How To Lose Weight After 40 - According To Experts

It’s harder to lose weight in mid-life. Here’s why, and how to set yourself up for success.

How To Lose Weight After 40 - According To Experts

Losing weight after the age of 40 can feel like a lost cause. According to Dr. Robert Kushner, director of the Center for Lifestyle Medicine at Northwestern Medicine Center in Chicago and author of “Six Factors to Fit: Weight Loss That Works for You,” most people’s daily calorie burn decreases with each passing decade.

“As our muscle mass reduces, our metabolism slows, and our everyday physical activity, particularly the amount of time spent exercising, decreases,” Kushner explained. “We will suffer a slow and steady increase in our body weight if these biological changes are not accompanied by a comparable reduction in dietary calories.”

Still, losing weight after you hit 40 isn’t impossible. Here are five expert-backed ways to tackle mid-life weight loss.

Your body WANTS something different. It’s embedded in the science of weight loss. Watch this video to get started!

1. Tweak your diet

It’s critical to be conscious of the calories you consume in order to adjust to your body’s decreasing metabolism, according to Kushner. He highlighted that eating nutritious foods with fewer calories per bite might still make you feel satisfied and full.

“Instead of eating less of everything and feeling deprived, replace more calorie-dense foods like fried foods, high-fat meats, cookies, cakes, candies (and) chips with nutrient-rich, less calorie-dense foods like vegetables, fruits, salads, bean dishes, broth-based soups, and whole grains like oatmeal,” said Kushner, adding that the high water and fiber content of these foods increases their volume, making them more satisfying for fewer calories.

Here are three more ways to tweak your diet after 40:

  • Make sure to include lean, low-fat protein sources in your meals and snacks. According to Kushner, this method would help you feel more content in between meals.

  • Keep track of how much starch you’re eating. Few individuals eat too much broccoli or salad, but it’s normal to consume too much pasta, grains, or cereal.

  • At meals and snacks, make sure to include a variety of food categories. Try a smaller bowl of cereal with fruit and nuts mixed in instead of a large dish of cereal with milk.

2. Keep track of what you’re nibbling on

You can be in a calorie excess even though you’re eating relatively healthily. All that eating adds up, whether you’re eating oversized servings, taking mindless bites while preparing family meals, or nibbling as part of a new work-from-home routine. It’s a good idea to keep track of what you eat. 

Researchers discovered that time spent tracking food intake was strongly associated with weight loss in a 24-week trial. If tracking your diet (even with an app) seems onerous, consider that individuals who remained dedicated to tracking spent only 15 minutes per day doing so towards the conclusion of the study — approximately the same amount of time you would spend scrolling through Facebook or Instagram.

Here are four more ways to stay mindful of what you eat:

  • Pay attention to when you start to feel content and stop eating at that point.
  • Try to use a plate (or a napkin or another substitute) every time you eat and put your food down between bites.
  • Reduce or totally eliminate digital distractions while eating.
  • Ask yourself what you’re enjoying about your food. Pay attention to taste, texture, and temperature.
Your body WANTS something different. It’s embedded in the science of weight loss. Watch this video to get started!

3. Aim to get multiple types of movement each week

“It’s critical that we include a movement portfolio’ into our daily lives to reach and maintain a healthy weight as we age,” Kushner added. He emphasized that your portfolio should include daily activities such as walking, taking the stairs, and house cleaning, as well as vigorous fitness activities such as biking and utilizing the elliptical machine. Kushner also suggested that you try to spend less time doing sedentary things like watching TV. “These specific action steps will assist retain muscle mass and increase metabolism,” he stated.

Here are three ways to build more movement into your life:

  • Set a reminder to take stretching or standing breaks every hour.
  • Try a free trial of popular fitness apps, like Peloton or Aaptiv, to figure out what types of formal exercise you enjoy.
  • Make a plan to work out and then get the plan in motion. For example, if you intend to go for a power walk in the morning, set your alarm earlier, get out your workout clothes, and have your water bottle ready.

4. Develop a set of stress management tools

The demands mount as you approach middle age. Consider common sources of stress, such as caring for children and aging parents, dealing with financial difficulties, and balancing work responsibilities. When you’re stressed, your body responds by releasing the cortisol hormone. Your hormone levels return to normal when your stress level decreases, but if you’re dealing with ongoing stress from “adulting,” cortisol levels will remain high. This can cause a cascade of biological processes, including an increase in hunger, increased desires, and a proclivity to accumulate fat in your stomach.

Diaphragmatic breathing is a form of breathing technique that involves taking deep breaths and exhaling slowly. It helps reduce cortisol levels by triggering the body’s relaxation response. Set aside five minutes numerous times throughout the day to practice.

You can also try these stress reducers:

Participate in a Zoom yoga class.
Use a weighted blanket when you sleep.
Carve out a few minutes to think about what you’re grateful for.
5. Establish good sleep habits
Your appetite-regulating hormones are short-circuited when you’re under-rested, so your appetite goes into overdrive, but the hormones that tell you when you’re full don’t kick in right away. Sleep deprivation has also been shown to influence the way you think about eating, leading to increased desires for sweets and other less healthy foods, according to studies.

Good stress management skills and regular exercise will help you sleep better, but you may need to take other measures to improve your sleep. For example, on most days, go to bed and wake up at the same time, and set aside 30 minutes at night to decompress and disengage from your digital devices. Eating a plant-forward, primarily whole foods, low-added-sugar diet also helps.

Here are a few other ways to improve your sleep:

  • Stick to the healthy alcoholic drink limits of one drink a day for women and no more than two a day for men. More than that can lead to sleep disruptions.
  • Skip long and late afternoon naps.
  • Cut the caffeinated drinks by early afternoon.

Your body WANTS something different. It’s embedded in the science of weight loss. Watch this video to get started!

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