Ask anyone who has ever tried to ditch those last 10 pounds in middle age and they’ll tell you: losing weight before and after 40 are two different animals. The easy weight loss you enjoyed in your teens and 20s is a thing of the past, replaced by newfound difficulty getting the scale to budge, even with loads of exercise.
According to research published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the metabolic rate of study participants decreased by up to 78 calories a day with every passing decade, while calorie burn dropped by up to 68 calories a day. While this may mean that it takes more work to shed the pounds in your 40s, it’s far from impossible to do so; in fact, just a few small changes to your usual routine can have you hitting your goal weight before you know it. And when you want to jumpstart that slimdown, discover Why Sunshine Is Your Weight Loss Secret Weapon!
Get Up Earlier
Want to ditch those extra pounds plaguing you in your 40s? Start by waking up earlier. According to research published by The Obesity Society, early birds tend to make healthier food choices than their night owl counterparts. And when you want to know why you’re so tired in the mornings, discover the 40 Ways Your Sleep Changes After 40!
Work Out Before Breakfast
Getting a good start to your day means working on your weight loss before you even sit down to breakfast. A study published in Obesity reveals that the combination of fasting and exercise produced greater weight loss in study subjects than either calorie restriction or exercise alone. Luckily, a better body is well within reach—just make sure these 7 Most Surprising Everyday Exercise Killers aren’t standing in your way first.
Lift Some Weights
Eager to lose weight? Start lifting it. Researchers at Wake Forest University found that cutting calories and weight training helped study participants lose more fat and less muscle than aerobic exercise, calorie restriction, or a combination of the two, while losing the same amount of weight as the aerobic exercise group. And when you want to get even more cut, This Is the Safest Way to Lose Weight Over 40.
Start Your Day With Eggs
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, especially when you opt for eggs. Research published in the International Journal of Obesity reveals that study subjects who ate eggs for breakfast had a 61 percent greater drop in their BMI and a 34 percent greater waist measurement reduction than those who ate a similar number of calories, but from carb-rich sources. And for more great ways to look your very best, here are the 15 Men’s Haircuts That Will Make You Look Instantly Younger.
Make Breakfast Your Biggest Meal
Slimming down over 40 doesn’t have to mean meager meals. In fact, eating a big breakfast might just help you reach those goals. In fact, a 2013 study reveals that women who ate the bulk of their calories at breakfast lost more than twice as much weight as those who had the majority of their calories later in the day. And for more health news, check out the 30 Weirdest Things You Do in Your Sleep.
Get Some Sunlight
A little controlled sunlight might just be the thing you need to help you whittle that waistline after 40. Researchers at Northwestern University have linked exposure to early morning sunlight with lower BMIs, so don’t be afraid to get outside in the AM. And for more great habits you should pick up, check out the 50 Life Changes to Make After 50.
Grab an Apple
An apple a day does keep the doctor away, especially when you’re trying to lose weight. Research published in Nutrition reveals that eating three apples a day was associated with significantly more weight loss than eating a similarly-caloric oat-based snack. And when you want to discover the fountain of youth, start with the 25 Foods That’ll Keep You Young Forever.
Take the Stairs
While it may seem like a small change, taking the stairs instead of the elevator can make a big difference when it comes to your weight loss. According to research conducted at McMaster University, short bursts of stair climbing significantly improved study subjects’ cardiovascular health. Better yet, an average-weight person can expect to burn more than 10 calories per flight of stairs—not an insignificant number over the course of a week or month. Need more incentive to break a sweat? The 7 Things That Happen to Your Body When You Exercise will have you convinced.
Drink Two Cups of Water at Every Meal
Want to slim down at every meal? Pregame with some water. One study reveals that study subjects who drank two glasses of water before meals lost five pounds more over a 12-week study than those who dug in right away.
Feeling hard-pressed to find the motivation to hit the gym on a regular basis? Grab a buddy. In fact, research published in the Journal of Behavioral Medicine found that people who received social support following weight loss were more likely to maintain a calorie deficit than those without similar support.
