Wondering how to lose weight after 40? It may seem daunting, but the good news is that it can be done.
Things change as we get older. I wish I could say that losing weight once you get over 40 is exactly the same as when we were in our 20s or 30s, but the truth is that it's not.
As we age, our body changes and our weight loss methods need to change as well. The bright side is that it's totally possible to lose weight after 40.
In this article, we'll cover important tips and things you can do to help you get in great shape despite being over 40.
Let's get to it!
Why is it hard to lose weight after 40?
Before we talk about how to lose weight after 40, it's important to understand why it's different than losing weight when you're younger. Although it's definitely possible, many people find losing weight as they get older a lot more difficult.
Here are a few reasons why:
One reason that many people find losing weight after 40 more difficult is because of changing hormone levels. As we age, our body's hormones change, and this can make it harder to lose weight.
Here are some of the most common hormones that affect our ability to lose weight after 40:
- Estrogen: As women approach menopause, their estrogen levels decrease, which can cause weight gain, particularly around the hips and thighs.
- Testosterone: Testosterone levels also decline with age in both men and women, which can lead to decreased muscle mass and an increase in fat mass.
- Leptin: Leptin, which regulates appetite and energy balance, tends to decrease with age, leading to increased hunger and cravings.
- Thyroid: Thyroid hormones also play a role in weight loss, as an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism) can slow down the metabolism and make it harder to lose weight.
Your metabolism slows down
Another factor that makes weight loss harder as we age is that our metabolism naturally tends to slow down, which can make weight loss harder. Your metabolism is the process by which your body converts food into energy.
When our metabolism slows down, it means that the body is burning fewer calories at rest and during physical activity. This can make it more difficult to lose weight or maintain weight loss because the body is not using energy as efficiently as it used to.
Two big factors that cause our metabolism to slow down are a decrease in muscle mass and being less physically active.
As we age, we tend to lose muscle mass naturally, and muscle tissue burns more calories than fat tissue. So, as we lose muscle mass, our metabolism slows down.
We also have a tendency to be less active as we get older. This helps contribute to our decrease in muscle mass and further slows down our metabolism.
Rising blood sugar levels
Another reason that weight loss is harder after 40 is that our bodies tend to become less sensitive to insulin, a hormone that regulates blood sugar levels.
Insulin helps to transport sugar (glucose) from the blood into the cells, where it can be used for energy. When the body becomes less sensitive to insulin, it means that the cells are not responding as well to insulin signals, so more insulin is needed to transport the same amount of glucose.
This can lead to higher blood sugar levels. When blood sugar levels are consistently high, it can make weight loss harder in several ways:
- Increased appetite: High blood sugar levels can stimulate the release of hunger-inducing hormones, such as ghrelin, leading to increased appetite and cravings for sugary and high-carbohydrate foods.
- Reduced fat burning: High blood sugar levels can also inhibit the body's ability to burn fat for energy, which can make it harder to lose weight.
- Increased risk of type 2 diabetes: High blood sugar levels over time can increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, which is associated with increased body weight and difficulty losing weight.
Another big factor in why it's so hard to lose weight after 40 is that many of us have more stress in our lives at this age. Stress can have a significant impact on weight loss efforts.
Here are some ways stress makes weight loss harder:
- Increased cortisol levels: Stress activates the body's "fight or flight" response, which leads to the release of the hormone cortisol. High cortisol levels can increase appetite and cravings for high-calorie and sugary foods.
- Reduced motivation: Stress can make it harder to stay motivated and stick to healthy habits, such as regular exercise and a healthy diet.
- Reduced ability to handle stress: Stress can also weaken the body's ability to handle other stressors, which can lead to a cycle of chronic stress and increased risk of weight gain.
- Disruption of gut health: Stress can affect gut health, leading to inflammation and imbalances in gut bacteria, which can affect digestion and nutrient absorption. This can also make it harder to lose weight.
Changing sleep patterns
One of the last things that make it harder to lose weight after 40 is a change in our sleeping patterns. Whether it occurs more naturally or due to too much stress, it can definitely slow down our weight loss.
A lack of sleep can contribute to:
- Hormonal imbalances: Sleep plays a critical role in regulating hormones that control hunger, metabolism, and weight.
- Reduced energy: Lack of sleep can lead to fatigue and reduce energy levels, which can make it harder to engage in physical activity and maintain an active lifestyle.
