9 Tips for Losing Weight After 40
When the gray hair appeared, you dyed it. When the fine lines emerged on your face, you moisturized them. What, however, do you do about the extra padding around your middle? No, buying the next size up isn’t the answer. If you’re over 40 and mourning the death of your metabolism, don’t despair! There is still hope.
Changes in your hormones, eating habits, and activity level might be sabotaging your weight loss efforts, but you simply need new strategies to fight the fat. What used to work for you in your 20s isn’t working now. If you share your concerns with your family physician at your next wellness visit, he’s likely to share the following guidelines:
1. Eat Nothing Bigger Than the Size of Your Fist
Look at your fist. Everything on your plate should be measured by its size—meat, vegetable, pasta, and fruit. Portion size is key to battling your bulge. Even salads should be fist size because more salad means more dressing, which is laden with extra calories.
2. Eat on a Smaller Plate
Here’s a little mind game you can play on yourself—research has shown that eating the right sized portions on a large dinner plate can trigger a hunger response. Your brain sees the empty space on your plate and tells you to be hungry! To trick your brain, eat the same portions on a smaller lunch or dessert plate, and your brain will tell your body it feels full.
3. Eat slower
We are always in a hurry to get to work, school, soccer practice, and our appointments. We have trained ourselves to scarf down our food to stay punctual. Eating quickly doesn’t give your brain enough time to tell your body it’s full, which happens about 20 minutes from the time you start eating. Both the food you are eating and the company at your dinner table should be savored. Try putting your fork down between bites and chewing your food thoroughly to slow yourself down.
4. Get a To-Go Box
When dining at your favorite restaurant, ask your server to bring you a to-go box with your meal. Restaurant plates tend to be enormous, so remove half of your meal and place it in the box before you start eating.
5. Don’t Clean Your Plate
Our mamas taught us to clean our plates and to eat whatever was set before us. Turns out, that was bad advice! Cleaning your plate only leads to over-eating and unnecessary calories. Doctors recommend eating until you are satisfied rather than full
6. Drink More Water
Sugary drinks wreak havoc on your body and can lead to diabetes and other health problems, especially if they include artificial sweeteners like aspartame. Drinking a glass of water before each meal gives you a sense of fullness which helps you eat less and consume fewer calories. Drinking more water boosts your metabolic rate. If you drink ice water, you will burn even more calories as your body works to heat it to your body temperature.
7. Exercise More
You might already be exercising, but you will need to exercise more after 40 to reap the reward of a healthy weight. Doctors advise exercising at least 150 minutes each week. Recommended exercises include walking, cardio, and resistance training.
If a personal trainer isn’t in your budget, invest in fitness DVDs and exercise in the comfort of your own living room. Denise Austin’s series is an excellent place to start. She is a master of working every body part, and her routines are fun. She incorporates compound moves, which are very efficient in working more areas of the body in half the time. Austin’s 3-Week Boot Camp DVD lives up to its guarantee to trim inches, get fit, and feel great. Since muscle burns more calories than fat, the resistance training segment effectively aids in boosting the metabolism and accelerating fat loss.
I can't boast a loss of 2 dress sizes, but I'm to blame for not completing the DVD the prescribed amount of time, not Denise Austin. However, the routines really pushed me to challenge myself and work harder. The results I ultimately experienced included loss of inches, muscle tone, increased energy and stamina, increased strength, clearer memory, better sleep at night, and a general feeling of improved wellness.
8. Eat Smarter
If your typical diet includes fried, processed foods swimming in a sea of sauce, it’s time to re-evaluate your meal planning. Well-balanced meals, whole foods, and healthy snacks are essential components for weight loss after 40. You can wistfully look back to the days when you could eat all the junk you wanted without gaining a pound, but those days are over. If healthy meal-planning is a struggle for you, contact your physician about a referral to a nutritionist who can get you back on track.
9. Plan a Wellness Visit With Your Doctor
If you feel you are doing all the right things but still not shedding a pound, consult with your family physician. A simple blood test can check for other issues like hypothyroidism and diabetes while additional diagnostics can look for uterine fibroids that may be causing your swollen abdomen.
Slow and Steady Wins the Race
Fad diets promise quick, dramatic results, but time has proven that eating less (and right!) and exercising more are the keys to long-term weight loss. Don’t settle for a flash in the pan. Do it right, and your hard work will pay off—the weight will stay gone!