Losing weight is rarely easy, no matter what age you are. However, you are very likely to find that after the age of 40, it gets even harder. In this post, I am going to share how to start losing weight at 40. You can benefit from the suggestions I will outline if you are younger, but as you will see, there are specific reasons why losing weight after 40 is hard. I will address these reasons specifically.
Why Is It So Hard to Lose Weight After 40
Lots of factors can come into play to make it hard to lose weight after 40:
- You may be more sedentary.
- Your muscle mass tends to decrease.
- You need to relearn your appetite cues.
- Your insulin sensivity is poor.
- Lower estradiol levels may cause you to store fat.
But don’t worry! There is hope and you can absolutely reach your goal weight. In fact, I struggle with weight loss all throughout my thirties and finally managed to shed 30 pounds in my forties. However, keep in mind: this is not a crash diet to lose weight fast. I lost an average of 2 lbs a month by learning to monitor my ketones, energy level, and hunger cues.
My Weight Loss Transformation After 40
As a female over 40, I understand what it takes to lose weight. I know how frustrating it can be. In fact, when I turned 40, I felt like I had to feel hungry all the time to simply not gain weight. If I ate when I thought I was hungry, I would gain weight at an alarming rate of 2 pounds a month! After crossing into the overweight BMI range, I knew I had to figure out a way to get my weight under control.
Why Nothing Worked
As I mentioned already, I had tried all kinds of different cleanses and diets all throughout my thirties. Yes, I tried intermittent fasting. I did various healing protocols because I was also struggling with health issues. For a few years, the Paleo Diet worked great. I felt better and lost about 8 lbs (which made me really close to my goal weight).
However, when I turned 40, the Paleo Diet was no longer enough. I started feeling tired again and gaining weight again. That’s when I started feeling desperate about learning how to start losing weight after 40.
I tried various programs but nothing worked because I didn’t have the willpower to stick to anything.
How Fasting Was Different This Time Around
There is one thing that ended up working and it’s fasting. The reason fasting worked this time even though I wasn’t able to lose weight with intermittent fasting in my thirties is that:
- I started with a modified fast.
- I experimented with longer fasting windows less frequently (as opposed to fasting for only 16 hours every day).
You may not have heard of modified fasting but it is a 5-day fast that involves some delicious and nourishing foods. It relies on severe calorie restriction and a specific macronutrient ratio to achieve autophagy.
Why Fasting Works
So, why does fasting work? Fasting was helpful in many ways but in particular:
- It regulates your insuline level.
- It dismantles a lot of mental food associations you may have created over the years.
Fasting was the key that allowed me to finally shed thirty pounds in my forties. However, there are some facts you need to know about if you want to learn how to start losing weight at 40 using fasting as your main tool. Let’s talk about it.
Learn more by signing up for my Intermittent Fasting 101 Workshop.
How to Start Losing Weight After 40
I have so many articles on losing weight with intermittent fasting on my website (you can use my search too), I wanted to make this one a bit different. In this section, I am going to give you an overview of the main points I share in all these articles. You could say this post will be the all-be-all of my tips on weight loss with intermittent fasting. Of course, it will all address women over 40 in particular by including ideas to maintain your hormonal function and create sustainable habits.
Three Simple Steps To Start Losing Weight After 40
Let’s start with my easiest and simples tips you can start implementing today to lose weight without constantly feeling deprived:
- Two 5-day modified fasts: I mentioned modified fasting already. I recommend that you start with one before trying any kind of intermittent fasting. It will kickstart healing your body and give you more confidence in the power of fasting to reach your health goals. Do one modified fast and another one next month. I offer many free meal plans and you can also join my private Facebook group to get my soup meal plan as well as additional fasting support.
- Longer intermittent fasting window: About a week after you first modified fast, you can start with intermittent fasting.I recommend doing 3 or 4 20-hour fasts or 1-2 24 hours fasts. You want to fast long enough to be in optimal ketosis for weight loss for a few hours about 1-2 mmol/L.
- Exercise: Of course staying active and increasing your muscle mass in extremely important. However, I don’t want you to put too much stress on your body with prolonged and intense workouts. Favor workouts that build strength and endurance.
AS you can see, losing weight after 40 doesn’t have to be complicated. However, some issues might come up and this is what I am going to address next.
How to Make Sure You Maintain a Healthy Hormonal Function
As a woman, you are particularly sensitive to hormonal changes. It’s important to do what you can to ensure you don’t subject your body to too much stress to maintain an optimal hormonal function. That’s why I recommend you make one change at a time. Take it slow. Weight loss will be more sustainable if it’s slow and steady anyway.
Cortisol and your Hormones
Whenever health experts talk about your hormones, you are almost sure they will talk about cortisol and the negative impact it can have on your body. Yes, too much cortisol can be a problem but did you know that cortisol is a fat-burning hormone that keeps inflammation down and regulates your blood sugar?
How do you ensure your body produces just enough cortisol? Well, it’s not an exact science of course. Each of us is so different. But taking it one little step at a time will help. The following points will help:
- Fasting not every day
- Making sure you get adequate sleep
- Gentle forms of exercise.
- Nutrient dense foods
- Proper supplementation
- Eating slowly, chewing well
These are good life habits that you can strive to acquire to support your weight loss goals and optimal hormonal function.
Why You Can’t Lose Weight
Next, I want to address the three main reasons why women can’t seem to lose weight. This way, you will be prepared and will be able to resolve them sooner:
- Not achieving ketosis long enough frequently enough: A ketone monitor will be helpful in this case. Ensure your ketones measure at least 1 mmol/L for at least 2-3 hours on your fasting days.
- Putting too much stress on your body for too long: If you are doing OMAD (One Meal a Day) every day for example, you could be stressing your body too much. Particularly if you are doing this for months on end. I know some women who are thriving on OMAD and have been mainting it as a lifestyle for years, so I am not suggesed everyone should absolutely avoid it. What I am saying is that if you are not getting the results you want, you want to ensure you are not stressing your body too much.
- Unrealistic expectations: You may think you are can’t losing weight when in fact, what is really happening is that you are not losing weight fast enough. Many women expect to lose 10 lbs their first month. I am going to tell you: This isn’t a realistic expectation. Instead, I suggest you aim to lose 2-5 lbs a month.