If you’re over 40, you’ve probably noticed that it’s easier to gain weight than lose it. You can’t keep up the same eating habits you likely had in your 20s and 30s and still maintain your weight.
As you age, your metabolism (your body’s fat-burning process) slows as muscle tissue shrinks. After age 30, most people will lose about half a pound of fat-burning muscle tissue each year. By 50, that rate doubles. The less active you are, the more muscle tissue you'll lose with age.
The good news is that you can still trim up, even after 40. Here are a few tips to help you lose weight in middle age and beyond.
Eat healthy. Eat plenty of protein-rich foods to help sustain your muscle mass and don’t overdo it on the calories. But don’t cut protein in order to cut calories. Instead, focus on cutting calories by reducing your carbohydrate intake.
Strength train. Resistance training (like weight lifting) isn’t just for bodybuilders. Strengthening your muscles will help fight muscle loss and keep your metabolism revved up. In addition to lifting weights, you can also use bodyweight exercises (think planks, pushups, squats, etc.) to build strength.
Get in your cardio. Aerobic or cardiovascular exercise is calorie-burning exercise. Shoot for three 30-minute moderate-intensity cardio workouts a week to keep those calories burning. Cycling, swimming, jogging, Zumba, stair climbing, rowing and hiking are just a few examples of great calorie-burning cardio workouts you can try.
Try interval training. Alternating between high-intensity bursts and moderately paced exercise can help amp up your metabolism for up to 24 hours after a workout. Alternate walking with stationary cycling, or give HIIT (high intensity interval training) a try.
Don’t skip breakfast. They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and when it comes to maintaining fat-burning muscle mass, that’s true. Your body loses the most muscle mass when you're sleeping (and therefore not eating for hours at a time). Eating a protein-rich breakfast will start rebuilding your muscles, revving up your metabolism first thing in the morning.
Stay hydrated. Drinking plenty of water helps flush out the toxins that can prevent your body from burning fat. Cold beverages help burn extra calories, since your body has to work harder (therefore burning more calories) to warm icy drinks up to body temperature. Some research suggests that green or oolong tea can also boost your metabolism.
Don’t skimp on sleep. Getting the right amount of sleep (about six to eight hours a night) is necessary if you want to lose weight. Sleep stimulates the natural production of hGH, or human growth hormone, which can help keep the weight off.
Get help. If you’ve got weight to lose, having a team of people on your side can help you achieve your weight loss goals. The Goshen Physicians Center for Weight Reduction offers a holistic approach and personalized solutions to help you lose weight and keep it off.
Weight loss after 40 may be challenging, but it isn’t impossible. Making smart lifestyle choices make a difference. Contact the Center for Weight Reduction today to find out how we can help you lose weight.