Menopause and perimenopause make weight loss even more difficult for many women. Figuring out how to lose weight after 40 sucks.
I speak from experience. After turning 40, I felt I had to feel hungry and deprived 100% of the time to lose just 2-3 lbs a month. Then, if I ate enough to not feel hungry, I would regain it within days. It was so frustrating! The good news is that I finally lost 30 lbs after 40 and did not gain the weight back. This post will share exactly how I managed to do it without feeling frustrated and deprived.
Sudden Weight Gain at 40
I managed to gain only 15 pounds throughout my childbearing years. However, after turning 40, I gained 15 pounds in one year! I had no idea what had happened. I didn’t change my eating style or my activity level. It was crazy! That’s when I became determined to figure out how to lose weight after 40. I know many other women experience sudden weight gain after 40 because I hear from them! That’s also why I created my Weight Loss Transformation program. It includes everything you need to discover how to lose weight after 40: checklists, video lessons, meal plans, and step-by-step protocols to biohack your weight loss.
How to Lose Weight After 40
A few key elements were essential to my success as I was learning how to lose weight after 40. Let me explain what they were.
Intermittent fasting is the number one method that has allowed me to lose weight and not gain it back in my 40s. I had tried intermittent fasting before, even in my 30s, but had never achieved the results I wanted until I did a few things differently.
Longer Fasting Window
The few times I practiced intermittent fasting, I would do the most common form of intermittent fasting method, which is the 16/8 method (an 8-hour eating window). The problem is you can easily overeat during an 8-hour window. You need a calorie deficit of about 3,500 calories to lose just one pound a week. That’s 500 calories a day! If you have counted calories, you know it’s pretty hard to get that kind of calorie deficit. For the average woman, who needs about 2,000 calories a day, that means consuming only 1,500 calories. Some restaurant meals provide over 1,000 calories, in case you didn’t know! For this reason, many women won’t lose weight when eating for 8 hours. That was me!
How to Lose Weight After 40 With the Right Intermittent Fasting Method
You have two options then:
- Fasting longer: You can try intermittent fasting methods like the Warrior diet or OMAD. The Warrior diet gives you a 4-hour eating window, while OMAD stands for one meal daily, typically a 1-hour fasting window.
- Fasting on specific days: A longer fasting window on most days (I recommend five days a week) may make you feel deprived and hungry for quite a while. If you are anything like me, you may find it impossible to stick to. That’s why you may prefer to start with other intermittent fasting methods that you don’t need to stick to every single day, like the Eat-Stop-Eat method and the 5:2 method (my two favorite methods for beginners who want to lose weight).
- Check out my Intermittent Fasting 101 Workshop for more guidance.
Fasting for Ketosis
Achieving ketosis on your fasting days is essential as you discover how to lose weight after 40. Ketosis is the magic that will naturally reduce your appetite and food cravings. That’s why I recommend longer fasting windows. When you fast, your body runs out of glycogen and uses fat cells as an energy source. No need to go keto to achieve ketosis! Although it can help as a kickstart. Moreover, fasting long enough for ketosis will allow your body more time for healing.
If you have read my Top 7 Tips to Use Intermittent Fasting for Weight Loss, you already know how modified fasting was a stepping stone to achieve weight loss without gaining weight back.
How Does Modified Fasting Work?
The concept of modified fasting stems from the Fasting Mimicking Diet by Dr. Valter Longo. The Fasting Mimicking Diet was one of the key elements that enabled me to figure out how to lose weight after 40.
It’s a 4-5 day fast with a severe calorie restriction (you eat only about 40-50% of your regular calorie intake). This type of fasting triggers autophagy, which is your body’s healing process. Not only will this aid with weight loss by releasing inflammation and normalizing your insulin level, but it will also help make you more metabolically flexible, making any form of intermittent fasting a lot easier.
I explain what it means to be metabolically flexible in my post Should You Practice Intermittent Fasting With or Without Keto?
How to Reduce Belly Fat After 40 Female
Women who want to know how to lose weight after 40 often want to lose belly fat. They notice that they look bloated as soon as they eat anything and would like a flatter stomach. I know that was me too! Even though you can’t spot reduce fat, you can define your waist with bodyweight workouts, which are my specialty using yoga. Learn more in my 1 Year Yoga Transformation: Before and After Pictures.
