As we get older, our metabolisms slow down.This is a pain because it means we’re more likely to gain weight. While our metabolism slows down, it gives us a little warning. We end up sticking to the same diet, which creates a calorie overload without us initially realizing it.
If you’re not actively focused on losing weight, you’ll want to maintain your current weight. It’s relatively easy to do in theory. Putting it into practice isn’t always going to be something that you enjoy doing. The effort that you do put in will be worth it. Not only will you avoid weight gain, but you’ll avoid health problems related to weight gain.
Here’s your ultimate guide to maintaining your weight in your 40s. There’s no need to struggle with weight gain if you don’t want to.
Start by Assessing Your Calorie Intake
The one reason people gain weight is that they eat more calories than their bodies’ burn. If you balance out the calories you eat with the ones that you burn; you’ll find that your weight maintains. The amount burned can be from your regularly maintained metabolic rate or the added burned calories through exercise.
If you eat fewer calories than you burn, your body will take calories from the stored supplies. That means your body can take the calories from both the muscles and the fat stores. When losing weight, you want to take the stored calories from the latter, so we’ll cover that later in this article.
Start your changes by assessing your current calorie intake. Look at your portion sizes and consider if you can change your diet. This is going to be something that only you can decide and start doing. If you’re not ready to curb some of your eating, you will find it much harder than those who are mentally ready for this stage.
One of the ways to get ready is to assess what’s important to you. Is the way you look and feel so important that you are willing to make changes to your diet? Not all the changes need to be big.
If you know you need to cut down on your portions, try this trick:
- Eat half your meal and sit back
- Ask yourself if you are satisfied and listen to your stomach
- If you are still hungry, eat another half of your meal; if you’re not hungry, then just stop eating!
- Repeat this until you’re either satisfied or the meal has finished
Cut 100 Calories a Day
We’re not going to ask you to cut out a lot from your day. Start by just cutting 100 calories a day from your usual intake. This is around half a slice of bread! It isn’t that much.
There’s no need to cut it just from one meal. Split the 100 calories up across your day, cutting out 30 from each meal and the other 10 from snacks, for example. You’ll find a way that works for you.
The easiest way to get rid of 100 calories from a day is to remove the skin from your chicken breasts. This is where most of the calories are stored in poultry! You could also make some smart swaps, like opting for skimmed milk instead of whole fat milk or choosing a diet soda over a full sugar soda.
These simple changes will soon add up positively. If you still find that you’re gaining weight, try cutting another 100 calories out from your day. You’ll soon find the balance with the metabolism and won’t find that cutting down will be as drastic or as hard since you’re doing it little at a time.
Burn an Extra 100 Calories a Day
If you don’t want to eat less, you can always look for another way to help limit weight gain. Instead of reducing your food intake, how about you boost your metabolism? You can do this with the help of exercise.
Did you know that an hour of dancing can burn 300-500 calories (depending on intensity and type of dancing)? That’s an extra 300-500 calories than you would usually burn. You’re instantly making it easier to create a calorie deficit.
When you reach 40, you’ll want to think about exercise if you haven’t already. Exercise will help you build stronger muscles, so your metabolism takes excess calories from the fat stores. Our bodies just don’t work as effectively as they used to do. Not exercising will mean your muscles become weaker and more likely to damage.
Start off your exercise plan slowly and build your way up. This is especially the case if you’ve never exercised before. Don’t just straight into running 10K. As women, our core strength tends to be weak, so we need to build that up before everything else.
One of the best exercises you can do is yoga. It’s low impact, but extremely good for conditioning and toning the whole body. You’ll also find that you connect within yourself.
Focus on Strength Training Rather Than Cardio
While cardio is good for burning calories instantly, strength training has far more benefits, especially for those over 40. Remember yoga? Well, that’s a strength workout, without the need for any special equipment except a mat!
After the age of 40, our bodies start to lose muscle mass. This is why our metabolism slows down. Muscle helps our bodies burn calories. The muscles need calories to maintain their strength and health. You will find it much easier to boost your metabolic rate by doing more strength training.
In fact, after a strength training exercise, the body can burn extra calories for up to 48 hours. So, by doing some strength training every other day, you will constantly keep your metabolism up.
You don’t need to go to the gym for the sake of strength training. There are home workout DVDs that you can get, or you can do a few bodyweight exercises in your home. In fact, home workouts are one of the most effective, since you don’t worry about what anyone else thinks or about getting to the gym to start your workout. Whenever you’re in the right mindset for it, you can just get on with it!
