The Things That Come With Age
One would hope that just as good wine only gets better with age, so will every good person. Although age brings along wisdom, experience, and inner peace, it is also accompanied by certain negative aspects, such as physical changes, sometimes health problems, and weight gain. Even if you have been slim your whole life, you may put on a couple of pounds as you age. But the worst thing about this is not the weight gain itself, but the fact that it is more difficult to shed pounds when you are older. In this article you will find out more about why it is so hard to lose weight after 40, what can help you stay in shape, and what are the main principles of a 40-year-old male diet plan. Let’s start!
Why Is It So Hard To Lose Weight After 40?
It is not a secret that losing weight becomes more difficult with age. People who easily shed some pounds in their youth feel helpless and desperate when they can’t lose their weight as they get older. But why is it so hard to lose weight after 40? The main reasons are (3):
Age-Related Muscle Loss
As you age, the amount of lean muscles in your body decreases. This process is called sarcopenia (8). You may also lose muscles if you suffer from arthritis or a certain injury, and thus move less. Since your muscle mass decreases, your body burns fewer calories, which then makes it more difficult to slim down using the same methods you used to.
Men and women all go through hormonal changes as they age. Oftentimes these changes lead to weight gain. When men hit 40 their testosterone levels start to gradually decrease. This hormone, among other things, regulates fat distribution and muscle mass. This means its reduction makes your body burn fewer calories.
Another factor that makes it more difficult to shed pounds after 40 is a decrease in the production of growth hormone. This is responsible for many processes, including the growth and maintenance of muscle mass. So, its decrease also reduces the number of calories your body burns.
Decrease In Physical Activity
As you become older, you tend to move less. Vigorous physical activity may take too much energy and effort, and sometimes even cause pain or certain health problems. This makes it very difficult to burn the extra calories which your diet doesn’t reduce.
40-Year-Old Male Diet Plan Basics
If all your life you have been leading a healthy lifestyle, then you shouldn’t worry about weight gain after 40. Perhaps, you will need to make some slight changes in your routine, but nothing drastic. However, if you like to munch on fast food every now and then, spend the first half of your day in a chair, and the second half on the couch or in bed, and every evening you enjoy a glass of wine or a bottle of beer, then your weight loss is almost inevitable. Luckily, it is never too late to get on the right path and start leading a healthy lifestyle. If you are wondering: “What is the best way for a man to lose weight?”, “How to lose weight fast for men?”, or even “How to lose weight when you’re over 55?”, then we have got exactly what you need. Here are the 40-year-old male diet plan basics to help you achieve and maintain your desired weight (2):
Count Your Calories
No matter what age you are, if your goal is to stay toned, you need to make sure that you burn all the calories that you consume. If you dream of slimming down, then calorie restriction is your go-to. To successfully shed some pounds, you need to reduce your caloric intake so that you eat less than you burn (10). Now, you want to make sure that you don’t cut your energy intake too drastically. Experts recommend reducing your daily caloric intake by 500-1,000 calories. Such a move will result in a loss of 1-2 pounds (0.45-1kg) of fat a week (4). And if you don’t need to shed pounds, but would rather maintain your current weight, then use a calculator to find out how many calories your body requires, and make sure that you don’t consume more.
Plants Are Your Best Friends
By the time you hit 40, you should have realized how important your food choice is and that it is one of the major factors effecting your wellness. Of course, you can slim down by reducing your calorie intake, but which foods you get those calories from is also extremely important. Even a small kid knows that you should eat your veggies if you want to stay healthy and that an apple a day keeps a doctor away. Unfortunately, many people tend to forget that and drift away from a healthy lifestyle by not eating enough plant-based foods. But if you want to stay toned or burn a couple of inches of excess fat, you need to make sure that you stick to a plant-rich diet, packed with fruits and veggies, beans and legumes, nuts and seeds, and whole grains.
Why plants? – you may ask. There are a couple of reasons why plant-based foods are such a good choice for any healthy weight loss diet plan for men and women, including:
Plant-based foods are packed with fiber. This dietary component doesn’t only promote healthy digestion, helps control blood sugar levels, and lowers blood cholesterol, but also adds to your feeling of fullness (6). This factor is especially beneficial if you want to slim down. You see, vegetables and fruits are filled to the skin with fiber while being in general low in calories. With their help, you can stay full while cutting your caloric intake.
Vitamins And Minerals
Micronutrients are as essential for your body as macronutrients. Although they can’t provide you with energy for the day, they play a vital role in the maintenance of the proper functioning of your body. And guess where you can find plenty of various vitamins and minerals? Correct, in the plant-based foods. Some of them are even known as superfoods since they are so rich in vital dietary components and have so many benefits while being low in calories (11). Such superfoods are berries, leafy greens, nuts, olive oil, whole grains, cruciferous vegetables, tomatoes, legumes (1), beets, soy, tea, garlic, and others.
