If you have reached the age of 40, you will notice that the weight loss programs that you had used when you were in your 20s or 30s are no longer useful.
Desert is irresistible, and with your busy schedule you cannot work out the way you used to. Even if you tried the best diets for women, it seems that the weight keeps on going up instead of going down.
What seems to be the problem? The weight loss for women over 40 still sticks to the principle: eating foods with fewer calories than you can burn.
However, as we age, certain things are beyond our control. At this age, our body is undergoing hormonal changes, and our muscles are losing its mass due to aging plus, on top of that we have many obligations that get in our way to achieve our goal.
We should not be enticed with program and strategies that promise fast weight loss. It can be dangerous to our health and well-being. The most reasonable weight loss for our age should be 1 to 2 pounds per week until we are in a healthy weight range.
How Our Age Affects our Weight ?
Did you know that between the ages of thirty to sixty, we lose about half a pound of muscle each year? But we also gain a pound every year? Muscles are more active metabolically than our fat as a result, it can boost our metabolism.
Since our muscle is losing mass every year, so is our metabolism and thus if we are eating the same way as we are when we’re in our 20s, we are bound to gain more weight.
One way to preserve our muscle and to increase the burning of calories is by exercising. The recommended exercise is about 150 minutes of moderate exercise and about two sessions of strength training in a week.
This is a difficult task to schedule because at our age we are swamped with chores and caring for our children. On top of that, we have a demanding job
Being in our 40s also mean that we are approaching menopause and you know what it means. Our hormones are going haywire at this stage. Our body naturally increases the percentage of body fat which instead of going to our thighs and hips, unfortunately, they took up permanent residence in our bellies.
How Can We Loss Weight When We are Over 40
The surest way to lose weight when you are at this age is a tactic called calorie deficit. Don’t get carried away by fast weight loss fads, because they are nothing but trends.
They will recommend you on counting your calorie intake by subjecting yourself to a low-calorie diet that could leave you feeling hungry all the time. This is very discouraging because if you manage to do this for a while, you will be missing out on the essential nutrients that your body needs.
What a quick weight loss diet can do is to let your body have muscle loss and mess up with your metabolism. Have you noticed what happened to people who are on a crash diet and then stop suddenly? They gain twice the weight that they lost after. You should be consuming around 1,200 calories per day as your ideal intake.
For women over 40, a healthy eating plan should be on the menu. It is recommended to take away about 500 to 1,000 calories in a day by moderating your portions and increasing your physical activity.
This is very doable for women like us. A clinical study published in 2012 has proven its effectiveness in losing weight for women in post-menopause after a year of practice.
These 500 to 1000 daily deficit in calorie intake can yield about one to two pounds of weight loss in a week. You should not have more than this recommended amount because if you lose weight at a faster rate, the higher you are at risk to develop gall stones.
The key to effectively managing your weight loss is to determine your daily calories requirement based on your age, size and activity level and determine how much should be your deficit based on that number.
On average, a 40-year old woman can burn calories from 1,800 to 2,200 daily with consideration in their activities.
The Weight Loss Diet Plan for Women Over 40
Getting older doesn’t mean that you must be getting bigger. If you want to stay slim, you need to follow diet plans that work. We have discussed that slow metabolism is the culprit for gaining weight and a little regular exercise, the food you eat and the proper time to eat are the main secrets to maintain muscle mass. Your muscle is the critical tissue for burning calories and the primary driver of metabolism.
Having a too-tight pair of jeans, muffin tops and increased risk of getting diabetes should not be your future; you need healthy women’s diet plan to safeguard your muscle mass and to sustain your body’s natural calorie-burning process.
To get started, you must do the following:
- You must eat healthy foods rich in protein to support your muscle mass to consistently burn calories and follow a diet that has moderate calorie contents.
- Do strength-training at least twice a week to fight muscle-loss
- Perform quick cardio workouts three times a week to sustain your daily calorie burn
Here are the foods that should be on your diet to boost your metabolism.
#1 Keep tabs on your protein intake
We have already discussed how to keep your fat and calories in check, but you need a booster to enhance your metabolism by adding another nutrient in your diet.
This nutrient is protein, the muscle mass builder. Every time you eat a protein-rich food like fish or cheese, your body will break it down into amino acids. These amino acids will enter the bloodstream and is absorbed by the cells and muscle tissues.
When amino acids are in your muscles, the body will build your muscles tissues in a process known as muscle-tissue protein synthesis. This is a vital process that builds your muscles and maintain its mass.
As your body builds up muscle continuously, it also breaks down the muscle at the same time. The cells in your body need amino acids to function.
