Is it possible to lose weight after 40 without starving yourself or spending endless hours at the gym?
If you’re over 40 and can’t lose weight, this article will show you exactly how to make food and lifestyle choices to kickstart weight loss.
Now, I know that many of us have been taught that losing weight over 40 is hard.
We are told that being a 40+ woman means putting up with whacky hormones and a sluggish metabolism (source).
Oh, but that’s not all. We’re also told in order to lose weight at 40, we have to restrict calories and exercise more.
But that couldn’t be further from the truth!
Losing weight over 40 isn’t about luck. It’s simply about understanding what your body needs for optimum function.
When you work with your body, it’s amazing how you’re able to shed excess weight with ease.
So, keep reading to get the full scoop on how to lose weight after 40 (and keep it off for decades to come).
4 THINGS THAT AFFECT WEIGHT GAIN OVER 40
Like many women over 40, you probably feel like you woke up one morning and boom!…you had an extra 10 or 20 pounds on you.
And you’ve probably tried the same tricks that worked in previous decades i.e. eat less and/or exercise more.
Except that this time, that trick doesn’t work anymore. In fact, it may seem like the more you reduce your calories, the more weight you gain!
So, what can you do?
Well, the first thing is to recognize that calorie restriction is actually the most painful and least fun way of losing weight.
Instead, shift your attention to the 4 main things that impact your ability to lose weight over 40.
- Hormone health.
- Metabolic rate.
Let’s take a closer look at each one of these factors to see how they affect weight loss at age 40 and beyond.
1. Hormone Health
Your hormones are responsible for all communication within the body.
In order to fall asleep, walk or even, blink your eyes, your hormones have to send messages throughout your body.
And that means, when it comes to losing weight, a series of “weight loss” messages or signals have to be sent out.
Now, all of this works fine when your hormones are in a start of harmony.
But, if there is any kind of hormonal imbalance brewing, then things can go in the opposite direction.
Meaning, your hormones can end up sending “weight gain” messages.
When that happens, it doesn’t matter how much you try to lose weight, you won’t be able to outsmart your body.
But the question remains: why is it so easy to gain weight after age 40?
Well, one reason is estrogen fluctuations.
You see, during the years leading up to menopause, our estrogen levels start to decline.
Interestingly, as estrogen levels drop, this can cause insulin levels to increase.
And those higher insulin levels can also disrupt thyroid function.
This is problematic because the thyroid regulates our metabolism, which directly affects how easily we lose or gain weight.
So, combined together, all of these factors make it much easier to put on weight after 40.
Now having said all this, it’s important to remember one thing: the pre-menopausal changes in estroge are natural. They do not automatically result in excess weight gain at 40.
So, if some women can stay slim after 40, while others gain weight, what does this mean?
It means that each person’s diet and lifestyle is what dictates the intensity of hormonal fluctuations.
This is great news because you’re not doomed to gain weight after 40.
With a few tweaks to what you eat, you can shed those stubborn extra pounds!
By the time you get to age 40 your body is a reflection of the dietary habits that you’ve cultivated throughout your entire life.
This is very significant because food has the ability to directly improve (or degrade) hormone health.
The food you eat determines how your body responds to the natural hormonal changes that occur from age 40.
So, if prior to age 40, you’ve been eating mostly whole, non-toxic food, you are less likely to struggle with sudden weight gain.
However, if you have a history of yo-yo dieting, restrictive diets or eating packaged food, then there is a strong chance that you will experience weight gain.
But don’t dismay because once you start making changes to your diet, you body will respond.
I’ll give you some tips later in this article so that you say bye-bye to over 40 weight gain.
Just like your diet, your lifestyle is a reflection of the habits that you have cultivated throughout your life.
Together with diet, your lifestyle determines how much stress you face each day, as well as how you respond to stress.
This matters for weight loss because stress, puts a toll on the immune system and adrenals.
