Weight Loss Over 40: 3 Major Problems and How to Overcome Them

The best age is 40 years. This was revealed by a study that asked people aged 65+, at what age they would like to return and the four decades were most of the answers. It makes sense: when the labor consolidation is reached and the uncertainties of youth disappear. The downside is that other things begin to appear. The kilos, for example. No matter if you eat and move as usual: inevitably, after this age, it is no longer so easy to maintain weight much less lose a couple of pounds, something the 20-year-old could get simply by not eating bread for a week. An example of this is that if at 20 years a woman had to work out for four weeks or less to see some weight loss, at 40 she will need at least five weeks.

So, weight loss after 40 is not easy. Over time, the trends are installing and fifty just around the corner, hormones are altered making things even more difficult! However, even if you may not get back to the weight you had when you were young, it is easy to lose weight in the long term with daily efforts and a better lifestyle. In this article, we have listed 3 major problems that may keep you from losing weight from age 40 and how to overcome them.

1- Your body undergoes hormonal changes

Largely responsible for the fact that men and women both find it hard to lose or maintain weight after age 40 are sex hormones, namely testosterone, and estrogen, respectively.

For men

Men, according to experts at the University of Maryland, naturally have more fat cells in the abdomen than women, making them bulkier. What governs this difference is an evolutionary principle to have always maintained an energy source easily accessible dedicated to hunting and walking for very long distances. However, abdominal fat is one of the main indicators of risk of cardiovascular disease. Hence, testosterone plays a crucial role, because, as a precautionary measure high levels keep the fat build-up this area at bay. But over 40, when the hormone begins to decay, it also decreases their effectiveness in this task, so, a man who already had a lot of abdominal fat will only have more.

The solution

Boost your testosterone production naturally. There are several studies that have shown that men who eat diets rich in healthy fats such as monounsaturated and Omega-3 have higher levels of testosterone. So, get enough healthier fats by eating nuts and seeds, fatty fish like salmon and tuna, avocados and olives. But this does not mean that overdo the intake of fat, just make sure that at least 20% 30% of your total daily calories from healthy fats. Also, make sure you receive enough zinc from your diet by eating oysters, beef, crab, poultry, nuts, and seeds, salmon, brown rice, beans, turkey, milk, yogurt, cottage cheese. Zinc is very important for testosterone production but usually deficient in older adults according to the National Institute of Health. In addition limit alcohol intake and perform multi-joint movements such as squat, weightlifting and bench press.

For women

Women, however, have a greater number of fat cells in the hips and thighs, because those are the areas where energy can be accessed faster in the time it is most needed, during lactation. The female body is always prepared for the arrival of a baby, and so, to not take space, large amounts of fat do not deposit in the abdomen. But in the 40s, with falling estrogen levels, the body of the woman stops being ready for a pregnancy, and, therefore, begins to accumulate fat not only on the buttocks and hips but also on the belly. That’s why older women tend to have a swollen abdomen, despite eating as they always have.

The solution

It is recommended that women after this age follow a diet rich in foods high in phytoestrogens that help increase the body estrogen production. These are flaxseed, sesame, soybean and soy products, nuts (pistachio and chestnuts), fruits (dried dates and apricots, strawberries, raspberries, and peaches).

2- Your metabolism gets slower

Every time you read an article about diet or nutrition, there are high chances that the metabolism is mentioned. But, do you know exactly what it is? Well, it is the chemical reactions that occur in the cells of your body that transform or convert nutrients from food into the energy you need to live, not just to move and think but even at rest. We need energy for respiration, digestion, making muscle mass, fat storage, the blood circulation… The energy that is “saved” is not used in the body as fat.

The basal metabolism is the minimum energy that the body requires to live when it is at rest. This minimum consumption varies from person to person. The basal metabolism is responsible for two individuals with the same activities and diets do not have the same weight. The metabolic rate is the rate at which the body uses the energy available (or burns calories). In general, the more muscle and less fat your body have, the faster your metabolic rate.