Moreover, I noticed a much flatter stomach after my first modified fast. I recommend a modified fast or a keto cycle to kickstart your over 40 weight loss protocol.
The Keto Diet
The keto diet is a good option if you don’t want to go through the initial struggle of feeling hungry or “hangry.” The keto diet stimulates fasting by reducing the number of carbs so much (under 50 grams a day) that your body runs out of glucose and uses fat stores to produce ketones instead.
I have been trying to understand the distinction between our bodies running on glucose and ketones. Whether you achieve it through fasting or the keto diet, there is no question that ketosis is beneficial in many ways. It will reduce your appetite and cravings and make you feel more energetic and focused. Besides, your cells produce less “waste” or reactive oxygen species (which cause oxidative stress) when running on ketones.
If you do the keto diet and you are a woman, I recommend increasing the carbs you consume to 100 and 150 grams periodically (maybe five days a month, at least before your period).
How to Jumpstart Weight Loss After 40
Even though I didn’t go on the keto diet for extended periods when I was learning to lose weight after 40, I used some keto cycles. I would occasionally go on the keto diet for 7-10 days. It was like a “reset” to become a better fat burner. Check out my meal plan.
Another option to jumpstart weight loss after 40 is modified fasting, which we discussed above.
How to Not Gain the Weight Back
If you follow the guidelines, I outlined above. You should be able to lose a few pounds each month. Don’t be discouraged when the weight loss slows down. I had months where I would lose 4 lbs and months where I didn’t lose any weight. It took almost a year to lose 20 lbs! The closer you are to your goal weight, the slower weight loss will be. It’s important not to lose sight of the fact that it’s a long-term project to improve your health. Once you understand that, you will greatly reduce the risk of gaining weight back. I also have a few tips to help you stay on track and not lose weight.
I don’t know why it takes a month of effort to lose two pounds, yet you can gain back two pounds in a matter of days. Anyway, that’s just how it is. After reaching your goal, I recommend you weigh yourself once or twice a week. This way, you can make sure that you are staying on track. If you gain weight in one week, you know that you need to be more careful again. This might mean that you have been increasing your eating window length and need to tighten it again, or maybe you have been overindulging in some favorite treats. It’s easy not to notice when you gain 2-5 lbs. Regular weight-ins will help you avoid gaining back the weight you lost.
Longer Fasts Once a Week
After reaching your goal weight, you may stick to a 12-14 hour fasting window every day. If that’s the case, it’s a good idea to fast longer, about once a week. I notice that fasting is more difficult when I eat more sweets and don’t’ nourish myself properly during my eating windows. I treat these longer fasts like a “reset.”
Paying Attention to Your Body’s Cues
If you notice your appetite increases and you crave sweets again, it may be a sign that you need to fast longer or eat fewer carbs. I love the food freedom that intermittent fasting has been giving me. I don’t count carbs, I eat sweets when I want them, and I rarely have to restrain my eating (during my eating window). However, sometimes I eat too many sweets or have too long of an eating window for too many days in a row, and I want to eat when I am not hungry. That’s a sign you need to be more careful if you don’t want to gain the weight back.
Periodic Modified Fasts
I explained the benefits of a modified fast. Dr. Valter recommends them two or three times a year. I think that’s a worthwhile goal. These longer fasts help improve longevity, decrease inflammation, and contribute to your overall well-being.
Read Modified Fasting: How You Can Benefit From Fasting Without Giving Up Food for more info.
How to Lose Weight After 40 (And Not Gain The Weight Back) Video
A quick video where I explain the main concepts regarding how to lose weight after 40.
Now you have the information you need to learn how to lose weight after 40. It takes time and patience. It’s about changing your lifestyle and training your body to switch back and forth from using ketones to glucose for energy.
Next, how do you not gain the weight back after you have put all this effort into your weight loss? Monitor how you feel and your weight regularly. By then, you will understand your weight patterns (for example, how much you weigh during your period compared to during the rest of the month), you will know your hunger cues and your energy level, and you will be able to tell if you need to fast longer and be more strict again to avoid gaining weight back. This is the key to staying in shape and feeling great.