When you don’t have enough amino acids available in your bloodstream, it will turn to your muscles as a source to keep the essential cells in many of your vital organs functioning.
This is a natural and continuous process. When you eat your body’s muscle-protein synthesis goes on overdrive and then it wills witch back to muscle breakdown mode after a few hours. If you eat too little protein, your muscle will shrink; consequently, your metabolism will go down.
The recommended amount of protein is about 0.8 grams for every kilogram of our body weight. For women over 40, you will need at least 1 to 1.2 grams to protect our body from age-related loss of muscle mass.
Although a piece of steak with over 100 grams of protein is irresistible and delicious, but protein dumping in one meal will not cut it.
You need to spread out your protein intake during the day and aim for about 20 to 30 grams of protein with each meal.
You should not offset the natural balance of muscle building and muscle breakdown.
When you eat proteins on a natural interval, your body will benefit by not being on a muscle breakdown mode for a long time.
The essential intake of protein is during breakfast because the most extended period that you have muscle breakdown is during the night where you are sleeping and not eating for hours.
If you eat protein-light food during breakfast like cereal, toast or bagel, you will fail to switch your body back to muscle-building mode.
As you get older, spreading out your protein intake is becoming more critical. This is because of our body’s reaction to protein changes as we age. During our teenage years, our body is in full muscle building mode even with not much protein.
However, as we become older, we need as much as 30 grams of protein to jumpstart the muscle-protein synthesis. Protein also stave off our hunger; we will have lesser urge to eat snacks.
#3 vary the protein sources
While meat is the most obvious source of protein, getting your need protein from animal sources alone is also counterproductive. It can speed up your muscle loss.
There is a study in 212 conducted by the Osteoporosis Foundation Nutrition Working Group that meats and grains like wheat and corn are foods that create an acid that prevents muscle-protein synthesis.
Your alternative source? Vegetables and fruits that have alkaline by-products that help offset the muscle breakdown effects of meat and starchy meals.
There are many vegetarian sources of protein that are delicious like beans, lentils, and tofu. They are rich in protein and low in calories. What to avoid when getting your protein from animal sources are those that have high-fat content like bacon, full-fat cheese, and ordinary ground beef.
#4 Challenge the muscles
Even if you eat protein-rich foods from good sources, you need to stay active to maintain the muscle mass. But if you want to build muscles, you need to increase your metabolism, and the way to do it is to do strength training.
By doing resistance training, your muscle tissues will experience microtrauma or miniscule tears. In the next 48 to 72 hours, your body will start the process of repairing the muscle with amino acids and heal them. In another case, if you have just started your training, your body will begin to build muscle mass.
Resistance training can put fire to your metabolism in two ways: muscle building can cause burning more calories and rebuilding, which needs more energy increasing process of calorie burning by 5% daily.
Hydrating can increase calorie burn
To keep your metabolism up, you need to build and maintain muscle mass. However, some researches show that you need to stay hydrated to increase the burning of calories.
The most appropriate drink is something frosty and cold. How can a cold beverage help you burn calories? You see, your body needs to heat the cold drink for it to reach the body temperature and heating up requires energy. Green and oolong tea according to a researcher from Japan can give your metabolism some boost.
Refueling with protein can lose more fat
Another study on the best practices after a workout revealed that consuming a post-exercise protein drink can help the body gain more muscle mass and loss about 50% more body fat than those who have not consumed any protein after exercising. This is because our body is more receptive to the amino acids for approximately 30 minutes after we exercise.
Supplements can help too
What if you have increased your physical activity and consistently followed the low-fat, high-protein diet and still have trouble losing weight? Certain supplements can help you curb your appetite and at the same time, reduce your fat absorption while increasing the metabolism.
These supplements can fill in the gaps in nutrients that are not met by your food intake alone. And just like any medication, you need to consult your doctor before beginning any supplement plan to know if they are right for your needs.
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Lifestyle changes can also help in weight loss
It’s funny that as our waistline expands the more, we lost interest in tracking our number. Guest estimating our weight has become the norm when we are over 40.
If we lost track of our weight, we are missing important data that is our gauge to being healthy. We should weigh ourselves on the same scale at the same time to see what is happening to our body.
Another change that we must do is to make weight loss our priority. We should be a role model for our children on keeping fit. Committing to a fitness routine can be our first step to becoming a positive influence on the people around us.
Small sacrifices go a long way. The better shape we are in, the better we will feel inside out, the better we will be in dealing with life’s headaches. There are some things we cannot change, but we can improve our weight.