Keep reading to to learn some effective weight loss tips for women over 40.
Turning 40 is an amazing time. Many women are established in their careers, have families who are becoming less dependent on them and start looking forward to retirement.
What also tends to happen during this decade is an increase in waist size, additional weight gain and excess fat gain. Some women might even encounter chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, or high blood pressure.
Turning 40 can definitely be a challenging time for weight loss because as we women age, our metabolism begins to slow down on average 2% per decade. That’s about half a pound every ten years.
That’s due to decreasing lean muscle mass. Muscle is metabolically active so the less you have, the slower your metabolism responds.
The exact amount your metabolism starts to slow down vary by person but it can be significant.
Our bodies also experience hormonal changes as it prepares for menopause by going into perimenopause.
It also explains why women who were active in their 20’s and 30’s, don’t change how they eat or activity level in their 40’s and begin to experience some weight gain.
With all of that it may seem hopeless for women in their 40’s to lose weight but here are some tips to not only lose excess weight but strengthen their bodies so it remains a calorie-burning machine.
Let’s get into these tips which are broken out by nutrition and training.
Eat your protein
The more lean muscle you carry on your body, the more calories you burn at rest than fat. Muscle needs protein to sustain and grow so be sure to incorporate a lean protein at every meal.
Good sources of lean protein include lean cuts of beef, chicken breast, turkey breast, fish, quinoa, lentils and beans just to name a few. As women age, having more lean muscle is imperative.
Reduce added sugar
I am sure you are probably tired of hearing this but consuming excessive sugar not only feeds chronic diseases like diabetes, if not active enough, will store in your body as excess fat, typically around your waist.
Sugar is sugar according to your body but the forms in which they come in vary. Adding white table sugar, cane sugar, brown sugar, etc. to your drinks and dishes should be avoided.
Eating natural-occurring sugar from whole fruit is a better option because while the fruit does contain sugar like fructose, it also has fiber which helps balance out and manage blood sugar levels so you don’t spike and crash which can do a number on your metabolism.
Drink plain black coffee or tea, don’t add sugar to your meals and your taste buds will adjust and your waistline will thank you for it.
Did I also mention, eating excessive amounts of sugar ages you because it breaks down the collagen in your skin which gives it it’s elasticity?
Never skip meals
With all of our hectic lifestyles I know it can be challenging to eat regularly between early morning meetings at work, running errands at lunchtime or sitting on the sidelines at your children’s evening practices or games, sometimes eating is the last thing on your mind but you must do it.
As we age our bodies need regular good nutrition to sustain our hectic lifestyles.
Also, eating regular meals helps keep the metabolism revved up and burning more calories at rest than when we skip that’s because the body doesn’t think it’s starving.
If women eat too little throughout the day, the body goes into starvation mode and will hold on to every calorie you eat because it doesn’t know when it will get food again.
Eat 5 to 6 smaller portioned meals throughout the day. Be careful what you eat too.
Limit take out, fast food and processed food because they are riddled with excess sugar, fat and sodium which will add inches to your waistline since our metabolism tends to slow down and we aren’t as active.
Eat more natural food and home-cooked meals such as baked chicken, broiled fish, roasted vegetables, salad with protein and vinaigrette, etc. You get the gist.
Prep your meals
Even with tough and busy schedules, take 4 hours of a certain day (maybe Sundays) and prep some meals in advance for breakfast, lunch and dinner so you have a healthy meal to grab and go which will help cut down on the amount of high calorie, low nutrient food you may be tempted to buy on the run.
Prepare your protein in bulk as well as your vegetables, salads, snacks and protein shakes. The more you do it the easier and less time consuming it gets and you will not only save yourself from weight gain, but save money by not eating out as much.
Those dollars add up.
Now that I have shared some quick nutrition tips women over 40 should incorporate to support weight loss, let’s switch over to the training.
There are a slew of benefits for women over 40 who lift weights. Lifting heavy weights helps build lean muscle. More muscle on the body means more calories burned at rest which results in weight loss.
A Harvard School of Public Health study showed that women who lifted weights had less belly fat as they aged than women who prioritized cardio.
You don’t have to lift for long. Research shows, lifting weights 25 minutes, twice a week is all that’s needed to maintain lean muscle mass. It will also keep your metabolism humming to support your weight loss efforts.
Another great benefit of weight lifting for women over 40 is it helps strengthen bones and improve bone density which deteriorates as we age.
The reason why you hear about older people breaking bones from a fall is because their bones become more brittle as they get older so simple falls could result in a bone break.
Lifting weights can minimize the chances of that.
We want to make sure we maintain good cardiovascular health for overall good health. Low impact steady state cardio only burns calories while you are performing it.
Lifting heavy weights burns calories during and after you finish lifting.
I recommend incorporating High-Intensity Interval Training into your cardio routine and prioritize over steady state cardio if your joints can handle it.
HIIT works a little something like this. Start up your cardio machine of choice (HIIT can also be performed on a track or in a park).
Sample HIIT Routine
- After a 3-minute warm up,
- increase the speed and resistance/incline to difficult for 30 seconds
- then slow down to a recovery pace for 1 minute to 1:30 minutes
- repeat that cycle 8 to 10 times
- cool down for 3 minutes
- Finish in about 17 to 20 minutes
HIIT is an excellent form of cardio for women over 40 because it helps preserve the precious muscle you are building from weight lifting but burns the excess fat you want to get rid of to unveil a lean and toned body.
Make sure you are getting proper rest every day. Not only rest from the training but adequate sleep so your body can recover, replenish, refresh and rebuild.
Get six to eight hours of sleep a night for healthy weight loss.
Also get enough rest in between weight training and cardio sessions to give your muscles time to recover and to avoid injury from overtraining.
Let’s wrap this up
A combination of nutrition and training can help stave off weight gain many women experience as we age.
Make sure you eat right, lift weights and incorporate HIIT cardio to preserve the muscle and burn off the fat.
If you are a woman over 40 are any of these tips helpful? What tip would you add to the list?