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Proper hydration is extremely important for your wellness. Drinking plenty of water is a must if you want to successfully manage your weight. But did you know that 20% of the water a person consumes comes from food? (9). All those juicy fruits, berries, and veggies promote proper hydration while enriching your diet with a wide plethora of flavors.
Make Sure You Eat Enough Healthy Fats
Although in general fat is considered a “bad” dietary component since among macronutrients it is the richest in calories (9 calories per 1 gram of fat (7)), there is “good” fat that is vital for your body. Healthy fats are unsaturated fats. There are also mono- and polyunsaturated fats. These can be found in fish and seafood, avocadoes, nuts, and nut oils. Healthy fats promote optimal wellness by reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases, obesity, diabetes, and others.
The other group – unhealthy fats – should be avoided. They include saturated and trans fats. Saturated fats become solid at room temperature. They can be found in meats and dairy. This type of fats can raise the levels of “bad cholesterol” in your blood, thus increasing the chance of heart disease (5). It is recommended that you substitute saturated and trans fats with healthy ones.
Proteins Are A Must
Proteins are the building blocks of your body. Among other things, they play a major role in muscle building and can prolong your feeling of fullness. Since with age you lose muscle mass, making sure you consume plenty of protein should be one of your main goals. Rich sources of this dietary component include lean meats, fish, eggs, dairy, beans, and legumes. When choosing a protein-packed food, make sure that it doesn’t provide you with unhealthy fats, that were mentioned above.
Steer Clear Of Alcohol
Alcohol is often one of the main factors that cause weight gain after 40. Take for instance a notorious beer belly. In general, alcohol can offer you lots of empty calories, meaning that it only increases your caloric intake, without providing you with any vital nutrients. Therefore, any proper 40-year-old male simple diet plan excludes alcohol drinks.
Keep Away From Added Sugars
Like alcohol, drinks filled with added sugars provide you only with empty calories. And not only drinks. There are plenty of foods, especially highly processed ones, that contain a great amount of added sugars. You are much better off without various sauces, canned foods, candies, store juice, baked goods, frosted cereals, flavored yogurt, ice cream, syrups, and many other foods.
If There Is A Healthier Alternative To A Certain Food, You Know What To Do
This is pretty self-explanatory, if there is a healthier version of or alternative to a food you are planning to eat, choose that alternative. So, if you want to have some yogurt, skip that flavored, sugar-filled one, and choose a plain Greek yogurt instead. If you crave pasta, make some whole-grain pasta instead of a regular one. If you want some meat for dinner, get yourself a nice grilled chicken breast. Want to drink something refreshing? Keep those sugary drinks and alcohol at bay, and make some unsweetened tea or coffee, or make an infused water or unsweetened lemonade. Choose whole foods instead of the processed ones. If you can eat some vegetable or fruit raw, do that instead of cooking it. You get the idea.
Losing weight after 40 is not an easy task. Although there are numerous effective diet plans for men and women, shedding pounds after you hit 40 is much more difficult than when you were younger. This is partially because you tend to move less, partially because you go through hormonal changes, and mainly because you are not like your young self. The decreasing muscle mass reduces the number of calories you burn, so the diets that helped you slim down when you were 25 will not work for you now unless you adjust them. But do not despair! Although it is more difficult, it is not impossible.
To stay toned or slim down after you live through almost half of your life, you need to lead a healthy lifestyle. The 40-year-old male diet plan basics described above can help you reach your body goals even after you hit 40 and 50. All you need to do is to make sure that you correctly use calorie counting through your weight management journey, consume lots of plant-based foods, healthy fats, and proteins, reduce your intake of unhealthy fats and sugars, cut your consumption of alcohol and choose healthier alternatives to any existing foods. To create a meal plan that would work the best for you, please consult with a specialist.
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- 10 superfoods to boost a healthy diet (2020, health.harvard.edu)
- 14 Ways to Shed Pounds After 40 (2020, webmd.com)
- 5 Reasons It’s Harder to Lose Weight With Age (2019, everydayhealth.com)
- Counting calories: Get back to weight-loss basics (2020, mayoclinic.org)
- Dietary fat: Know which to choose (2021, mayoclinic.org)
- Dietary fiber: Essential for a healthy diet (2021, mayoclinic.org)
- Fat and Calories (2019, clevelandclinic.org)
- Muscle tissue changes with aging (2004, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- The Wonders of Water (2010, webmd.com)
- Weight-loss basics (2019, mayoclinic.org)
- What are superfoods and why should you eat them? (2019, medicalnewstoday.com)