Over 40, metabolism does not help much in this weight loss crusade. Of calories consumed per day, between 70% and 75% are burned in the natural functioning of the body without exercise. But by 40, the picture changes. As we age, metabolism slows to a rate of 5% for each passing decade, so if your body at rest burns 1,200 calories a day at 40 years, it only burns about 1,140 at 50. That is why if before you managed to lose weight by consuming an x amount of calories, today at this age doing the same, you do not get the same results.

The solution

Boost your metabolism naturally. For that:

  • Eat foods rich in protein (lean beef, fish, turkey, chicken breast, tofu, nuts, beans, eggs, low – fat dairy products) because the body burns more calories when digesting proteins than fats or carbohydrates.
  • Eat small meals frequently. It is better to have 5 to 6 small meals a day than to 2 or 3 regular meals because:

a) When you eat only 2 meals, the body having to spend many hours without food decides to save energy.

b) When making digestion the body expends energy, so if you eat several times a day, you have a greater energy expenditure.

  • Eat breakfast every day. Eating breakfast should be a golden rule. It is often said that is the most important meal of the day, although all are important, breakfast before one hour after getting up from the bed helps speed up the metabolism because breakfast “wakes up”. Besides the body better regulate blood glucose and insulin and does not feel the need to “save” energy as fat. And if you do not eat breakfast you have a higher risk of devouring the first muffin or chocolate bar that has the misfortune to cross your path.
  • Drink at least 1.5 liters of water every day. It has been shown that drinking water each day increases metabolism as the cells need water to perform their functions. In addition, drinking water will help to eliminate toxins more easily.
  • Drink green tea. It is not only an unsurpassed source of antioxidants, as shown in several studies, researchers have discovered that it is a great accelerator of metabolism. Also having zero calories (without any additives), you can drink it without moderation.
  • Build some muscles. Bodybuilding exercises are not only useful for aesthetic reasons. The more muscle mass you have the more calories your body will need to burn to maintain it.
  • Consume some hot spices. Cayenne pepper, for example, has been shown to boost metabolism because it contains capsaicin, a chemical compound that acts positively in metabolic processes.

Important: A slow metabolism may be due to a thyroid problem (hypothyroidism). Thyroid problems are between 8 and 10 times more common in women and increase from the 40 years. The thyroid function is to produce hormones and release them into the bloodstream to regulate metabolism. An underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism) slows metabolism and thus produces weight gain. Regular medical checkups are recommended every five years from 40.

3- You do not exercise or practice sports

It’s a shame that your energy demand has gone down and it is necessary that you increase the physical expense. Well, exercising is “unfortunately” important because as you can see the lack of exercise is linked to the two previous problems. When the three factors are combined, losing weight will be very difficult.

The solution

There is no point, at this age, to kill yourself for hours in the gym, because what matters to activate metabolism is the intensity and not time. Walking briskly for 20 minutes has proven to be as effective as doing a moderate pace for an hour. Other studies have proven that enough 10 minutes at maximum intensity on the elliptical for changes in metabolism.

Professor Jennie Brand-Miller member the Boden Institute of Obesity, Nutrition, Exercise and Eating Disorders at the University of Sydney in Australia, recommends the Peak 8 workout, which takes about 20 minutes. Simply choose an activity and then follow this routine: If you choose to run, for example, do the first three minutes of heating or gentle jog, then 30 seconds at high intensity (85% of total cardiac capacity) and then 90 seconds moderate intensity (50% of maximum heart capacity). Then repeat the cycle of 30 to 90 seconds seven times and ends with two minutes of relaxation. This routine burns about 400 calories.

But, as not everyone can do so much daily exercise, just try an activity that you like and you can practice several times a week: biking, dancing, walking, gardening…

Build some muscles. There is one point on which bodybuilders are right: the more you have a large muscle mass, the more your metabolism effectively burns calories. Unfortunately, it’s sad to say that one of the natural tendencies of aging is the loss of muscle and its gradual replacement with grease. So, in order to mobilize all your muscles’ abilities to burn calories, you have to work. How? Buy some dumbbells, a bar, some elastic bands and a few accessories to start exercising. Do some push-ups and squats every day. Start with 10, then the next day you do 15, the next 20 and gradually increase the number. Challenge yourself and make it fun. Other tools that can also help are kettlebells, an exercise ball, and ankle weights. Slowly and gradually, develop your biceps, abs, deltoids, tone your butt, thighs, and legs, and you will have gained great allies in your struggle to prevent weight gain associated with age.