- Reduced motivation: Lack of sleep can also affect mood and motivation, making it harder to stick to healthy habits, such as regular exercise and a healthy diet.
- Reduced metabolism: Sleep is essential for maintaining a healthy metabolism, when you don't get enough sleep, it can slow down your metabolism, leading to weight gain.
- Increased inflammation: Lack of sleep can also increase inflammation in the body, which is linked to chronic health conditions such as heart disease and diabetes and can make weight loss harder to achieve and maintain.
Tips on How to Lose Weight After 40
I know the list of reasons weight loss is harder after 40 is quite long, but don't worry! It's still possible!
By following the tips below on how to lose weight after 40, you can still achieve your goals.
Eat more fruits and vegetables
One of the first and best things you can do to help lose weight after 40 is to start eating more fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables are high in fiber and nutrients, making them a great way to get essential vitamins and minerals.
They also help to fill you up, so you’re less likely to overeat. Aim for at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables per day, and to make sure to include a variety of different colors and types in your diet to ensure you're getting a wide range of nutrients.
Eating fruits and vegetables as a snack or incorporating them into your meals can be a great way to increase your intake and help with weight loss.
Eat a healthy breakfast
The next tip on how to lose weight after 40 is to make sure you start your day with a healthy breakfast. Many people rush out the door without eating breakfast.
Or even worse, they reach for something sugary and high in refined carbohydrates, such as a donut or bagel. Eating a healthy breakfast is important for weight loss because it helps kickstart your metabolism for the day and provides you with energy.
It also helps maintain your blood sugar levels throughout the day which can help control hunger and reduce cravings for sugary snacks.
Try to include protein, fiber, and healthy fats in your breakfast, such as eggs with veggies, oatmeal with nuts and seeds, or Greek yogurt with berries.
Curb the late-night eating
Another good way to boost your weight loss now that you're a little older is to cut back on late-night eating. There are some things that were easier to get away with when you were younger and this is one of them.
Eating late at night can disrupt the body's natural rhythms and make it harder for the body to properly digest food. It also disrupts the balance of hormones that control hunger and metabolism.
Add on the fact that it can disrupt your sleep and you're more likely to overeat when eating late at night, and it's no surprise that it makes weight loss harder.
Try to make sure you have your last meal at least 2 hours before bedtime and if you do feel the need to snack, reach for something light and healthy like a piece of fruit or a handful of nuts or seeds instead of reaching for unhealthy snacks.
Watch your portions sizes
Next on our list of how to lose weight after 40 is to watch your portion sizes. As we age, our metabolism slows down and it's important to eat the right amount of food in order to maintain a healthy weight.
This means paying attention to how much you're eating at each meal or snack and making sure it fits within your daily calorie goals. Try using smaller plates so that your portions look larger and fill up on fruits and veggies before reaching for other foods.
Also, try to avoid eating from large containers or bags as it can be easy to overeat without realizing how much you've actually eaten.
Something else that helps with weight loss after 40 is to try to eat mindfully. Mindful eating is a practice that involves paying attention to the experience of eating, including the flavors, textures, and smells of food, as well as the physical sensations of hunger and fullness.
It helps you become more aware of your eating habits and make better food choices. It also helps control portion sizes and identify triggers for overeating such as boredom, stress, or emotional eating.
To practice mindful eating, it's important to make a conscious effort to focus on the present moment while eating and pay attention to how your food tastes, smells, and feels in your mouth.
It also helps to eat without distractions, such as watching TV or using electronic devices, and to take the time to chew your food thoroughly.
Cut back on soda and alcohol
The next tip for how to lose weight after 40 is to cut back on soda and alcohol consumption. Both are high in calories and sugar, which can contribute to weight gain.
Soda can also disrupt the body's natural rhythms and slow down your metabolism. Try switching to sparkling water or unsweetened tea instead of soda and limiting how much alcohol you consume.
When drinking alcohol, try to replace sugary cocktails with low-calorie options like a vodka soda or white wine spritzer. This way, you can still enjoy an occasional drink but without the extra calories.
Another important tip for how to lose weight after 40 is to make sure you're getting enough exercise. Regular physical activity helps boost your metabolism, burn calories, and strengthen your muscles.