Watch Out for the Fad Diets
You may want to lose some weight first. That’s perfectly understandable, but what I want you to do is avoid the fad diets. You’ll know them because they promise that you’ll lose tens of pounds within the space of a few weeks.
This isn’t healthy or realistic. You don’t want to lose more than 2lbs a week on average. Sure there will be weeks that you lose a little more, but there will also be weeks where you lose less. The weeks will balance out.
One of the biggest issues with fad diets is they’re not maintainable. You want a diet that teaches you healthy changes to your diet. Changes that you can stick to when you’ve lost all the weight that you want.
Fad diets only get you to your goal. They don’t keep you there. And they slow down your metabolic rate since they drop your calorie intake so significantly. Your body can’t boost that metabolic rate up that quickly, so it’s left with a sluggish metabolism that is only going to get worse because of your age.
Is it that surprising that people who follow fad diets gain all the weight (and more!) after their diet? Is it that surprising that you’re struggling to maintain your current weight in your 40s?
Plus fad diets cut out all the foods that you enjoy to eat. They’re on a “banned” list instead of a “not right now list,” leaving you craving them even more. The chances are that you will give into those cravings and have a huge blowout, undoing all the work you’ve done on your crash diet.
Make Healthy Nutritional Choices
Your diet affects around 80% of your weight gain/loss/maintenance. The other 20% is from your exercise. That means you can exercise all you want, but you’ll never out-train that bad diet.
So, you want to focus on the actual diet. Sure, we’ve said that you need to stick to balancing out your metabolism, but that doesn’t mean you can eat anything and everything! It’s all about eating everything in moderation, focusing on the healthy and nutritional choices as much as possible.
Nutritional choices are also good for you as you get into your 40s and beyond. Time is working against your body. The muscles are suffering, and your organs don’t get the same oxygenated blood that they used to. You’re fighting against negative side effects of time, but you can do this effectively if you put in the effort.
Focus more on high protein and high fiber foods. While they are lower in calories than other types of foods, they are also good for keeping you feeling full. You won’t feel the need to snack as much, so are less likely to realize that you’re eating 100 fewer calories on a daily basis.
Protein is also good for exercise. It packs the muscle with healthy nutrients, so they build bigger and stronger. Even if you’re not weight lifting, you may want to consider a protein powder to help make sure you get enough to tone your muscles and boost your metabolic rate.
Carbohydrates and fats do still need to be eaten. To be honest, fats get a bad reputation. Unsaturated fats aren’t too bad for you, and they can help your weight maintenance efforts. They feed the liver so that your body produces ketones to help remove toxins and boost the metabolism.
As for the carbs, they give your body the energy it needs. Try whole grain carbs that contain more fiber. The simple carbs like white pasta and bread just lead to more sugars going into your body. These sugars are metabolized into the blood, creating glucose. You’re more likely to suffer from Type II diabetes. When your body is dealing with blood sugar, it puts the calories to one side to deal with later.
You don’t get this with starchy, complex carbs, as they have the fiber. The starchy carbs also have other nutrients that your body needs. Opt for sweet potatoes, yams, wholegrain bread and brown rice more frequently.
Boost Your Energy and Feel Young
You shouldn’t feel old or tired. This suggests that there’s something wrong with your diet or your exercise plan. You won’t feel like doing more exercise, but it will be good for your energy levels.
Low energy levels lead us to sit back and do very little. Our muscles depreciate more, and our bodies don’t burn off as many calories as we could. It’s time to make some changes that prevent all this. The tips above are the ultimate ones that you need to maintain your weight (and even lose some of it) in your 40s.
Make sure you focus on a healthy and balanced diet. A sweet treat now and then isn’t going to affect your weight loss. However, eating junk all the time will cause a calorie overload, and your body will need to store the excess. You want to balance out the calories in and out.
We don’t know how much our metabolisms will slow down by. You’ll want to cut down your calories slowly, just by 100 a day. This will give you an idea as to whether you’ve created the balance or if you need to do more. By cutting them down slowly, you’re less likely to realize that you’re not eating as much, making it easier to stick to a new eating plan.
This isn’t just about dieting. It’s not a diet. It’s a new way of living so that you enjoy it all while maintaining your weight in your 40s. You can do it!