If you’re over 40 and trying to lose weight, you may have noticed that it’s a lot harder than when you were in your 20s. All of a sudden, the same things that worked for you when you were younger, whether it was diet or exercise, don’t seem to be as effective.
As you get older, your body goes through changes. Hormone levels start to fluctuate, affecting your metabolism and decreasing muscle mass. But this doesn’t mean that you’re condemned to live with those extra pounds for the rest of your life.
Nutrition, physical activity, stress, sleep, etc. still affect your weight loss journey. With the right strategies in place, you can still lose weight after 40.
Let’s take a look at why we experience this weight gain after 40.
Why You Experience Weight Gain after 40
Losing Weight After 40
As we get older, our metabolism starts to get a little sluggish. However, a slower metabolism isn’t entirely to blame for those numbers on the scale. Many things can cause excess weight after 40 but the most common are lower activity, a decrease in hormones, and genetics.
These factors can cause us to have a slower metabolic rate. This is the rate you burn calories. If you have a low metabolic rate, you will not burn a lot of calories at rest. This makes it is easier to gain weight by accidentally eating more than you are burning.
A Decrease in Activity
As we age, a decrease in our activity levels is usually expected. Whether you are more sedentary at work, have developed achy joints or simply don’t have time to hit the gym, this decrease in activity can result in weight gain. When we stop moving we start to lose valuable muscle mass.
The less muscle mass we have the lower our metabolic rate. The lower our metabolic rate the fewer calories we burn at rest, making it easier for fat to take its place. Adding in light activity and strength training exercises can go a long way when trying to lose or maintain this weight.
A Decrease in Hormones
Hormonal changes can also be a likely cause of increased body fat, especially around our belly. As we age, women produce less estrogen and men produce less testosterone. Both of these hormones help to regulate our metabolism. Testosterone helps with muscle growth in both men and women and estrogen helps to regulate body weight.
With decreased levels, we are more likely to have an increase in body fat. It is most common for women undergoing menopause to experience an increase in weight or have more difficulty losing weight. Sometimes referred to as “hormonal belly,” this extra weight is often held in our mid-section.
Weight gain from hormonal changes is not inevitable. Although it makes maintaining our current weight more challenging, lifestyle factors also play a big role.
Another likely cause for weight gain after 40 is genetics.
Studies have shown genetics and lifestyle can determine someone’s chances of packing on extra pounds during middle age. Gaining weight still does not have to be inevitable, even if your genetic odds are against you.
A healthy diet and lifestyle can greatly decrease your chances of becoming overweight.
Plus, it will increase your quality of life.
Let’s take a look at some tricks to help with weight loss during middle age.