And when that happens, it’s only a matter of time before your hormones are also negatively impacted.
In addition to stress, it is common for people to lead more sedentary lives from age 40.
This combination of a stressful and sedentary life, makes it much easier to pack on extra pounds as we get older.
4. Metabolic Rate
Simply put, your metabolic rate is a measure of your metabolism i.e. how much energy (calories) your body uses up to keep itself functioning.
Blinking your eyes, thinking, pumping blood…all of these processes use up energy and they’re all part of your metabolism.
Yes, it is true that your metabolism declines with age.
But your metabolism is not fixed. It is not permanently fast or slow.
Your metabolism fluctuates throughout the day and throughout your life, depending on your needs.
And since your metabolism fluctuates, that means you have the ability to change it!
By the end of this post you will be armed with metabolism-boosting, weight-loss friendly tips that will get you the results you want.
7 TIPS FOR LOSING WEIGHT AFTER 40
Ok, so now you know the 4 main things that impact weight loss over 40.
The next question you might have on your mind is “what is the quickest way to lose weight after 40?”
Well, here are 5 tips that will give you rock solid results!
1. Eat More Organic Food
Food is the primary and most significant source of toxins in our lives.
That’s because commercially grown food contains pesticides and herbicides that are estrogen-based.
This artificial estrogen (aka xenoestrogen) is an endocrine disruptor that systematically throws off your natural hormonal balance.
In addition, the estrogen in pesticides and herbicides mimics natural estrogen and therefore, disrupts all the pathways and processes that are supposed to use your natural estrogen.
So the the best way to counteract this and lose weight after 40 is to eat more organic food.
This gives your body a chance to rest and recover from the stress that is caused from the toxic pesticides.
Also, as you eat organic food, you give your body a chance to purge and flush out the toxins you previously accumulated. This is necessary for your body to reset itself.
2. Support Liver for Easy Detox
Ah, the liver.
This workhorse organ has to process ALL of the junk food, endocrine disruptors and other toxins that we are exposed to. Every. Single. Day.
By the time you get to age 40 and beyond, your liver has already been working hard for at least 4 decades!
And by this time, your liver might be sluggish.
A sluggish liver is no good for weight loss because that means you’re not eliminating the toxins that are contributing to hormone-related weight gain.
Your liver also plays a huge role in regulating thyroid hormones (and those hormones regulate your metabolism).
So, the best thing you can do is give your liver a rest.
Eat liver-friendly fats (like olive and coconut oil), drink some dandelion tea or eat bitter veggies like endives (bitter foods are AMAZING for the liver).
I have a full guide on liver health and how to care for your liver, with some practical tips you can start applying today. Check out the article for more liver-friendly tips.
3. Stay Away From MSG
MSG is a common food additive that is used in many restaurants and in tons of packaged foods.
In the food industry, MSG is known to have a high “craveability” factor.
This means that MSG has the ability to make you crave more food.
So, how exactly can one food ingredient make you crave more food?
Well, by disrupting your hormones!
You see, MSG increases the release of dopamine (which is the pleasure-reward hormone).
As dopamine increases, it overrides your body’s ability to “listen” to another hormone called leptin.
Leptin happens to be the hormone that tells your brain basically tells your brain that it is time to stop eating.
Now, imagine what happens when you can’t “hear” the signals from leptin.
You keep on eating, even though you are full.
This is what happens when MSG gets in your body!
If you’ve eaten a lot of packaged food in the past – even so-called “healthy” ones – then you have most likely accumulated MSG in your system.
This will make it much more difficult to curb cravings or to lose weight after 40.
So, the most important thing to do is watch out for foods that contain MSG.
Most MSG is hidden so you have to learn how to identify it. Checkout this article for more info on MSG.
4. Support Gut Health
If you tend to crave junk food, it’s time to reset your gut.
That’s because the type of bacteria that reside in your gut actually affect the foods you crave.
If you have more unfriendly gut bacteria, then you will start craving lots of junk food.
