It takes longer to lose weight after you turn 40, but it can be done. A sluggish metabolism, combined with the stresses of everyday life, makes it easier to gain weight.
Women over 40 experience insulin sensitivity due to reduced estrogen levels, and this can cause increased desire for sweets and carbohydrates. (Men over 40 experience a natural decrease in muscle mass and testosterone levels, making their bodies lose tone and form.)
You can still lose weight and get a younger-looking, healthier body with lifestyle and diet changes. You don’t need to go on a crash diet or go to the gym for hours a day. Here are some weight loss tips for men and women over 40:
Exercise or Simply Move Around More
Hormones that keep you slim nosedive after you turn 40, and the amount of calories burned during exercise is reduced. Combine “formal” exercise sessions at the gym with a walk to the store. Use the stairs instead of the elevator. Run in place while you talk on the phone. Every bit of movement adds up and trims weight off your thighs, stomach, and butt.Exercise helps your heart, too. The American Heart Association recommends at least 30 minutes a week of moderate physical activity five days per week, or 25 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity three days per week.
Lift weights or do resistance training to lose more calories and build muscle mass.Walking is the best exercise, especially if you’ve lead a sedentary lifestyle for years. There’s little chance of injury, and you’ll get your body moving without working up a sweat. Walking gets your blood pumping and boosts your endorphins, a mood-regulating hormone. Exercise improves your mind as well as your body.
Avoid Convenience Foods and AlcoholGet out of the junk food and convenience store habit. Bring fruit, whole-grain crackers or homemade trail mix to work as snacks. Avoid buying candy or chips from vending machines or running off to Starbucks. You’ll lose weight and save money when you eliminate daily convenience foods from your diet.
Bring your lunch to work instead of eating in a restaurant or ordering takeout.
Reduce Portion SizeKeep portion size in check, even when you eat healthy foods. Nibbling on leftover chicken or eating a third helping of brown rice will add more calories – not as many as apple pie a la mode, of course, but it will impede your progress.
Prepare only the amount of food you’ll need for one meal. If there’s extra food in the kitchen, avoid going back to the kitchen for another serving.For example, a woman who normally eats 2000 calories a day should cut back by 400 to 500 calories. You may need to count calories at first, but once you get used to choosing the right amount of healthy foods daily, you can put away the calculator.
Don’t Skip Meals
Eat breakfast, lunch and dinner. Avoid skipping meals because of the mistaken belief that you’ll lose weight easier that way. Skipping meals teaches your body to store calories, not burn them.You may crave sugar or carbs in the late afternoon if you skip lunch. This craving may drive you to the vending machine for junk food, and you’ll end up consuming more calories than if you’d eaten lunch.
Practice intermittent fasting instead of skipping meals. Eat meals and snacks during an eight-hour period at least one day a week, and fast the other 16 hours. (Drink water, herbal tea or other healthy beverages during the fasting portion.)Intermittent fasting has been shown to improve weight loss and overall health.
Check Your Body Fat Percentage
Checking your bathroom scale every few days to monitor your progress, but consider body composition as well. Your body-fat percentage is just as important as your actual weight. You can have a little extra weight and be firm and fit, or weigh less and be flabby.
Learn how to check your body fat percentage at home.Body fat percentage is different than body mass index. BMI lets you know if you are underweight, average, overweight or obsess. It doesn’t measure body fat.
Concentrate on Nutrients, Not Calories
Learn more about the vitamins and minerals your body needs to stay healthy. As we get older, it’s more important than ever to get the right amount of nutrients in our food.
Reduce consumption of refined carbohydrates and processed foods. Steam, poach, bake or grill fish and chicken instead of frying. Eat enough protein to prevent muscle loss and increase you energy. Your body has to work harder to digest protein than carbs, so your metabolism will increase.Ideally, you should include lean protein with most meals. The serving should be about the size of your palm. Choose organically-raised chicken and fresh-caught fish as a dinner entrée. Greek yogurt, quinoa, edamame, and eggs are great choices for vegans and vegetarians.
Half your dinner plate should be filled with colorful vegetables. Spinach, broccoli, red pepper, kale, Brussels sprouts and other veggies are filled with water and fiber. You’ll fill up faster, and be less tempted to overeat later in the day when you eat high-fiber vegetables. Life fresh fruit, vegetables contain lots of vitamins and antioxidants to prevent the inflammation that cases disease.Eat good fats, including salmon and other fatty fish, nuts, seeds, avocados, and extra virgin olive oil. These foods have heart-friendly Omega-3 fatty acids and other nutrients, but they are higher in calories than other healthy choices. Include seven to 10 grams of nuts, seeds, fish or avocado with every meal.
Complex carbohydrates fill you up quickly and are good for you, unlike refined carbs. Choose fresh fruit, beans, whole grains or sweet potatoes when planning meals.
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