Weight loss is tough no matter when you’re doing it, but losing weight after 40 has unique challenges and drawbacks. Luckily, I have intimate experience with losing weight after 40, and I want to help you live your best life.
Weight Gain After 40
Aging comes with lots of fun perks, including weight gain for some people. While much of its genetic, biological factors also come into play.
Weight gain can be a genetic predisposition for some people. This is because specific genes determine how many fat cells people have and where they’re stored. You can’t change your genes (although you can change your jeans), so you might be able to even look at family members and see similarities in where you all store extra fat.
Aging comes with another change in hormones. Unlike puberty, the hormone change in your mid-30s to mid-40s leaves you with less hormone production. As a result, women produce less estrogen, and men produce less testosterone, which can cause all of us to start accumulating fat in the middle of the body.
Muscle mass begins to decline in everyone, with most people experiencing the beginning of this loss by the time they reach 40. This is believed to be because the size and number of muscle fibers decline.
After 40, your basal metabolic rate decreases. As it decreases, your metabolism slows, and energy burning isn’t as efficient as it once was. When you add that you expend less total energy during exercise, you have fewer opportunities to burn off calories.
Lifestyle Habits That Contribute To Weight Gain After 40
Not Enough Exercise
By the time most adults are 40, they’re well entrenched in their daily personal and professional responsibilities. Exercise can take a backseat to all the essential things that must be done during the day.
Things like injuries, illness, stress, anxiety, fatigue, and mental health conditions can make the idea of exercising feel like the one item on your to-do list you can skip.
Our modern world, with its technology and improved ways of doing things, has set us back in one significant way: we sit around too much. Most people work a 9-5, which keeps them shackled to a desk or some other seat all day, not to mention our daily commutes. With all that time sitting and not enough exercise, we can be at risk for weight gain, type 2 diabetes, and obesity, as well as many other chronic illnesses.
Too Many Calories
You’ll gain weight if you consume more calories than you’re burning. The USDA states that for sustainable weight loss of 1-2 pounds per week, you should reduce your calories by 500 calories daily. However, the recommended daily amount is 2,000 calories for women and 2,500 for men, so if you’re consuming significantly more than that and not exercising to offset it, you may gain weight.
Unhealthy Eating Habits
Too many calories is a common source of weight gain, but it can be made worse by consuming the wrong calories. Your diet may lack nutrition or carry the wrong things into your body. As we age, our bodies need different nutrients in different concentrations, so knowing how to fuel your body best can be difficult.
Tips For Losing Weight After 40
Keep Track Of Calories
If you’re like most of us, you’re not regularly in a calorie deficit. While you work on integrating more exercise into your day, keeping track of what calories you’re taking in might help you take control of it.
Starting a food journal can help shine a light on how many calories you consume during the day. If you choose this route, consider your snacks and drinks as well; although that bag of chips isn’t very filling and your coffee was gone before you pulled out of the drive-thru, they count and add up fast.
Adjust Your Diet to Work Better
Aging means a lot of changes, including in the nutrients we need. Adjusting the food we take in to fuel our bodies best makes achieving and maintaining weight loss a lot easier.
While I know this might seem like beating a dead horse, getting more exercise after 40 will help you lose weight, feel better, and live longer. Even simply getting started exercising will help you move toward weight loss.
How I Know How To Lose Weight After 40
This might sound like self-promotion, but I want to share my credentials, so you can be assured that I know what I’m talking about. I am a health and fitness expert who decided to take and document a crazy journey: intentionally gaining weight so I could turn around and lose it.
Before my 40th birthday, I intentionally gained 60 pounds, intending to turn around and lose it after my 40th birthday. I knew how hard this milestone could be, and I wanted to experience the challenge it posed for me.
This experience translated into writing my best-selling book Fit2Fat2Fit: The Unexpected Lessons From Gaining and Losing 75 Pounds on Purpose. I used the lessons from this experience to tailor my Back2Fit program that helps people lose weight after 40.
Weight Loss After 40 Is Possible
Putting on weight after 40 might seem like a terrible experience, one that you can’t possibly escape. However, I’m proof that you can lose weight after 40 and live a healthy and active life. The hardest part is greeting started. If you’re not sure where to start, my Back2Fit program is specially designed from my real-life experiences to best help you lose weight after 40.