Losing unwanted body weight when you’re 40 and over may seem like a losing battle! But don’t blame it completely on your age or metabolism, it has a lot to do with lifestyle and little habits that creep up on you — meaning an extra 10 to 15 pounds over the years.
Here are some easy ways to tweak your week and trim down while crushing some of those little weight-causing habits.
Double Whammy Foods
Ok, I’m a “over 40” and there are two foods that I feel I can’t live without: chocolate and wine! But I’ve learned to monitor my intake of these “Double Whammy” foods.
Double whammy foods are foods that trigger overeating or make your blood sugar spike or dip and sadly, both wine and chocolate (yes, even dark chocolate!) can do that if you have them every day or on a more regular basis.
That means not only do you get the extra calories (they pack on from 200-400 per day), but you’ll also burn calories less effectively and store fat faster. Although they both have some health properties, they don’t fill you up and can’t compare with the vitamin, mineral, and antioxidant load of vegetables that are low-cal and don’t have the whammy effect.
I’ve also observed that I was much stricter about my chocolate/wine intake in my 20’s and 30’s compared to now, even though I tell myself “it’s dark chocolate, it’s good for you!”
It might hit you straight in the heart to hear it, but it doesn’t mean you have to give them up completely — just take a few days off each and every week. Or on the day you have your square of dark choc, skip the wine and vice versa. You might notice that your jeans button more easily and your cravings lessen!
Is your belly the biggest problem area? Well, it is for most people! Studies on stress and the stress hormone cortisol show that when you experience regular high levels of stress, fat tends to store more quickly around your mid-section.
With work, family and relationship pressure, I bet that the “40 year-old you” has way more stress compared to the same you in your 20’s. So find easy ways to calm stress levels in your life including getting sounder sleep — not only will you tame cortisol release but you’ll also feel less hungry throughout the day which could mean dropping 5 pounds or more in a month without making any other change!
Drink plenty of liquid throughout the day — including water, unsweetened coffee and teas. This can be tricky since many of us 40+ ladies are always on the run, juggling a million jobs at once.
Be sure to have ample supply of water bottles in your car and take quick hydration breaks whenever you can! Liquid hydrates your cells and helps them push harmful toxins through your body more efficiently. By drinking plenty of liquid, such as water, it will keep your sugar cravings at bay and can even help you to feel fuller. Water is also essential for carrying nutrients to your cells, to give you more even energy throughout the day.
Try to get most of your water during the day so you don’t interrupt a sound night’s sleep with a bathroom break. If you drink tea and coffee, be aware that they contain caffeine which can increase your metabolism while it is in your system, but tends to slow your body down once it leaves. Caffeinated beverages should always be consumed with an extra glass of water to ensure that you do not end up depleting your body of necessary liquids. Stop your caffeine consumption by 3pm to allow the effects to wear off (so you can slip into sleep more easily at bedtime)!
Make Friends with Fat
Say what?? Yes, most people don’t get enough good quality fat in their diet! Getting a lot of saturated fat (from corn-fed sources of beef and dairy) increases inflammation in the body which not only makes you more susceptible to disease but also means that you don’t burn calories as quickly. So swap out corn-fed sources of saturated fat for fish, coconut oil, olive oil, nuts and seeds.
You can still enjoy beef, butter and bacon in moderation or simply switch to grassfed if it’s in your budget. Also be sure you’re getting enough of the good fats daily since they fight inflammation, make you feel full, and help with collagen production (hurray!).
For women on a 1400-calorie diet, look for around 50 grams of good fat: That would be about 1 tablespoon of olive oil, 1 avocado, a small handful of nuts, and a 1/2 cup of kefir.
We’re busy and we always feel that we’re on-the-go, but the truth might be that you’re a lot less physically active now than when you were in your 20’s. It’s tough with the demands of work and family to find time to do sports, go to the gym, catch a yoga class and do many of the fun activities we did when we had less responsibilities!
But regular exercise (around 30 minutes, 3 to 4 times a week, or more) will not only tone you, lower stress levels, and burn calories, it also helps to balance your hormone levels. So check out ways to sneak in exercise.