I talk to many women in my age demographic (soon to be 50), who express frustration with the fact that they are gaining weight, yet they are doing nothing different. In other words, they wonder, “Why did what I used to do work, but now it doesn’t?”
Is Weight Gain A Foregone Conclusion As You Enter Your 40’s And 50’s?
Let’s look at the physiology of your body at this age. From ages 30 to 60, you lose* about 1/2 pound of muscle, but gain a pound of weight, each year.
Since muscle burns fat, and boosts* your metabolism, this means that if you are still eating and working out like you did in your 20’s and 30’s, you are likely banking extra fat calories and gaining weight.
Now add in the effects of your hormonal changes. As you age, your estrogen and testosterone levels begin to decline.
There appears to be a link between estrogen and body fat. Thus we see our body fat percentage increases*, and, guess where it typically settles? That’s right, in the belly.
Is Cutting Calories The Answer?
Actually, a combination of cutting 500-1000 calories a day along with exercise, will yield the best results. No surprise there. (Note: A dramatic reduction* of calories (less than 1200 a day) can have the opposite outcome, slowing your metabolism down.).
However, not only does what you eat and the type of exercise you do matter, but there are many other factors that can positively, or negatively, impact your weight.
10 Tips For Successful Weight Loss Over 40
1. Include Strength Training Make sure your exercise plan includes strength training. You don’t have to lift heavy. Even light-weight training will build muscle, and muscle not only burns fat, but will boost* your metabolism throughout the day.
2. Track What You Eat “What gets measured gets improved*.” Journaling every bite you eat will increase* your awareness of what goes into your mouth, as well as provide a history of what worked and what didn’t work.
A study from Kaiser Permanente’s Center for Health Research showed a nearly 50 percent greater weight loss* by those who tracked their food.
3. Weigh Every Day The scale is gauge. Rather than view it as a foe, view it as your friend: A friend who gives you honest feedback each day about your activities. It will fluctuate daily, however, if you adopt this practice over time, you will have more success managing your weight long term.
4. 30 Minutes Of Daily Exercise Not only will this improve* your calorie burn and boost* your metabolism, but it will help ward off osteoporosis by keeping your bones strong. Even adding in a daily walk can make a big difference.
5. Get Your ZZZZ’s Along with the declining estrogen levels comes night sweats and hot flashes, which makes getting those 7-8 hours challenging. Keep in mind that sleep deprivation is linked to hunger and weight gain because of two more hormones: ghrelin (the “feed me” hormone) and leptin (the “I’m full” hormone). Find ways to go to bed earlier, catch a nap, or create a more restful sleep environment. (Easier said than done! But worth the effort.)
6. More Omega 3’s Please Research shows that adding more Omega 3’s to a diet can help weight loss* and even hunger pains. They may also help decrease* hot flashes! Fish like salmon and tuna are rich in Omega 3’s.
7. Boost* Your Fiber Fiber has been proven to aid in weight loss*. Fiber has also been shown to reduce* belly bloat and aid in digestion. Look for products that have a 3:1 ratio of Carbs to Fiber.
8. Water And More Water Water is a key component of a healthy body and a healthy weight. The benefits of water are too vast to go into in this article; so aim to drink at least half your body weight in ounces of water each day. In addition, make it a habit to drink 16 ounces first thing in the morning and before each meal.
9. Know Your Panels Thyroid, Blood and Hormones that is. It’s always a good idea to have regular blood work done as part of your annual physical. In addition, if you find that you are just not able to lose* weight, ask to have your thyroid and hormone levels checked.
Thyroid issues can contribute to weight gain, depression and fatigue. Both thyroid and hormonal imbalances may be corrected with medication and other dietary modifications.
10. “Friend” some Friends Social media is a great place to find supportive friends and communities. So don’t be a stranger. Research published in the International Journal of Medical Informatics suggests that online social support can encourage weight loss* every bit as much as in-person meetings.
Read More: The Shocking Reasons For Weight Gain
I know weight gain for “no reason” other than growing older can be frustrating. But, it does not have to be a foregone conclusion. Your body is not the body of a 20 or 30 year old so stop feeding it and treating it like it is.
By making a few tweaks in your nutrition, exercise and sleep habits – tweaks that your 40-50 year old body will love – you can achieve a healthy weight, a strong and sexy body, and a happier mindset.
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