When we were younger, we could eat anything we wanted, and we would barely gain a pound. The boundless energy of youth would be enough to put us in a caloric deficit without even trying. Now we just look at a slice of pizza, and we run the risk of adding inches to our waistline.
Simply put, weight management simply becomes more difficult as we get older, presenting a unique set of challenges, especially for those aged 40 and above.
First of all, there are a lot of reasons why losing weight after 40 is such a complicated matter, and it’s best for us to get a good grasp of what those reasons are. It’s a combination of different factors that involve the way you live, the food you eat, your sleeping habits, and more. One good thing is that there are also many ways you can take control of it all.
If you’re over 40 and are looking to get in shape, don’t worry. It’s not too late. It’s never too late. There are a variety of simple adjustments you can make in your life that will help you in your mission.
We’ve come up with a short list of tips you can try out. Today, Evolve Daily shares four secrets to losing weight after 40.
1. Choose fitness methodologies that fit your lifestyle
Let’s face it, you have less time for experimentation, or trial and error. Don’t just go out there and try the most popular health and fitness trend out of the gates. Do your research and determine if it will fit your lifestyle.
There are a lot of fad diets and workout methodologies that have just come up in recent years. While many of them appear to work very well, there simply isn’t enough evidence to support that they will work specifically for your use-case scenario.
The fact of the matter is, there is no umbrella diet that works for everyone. The only real truth in weight loss is that fitness success requires eating clean and putting in the hours at the gym. There really are no shortcuts.
This is not to say that you should never try Keto, or Paleo, or Vegan, or even Intermittent Fasting. We’re simply saying that you shouldn’t rely on them completely, thinking that there is some sort of magic eating method, or food, that will make your potbelly disappear.
The bottom line is that there’s no replacement for hard work. If you want real results, you have to make an effort, especially after the age of 40.
What’s the secret? Make sure your new health and fitness methodologies fit your specific way of life. This requires careful planning and thinking, and most importantly, consistent application.
In your 30s and 40s, there are more responsibilities at work, with your family, and just life in general. A Keto diet may be too difficult to apply, and may be unrealistic to stick to. Preparing your specific meals could be a challenge if you have kids who won’t be eating the same thing you’re eating. It’s just extra work, and you’ll have a hard time adapting to it.
At age 40 and above, you need to be choosing to take on something you see yourself doing for the rest of your life. If it’s not something you can do for the next five years, 10 years, 20 years, then you won’t be successful.
Careful planning is the key here, so make sure to give it some thought, and then execute.
2. Forget about losing weight, and focus on getting stronger
We can’t stress how much more important it is for you to build strength rather than just simply try to lose weight, after the age of 40.
As soon as you hit 30, your body begins to shed 3-5 percent of muscle mass each decade if you’re not active. The older we get, the more divided we become when it comes to our time and energy. Sometimes, staying physically active takes a back seat to work obligations, familial obligations, and other equally important matters.
A lot of people put physical activity and exercise at the bottom of their priority lists, when in fact, it should be at the top. Luckily, it doesn’t take a miracle to bring yourself back to strength.
Strength routines are just as important as cardio routines, especially after 40. A lot has been said about doing cardio for weight loss, but not enough emphasis has been placed on building and toning your muscles. A good strength routine will do wonders for your health and fitness at this age.
Strive to perform exercises that target major muscle groups at least twice a week. Slowly build strength and muscle endurance. The more efficient your muscles become, the more calories you can burn with every movement, and quicker you will see the fat just melt away from your body.
Muscles burn calories, fat does not. Cardio is important, yes, but it isn’t the end-all-be-all as far as fitness is concerned.
Strength training doesn’t mean just hitting the dumbbells either. It can take the form of modern-day fitness methodologies like High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) or calisthenics. There are some amazing martial arts classes that are not just effective at helping people over 40 lose weight, but also help tone the body and overall improve the quality of life, all while having loads of fun in training.
3. Rest and relaxation is key
It may sound counterintuitive, but the more rest and relaxation you get, the more efficient your body becomes when it comes to losing weight after 40. This is because, at this age, the stress hormone cortisol has amplified effects on your body.
One way to combat stress and to lower cortisol levels is through rest and relaxation.
As we age, our bodies become more sensitive to stress, and it begins to take a toll on us at some point. The great thing is that there are specific things you can do that will help to lessen your stress.
Improving your sleep quality is one thing. Strive to get a better night’s sleep by finally going to bed early. You always say you’re going to do it, but never do. Instead, you’re up late at night, flicking through Facebook, Instagram, and Youtube. Trading in valuable sleep time for social media can never be a good thing. Unplug at least an hour before your bedtime, it’s like magic.
Sleep obstruction, or snoring, is also a major problem for most adults, and most adults deal with some degree of sleep apnea. It’s imperative to solve this problem, which is a hundred percent medical. Your biology is basically stopping you from getting a good night’s sleep even when you’re unconscious.
Try to have a sleep study done by an expert in this field, and they can prescribe a CPAP machine to help you with your breathing, while you sleep. Untreated sleep apnea can lead to severe weight gain, rendering all of your effort in the gym obsolete.
Once you have your rest and relaxation game on point, you’ll be surprised by how much more energy you have throughout the day and how much more motivated you are for your workouts.
All of these factors contribute greatly to your fitness success, and will help you shock your family and friends when it comes to your weight loss.
4. Eliminate alcohol intake
Last but certainly not least, and a lot of adults have a huge problem with this, is limiting your alcohol intake. Alcohol intake will inhibit your ability to lose weight after 40, simple as that.
Adults love to go for casual drinks every Friday night, especially working adults looking to take the edge off. But while our bodies were more equipped to tolerate alcohol when we were younger, it isn’t the case once you’ve hit a certain age.
Once you cut back on your alcohol intake significantly, or have eliminated it completely, it becomes so much easier to lose weight and watch the fat around your belly magically disappear.
This doesn’t mean don’t go out with your friends and enjoy yourself. But it does mean you have to be more responsible for your health and wellness, especially where alcohol consumption is concerned. It’s totally possible to take on a night around town without drinking a sip of alcohol. Give it a try, it’s empowering.
Furthermore, less alcohol also means you’re drinking fewer calories. A lot of people become obese, not just because of the food they consume, but a lot of it has to do with the drinks they guzzle down. Drinks, alcoholic or otherwise, with high sugar content are definitely bad for you and will sabotage all the progress you’ve made with your workouts.
The bottom line is, be more responsible and learn to live with your choices. You know that one bottle of beer is equivalent to a hundred burpees or even more. Ask yourself, is it really worth it?
If you must, drink moderately. If you can, don’t drink at all.
If you’re looking to get in the best shape of your life, no matter your age, give martial arts a go!