Our approach to weight loss changes incrementally as we get older. Losing weight after 40 becomes increasingly more difficult because we begin to lose muscle which slows down our metabolism. So how do we approach fitness over 40 with a slower metabolism? Though your body chemistry changes noticeably after 40, the core tenets of weight loss remain the same. Here are 6 tips to help you lose weight after 40.

1. Reduce Your Meal Frequency

To be clear, how many meals you actually eat has no real impact on your weight loss. But controlling the total number of meals you eat as you try and lose weight will save you a lot of heartache. 

If you enjoy eating breakfast, lunch and dinner, with snacks in between, and you have the ability to make sound choices, control your calorie intake and have the time for it, by all means you should absolutely do that. If you often feel rushed, you tend to eat what’s convenient because you don’t have the time to prep a balanced meal, then reducing the number of times you might gravitate to the wrong decision can be a really solid practice. 

Eating 2 larger, more filling meals with maybe a protein shake in between will put you on the right track to losing weight your way. Doing this and fighting off the urge to snack will help keep your calories under control. Again, you may find it easier, and less stressful to control 2 meals a day, versus trying to be good for 3-5.

2. Eat a Larger Number of Fruits and Vegetables First

A lot of the time, when hunger gets a hold of us after a busy day, we’re more focused on eating enough and feeling which leads us to lose track of what we eat. A good rule of thumb to keep your calories in check when you feel this way is to have a large portion of vegetables and even fruit first. This way, you fill up on  low calorie, nutritionally dense foods before you move on to whatever protein or higher calorie food you might have prepared for yourself and the family. By doing this, you’ll be happy and satisfied with the volume of food you ate, and likely will not mind eating a smaller portion of whatever the family is eating too.

3. No Calorie Drinks

Personal beliefs aside, having a diet soda or zero calorie drink will be far better for your weight loss than having a freshly squeezed organic juice. One has calories, one does not. Regardless of the nutritional benefit beyond that, when it comes to weight loss that’s what matters most. If you’re anything like me, there will be nights, or random weekends when I’m just craving something sweet. I might sit down at the computer or TV for a bit and feel bored and in the need to pick at something. What helps me overcome those urges, especially when I don’t have many calories to spare, is a no calorie beverage, like a diet soda, or even a sparkling/carbonated water. If you really want to commit to zero calorie beverages buying a Sodastream or similar home carbonation systems and your favorite zero calorie flavorings will help keep you on track. 

Often time addressing the sweetness craving or even the behavioral pattern of wanting to pick at something at the same time the family might be while watching a movie is enough to keep you from caving in. Zero calorie beverages are excellent for that.

4. Work Backwards

In our early 20’s or even 30’s a lot of the time if we were on a strict diet, workout plan, or just had specific goals that we did not want derailed by an upcoming event, we would just opt to not go. If you were super disciplined andok with having a miserable time avoiding all the delicious looking food you would go to the party. Now in our later, younger years, not only may we not have the luxury of that choice, because of work or family obligations but we also don’t want to appear rude.  Ultimately we want to have a good time and enjoy the opportunities we do get to be away from the day to day. 

So how do we work such events into our workout and nutrition program? Well we’re going to have to plan ahead a bit, and work backwards. 

First, find out what there is to eat at the event if possible.This way you can make a better decision in advance and you don’t have to react to what you see when you get there. In addition, if you know at dinner you’ll be having a cocktail or two and your food selections won’t be as great as they normally are, perhaps you can get away with having a lighter meal earlier in the day to offset it.You can even substitute a protein supplement for one or more meals to keep your total calories in check. Or perhaps you have a few hours of downtime before this event, so maybe you can hop on a treadmill or get a quick workout in before you have to get ready. 

There’s nothing wrong with enjoying yourself from time to time. But if you don’t want these events to stress you out, think ahead, and work backwards from the event to plan out how you’re going to approach the day. Otherwise, if you’re hoping you’ll be disciplined and make the right decision after a few drinks and when you’re hungry odds are good you’ll be beating yourself up the next day simply for having a human moment, when in reality we simply didn’t put as much effort in planning our approach as we should have.

5. Focus on Strength Training

Finding time to exercise while responsibilities continue to pile up in our adult years can be challenging. That’s why it’s that much more important to use our free time as efficiently as possible.

For this reason, the majority of your workout program should consist of full body, compound movement strength training. Not only does it burn a high number of calories, improve posture, reduce aches and pains and the risk of injury, but it also helps add lean muscle tissue. Our hormones change as we age, and  the amount of lean muscle tissue we have, if not used, will also decline. Aside from all the physical life benefits lean muscle tissue provides, gaining lean muscle tissue also allows your body to burn a greater number of calories at rest. Giving your metabolism the ability to handle greater calorie consumption per day so you don’t need to crash diet to manage your weight.

6. Make Time for Yourself

The whole hearted truth is that oftentimes we don’t find the time for ourselves  because  our diets only affect us.  If we don’t achieve our personal weight loss goals, we’re the only ones that get hurt. When we’re running around busy, helping our kids, our spouse, our boss, we feel like if we take time for ourselves, we’re really taking time away from everyone else, and that couldn’t be further from the truth. 

As the saying goes, you can not pour from an empty glass. Scheduling a few hours a week to work on yourself, your confidence, your mental state by exercising and feeling better in your clothes is not selfish.  In actuality, it’s selfish not to. Why? Because by doing so you’re actually robbing those you care about most from having the best version of you. 

Don’t try to find the time to make this a priority. It hasn’t worked so far, and that likely won’t change because there is always one more thing you could get done for someone. 

You need to schedule and make the time to put yourself first, so you can live a healthier, more vibrant life with and for the ones you care about most. 

These tips will help you take the first steps on your over 40 weight loss journey. No matter your age, losing weight your way is always possible but it takes work and dedication. If you’re looking for more tips for losing weight, check out our latest eBook.