Updated: Mar 22
Whether you appreciate the wisdom that comes with age or the maturing beauty, one thing you can bank on is that weight loss becomes more of a challenge when you are over 40. The process of losing weight looks different for everyone, and it changes as you age even if you’ve been a regular exerciser for decades. So, if you’re feeling like losing weight after 40 is trickier than it used to be, that’s completely normal.
For one, your metabolism, body composition, and hormones are all changing, so past weight loss tricks may not work the same now. Plus, it can take longer before the results start to kick in. Several reasons contribute to why losing weight in your 40s can be harder and take longer. A woman’s body changes over time, and one significant change in our body’s composition is we start to lose muscle mass in our 40s. Muscle burns more calories and raises your metabolism, making it easier to lose weight. If you're losing muscle mass, your metabolism will start to slow down, and you expend fewer calories. Another unwelcome change to our aging bodies is menopause, this too has a great impact on our metabolism when we hit the big 4 0. While menopause might not be in full effect until your 50s, pre-menopause typically starts in your 40s. Therefore, the hormonal changes that come with it can affect your ability to lose weight.
So, yes ladies, it is easier to gain weight in your 40s and significantly harder to lose it. The extremely good news is, you can still achieve weight loss goals with the help of some tips and techniques or tweaking your old habits. If you decide to start a weight loss transformation in your 40s keep your focus on developing better food habits and create a routine for daily exercise that will help you build or maintain muscle mass. Don’t be discouraged by the rate at which you drop unwanted kilos. Keep your focus and motivation solid, and the weight loss will come despite the obstacles which can count against you. When you incorporate changes in mere exercise, sleeping habits, and nutrition into your lifestyle you will be well on your way to a slimmer 40s.
To gear you for success and make weight loss easy, keep preparation in mind. Preparation is crucial for weight loss because it helps you establish healthy habits and a sustainable lifestyle. When you prepare for weight loss, you can set achievable goals that are realistic for your lifestyle and current health status. This helps you stay motivated and makes it easier to track your progress. Preparation allows you to establish healthy habits that can help you achieve long-term weight loss. For example, planning your meals in advance can help you make healthier food choices and avoid impulsive decisions that could derail your progress. When you have a plan in place, you are less likely to feel stressed and overwhelmed by the weight loss process. You know what to expect, and you have a clear roadmap to follow, which can make the journey less daunting. Preparing for weight loss can save you time in the long run. For example, meal prepping on the weekends can save you time during the week when you're busy with work and other obligations. When you prepare for weight loss, you are more likely to stick to your plan and stay accountable to yourself. This can help you stay motivated and on track even when things get tough.
Here are 3 important things to note and implement when you want to kick-start your metabolism and lose weight in your 40s.
Start strength training or resistance exercises.
Muscles are metabolically active tissues, which means that they require energy (in the form of calories) to function and maintain themselves. When you engage in physical activity that involves your muscles, such as strength training or cardio, your muscles require energy to perform the movements. The energy your muscles need comes from the food you eat, and the more muscle mass you have, the more energy your body needs to maintain it. This means that having more muscle mass can help you burn more calories, even when you're not exercising. In fact, research suggests that for every gram of muscle you gain, you can burn an additional 30-50 calories per day, depending on factors such as your age, gender, and activity level. This may not seem like a lot, but over time, it can add up to significant calorie burn and weight loss. So, while muscles themselves don't necessarily "burn" calories, having more muscle mass can increase your overall calorie burn and help you achieve your weight loss or weight maintenance goals.
Get a good night’s rest!
Sleep is crucial for weight loss and overall health for several reasons.
Lack of sleep can disrupt the balance of hormones that regulate appetite, leading to increased hunger and cravings for high-calorie, high-fat foods. This can lead to overeating and weight gain. When you're sleep-deprived, you may feel tired and have less energy to be physically active. This can lead to a decrease in calorie burn and an increase in calorie intake, resulting in weight gain. Sleep deprivation has been shown to decrease metabolic rate, which means that your body burns fewer calories at rest. This can contribute to weight gain over time. Lack of sleep can also increase stress levels, which can lead to emotional eating and overeating. Chronic stress has been linked to weight gain and obesity. Sleep is essential for muscle recovery and repair after exercise. If you're not getting enough sleep, your body may not have enough time to recover, leading to decreased muscle mass and a slower metabolism. Therefore, getting enough sleep is crucial for losing weight and overall health. It helps regulate appetite, energy levels, metabolic rate, and stress levels, all of which play a significant role in weight management. Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep per night to support your weight loss goals.
UP your protein intake.
Eating protein is an effective strategy for weight loss and weight management because it can help you feel fuller for longer periods of time. This is because protein takes longer to digest than carbohydrates and fat, and it can also stimulate the release of hormones that signal fullness to the brain.
When you eat protein-rich foods, such as lean meats, fish, eggs, beans, and nuts, your body breaks down the protein into amino acids, which are used to build and repair tissues in the body. This process takes longer than breaking down carbohydrates or fats, which means that you feel fuller for longer after eating protein.
In addition, consuming protein can help you preserve lean muscle mass while losing weight. When you're in a calorie deficit (consuming fewer calories than you're burning), your body can break down muscle tissue for energy. However, consuming adequate amounts of protein can help preserve muscle mass and prevent muscle loss during weight loss.
Finally, consuming protein can also increase your metabolism and help you burn more calories. This is because protein has a higher thermic effect on food (TEF) compared to carbohydrates and fats. TEF refers to the number of calories your body burns during digestion, and protein has the highest TEF of all the macronutrients.
Consequently, consuming protein can help you feel fuller for longer, preserve muscle mass during weight loss, and increase your metabolism, all of which can contribute to weight loss and weight management. Aim to consume protein with each meal and snack to support your weight loss goals.
If you apply these few changes to your weight loss attempts, you will master losing weight in your 40s. It’s definitely not impossible!