One of the most beautiful things about hitting the 40s is the wisdom a person gains from life experiences and self-awareness. Sadly, weight management becomes more difficult by the day as you grow older (11). If you are above 40, chances are that you are finding it difficult to lose weight as easily as you would in your 20s. With every decade comes changes in your body, such as muscle loss, which is replaced with fat, changes that make weight loss for women over 45 a bit more difficult than younger people and men (11).
According to a publication in the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, a significant percentage of women, especially between 35 and 44, are not satisfied with their bodies (5). Perhaps your perfectly fitting clothes are not fitting anymore, or maybe you are preparing for an upcoming event, or simply embarrassed for being overweight. Whatever the reason is, finding the best weight loss for women over 45 remedies requires you to understand the cause and how to lose weight the right way. This means understanding your body and following a healthy weight loss recommended by experts.
Getting Started With Weight Loss For Women Over 45
What causes weight gain after 40? Before jumping straight into any weight loss plan you come across the internet, you need to understand that the inability to lose weight depends on several changes in your body. You may have control over some habitual changes and little to no control over other factors. Knowing what causes weight gain could help you prevent going down that road and, at the same time, help you keep the contributing habits at bay.
Causes Of Weight Gain In Women Above 40 Years
What causes weight gain during menopause? Many women gain weight as they get into menopause (13). According to Mayo Clinic, weight loss after menopause can help prevent several health-related problems such as heart and blood vessel diseases, type 2 diabetes, risks of some cancers, and breathing issues(13). Here are the causes of weight gain during menopause and ways to handle it.
Your metabolism goes through several changes after 40. While aging, people tend to lose about 5% of their metabolic rate after 40, according to WebMD (7). This means that if you burned 1200 calories at rest in your 40’s, you would burn about 1140 calories by the age of 50. It also means that to maintain your weight at 40, you will have to eat 100 calories less per day than you used to (7).
Loss Of Muscle Mass
According to research, aging leads to muscle and strength loss (17). Loss of muscle is one of the most common problems faced by women in their 40’s. It is estimated that women in and after menopause often lose more muscle than men the same age or even older men (6). As your metabolism takes a gradual downturn, the motor units inside your muscles may not function as intended. Besides, as one grows older, their level of activity decreases. This means less physical exercise and further muscle loss.
Obesity is a wide-scale problem globally. For many years, America has been ranked among the leading obese nations in the world (16). According to research, it is estimated that postmenopausal women are at a higher risk of abdominal obesity than premenopausal women (15).
Generally, changes in your eating habits, activity level, and hormones, in addition to how your body stores fat, play a role in your weight gain after 40 (1). Fortunately, this can be managed and possibly prevented as long as you know to eat healthy meals and how to lose weight during menopause.
How To Lose Weight After 40?
What is the quickest way to lose weight? In as much as weight loss is possible for everyone, no matter the age, be cautious of solutions that promise quick outcomes in a short period. Also, avoid meal plans that are too restrictive, as well as workouts that are too demanding because they may not be sustainable and in some cases might be harmful to your body. Healthy weight loss is a gradual process that should never be rushed if you want the best, long-lasting results. You might need professional help in creating a customized plan for healthy weight loss, but here are some useful pointers.
Prevent Weight Gain By Eating Healthy
You may eat right. Avoid foods that can boost weight gain and engage in exercise. However, if these do not work, do not punish yourself. Weight gain can be blamed on the natural aging process, but luckily, does not have to be permanent. Try the above tips, and always get a green light from your doctor, nutritionist, and personal trainer before making any move. Here is what you can try.
Weight Loss Diets For The Mid 40s
Unhealthy diets are a habit that builds up without your awareness. As you grow older, you are focused on your job, family, and other things. Therefore, it may not be your fault if you forget to eat healthy food.
What are the most effective weight loss diets for women over 45? The most effective diet is not the one that brings you to a rapid, unsustainable weight loss by taking too much of the macronutrients (especially fats and carbs), or too little, for example, fats. Instead, the best diets at this age would be balanced meals that help you lose weight gradually and keep it off for a long time. Here is a recommendation of what to eat and in what quantity.
