Crossing 40 can bring several changes to your body, including weight gain. Although not all women are affected by it, most of us can feel the subtle changes to our bodies even if we didn’t make major changes to our lifestyle or diet.
While gaining extra fat is a problem in itself, it invites many other potential health issues as well. That’s why it’s high time you incorporated a healthy routine, clean diet, and exercise in your life.
It may be hard to motivate yourself to get started, but once you do, you’ll love how you look and feel, and will want to sustain your healthy result.
To help you achieve your healthiest self, here is a list of highly effective tips on weight loss for women over 40.
Why do we Gain Weight after 40?
Most of us experience body weight gain after we reach our mid-30, and we are especially likely to find excess fat stored around our bellies, thighs, and hips.
There are many contributing factors to this weight gain:
In our 40s, two kinds of changes primarily happen to our metabolism. First, our basal metabolic rate slows down. Second, we expend less total energy while working out. Thus, we fail to burn the needed calories and start to gain weight.
Lots of our physiological processes, including muscle synthesis, start slowing down as we age. These muscles break down naturally in our mid-30s. Then with each additional decade, we generally end up losing around 3-8 percent of total body muscles.
The loss of these muscles gets replaced with fats that comparatively require less energy to operate than muscles. Hence, we eventually gain weight.
Reduced lipid turnover
Scientists state that in our 40s, the rate of lipid turnover starts to decrease. This rate is how quick or slow we remove and store the fat in our body. The more it decreases, the more weight we gain.
Our hormones start to change more rapidly in our mid-30s to 40s. And when we reach menopause, our estrogen levels start to drop off.
Estrogen plays a major role in our body. It helps:
- In improving levels of good cholesterol, “HDL” while keeping bad cholesterol “LDL” in check.
- Regulate both metabolism and weight.
- Keep the artery walls flexible.
- In protecting against the belly fat buildup that can cause inflammation and risk of a heart attack.
As you can see, this drop in estrogen can lead to an increased risk of weight gain (especially around our belly), high cholesterol, and heart disease.
12 Weight Loss Tips for Women over 40
1. Avoid processed sugar
If there is a single change to adapt that can make the biggest difference in preventing weight gain, avoiding processed sugar or added sugar, tops the list.
Added sugar wreaks havoc on the hormones and biochemical balance of our body when we consume them in high quantities.
Know you need to quit sugar but not sure how? Check out these 6 quick and effective tips to tame your sweet tooth.
2. Eat Clean
Just as we want to avoid processed sugar, we’ll also want to avoid processed food.
Many modern processed foods are designed to provide us with the pleasure of a dopamine hit to activate our sense of reward that causes us to want to keep coming back for more.
The concept of clean eating goes back to an earlier way of life where you eat whole foods that are natural, unrefined, and minimally processed.
When you fill your body with natural, wholesome, nutritious foods, you’ll feel a change in your health and energy that you won’t miss going back.
Clean eating is not a restrictive fad diet. It is a healthy, sustainable eating habit and a way of life.
Related Post: The Ultimate Guide to Clean Eating for Beginners
3. Add metabolism-boosting spices
Spices and herbs do much more than just flavor our food. Many of them have been used to heal ailments in traditional medicine going back thousands of years!
Adding these spices to my diet was especially helpful in getting rid of my stubborn mommy belly fat after giving birth to twins at age 40.
Want a fast, easy, and effective way to lose weight using fat-burning spices and detoxing greens? Sign up below to get a 5-minute recipe to lose 3 pounds this week!
4. Manage stress
A side effect of the decrease in estrogen levels as we age is the increase in the stress hormone cortisol, which causes even more fat build-up in our body, especially around the belly.
Find ways to manage your stress and adopt a self-care routine. Slow down and actively practice ways to relieve your stress.
Relieve your fight-or-flight response with deep diaphragmatic breathing. Practice thoughts of gratitude. Take a stroll in the garden. Listen to music.
Related Post: How to Comfort Yourself Without Food
5. Drink more water
As we get older, we tend to confuse thirst with hunger more often. So instead of drinking water we eat, resulting in weight gain.
Drinking more water will not only ensure that our body is well hydrated, but it also makes us feel more full so we are less likely to overeat.
A study found that drinking water 30 minutes before mealtime was shown to increase weight loss by 44% over 3 months (source)!
Don’t like drinking plain old water? You can easily transform them into detox waters that can further boost your weight loss.
6. Eat more protein
Eating more protein is one of the best things to do to lose weight and maintain your healthy weight in the long term.
Protein helps you lose weight by:
- Keeping you feeling full longer so you are less likely to overeat
- Preserving your lean muscle mass while you lose fat
- Boosting your metabolism as digesting and metabolizing protein burns more calories compared to carbohydrates and fats.
Related Post: 5 Best Protein Powders for Women Weight Loss
7. Eat slowly and mindfully
When you sit down at the dining table to eat your meal, take your time to chew and savor your food thoroughly.
Eating slowly helps you to stay aware of your body and gives your body time to signal your brain that you’ve eaten enough and are feeling full.
8. Track what you eat
Along with being mindful of what you eat, you’ll want to keep a food journal to track what you’ve actually eaten.
Be honest and write everything down without judgment. When you can see something physical on a piece of paper or digital screen, you’ll find it easier to be an outside observer of your thoughts and habits.
Observe your food journal with curiosity and compassion. Look for areas where you strayed from eating mindfully and try to identify the root cause of your eating behavior. Awareness is the first step in solving any problem.
9. Avoid soda and fruit juices
Both soda and fruit juices are high in sugar content and should therefore be avoided if we want to avoid sugar.
Fruit juices may seem healthier, especially if they are freshly squeezed. However, without their whole fruit fiber, juices are highly concentrated sources of sugar that can cause spikes in our blood sugar when consumed in large quantities.
Not sure how to kick your soda habit? Check out these 6 healthiest sparkling waters to help you wean off soda.
10. Get quality sleep
A study has shown that poor sleep is a strong risk factor for obesity (source). Therefore, you should aim for a good night’s sleep every night,
When we don’t get enough sleep, our appetite increases, and we subconsciously crave high-calorie, fatty foods when we are tired and need energy.
Keep active during the day to sleep better at night.
11. Feed your gut
Studies have found that people that are overweight have different gut bacteria than those with normal weight!
Having the optimal gut microbiome not only helps you maintain a healthy weight but can also help to flatten your belly!
To learn more, check out these 5 Best Probiotics for Weight Loss for Women.
Exercise is important for keeping your mind and body healthy.
However, exercise is not the key to weight loss. What you eat is much more important than how much exercise you do.
A study of a group of people living the hunter-gatherer active lifestyle found that they actually did not expend more energy or burn more calories than the rest of us that live a more sedentary modern lifestyle (source).
You don’t need to spend hours slaving away at the gym each day. Simply stay active by walking, gardening, stair climbing, or playing with your kids.
If you enjoyed this article on weight loss for women over 40 and are looking to jumpstart your permanent weight loss with a quick and effective recipe, sign up below!