Here’s the deal:
Over 40 is by no means over the hill.
But those mid-life pounds sneak up on us all.
Refusing to discriminate between race, gender or color…they’re an inherent part of our biology.
And it only gets worse:
According to the Mayo Clinic, almost two-thirds of women between 40 and 59 in the US are overweight or have a body mass index over 25 kg/m2.
Unfortunately, the relentless onset of age-related weight gain, is a depressing but universal truth.
It occurs as you lose muscle and become more inactive.
The good news?
What I’m about to share with you will help you lose weight after 40 safely and consistently.
Bold promise? Definitely! But stick with me.
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Why You Pack on the Pounds After 40
There are two major causes of age-related weight gain – fluctuating hormones and loss of muscle tone.
The same type of compounds that bring on body hair, menstruation and that keep your love life humming along, also control body weight and metabolism.
How these hormones interact, ultimately determine how your body digests the food that you eat.
- The twin hormones, ghrelin and leptin regulate hunger and satiety respectively.
- Insulin is the hormone that unlocks your cells’ ability to use glucose as it travels through your blood (rather than storing it as fat).
- Estrogen plays a role in weight gain in both men and women. Diets high in meats that have been treated with hormones and exposure to oestrogen found in pesticides, chemicals and plastics can cause estrogen levels to rise, which lead to insulin resistance (akin to fat storage).
- The stress hormone Cortisol activates the body’s fight or flight response which, in turn, stores energy for later use. This can lead to weight gain, especially around your belly.
Loss of Muscle Tone
From the time you are born until you are about 30 years old, your muscles are growing larger and stronger.
Sometime after age 30 though, you begin to develop sarcopenia, or age-related muscle deterioration.
This happens to everyone, regardless of activity level.
But those who are physically inactive will lose three to five percent of their total muscle mass every decade after 30.
Symptoms of this condition include weakness and loss of stamina. This leads to less physical activity which leads to more weakness and… you get the idea.
Since muscle tissue burns more calories than fat, even at rest, the loss of muscle after 40 naturally leads to a lower metabolism.
Fortunately, it is still possible to lose weight after 40 without unsustainable diets and crazy exercise plans!
Related Post: 10 Yoga Asanas for Strength and Toning
Exercise Smarter, Not Harder
As tempting as it may be to kill yourself at the gym for maximum results like you did in your 20’s, your 40’s are about sustainable fitness routines and joint preservation.
Sure, cardiovascular exercise like running, biking and spending time on the elliptical is still important for heart health.
But to successfully lose weight after 40, you need to add strength training to your routine.
It doesn’t matter if you use traditional gym equipment, kettlebells, body weight exercises, free weights or barbells, what matters is that you do not neglect strength training in your fitness routine.
Not only does strength training speed up your metabolism long after you work out, the National Osteoporosis Foundation recommends weight-bearing and resistance exercises for preserving bone density.
It’s also not necessary to weight train to muscle failure to see results:
- Adding just 5 pounds per week
- Adding one set per week
- Decreasing the amount of rest between sets by 10 seconds per week
These steps can help you see sustainable results without feeling like your body is falling apart!
- The 20-Rep Squat Challenge
- Chest Workout at Home: How to Lift Your Breasts Without Weights
- Side Delts Exercises: Expert Advice for a Killer V-Taper
- 11 Biggest Bodybuilding Mistakes
Don’t Diet, Change Your Eating Lifestyle
One of the biggest mistakes people make when trying to lose weight after 40, is that they make changes to their diet that they can’t sustain.
Rather than eliminating all sugar or all fat or all animal products only to find yourself hiding in the pantry eating a giant brownie, focus on making one change per week that you can sustain for a lifetime.
You may decide the first week to drink your recommended daily intake of water.
The next week you may opt for a protein-packed, low sugar breakfast that will keep you full all morning long.
The third week you may choose to add one more vegetable to every meal.
Taken one at a time, these small, incremental changes will ultimately yield big results as they become part of your lifestyle.
- 18 Yummy Low Carb Meals
- 20 Delicious Ketogenic Recipes for Losing Weight
- 10 Simple Low Carb Food Swaps for Weight Loss
Mind Your Mind
Remember the stress hormone cortisol that helps release blood glucose into your bloodstream?
Its twin hormone adrenaline speeds up your heart rate and spikes your blood pressure putting strain not only on your heart, but on your organs as well.
As a result, people with chronically stressful lives may find it nearly impossible to lose weight in spite of their best efforts.
So what are your options?
- Spiritual introspection
…can help you cope with stress and reduce its effects on the body.
For instance, studies have shown that practicing mindfulness-based stress reduction techniques for just 10 minutes a day can profoundly affect the body’s stress response.
Stop Beating Yourself Up
If you have dessert with friends, if you skip the gym one day or if you find yourself stressed out at work: stop beating yourself up about it.
Relish every bite of that molten chocolate cake…then make better food choices tomorrow.
Decide to hit the gym first thing in the morning. Turn on your favorite music on the way home and rock out in traffic.
Too often we lapse into old habits and, deciding we have failed, give up on all of the great work we have done so far.
Instead, every day is a new opportunity to start over, do better, and live healthier for the long haul.
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