As we age, it can become harder to lose those unwanted pounds easily, but the good news is, it’s not impossible.
There are a couple of major obstacles that we hit when we approach 40. And since every year we get closer to our menopausal years, it's important to think about this stuff early. Because the bigger hedge you can build against menopausal side effects, the happier (and more prepared!) you'll be.
As we age, our metabolism tends to slow down. Now, our metabolism isn't a muscle we can just "flex", and it's not going to change by eating certain foods or taking certain supplements. Our metabolism sort of "set" for us and there are very few things that will actually change it to a point where it will affect our waist line.
Muscle mass and the quality of foods is one of these things. As we age, it gets increasingly important to focus on our muscle mass retention and growth.
Muscle mass decreases approximately 3–8% per decade after the age of 30 and this rate of decline is even higher after the age of 60
A reduction in endocrine function, physical activity and inadequate nutrition all play an important role in the reduction of muscle mass with normal aging.
So although our bodies might make us work a little harder for it, here are 5 tips to help you get closer to your health and wellness goals;
1. Eat your veggies
Veggies add low calorie volume to meals, keeping you full and feeling satisfied. They also help to regulate blood sugar and insulin levels while supporting healthy digestion and providing fibre to your diet. A minimum of 5 cups or servings per day should be the goal to provide valuable nutrients.
Using the plate method is an easy way to ensure you’re getting your veggies in by filling half you plate with veggies. Add a source of lean protein, quality fats and you have a balanced meal for both weight loss management and healthy nutrition.
2. Choose quality foods over highly processed foods
Seems like an obvious one right? We’ve learned that a calorie is not just a calorie and that source does matter.
High-quality foods include minimally processed foods such as vegetables and fruits, whole grains, healthy fats and lean sources of protein. Lower quality foods include highly processed snack foods, sugar sweetened beverages, refined white grains, refined sugar, friend foods and foods high in saturated and trans-fats.
Nourishing your body with the right mix of foods can help lower your risk of heart disease, diabetes, and obesity.
3. Slow is best, and the right way.
But I want it now! Healthy, sustainable weight loss (at any age) shouldn’t be about “dieting”. Extreme restrictions and dangerously low caloric intake never work out in the long run. Short term, sure you might see some quick movement in terms of numbers on the scale but in the end 9/10 times they will come back to bite you.
Put a focus on nutrition and not restriction. This approach is sustainable and allows us to be the healthiest version of ourselves, which should be the goal anyways! It may be trying at times but put in the work and you will feel the rewards, physically and mentally.
4. Make time for exercise and activity
Between desk jobs/ being in front of a computer all day, commutes, family activities and all of life’s day to day responsibilities, many of us approaching 40 don’t have a lot of free time to work on you. BUT - it’s important, not just for weight management but for overall health. Schedule the time in your calendar if needed and make it a non-negotiable. Strength training is the best for weight loss but if you don’t have access to a gym or equipment, walking is the most underrated form of activity and is great on our joints as we age. Aim for 10k steps a day and get moving.
5. Don't get frustrated.
What works for your body now is probably not the same as what worked for your body when you were 20. If you're someone who used to be an athlete, maybe you loved the way you looked in university but your body seems to have done a complete 180, don't worry.
Your body changes, and especially if you've gone through childbirth, it's changed a lot! The best thing you can do is to accept the change. Work with your changing physiology instead of against it.
The worst thing you can do is use your age as an excuse. You've lived through a global pandemic, you know how to pivot. You know how to make drastic change to keep moving forward.
Apply that to your training and your diet and you'll be making gains for the rest of your life.
BONUS: Here are 4 top things you need to be adding to your routine if you're not already:
1 - WEIGHT LIFTING! Get off the treadmill. First, if you want to run, go outside. Second, if you're not prioritizing weight training as your primary source of workouts, you're leaving a lot on the table
2 - EAT YOUR DAMN VEGGIES! Seriously. You've been told this since you were a child. As we age our body becomes more sensitive to higher glycemic carbohydrates. The majority of your carbs should come from whole grains, legumes, and veggies.
3 - DRINK YOUR WATER! Stay hydrated. We all want clear skin and clear pee.
4 - SLEEP MORE! Our hormones are regulated when we're resting. It's also time for digestive system to take a break, and most importantly our mind as well. Get your 7-8 hours a night and try to get to bed before midnight.