Plan Some Stress-Reducing Activities
Keeping off those unwanted pounds requires more than just hitting the gym: it means some self-care in the forms of stress-relieving activities, too. A 2017 study reveals that concentrations of the stress hormone cortisol in the bloodstream are significantly linked to obesity, so give yourself ample opportunities to decompress without food whenever possible. And who knows? Maybe you’ll age as well as These 10 Over-65 Leading Ladies Who Look Amazing.
Add Some Healthy Fat to Your Meals
To get thin, eat fat. Research published in Experimental & Clinical Cardiology reveals that a high-fat diet not only yielded significant weight loss, but also improved good cholesterol among obese study subjects.
Eat in Front of a Mirror
Don’t have a dinner companion? Try eating in front of a mirror instead. According to a study published in the Journal of the Association for Consumer Research, people who ate in front of a mirror were more acutely aware of their poor food choices, finding them less pleasurable. And for more clever hacks, check out these 50 Genius Weight-Loss Motivation Tricks.
Squeeze Some Citrus
The key to slimming down over 40? A little lemon in that water. Not only does staying properly hydrated help you slim down and ignore those thirst cues you might mistake for hunger, research published in the Journal of Clinical Biochemistry and Nutrition reveals that lemon polyphenols helped attenuate diet-related obesity in animal test subjects.
Keep a Food Diary
Diaries aren’t just for keeping track of your teenage crushes. In your 40s, commit to keeping a food diary and you can enjoy greater weight loss. In fact, research from Kaiser Permanente found that individuals who kept a food diary lost twice as much weight as those who didn’t jot down their food.
Take Some Deep Breaths
A few deep breaths could mean a few pounds off the scale, even if you’re dealing with an over-40 metabolic slump. Research published in the BMJ suggests that much of the fat we lose is breathed out, and deep breathing may help reduce cortisol levels, reducing your overall risk of weight gain.
Enlist Your Significant Other
If you want to lose weight and keep it off, don’t go it alone. Researchers at the University of Connecticut found that the partners of people who started a weight loss program were more likely to lose weight themselves, even if they weren’t trying.
Add Some Olive Oil to Your Meals
Heart disease remains the number one killer across the world, but a Mediterranean diet might be the key to lowering your risk. Better yet, it may even help you lose weight. According to research published in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology, an olive oil-rich Mediterranean diet yielded significant weight loss, despite its high fat content.
Take Photos of Your Food
Want to shed that spare tire? Start by photographing your food. Research suggests that taking food photos may increase a dieter’s accountability, so go ahead and post that beautiful steak or salad to your Instagram before digging in. And for more great life hacks, consider these 70 Genius Tricks to Boost Your Confidence.
Ditch the Trans Fats
Unlock a leaner life by getting those trans fats out of your diet today. Researchers at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center found that diets high in trans fats caused greater weight increases than those with the same number of calories, but with healthier forms of fat.
Pregame With a Pear
Before you start your meal, snack on a pear—it might just keep those numbers on the scale heading in the right direction. Research published in Nutrition reveals that people who consumed three pears a day lost significantly more weight than a control group.
Skip the Binge-Watching
Swap that Netflix binge for a more active date and you might just find the pounds melting away, even if your metabolism seems sluggish after 40. According to researchers at Brigham Young University, binge-watching is linked to the consumption of fewer fruits and vegetables and a lower likelihood of getting the recommended amount of physical activity.
Snack on Some Nuts
While they may not be low in calories, adding some nuts to your diet may help you stave off weight gain over time. In fact, a five-year study conducted at Loma Linda University Adventist Health Sciences Center found that people who regularly ate nuts were less likely to gain weight than those who skipped them.
Get Some Social Media Support
Losing that over-40 pudge starts on social media. According to research at the University of California, Irvine, getting support through social media helped keep dieters motivated and on track.