A good goal is to make physical activity a part of your daily routine. This can include activities such as walking, cycling, swimming, weightlifting, or other physical activities that you enjoy.
Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity per week, or a combination of both.
If you're looking for a good workout plan to help build strength and muscle, check out our Over 40 Workout plans for the gym or at home. If you want a personalized plan specific to your fitness needs and goals, check out our custom weight training plans.
Prioritize strength training
Another thing to include in your weight loss routine after 40 is strength training. Strength training helps build muscle and increases your metabolism, both of which are essential for weight loss after 40.
It also helps improve insulin sensitivity, which can help to regulate blood sugar levels and promote weight loss. Strength training is also important for building bone density.
This doesn't help with weight loss per se but can help protect against diseases like osteoporosis as you age.
Try to do 2-3 days of resistance training per week using a variety of exercises that target all the major muscle groups. This can include bodyweight exercises, weight machines, or free weights.
Another way to help promote weight loss after 40 is to take steps to manage your stress levels. Stress can have a negative effect on your hormones and metabolism, leading to weight gain.
It leads to cravings for high-calorie and sugary foods as well as reducing your motivation and disrupting sleep. Stress worsens all the natural factors that make losing weight harder after 40.
So it's important to take time each day to relax, practice mindfulness or meditation, get enough sleep, or incorporate other stress-relieving activities into your routine.
Get enough sleep at night
Another good tip for how to lose weight after 40 is to make sure you're getting enough sleep at night. Adequate sleep helps regulate hormones in the body and can help prevent overeating or cravings for unhealthy foods.
It also helps increase your energy and mood which makes it much easier to get up and exercise each day and make healthy eating choices. And speaking of exercise, getting enough rest helps with muscle recovery as well as reducing inflammation in the body.
Being well-rested helps combat the natural decline in metabolism, hormone levels, and activity levels that occur as we age. Aim to get 7-9 hours of sleep each night if you can.
Another tip for how to lose weight after 40 is to stay hydrated. Drinking water helps suppress your appetite and can help fill you up before eating.
This helps cut back on overeating or reaching for snacks between meals. Drinking water also helps flush out toxins from the body and prevent dehydration which can lead to fatigue and decreased energy levels.
Staying hydrated is an easy way to help stay on track with your weight loss goals. Make sure to drink 6-8 glasses of water per day and you'll be well on your way to success.
Get support and accountability
The last tip for how to lose weight after 40 is to get support and accountability. It's easy to get off track when trying to lose weight, especially if you are doing it alone.
Having someone else there who can encourage you and hold you accountable will help keep you motivated and on the right track. A good option is to find a friend or family member who is also wanting to make healthy changes to their lifestyle and work together.
You can also join a support group or online community for extra encouragement and accountability. If none of those options seem like a good fit or don't offer the level of accountability you need, check out my 16-week virtual training program.
I'll walk you through step-by-step and tell you exactly what you need to do to reach your health goals.
FAQs About How to Lose Weight After 40
Still have some questions about how to lose weight after 40? Here are some answers to the most common questions.
How do you get rid of belly fat after 40?
To get rid of belly fat after 40, follow the steps we've outlined above. They'll help with overall fat loss. Also, add in some resistance training and target the abdominal muscles to help to reduce visceral fat.
How can I increase my metabolism after 40?
To increase your metabolism after 40, make sure to stay active and include a variety of exercises in your routine. Include resistance training to help build muscle which naturally boosts metabolism.
Also focus on getting enough sleep, drinking plenty of water, reducing stress levels, and avoiding processed foods as much as possible.
How can I lose weight and tone up at 40?
To lose weight and tone up at 40, follow the tips we've outlined before. Make sure to focus on a nutrient-dense diet that is full of fruits and vegetables as well as lean proteins and healthy fats.
Also, include resistance training in your routine for toning muscles and adding strength. And don't forget about staying active each day, adequate sleep, and reducing stress levels.
All of these things will help you reach your goals.
Conclusions to How to Lose Weight After 40
Overall, how to lose weight after 40 is all about making lifestyle changes that support healthy habits and boost your metabolism. This includes eating healthier food choices, cutting back on sugary drinks and alcohol, exercising regularly, strength training, and taking steps to manage stress levels.
Making these small changes in your day-to-day life will help you reach your health and weight loss goals. Just remember to stay consistent, be patient, and give yourself grace when you make mistakes. You can do this!