when you have reached your goal weight.
Or at a maximum, you can also try eating them one day a week but eliminate them every other day. That makes this kind of diet a little more agreeable with your social life.
4. Watch Your Eating Habits
Your eating habits define how you eat. After age 45, our bodies no longer burn that many calories because of slower metabolism.
Thus, it is very important to be mindful of how we eat. You need to implement some changes in your eating habits such as:
Intermittent fasting is not a diet but a timed approach to eating.
Research from the University of Southern California states that eating within a 15-hour window or more a day leads to metabolic problems, sleep disorders, and other health hazards (1).
Did it scare you? Then good, it’s about time to make some changes to your eating habits.
If you’re not a fan of strict diets, try intermittent fasting where you cycle between periods of eating and fasting. Unlike conventional diets that tell you what to eat and restricts where calories come from, it does not specify what foods a person should eat or avoid.
However, if you want to lose weight faster after age 45, then a healthy diet with intermittent fasting should do the trick.
The most basic thing you need to know about intermittent fasting is you need to have an “eating window” or time to eat and a “fasting window” or time to fast.
There are a lot of methods for intermittent fasting such as alternate day fasting and 14:10/16:8 method. The former simply means fasting every other day while the latter means restricting your eating to 10-8 hours per day only.
Just like intermittent fasting, portion control is not a diet but a way of eating. It is based on the understanding that you need to burn more calories than you consume especially after age 45.
For starters, it is as simple as eating the right amount of food.
I mean even if all you eat are healthy foods but you have too big a portion size than your body really needs, then your weight loss journey after age 45 will fail.
One of the best ways you can do this is by simply serving smaller portions and then having a glass of water with dinner.
The water will help you feel satiated.
If you’re really starving, wait 10 minutes before going back for seconds.
9 times out of 10, you’re going back for seconds out of boredom or habit rather than actual hunger.
But, don’t just take my word for it! According to HuffingtonPost, portion control is one of the cornerstones of good nutrition.
When they interviewed Chloe McLeod, a practicing dietitian, she said that overeating (even if it’s healthy food) will generally make it harder to manage your weight.
So, let’s just follow the advice from an expert, shall we?
5. Move your way to fitness
Sadly, we tend to slow down as we age.
It’s called sarcopenia, and it’s the muscle loss that we experience as we get older that limits our ability to perform many routine activities.
BUT that should not be the reason for you to adopt a sedentary lifestyle.
In fact, you should do the opposite. You should KEEP MOVING to keep your muscles as strong as they can be.
To lose weight after age 45, you still need to move and crank things up a notch. But, I’m not saying you force yourself and do weight training.
Just tweaking your morning walk, e.g, turning it into brisk walking or adding a yoga session to your day, is enough to lose weight.
In fact, research says obese postmenopausal women who did 10 minutes of high-intensity interval training lost twice as much weight as those who did brisk walking (1).
6. Count your zzz’s.
A lack of sleep can make you hungry and set your brain up to make bad decisions.
Aside from making you feel groggy, not catching enough zzz’s leads to weight gain over time.
For example, do you notice when you’re sleep-deprived, you tend to munch on snacks?
Yep, that’s what I’m talking about.
According to a study, sleeping for only 5 hours or less puts you at risk of gaining one kilo over a 16-year period. But that’s only the tip of the iceberg (1)
You might say 0.5 pounds is not that much but it’s not entirely true. The same study suggests that even a modest weight gain can have a detrimental effect on your health.
7. Change Your Unhealthy Lifestyle
It’s hard to lose weight when you’re older. At times, it feels like even water can make you fat, seriously!
But most often than not, weight gain is a direct consequence of living a modern, unhealthy lifestyle. We’re all guilty of this at one point in our lives.
Just think about how many hours you spend on the couch watching Netflix, eating fast food meals for convenience, drinking soda.
In turn, it has taken a toll on our health.
But if we just make the right choices, a study states that it will prevent weight gain. Here are some bad habits you should stop doing if you want to lose weight after age 45 (1):
- Eating mindlessly
- Night-time snacks
- Not drinking enough water
- Junk foods
- Sitting too long
- Unhealthy food and beverage choices
- Drinking your calories
If you’re doing most of these right now, try starting with 3 or 4 of your worst bad habits to focus on breaking.
Trying to do everything at once often leads to burn out before the habit gets completely broken.
8. Have a concrete plan
I’m pretty sure Winston Churchill was talking about his weight loss plan when he said said “Failing to plan is planning to fail.”
Ha just kidding. But it makes sense.
On a serious note, you need to plan ahead if you want to shed off some pounds. To simplify, remember the acronym SMART. It stands for:
- S – Specific
- M – Measurable
- A – Achievable
- R – Realistic
- T – Timely
For example, instead of saying “I will lose weight.”, say something like “I will eat oats and banana for breakfast instead of donuts and coffee.”
See the difference?
Don’t wing it. Ain’t nobody got time for that.
And if you need a specific plan that has all of the above SMART goals attached, take a look at our 21-Day Fat Loss Challenge.
It contains a specific plan for what to eat and when to eat it for optimal results.
It’s been carefully planned out so that you will lose 10-21 pounds in just 21 days. Our program also includes a support group of more than 3,000 women, lifting each other up and motivating everyone to reach their goals.
Because as a woman, you deserve all the support as much as a guaranteed result. Don’t settle for less.
If you enjoyed this article on weight loss for women over 40 or have any questions for us, please feel free to leave them in the comment section below! We’d love to hear from you!