So rather than rely on willpower to stop cravings, you can eat gut-friendly foods that increase the number of “good” bacteria in the gut.
Another benefit of taking care of your gut is that you automatically support your hormones and facilitate the elimination of fat-promoting waste.
So, what types of foods are best for gut health?
- fresh juices.
- unprocessed oils (avocado, coconut, olive and hemp oil, for example).
- raw nuts and seeds (such as walnuts, almonds, hemp seeds and macadamia nuts).
- whole fruits and veggies.
Because gut health is so important to hormone balance, and subsequently, for losing weight, I put togther this article with 13 tips for gut health and hormones. It gives you recommendations for foods, herbs and even essential oils you can use.
5. Reduce Physical, Chemical and Emotional Stress
At any given moment, we can face physical stress (such as an injury), chemical stress (such as food toxins) or emotional stress (such as fears and worries).
Now, what’s interesting is that the body reacts the same way to all forms of stress.
This means that whenever you are under stress, the adrenal glands release anti-stress hormones, such as cortisol.
This reaction is normal, but you want to avoid chronic stress.
Chronic stress leads to overworked adrenals and this is a surefire way to gain weight.
You see, when adrenal activity goes up, thyroid activity goes down.
And your thyroid happens to control your metabolism.
So if your thyroid function drops, that means your metabolism also slows down.
End result? Weight gain and difficulty losing weight.
So, in order to lose weight after 40 reduce the number of stressors in your life.
Also, develop a self-care routine that helps you manage your reaction to stress.
Consider meditating and turning off your phone at specific hours everyday, so that you get a break from all the sensory overload.
Also put together a self-care routine that rejuvenates and inspires you.
For ideas on how to create a self-care routine, check out my tips here.
6. Eat Healthy Fats
There is a common belief that fat makes us fat.
And this belief has led many women to avoid this essential nutrient.
But there’s one problem: various hormones in the body (such as estrogen, progesterone, all the adrenal hormones and many more) are made from fat.
These hormones all impact weight gain and weight loss.
So, if you’ve been avoiding fat prior to age 40, then you’ve been living on a fat deficit!
And, as your hormones fluctuate after 40 you won’t have the raw materials your body needs to produce those hormones.
This creates hormonal imbalance, making it very easy to gain weight and also very difficult to lose weight.
So, the irony is if you stay away from fat (under the presumption that it will keep you slim) your body will still convert what you eat to fat. The body needs fat and it will make sure to get it by any means possible.
So the best solution to this is to give your body healthy fats.
Your body won’t store those healthy fats on your hips or waist.
It will use them up because that is the fuel it needs!
Remember that fat is a naturally occurring food group and nature put it in your food for a good reason: YOU NEED IT 🙂
Embrace foods like raw nuts and seeds, coconut and olive oil, avocados and much more.
For more tips on healthy fats check out this article I put together for you!.
7. Do More Low To Moderate Intensity Exercises
Whether you exercise or not, it’s hard to argue the fact that exercise is an integral part of a healthy lifestyle.
But as with so many good things in life, too much exercise can actually be detrimental.
This is particularly true after age 40, when many of us experience more hormonal fluctuations.
You see, exercise puts stress on the body.
While some stress is good, too much of it can backfire.
And if you’re you’re eating few calories and doing intense exercise, the resulting stress can be too much for your body.
That’s basically double stress, which actually causes your body to release more cortisol and put on more weight.
So when it comes to losing weight after 40, add more low to moderate intensity activities into your routine.
Things like yoga, walking, a light hike, dancing or tai chi are much more relaxing for the body and mind!
And a relaxed mind and body is less stressed, less inflamed and less likely to put on excess weight 🙂
Now that you have these tips to help you lose weight after 40, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic…are there tips from this article that you plan on using?
Did I miss any tips that have helped you with your weight loss?
Go ahead and drop a comment below 🙂