Losing weight can be tricky, but it’s even harder for women over 40. Menopause and aging bring on hormonal changes that lead to weight gain. Plus, being overweight before menopause can actually worsen symptoms.
In 2008, 65.5 percent of American women ages 40 to 59 were considered obese. About 73.8 percent of women ages 60 years or older were also obese. These numbers are double the rates of general obesity! This proves that women in this age group have a high risk of weight gain.1
But there’s still hope. Here are five things women over 40 can do to lose weight.
5 Weight Loss Tips For Women Over 40
1. Change Your Diet
By now, you probably have a set way of eating. But if you’re wondering how women over
Not sure where to start? Ditch processed meals and fast food. This will cut a ton of calories from your diet. Eat healthy carbohydrates like whole grains and healthy protein like lean meat, legumes, nuts, and fish. Fats should also be unsaturated – like avocados, nuts, and fish.
The United States Department of Agriculture suggests filling half your plate with fruits and veggies.2
If you reduce your caloric intake by about 500 calories each day, you’ll lose 1 pound in a week.
2. Relieve Stress
Everyone should manage stress. But for women over 40, managing stress is even more crucial for losing weight. Menopause can bring on symptoms like depression, anxiety, and mood swings. Focusing and concentrating can also become hard.
Dealing with these feelings can also lead to more stress, resulting in an
If you’re stressed for too long, your body makes more of the stress hormone cortisol. This can lead to a ravenous appetite and unhealthy cravings, which can make losing weight even harder.3
Focus on healthy methods of stress management, like indulging in your favorite hobbies. Make time for friends and family. Take frequent breaks no matter how crazy life gets.
3. Build Up Muscle
For women over 40, gaining muscle is the best way to lose weight. Muscle burns more calories than fat – even when you’re at rest. This speeds up your metabolism and contributes to weight loss.4
To build muscle, do more resistance training. This includes any exercise that places weight on your skeletal system and makes your muscles contract, thus making them stronger and better.
Don’t worry; this doesn’t mean you need to start heavy lifting. Resistance
lightweight dumbbells are great equipment. Even a wall or chair can help. Some workouts, like squats and lunges, require nothing more than your own body weight.
Even as you lose weight, resistance training will help your body hold on to the muscle built.
4. Exercise Regularly
Building muscle is important, but you shouldn’t stop there. For women over 40, losing weight depends on all kinds of physical activity. Your age and menopausal status don’t even matter because they have a strong independent and inverse association with waist circumference.
Most importantly, physical activity wards off obesity. This automatically results in protection from many chronic illnesses, from heart disease to type 2 diabetes. It also increases the chances of a better quality of life.
For older women, a study in Climacteric suggests sixty minutes of moderate intensity activity each day.5 Don’t hesitate to start small, though. Keep it realistic by aiming for 30 minutes of exercise, five days a week.6 You can increase the duration from there.
5. Practice Yoga
Weight loss plans for women over 40 should always include yoga. It’s a low-impact workout that can build muscle through weight-bearing poses.7 Plus, you don’t even need to do intense asanas. A gentle practice will have amazing benefits.
Over time, yoga will lower BMI, waist circumference, and lipid levels. It will also improve metabolic risk factors usually observed in postmenopausal women.8
Yoga is also a great way to reduce stress levels
Weight loss for anyone takes time and patience. If you need guidance, talk to your doctor or nutritionist. Be patient with yourself, and you’ll see great results.
|↑1, ↑8||Davis, S. R., C. Castelo-Branco, P. Chedraui, M. A. Lumsden, R. E. Nappi, D. Shah, and P. Villaseca. “Understanding weight gain at menopause.” Climacteric 15, no. 5 (2012): 419-429.|
|↑2||10 Tips: Build a Healthy Meal. ChooseMyPlate.|
|↑3||Why stress causes people to overeat. Harvard Health Publications Harvard Medical School.|
|↑4||Muscle cells vs. fat cells. MedlinePlus.|
|↑5||Davis, S. R., C. Castelo-Branco, P. Chedraui, M. A. Lumsden, R. E. Nappi, D. Shah, and P. Villaseca. “Understanding weight gain
|↑6||American Heart Association Recommendations for Physical Activity in Adults. American Heart Association.|
|↑7, ↑9||Pilates and yoga – health benefits. Better Health Channel.|