If you’ve tried losing weight in your 40s and later, you’ve likely learned it’s incredibly hard. Many women are unhappy with their weight after breaking the 40-year mark. Does that mean something’s going on?
Yes, our bodies change considerably as we age. Our physiology and hormonal functions evolve with us. The latter is particularly problematic if you want to improve your weight.
Why does that happen, and what can you do about it? That’s what you’ll learn today.
Losing weight becomes more challenging
One of the reasons behind the difficulty is that older women simply have a harder time losing weight. This article by NBC has an intriguing analysis: actress Charlize Theron’s experience.
She had to gain excess weight for her part in the movie Tully. The actress stated that losing that extra weight was a noticeable challenge. It took her a year and a half.
She’s no stranger to weight shifts for her career. What happened?
Sleep deprivation tends to be more common in older women for multiple reasons. Middle age usually results in worse sleep. Poor sleep quality has several links with obesity which we’ve discussed earlier.
Women have less body mass than men. That means they need fewer calories to maintain their bodies. Consuming the same amounts as men results in excess calories.
Speaking of calories, your metabolism slows down due to lower estrogen levels. Furthermore, muscle mass also decreases, which leads to more prevalent fat deposits.
Muscle requires more energy to maintain than fat. As women’s estrogen levels decrease, the same happens to their muscles. That translates into the aforementioned slower metabolism. With less muscle to maintain, fat buildups become more prevalent.
The most important lifestyle challenge: Sleeping better
We’ve repeatedly stated that sleep is a vital aspect of our lives. For women in their 40s, this becomes even more important. If you want to lose weight, you must improve your sleep quality.
Sleep’s importance comes from its interactions with two crucial hormones: cortisol and estrogen.
Cortisol and appetite
Cortisol levels increase with stress. The resulting anxiety makes it easier to suffer food cravings, particularly sugar and junk food.
As mentioned, estrogen slows down your metabolism, but it also impacts your sleep. It makes it harder to sleep properly and feel energized in the morning.
How does sleep resolve these problems?
Sleeping properly stabilizes ghrelin and leptin levels. These hormones cause a higher appetite for high-carb foods and feeling satiated, respectively. Additionally, proper sleep is important to lower stress levels and boost your daily vitality.
Best tips to lose weight after 40
Luckily, you’re not out of luck, even if you feel like losing weight is impossible. There are many things you can do to improve your weight after 40. For instance, this Healthline article has plenty of tips.
We’ll cover the individual tips in a future article. For now, let’s focus on the general areas you want to prioritize. Make sure to complement them with a healthy sleep schedule.
Increase your physical ability
Exercising more is always a great step to lose weight. It boosts your metabolism, builds and maintains muscle mass, and more. The more, the merrier: resistance training, cardio, and even going for walks more often can help.
Find emotional support
We don’t mean going to counseling sessions or a psychologist—although they can be outstanding help! Merely being more open about your weight with friends and family can take a load off your shoulders. It’ll also make it easier to keep your routines.
Care for your diet
Finally, watch what you eat. It goes without saying but go for balanced meals. Don’t give up on fat and carbohydrates since they’re still important. However, eat balanced foods with healthy fats and protein for every meal.
The holistic takeaway
Losing weight after 40 is possible, but it requires a different mindset. You can’t tackle it as you would 10 or 20 years ago. Understanding your body’s changes is the first step. Prioritizing sleep is the second step, and it’ll be easier afterward.
If you’re having trouble sleeping or feeling energized, look for help. Going to your GP for advice is an excellent strategy. You can also find supplements and exercises to help you sleep better and boost your energy levels.