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A successful weight loss nutrition plan for women over 45 begins with regulating your carbohydrate intake. Just because eating too many low-fiber high-glycemic carbs leads to weight gain does not mean eliminating them completely from the diet (21) (19). Take a few of the right types of carbs since they are the primary energy source for the body (21).
If you are used to eating processed foods for carbs, you might want to switch to healthier sources of carbohydrates. Good carbs can be obtained from whole grains, high-fiber vegetables, such as sweet potatoes, whole fruit with the skin on, and high-fiber beans and legumes (9). You are trying to lose weight, therefore, cutting down on simple and refined carbs should help minimize the struggle to a manageable level.
Building lean muscle mass is crucial in your weight loss plan. Protein plays an essential role in building all kinds of body tissue, including the muscles (4). It is made up of building blocks (amino acids) that aid in muscle growth.
Other than including the recommended percentage of daily protein intake, consider taking a protein snack to encourage muscle growth after every workout.
The body requires iron for growth and development. Its most important use comes in the manufacture of hemoglobin, the protein that helps the red blood cells carry oxygen from your lungs to other parts of the body (10). As you grow older, your iron needs rise from a few milligrams to several milligrams. The iron requirements for women between ages 19-50 stands at 18mg (10). Therefore, you want to eat foods rich in iron, such as lean meat, white beans, lentils, poultry, nuts, raisins, peas, spinach, seafood, among others.
Vegetables And Fruits
Adding more vegetables and fruits to your diet is a sure way to add vitamins and essential nutrients that equip your body with better immunity to combat diseases. They also contribute to a healthy weight loss diet by making you fuller, regulating blood sugar and insulin levels, and promoting healthy digestion (19). Always take half a plate with vegetables and fruits such as apples and berries every meal (8).
Most types of alcoholic drinks can lead to weight gain (8). 1gram of alcohol is about 7.1 Kcal, and it is believed that alcohol contributes a significant amount of empty calories to your body (8). Weight gain from alcohol is mainly seen in heavy drinkers compared to light drinkers. A typical drinker will gain about 2000 more calories per month, which builds up over time into a massive weight gain. There are many reasons to drink in your 40’s, but before you can see any meaningful results in your weight loss programs, it would be best if you avoid or minimize your alcohol intake as much as possible.
Eating sweets adds sugar to the diet, and you might want to avoid them until you gain your weight loss goal. Sweets and small amounts of chocolate eaten frequently may seem harmless, but how often do you keep track of your intake? By eating sugary stuff frequently, you add extra calories to your diet. Although the impact may not be large, it may take you a step back in your weight management program.
Also, avoid sugary beverages such as sugar-sweetened coffee or teal, energy drinks, or sodas. Take water or zero-calorie beverages, which are healthier alternatives.
Other important food-related tips include:
- Portion control. What you eat and not when you eat matters most. Do not skip meals, instead, eat small quantities several times a day to keep your appetite in check. Track Your calories so that you only eat enough.
- Prepare healthy meals yourself. Grill, bake, or broil instead of frying foods.
- Pay attention when eating. Multitasking while eating may result in overeating, therefore, sit down and focus on your food so that the brain can notice when you have eaten enough.
- Get support from your friends and family members. You will lose weight faster if you have people that encourage or challenge you to eat healthily and work out.
Exercise Routines To Lose Weight After 45
What is the best weight loss program for women over 45? If you intend to lose weight in your 40’s, it is crucial to focus on workouts aimed at accelerating your metabolism, burning body fat, and shifting your energy levels. A few exercises you can try out include cardio, resistance training, and core exercises (2).
Any exercises that make your muscles contract against an external resistance force can help you regain your strength and better tone your muscles. You can try different forms, including resistance bands, free weights, weight machines, and your own body weight.
Weight loss is not the only thing you should worry about in your prime time. Heart conditions are often a risk associated with getting older. Women over 40 should learn to adapt to a stable weight-lifting program to help the body fight weight gain, cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, and improve bone density and metabolism (3).
