Here’s a 10-step program to eliminate pounds one by one, burn fat and reach your weight goal that you’ve set yourself.
Every year, the scale needle seems a little harder to move. You reduce the size of the portions, you say, “No, thanks,” to the desserts; you sign up for Zumba classes – and yet the size of your jeans is increasing and your energy level is decreasing. What is going on ?
From the forties, our body undergoes a series of changes that profoundly affect digestion, metabolism and other bodily functions. Because of changes, including hormonal changes, the growth rate of our cells slows down. We just have to learn to live with it.
However, if something is wrong, metabolically speaking, and there is an underlying medical problem, it must be treated before any weight loss program is put in place so that it can have the maximum effects. Here’s a 10-step program to understand the issues that prevent you from losing weight after age 40, and learn how to overcome them.
Get to know and adapt to the new biological rhythms of your body
In the old days, being old did not necessarily mean having shapes. Today, those of us who are over 40 face a double challenge: We live longer, and we are not as active as before.
When it comes to burning calories, it’s a pretty simple equation. What is consumed must be burned, or everything will remain on our hips. Getting weight is very easy – eating only 100 extra calories a day (100 more than your body burns) will lead to weight gain of 4 to 5 pounds in one year, experts say. What are 100 calories? Not much: A can of Coca-Cola contains 155 calories, a bar of chocolate over 200. Of course, cola, chips, and chocolate cookies are not a problem if you run or do walk. But after 40 years, our level of activity also tends to decrease. The challenge is to balance the two.
Take a step back from the past year and think about when your weight seemed stable and when it seemed to be slowly increasing. What were you doing during the good weeks? What sabotaged the other moments? Make a list of what works for you and what makes you gain weight. Use your own healthy habits, they are most likely to help you now.
More ways to lose fat after 40 years
2. Eliminate the underlying metabolic conditions to speed up your weight loss
Would you be surprised to learn that thyroid problems affect more than one in five adults after 40 years? And that 8 out of 10 people are women? The most common disease is hypothyroidism – a thyroid that is not active enough – and this is one of the main reasons that prevent many women over 40 from losing weight. The thyroid is a small gland that produces the hormones that regulate metabolism, and when it is deficient the metabolism is no longer properly regulated. Imagine a weak thyroid as a sort of internal thermostat that would be set too low. Symptoms include a feeling of permanent cold, poor circulation in the hands and feet, sweaty hands, fatigue and lethargy, hair loss (including eyebrows and eyelashes), and weight gain – despite genuine efforts to eat well and exercise.
If you suspect that hypothyroidism is causing your metabolism to slow down, the first step is to contact your doctor and ask him to give you a thyroid test. But beware: It’s not always so simple. Many thyroid experts consider that first-line blood tests of thyroid function, known as TSH tests, are not reliable indicators, these experts argue that doctors should diagnose based on symptoms rather than laboratory tests. There is considerable disagreement among endocrinologists about what should be considered a “normal” level of thyroid stimulating hormone, a rate that would indicate subclinical hypothyroidism, and a rate that would reflect hypothyroidism. Since 2003, the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE) has recommended that a result of the TSH test equal to or greater than 2.5 should be considered as a possible indicator of hypothyroidism. But many laboratories still use an old standard where 5.5 is considered the threshold above which the thyreostimulin level is abnormal. New recommendations issued jointly by a working group of AACE and the American Thyroid Association (ATA) have not clarified much, in summary a test result between 2.5 and 10 may indicate hypothyroidism ( case by case). In addition, the 2012 recommendations suggest that physicians use another test for a thyroperoxidase antibody level, or TPOAb, in a diagnosis of autoimmune hypothyroidism.
Conclusion: If the result of your TSH test is greater than 2.5, make sure your doctor knows that AACE considers you a candidate for thyroid treatment, depending on your symptoms. Then ask for an endocrinologist, you can discuss with him the need for additional tests.
3. Change your eating habits for maximum energy
Your goal, at this stage of your life, is to feed yourself to be full without succumbing to the temptation to eat as you did at age 20. One of the recommended strategies is to eat more often, but in smaller amounts each time. Another benefit of this method is that it is easier to keep your blood sugar stable, so you do not have peaks or troughs that contribute to tilts on your rate curve.
Here is the rule: Try to eat five to six small meals a day, and do not spend more than three or four hours without eating. For example, you can eat a healthy and light breakfast before going to work, then take a nongra yogurt in the late morning. So, instead of eating a big pasta dish at noon and spending the afternoon just half asleep, eat light lunch and spend the rest of your lunch break on a brisk walk. Take a nut-based snack with an apple, it will prevent you from eating sweets at 4 am and this snack will prevent you from overeating at dinner.
Your goal is exactly the opposite of deprivation and diet – you need to make your body feel full and nourished at all times, as long as the total amount of food you consume is less.
4. Schedule the time of your meals to enjoy the natural rhythms of your body and lose weight without frustration
Most experts agree on one point: If you nibble (or dine) after 8 pm, what you eat is more likely to be directly stored on your hips and belly. Fortunately, the opposite is also true – what you eat in the morning, when your metabolism speeds up to its optimum operating speed, what you consume is more likely to be spent effectively.
You do not like having breakfast? Sorry, but there is no way around this meal; Eating a good breakfast is one of the best habits identified by experts to stay slim. When members of the National Weight Control Registry (people who lost 15 kilos and did not regain that weight for one to six years) were surveyed, 78 percent of them said they had breakfast every days and almost 90 percent of the study members reported having breakfast at least five days a week. This factor was one of the only ones identified by researchers that was common to most members who participated in the study!
