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Now Is the Time! Weight Loss for Women Over 40

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When you’ve touched the big Four-O, a lot of things including daily chores and getting out of bed in the morning can seem rigorous and daunting – let alone weight loss. This is because your metabolism crashes by about 15% when you’re 40 – thereby sentencing you to a steady diet of oats and carrots.

Just kidding! Weight loss for women over 40 is definitely challenging, but it’s not the end of the world, and it certainly doesn’t have to amount to depriving yourself of all the good things in life. It just means you have to make an effort to maintain a positive attitude rather than sulking and thinking you are doomed!

Weight loss for women over 40 – Your diet plan

The first thing you might want to change would be your diet plan. You may have eaten a lot when you were in your twenties or even thirties and found that it made little or no difference to your waistline, but things are different when you’re 40. There are hormonal fluctuations that cause all kinds of changes such as fatigue, sleeping disorders, the tendency to store fat, and a somewhat compromised ability to break down sugars and carbohydrates, apart from changes in metabolic rate that slow down your ability to burn fat quickly.

Studies have shown that women benefit from a reduced ratio of carbohydrates to proteins for weight loss.1 That’s why the doctor keeps saying to reduce the amount of white bread and white potatoes in your diet!

The trick is to eat differently. Don’t assume that this is the end of your life and punish yourself by eating foods you don’t like. This is only likely to depress you. Instead, change the way you eat – instead of consuming three large meals, break it down to 4-5 small meals so as to make it easier on your stomach. Eat less of the starchy, sugary foods that you generously helped yourself to earlier and substitute those with healthy foods that taste good.2

If you love cheese or tend to have a lot of dairy as part of your diet, opt for low-fat and skimmed varieties. This makes very little difference taste-wise, but a world of difference as far as calories and cholesterol are concerned. Make sure you don’t deprive yourself of those rich desserts and ice creams. If you do, you just might end up bingeing, and that’s the most dangerous thing you could do at this point.

The trick is to make a lifestyle change. Check everything you buy for its calorie count before you buy it. Stock your fridge with healthy and delicious foods and salads so you don’t snack on anything with empty calories when you’re hungry. Make fresh juices at home and drink them to your heart’s content. Give yourself the occasional treat so you don’t feel like life has changed drastically.

Follow these dietary changes religiously, and you’ll find that weight loss for women over 40 needn’t be as horrible as they make it out to be.

Weight loss for women over 40 – Exercise

There is no way out of this one. You may have gotten away with not exercising in your twenties and even thirties if your metabolism was particularly good, but in your 40s, you’ll find that you feel unfit and unable to do daily chores if you don’t exercise. You’ll be prone to chronic aches and fatigue, and this will only make it worse for you both health-wise and weight-wise. The problem that most women over 40 face is that they find little or no time to exercise, so the best thing you can do if you find that you have no time to go to the gym is to do your sit ups, crunches, and pushups if you have even a little time on your hands.

After 40, even if obese, you can improve your health just by losing weight. For example, you can reduce the inflammatory responses between cells with weight loss meaning you are less likely to develop inflammatory diseases or health problems.3

It takes a little getting used to, but soon, you’ll find that it comes naturally to you. Make it a point to take the stairs instead of the elevator no matter where you’re going, and take time out to go for a walk with your partner or with your kids so it becomes a ritual you look forward to. Also, if you have someone to do it with, exercise feels less like a chore. So make sure that exercise – even in short bursts– is a part of your daily routine, and you’ll find that weight loss for women over 40 really isn’t that big a deal at all.

Weight loss for women over 40 – Other lesser known methods

Most people don’t realize that lack of a good night’s sleep will actually make you put on weight. A lot of women over 40 complain about sleeping disorders such as insomnia and sleep apnea. If you suffer from any of these, it’s important to mention this to your healthcare provider so that you can be on your way to sleeping well every night.

Another thing to keep in mind is to keep your stress in check. With menopause and hormonal fluctuations, women over forty can be stressed enough without trying to lose weight. However, stress produces the hormone cortisol, which leads to the accumulation of belly fat – incidentally, one of the most stubborn areas to lose. So make sure to keep your stress under control.

Again, exercise will help by releasing endorphins, which is the body’s natural antidepressant. A good night’s rest will increase your ability to handle the day better, and breathing exercises, meditation and prayer should ensure that you stay grounded and focused on the big picture instead of getting hassled by the stress of daily life.

There are foods that boost serotonin levels as well, which is good for keeping stress at bay – so if weight loss is one of your goals, just make sure to eat right, sleep right, keep stress under control, and get your daily dose of exercise. If you do this, you’ll see that weight loss for women over 40 is nothing short of a doable goal.

References

Layman, Donald K., Richard A  Boileau, Donna Erickson, et. al. IA Reduced Ratio of Dietary Carbohydrate to Protein Improves Body Composition and Blood Lipid Profiles during Weight Loss in Adult Women. (Feb 2003) The American Society for Nutritional Sciences Journal of Nutrition. 133: 411-417

2 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. (2005) Retrieved from US Department of Agriculture at: www.health.gov/dietaryguidelines/dga2005/document/html/chapter3.htm

3 Ziccardi, Pattrizia, Francesco Nappo, Giovanni Giugliano, Katherine Esposito, et. al. Reduction of Inflammatory Cytokine Concentrations and Improvement of Endothelial Functions in Obese Women After Weight Loss Over One Year. (2002) American Heart Association. 105: 804-809.

DISCLAIMER

The content provided on this site is for informational purposes only. Our content is not medical advice and you should seek a licensed physician or health professional regarding all health issues. WEIGHTLOSS.US takes no responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, or application of medication which results from reading this site.