The twenties are the golden years in terms of physical peak. You can eat moderately healthy, stay active throughout the day, have a 3-5 workout sessions per week, and still manage to keep a healthy looking body. Life can be a breeze at that age if we eliminate the other-aspects-of-life struggles.
Some of us often sacrifice our twenties in the pursuit of a career and a family, putting off weight loss for a later stage.
For the uneducated or the unaware, hitting the forties is no picnic. We fail to to plan for the hormonal and physical changes that come with age. Hence, weight loss becomes a form of exhausting labor.
The case is even worse for women and the numbers exist to back it up: in the US, it has been estimated that the rate of obesity of women aged between 40 and 65 is around 65%. For women over 65, it’s even higher with a 74%. Metabolic Syndrome, which is linked to obesity, also increases in those age categories by a minimum of 31%. The good news is, weight loss is still possible for women over 40.
Go see your doctor:
You’re probably thinking I’m online reading this so I wouldn’t have to go to the doctor. Big mistake.
Doctors have the capacity and knowledge to accurately pinpoint issues happening specifically in your body. Every individual has unique needs based on multiple factors, making it nearly impossible to have a by-default cure.
Take advantage of that knowledge. Physical and hormonal changes have their impacts, and those impacts should not be disregarded. They should be identified along with any other rising issues you were unaware of. Your doctor’s medical advice should lay the foundation of how you proceed with weight loss.
Here’s an example: say an individual has pre-diabetes, but they didn’t know. They follow a weight loss plan with foods that have a high glycemic index. That has a high risk of developing into type 2 diabetes.
The decades of keeping weight away through a couple of cardio sessions per week while keeping active during the day are over. It’s a cruel truth; but it’s the truth nonetheless. You win some (wisdom, career, family, maturity, etc.), you lose some (a regular metabolism, less risk of developing diseases, etc.).
See, cardio is good for the heart’s health. It enhances your endurance performances, helps pump more blood to the heart, and expand the heart’s muscles.
However, with your metabolism slowing down, hopping on a treadmill or going for a 5 am jog will no longer cut it. Your body won’t burn the same amounts of calories.
Fear not, the solution is simple: rely on resistance training to build lean muscle mass. It’s become a known fact that resistance training is the driver of your metabolism. If you want to burn more calories even when you’re inactive, you’ve got to build muscle mass.
Contrary to fat cells, muscle cells require energy to be sustained.
No, you won’t look like Sylvester Stallone, unless you have a condition of high testosterone levels; and let’s face it, that’s only a rare condition.
Re-evaluate your nutrition:
No. Absolutely not! I’ve anticipated your train of thought. You want to go on a high-calorie-restricting diet, don’t you?
That’s a common mistake everyone falls for, regardless of age.
Experts recommend around a diet that’s balanced and tailored to your weight-loss goals with a restriction of around 500 kcal. You can find those calories in a Subway sandwich. You can also keep going about your day without the sandwich.
In all seriousness, if figuring out what to eat and what not eat sounds like a hassle, you can use apps and websites to help you with that. There’s a ton of them out there. You can even find new recipes to try. Who knows, you might find your new favorite meal.
Don’t shy away from protein:
Salads are great. In fact, I love me a Subway turkey breast salad with a scoop of avocado and a drizzle of olive oil.
However, avoiding a piece of steak or chicken breast won’t help you build nor sustain muscle mass.
In your forties, you tend to lose around 5% of muscle mass per year. Perimenopause and menopause lower your body’s estrogen production and impair your insulin sensitivity.
Considering all those factors, no wonder you keep racking up the pounds.
Besides, you should beware of insulin sensitivity because that may be the cause of your sugar cravings.
The solution is to make sure you consume your macronutrients (carbs, proteins, and fats) smartly. Total elimination of carbs is detrimental. Elimination or limiting your protein or fat intake is no good either.
In case you’re worried about much protein is necessary for you, research recommends 0.8 g per pound of body weight. The math is up to you.
Plan for menopause
We’ve mentioned the changes happening to your body at this point of your life. So, let’s dive deep into them and explain what’s exactly happening and why it is happening.
There are two stages preceding menopause: premenopause (regular menstrual cycles) and perimenopause (a period of 3 to 12 months characterized with irregular bleeding).
After menopause, three factors contribute to the shift in body composition
Estrogen is responsible for fat distribution in the butt (gluteal region) and thighs (femoral regions). Androgen, another sex hormone, is responsible for fat accumulation in the abdominal region.
Since levels of estrogens drop postmenopause, your body goes into a state of hyperandrogenemia (excess production of androgen).
Also, estrogens are proven to be play a role in regulating appetite. Their functions reduce the production of ghrelin (the hunger hormone) by interacting with the hypothalamus.
That being said, the lack of estrogens post-menopause is a factor in your increase of appetite.
The reason why I’m breaking all these bad news is for you to become aware of the changes that are happening to your body and to properly prepare for them.
Hormonal replacement therapy for Menopause has shown great results in countering the negative effects of menopause.
Reduced cardiovascular risk
Better insulin sensitivity
Reduced abdominal body fat
Reduced blood pressure
Before jumping on this wagon, make sure to consult your doctor first. Just as any other kind of therapy, side effects are occurrent and people with certain medical cases are advised not to go through this therapy.
Get your beauty rest
I completely understand how life can be very demanding at any given point in life. Maybe you’re juggling multiple jobs, maybe you’re a single mom taking care of three kids, maybe you’re a busy CEO with crazy hours and endless meetings.
While we can relate, empathize, and tolerate, your body cannot. Think of it as a any high-performing piece of machinery. You can get so much out of it with minimum maintenance, yet, it’ll wear out quickly over time.
How does this tie to weight loss? Well, studies have shown that lack of sleep is a culprit in tricking your brain into making bad dietary choices. You’ll be more likely to derail off your well-structured meal plan and reach for that bar of luscious dark chocolate.
Weight loss is a challenge and a necessary evil if your goal is to live longer, happier, and healthier. Taking small steps one day at a time will keep you on track and blossom into the amazing results you’re looking for.
Remember to always Live Life with Zest!