Important: Before you start exercising

If you want to do things right, we advise you, when turning 40, to do a general medical examination so that you have an accurate perception of your physical state. It would not hurt to request an appointment with an exercise physiologist or sports doctor. If you have not practiced any physical activity for a while, it is recommended to undergo a stress test. This test consists of recording the electrical activity of the heart (electrocardiogram) while you exercise and allows to detect possible cardiac abnormalities. The Ruffier Dickon test is a test that allows evaluating the physical performance. The physician measures the patient’s blood pressure at rest. He takes his pulse and blood pressure after performing a series of 30 squats in 45 seconds. And, finally, he takes the pulse again one minute after having done the inflections of legs.

How to eat to lose weight over 40

We recommend that you always take into account these three factors: quality, quantity, and frequency. Avoid fast food, and eat only foods with adequate nutritional value. Yes to vegetables, proteins and healthy fats (avocado, nuts and extra virgin olive oil). No sugar and refined carbohydrates, such as bread or white rice as much as possible, the idea is not to entirely avoid them, but that they are occasionally consumed.

Important: At this age, women should eat at least 46 g of protein daily and men at least 56 g daily. If exercising regularly, both can eat up to 0.64-0.91 g/lb of body weight according to the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. So if you exercise regularly and you weight 130 lbs, you can eat up to 118 g of protein daily.

We also recommend that you cover half your plate with fruits and vegetables, one-quarter with protein and another quarter with low GI (glycemic index) carbohydrates, such as pasta, beans or lentils for lunch. This is one of the at least five meals you should consume after 40 years, because as we said few paragraphs above eating 5 to 6 small meals activate metabolism and prevent hunger between meals. It is also recommended that the mid-morning or mid-afternoon snack does not exceed 100 calories.

7 foods to consume for weight loss after 40

1- Water with Lemon

A study found that women who replaced sweetened drinks by water with lemon lost on average 1.3 kg more per year than those who did not make the change. In addition, reducing soft drink consumption improves bone health, preventing osteoporosis, a very common disease at age 40+.

2- Oat Bran Muesli

A study published in the Journal of Nutrition suggests that women who eat a fiber-rich low GI meal such as oat bran muesli or oatmeal at breakfast burn twice as much fat during exercise performed later, compared with women who eat breakfast high in refined carbohydrates.

3- Flax or linseed

Not only rich in healthy fats and fiber that can soothe faster appetite and reduce food intake, some studies have shown it helps you fight the hormonal imbalance responsible for weight gain over 40.

4- Nuts

A study in Australia found that the intake of 8-10 units of nuts per day can help you lose more weight and body fat than if you just follow a low – fat diet. It also helps to hold off fat storage and reduces blood insulin levels.

5- Spicy condiments

Not only known to increase metabolism and accentuate caloric expenditure, but a study found that in both men and women after a spicy meal insulin levels are reduced and making fat storage decrease in the body by about 32%.

6- Green tea

Green tea contains a chemical called epigallocatechin gallate or EGCG. This substance increases the metabolism and thus calorie consumption even at rest.

7- Salmon

Not only a great source of healthy proteins that boost metabolism, salmon also brings large amounts of vitamin D and calcium to the body, essential nutrients after 40. This not only prevent bone diseases but studies also suggest that women over 50 who take calcium and vitamin D supplements have less weight gain after menopause. Other studies show that without sufficient intake of vitamin D, leptin, a hormone that regulates appetite, cannot do its job well.

These seven foods can help lose weight after 40 and also their nutrients benefit health by preventing the development of many diseases. Do not forget that the greater inclusion of such foods as part of a healthy lifestyle, can help maintain a normal body weight, but above all, can significantly improve the length and quality of life.