Six Things You Should Do To Lose Weight If You’re Over Forty
Starting in your 40s, it’s easier than ever for the pounds to creep on and even tougher to take them off. You could be burning 300 fewer calories per day than you did in your early 20’s due to the slowing metabolism that comes with age. Decreasing estrogen levels during perimenopause and menopause (which begin in your early 40s) can cause insulin sensitivity, which makes it harder for your body to control the amount of sugar in your blood. This can make your blood sugar levels more prone to spiking and crashing, which can increase your urge to snack—especially on high-carb, sugary junk food. With a few smart moves, you can outsmart your slowing metabolism and get lean for good!
Remember The Golden Rules Of Weight Loss:
1. You need to eat less.
It doesn’t matter if all you eat is grilled chicken, brown rice, and broccoli. If you don’t cut back on your portions, you won’t lose weight. Everyone’s calorie needs are different, but in general, a woman eating 2,000 calories per day should aim to cut back by 400 to 500 calories.
2. You should aim to lose 1 to 2 pounds per week.
Those drop-a-dress-size-in-a-week plans are tempting. But the slow and steady approach is more sustainable since you’re more likely to build healthy habits (like exercising more and eating more veggies) that will help you stay leaner in the long term.
3. No skipping meals.
Skipping meals ruins your metabolism. When you skip breakfast or dinner, it tells your body to squirrel away calories instead of burning them. Skipping meals also increases the chances that your blood sugar will crash, leaving you ravenous for a quick energy hit in the form of sugary carbs.
4. Rethink your nutrients.
Keeping your carbs in check can help combat age-related insulin resistance and promote steady blood sugar levels. Adding more protein to your diet can also help. Not only does the nutrient help stave off age-related muscle loss, but it also helps keep your metabolism revved up because the body has to work harder to digest it than a simple carb. Each meal/snack should have the following:
- Vegetables or fruit: Fill half of your plate with these. They’re high in fiber and water, so they’ll take up lots of space in your stomach without contributing too many calories to your diet.
- Lean protein: Your plate should have a serving that’s about the size of your palm. Good sources include Greek yogurt, eggs, chicken, and fish.
- Complex carbohydrates: Your plate should have a serving that’s the size of your closed fist. Whole grains, beans, fresh fruit, and starchy veggies (like sweet potatoes) are all good choices.
- Healthy fats: These can add up quickly when you’re trying to lose weight, so it’s worth measuring your fats. Aim for 7 to 10 grams every time you eat. That’s 1½ tsp of olive oil, a quarter of an avocado, or two tablespoons of nuts or seeds.
5. Eat fewer calories, more frequently.
Increased insulin resistance might leave you feeling hungrier. Dividing up your food into three moderately sized meals and one to two small snacks will keep your blood sugar levels steady while combating the urge to nibble on junk. Piling your plate with more low-calorie, high-volume foods—like fruits and vegetables—can help fill you up, too.
6. Be choosy with your treats.
You can still enjoy your favorite foods but save them for when you really have a craving. Instead of mindlessly dipping into a bag of chips just because it’s there, think about what would truly satisfy you. Is it chips or are you actually craving something else? If you decide the chips are worth the calories, then help yourself to a small serving, and savor every bite. Try not to eat sitting in front of the computer or TV. You will end up eating more than you normally would if you were sitting down and savoring every bite.
One thing to keep in mind is that alcohol counts as a treat. Don’t let yourself go overboard. Try to limit your alcohol consumption to two to four glasses of wine per week. Make a point to stick to the five-ounce recommended serving size, since it can be easy to over-pour when you don’t pay attention. If you enjoy a glass with dinner, it means you should skip out on that piece of chocolate for dessert.
As we get older we must get smarter about the foods we eat, when we eat them, and how much we exercise. The key is to burn more calories than you’re consuming. Evaluate the golden rules of weight loss and see what areas you need to improve on. With a little self-discipline you can become a happier and healthier you!