Getting started with weight lifting is quite simple. All you need is the right equipment and a plan/routine (3).
- Focus more on your physical form and less on how much you can lift.
- Control your movements slowly while focusing on breathing.
- Stick to a routine. After all, as you grow older, you may not have enough strength to try out every routine you come across on the internet. However, sticking to a particular routine makes it easy to track progress and focus on muscle improvement.
- Give your body time to rest after every session.
Strength training should be aimed at all major muscle groups, including the back muscles, arms, shoulders, legs, and hips. It is essential to exercise at least twice a week using a comfortable weight.
Effective cardio for weight loss women over 45 is without question an effective weight-loss method. If you are new to cardio, start slow. Jumping right into any cardio workout routine is not a good place to start considering that too much cardio (over 45 minutes) does more harm than good (12). Simple exercises like bike riding and short walk five days a week should be enough exercise at first.
When exercising, it is essential to build the intensity as your metabolism increases. Remember to give your body some time to rest in between the workout plan. Too much exercise could lead to injury, especially if you are not used to exercising.
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Other Lifestyle Changes
Diet and exercise are two of the main factors you need to look out for when trying to lose weight in your 40’s. However, they are not the only weight loss tips for women over 45. Some small habit changes can be included in a weight loss plan for women over 45 to boost its effectiveness.
For instance, you can enroll in a stress management program in your 40’s while you may have tight job schedules, family commitments, and bills, among others. Handling too much pressure can be stressful. When stressed, it is easy to lose track of what you are eating and this will deteriorate your weight loss progress. To avoid stress eating, consider joining a stress management program, take a lot of rest, and do what makes you happy. Get enough good-quality sleep (18).
Managing your weight in your younger years was the easy part as you could eat whatever you want whenever you want and not worry because a few exercises and a few weeks following a weight loss diet would bring you back to shape. Now tables have turned, and weight loss for women over 45 is much harder. Your clothes may not feel right anymore because your weight shifts towards the waist where you would not want it to be. Try the above tips for long-term healthy weight loss.
For many ladies, the thought of aging kicks in after their 40th birthday, and sadly it may be accompanied by the realization that you have too much unwanted fat. By eating healthy and exercising regularly, you can shed off some pounds, but if you find yourself straining too much to lose weight in your 40’s, it would be best to seek professional help from a fitness expert, nutritionist, and your doctor for a reliable solution. Perhaps the problem goes far beyond what you expected (for example, it may be an issue with your thyroid), and the only way to be sure is through professional help, otherwise, weight loss for women over 45 may be a challenge. All the best!
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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!
- 14 Ways to Shed Pounds After 40 (2020, webmd.com)
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- Bodybuilding and sports supplements: the facts (2018, nhs.uk)
- Body Dissatisfaction in Women Across the Lifespan: Results of the UNC-SELF and Gender and Body Image (GABI) Studies (2013, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Changes in muscle mass and strength after menopause (2009, researchgate.net)
- Fighting 40s Flab (n.d, webmd.com)
- How Does Alcohol Consumption Affect Your Weight and Shape? (n.d, weightlossresources.co.uk)
- How many carbs should dieters eat for weight loss? (2018, medicalnewstoday.com)
- Iron (2021, ods.od.nih.gov)
- Is It Harder to Lose Weight When You’re Older?(2017, nytimes.com)
- It’s possible to exercise too much — here’s what it can do to your body and brain (2018, businessinsider.com)
- Menopause weight gain: Stop the middle age spread (2019, mayoclinic.org)
- Muscle tissue changes with aging (2004, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Metabolic disorders in menopause (2015, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Obesity in America: What’s driving the epidemic? (2012, health.harvard.edu)
- Strength and muscle mass loss with aging process. Age and strength loss (2013, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Stress management (2020, mayoclinic.org)
- The 5 Best Weight Loss Tips if You’re Over 40 (2020, health.com)
- Why a Low Carb Diet is the Best Diet for Women over 40 (2019, atkins.com)
- Why Do Carbohydrates Make You Gain Weight? (2019, livestrong.com)