Losing weight is rarely easy, no matter what age you are. However, if you have been struggling with losing weight after 40, you have probably discovered that it gets even more challenging. In this post, I will share how to lose weight after 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 sensitivity 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 struggled with weight loss throughout my thirties and finally managed to shed 30 pounds in my forties. However, remember 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. When I turned 40, I felt like I had to feel hungry all the time not to gain weight. If I ate when I thought I was hungry, I would gain 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 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 was 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 daily).
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 insulin level.
- It dismantles a lot of mental food associations you may have created over the years.
Fasting was the key that allowed me to shed thirty pounds in my forties finally. 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 primary 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) that I wanted to make this slightly different. In this section, I will give you an overview of the main points I share in all these articles. This post will be all my tips on weight loss with intermittent fasting. Of course, it will all address women over 40 by including ideas to maintain their hormonal function and create sustainable habits.
Three Simple Steps To Start Losing Weight After 40
Let’s start with my easy and simple 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 starting with one before trying any 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 and 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-hour 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: Staying active and increasing your muscle mass is critical. 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 will address next.
How to Make Sure You Maintain a Healthy Hormonal Function
As a woman, you are particularly sensitive to hormonal changes. It’s essential 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 its negative impact 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 1.0 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, mainly if you do this for months. I know some women who are thriving on OMAD and have been maintaining it as a lifestyle for years, so I am not suggesting everyone should avoid it. If you are not getting the desired results, you want to ensure you are not stressing your body too much.
- Unrealistic expectations: You may think you can’t lose weight when, in fact, what is happening is that you are not losing weight fast enough. Many women expect to lose 10 lbs in their first month. I am going to tell you: This isn’t a realistic expectation. Instead, I suggest you lose 2-5 lbs a month.