5. Help your metabolism with foods that fight fats
I know you’ve heard about this before, but it’s true: It’s not just the amount of food you eat that’s important, but what foods you eat. There are many healthy foods that you can eat in abundance – and no, that does not mean filling your refrigerator with celery sticks like in the 1970s. Instead, make some simple adjustments to your diet, incorporating foods that actually fight fat instead of foods that cause fat gain. Eat other foods in moderation, and you should be OK.
6. Make your muscles allies in your fat loss program
There is one point on which exercise enthusiasts are right: The more muscle mass you have, the more calories your body burns. But, even if it’s sad to say, one of the natural tendencies of aging is the loss of muscle, and the gradual replacement of it by fat. So, in order to mobilize all your muscles’ abilities to burn calories, you have to work on it.
The key to long-term benefits is physical activity such as fitness. Buy dumbbells, a bar, some elastic bands and some accessories to start the fitness, and think about your high school gym teacher. And do not forget to strengthen your heart; planks, flexions, pilates, all these movements help strengthen the core muscles that are essential for good posture. Make the exercise as enjoyable as possible, practice while watching the evening news or your favorite series. Other tools that can also help you: kettlebells, an exercise ball, and ankle weights. Slowly and gradually, develop your biceps, your abs, your deltoids and your glutes, and you will have gained great allies in your fight to prevent weight gain related to age.
7. Sleep more to burn more calories
As all pre-menopausal women or active men over 35 can tell you, sleep becomes less and less easy as you get older. It’s not just because we are busier or more stressed. We also have several physical problems, from back pain to snoring to night sweats, any of these problems can prevent you from having a good night’s sleep.
Yet paradoxically, having a good night’s sleep is one of the keys to losing weight. In recent years, major research has shown that sleep deprivation is directly related to weight gain because of the action of the two hormones leptin and ghrelin, which control hunger and the feeling of fullness. . One study concluded that “sleep time can be an important regulator of metabolism and weight. And here’s how it works: When you are deprived of sleep, ghrelin levels increase as leptin levels decrease. These changes cause hunger and diminish the feeling of satiety. Add to this the fact that sleep-deprived people often crave “energetic” foods, which are mostly sweet or salty, and you’ll see how small changes in your routine can affect significant weight gain.
And there’s more. Studies have recently shown that our bodies are more metabolically active when we sleep, and that when we do it less than six hours a night, it impairs our glucose tolerance, a precursor to diabetes. Therefore, the more we sleep, the more fats and sugars will be burned efficiently.
Add these parameters and you can see an emerging model: The older we get, the harder it is to get a good night’s sleep – and the less we sleep, the more weight gain we promote. What to do ? Take steps to combat sleep problems and your waistline will also be affected.
8. Start a healthy relationship with sweets to lose more pounds
If you’re dying to eat a candy, treat yourself to it, savor it slowly so that your brain’s pleasure sensors fully capture that sensation. A tip that many experts recommend: Cut the candy in half before starting to eat, carefully pack the second half and “put it aside”. You may want to or not – sometimes, if you eat the first half slowly and think enough about it, you will feel satisfied. But knowing that you have a little left is important for your brain, it tends to desire the things it perceives to be rare.
Do not try to replace them with fake candies. Researchers have recently discovered that artificial sweeteners can not trigger the body’s natural satisfaction response. So, eating a 100-calorie substitute cookie only adds to your problems, you’ll continue to crave the real cookie, and the 100 calories you just ate will not help.
9. Forget the diets. Concentrate on your fuel / energy ratio
If, like most people over 40, you have a few extra pounds, you’ve probably made a lot of decisions about dieting. You have also probably realized at this point in your life that diets rarely work, and that you do not start overnight in a new, intensive training program. There is a good reason why sudden and drastic changes do not lead to long-term weight loss, and can even lead to greater weight recovery. Have you ever noticed that your weight tends to be stable from week to week, even if you break down one day and get sick, but the next day you return to a normal diet? Nature has done so with optimal capacity to maintain a stable metabolic rate, as it helps to help us withstand food shortages and weather events and also respond to sudden energy demands.
Unfortunately, this means that when you have gained weight gradually over the long term, your body has adapted to your new weight and is now doing its best to hold it back. Here’s what to do: Make slow, incremental adjustments on either side of the equation. And you – and only you – decide which side of the equation (incoming fuel / outgoing energy) you make these adjustments.
10. Make slow, realistic changes in harmony with your lifestyle
Let’s say you want to lose 5 pounds. To lose them right now, you need to burn 35,000 calories – an impressive number that would be like eating nothing at all for about 2 weeks, jogging for 51 hours, or walking for 126 hours. Not only would that be impossible, but attempts like this would put your body in a state of starvation and metabolic slowing, which would sabotage your efforts.
But you can also, in a much more effective way, plan to lose 500 grams to 1 kilo per week for 5 to 10 weeks. Studies show that if you go for a slow but steady approach, you are much more likely to maintain that 5 kilogram weight loss. Remember that you are the only one responsible for adjusting your metabolic system. Choose what you focus on either by reducing the number of calories you consume or by increasing the number of calories you burn. You will find a balance that will suit you between the two.
If you can do six half-hour walks each week without suffering too much, it’s a good choice, if you can only do three, do it. If going out when it is only ten degrees is really too bad and you do not want to die by going to a gym, but you do not have too much trouble giving up your desserts, do rather changes in your diet in priority.
Your main goal should be to make as many small incremental changes in your lifestyle and in your daily routine as possible, and you need to stick to it in the long run. This is the ultimate secret of the fight against weight gain after 40 years.