Fight the Urge to Eat With Exercise
Want to fight the urge to eat? Try moving your body. One study reveals that, somewhat counterintuitively, exercise actually decreases the urge to eat, so when a craving hits, try jogging in place or doing a few reps to see if it passes.
Set the Mood With a Scented Candle
If you find yourself hungrier over 40 than you were earlier in life, try using some strong scents to help temper the urge to eat. Many scientists believe that certain scents, including vanilla, can reduce the urge to eat, so try lighting a vanilla-scented candle during meals and see if it takes the edge off your hunger.
Skip the Added Sugar
The key to a leaner you in your 40s is ditching those added sugars in your food. Not only do Americans get a shocking 13 percent of their daily calories from added sugars on average, research suggests that cutting out those added sugars now may reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease in the long run.
But If You Do Indulge, Opt for Dark Chocolate
If you do decide to give into that sweet tooth, choose dark chocolate instead of the sugary milk chocolate variety. Research suggests that cocoa polyphenols reduce inflammation, potentially reducing an individual’s propensity toward obesity, a condition often linked with a chronically-inflamed state.
Spice Up Your Food
Give your taste buds something to look forward to and whittle that waistline by spicing up your food with some hot peppers. Research suggests that capsaicin, the compound that gives peppers their heat, may increase the human body’s ability to burn fat, so don’t be afraid to bust out that five-alarm chili recipe.
Skip the Commercials
Want to slim down? Try watching your favorite movies or TV shows on a streaming service instead of TV. One study reveals that children ate 45 percent more after watching a food advertisement, while adults consumed by more healthy and unhealthy snacks after seeing food advertising.
Pack on the Probiotics
Losing weight and flattening your over-40 belly start with the addition of some probiotics to your diet. Research suggests that adding some probiotics to your meals may reduce your risk of weight gain, so don’t be afraid to make sauerkraut or kimchi part of your regular meal plan.
Take a Lunch Break
Many workplaces offer hour long lunches, but so few of us actually take our employers up on that midday break. Research suggests that distracted eating can increase weight gain, so whenever possible, give yourself a distraction-free period during which to eat.
Dial Up the Intensity
A little more intensity in your workout could mean a lot less weight on your body in the long run. Research published in the Journal of Obesity reveals that high intensity exercise increases fat oxidation, making it easier to shed the pounds simply by dialing up the intensity.
Tighten a Muscle
Trying to control those impulses to eat? Try clenching your fist. According to a study published in the Journal of Consumer Research, simply clenching muscles can increase willpower almost immediately.
Ditch That Nightcap
Losing weight over 40 might be as simple as losing that nightly cocktail or glass of wine. In addition to saving yourself a few hundred calories, ditching the drinks will improve your REM sleep, potentially increasing your body’s fat-burning capability, too.
Opt For Full-Fat Foods
Skipping those sad low-fat substitutes for your favorite foods may save you some pounds in the long run. Not only are full-fat foods more satisfying than their low-fat counterparts, research suggests that full-fat dairy may even reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes.
Slim Down Your Dinner
Ditch those feast-like dinners and you may find those unwanted pounds melting off. Starting your day with your largest meal and tapering to a light dinner is the key to losing more weight in the long run.
Turn Up the Lights
Say so long to candle light if you’re trying to lose weight over 40. Research suggests that dim light actually makes us eat more, so have your meals in a well-lit room free of distractions whenever possible.
Cook Dinner at Home
A healthier body over 40 starts with healthier meals. And, unsurprisingly, research suggests that our healthiest meals tend to be prepared in the comfort of our own kitchens. So, whenever possible, ditch that greasy takeout and treat yourself to the delicious, weight-loss-promoting meals you deserve by channeling your inner Julia Child.
Close the Kitchen
You have a bedtime at night, and so should your kitchen. Research suggests that closing down your kitchen at night and giving yourself a few hours of fasting time before sleep may be the key to saying so long to those unwanted pounds you’ve gained in your 40s for good.
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