When aiming for weight loss, there are several factors that women over 40 should consider, aside from just diet and exercise. Making minor changes to daily routines can have a significant impact on achieving sustainable weight loss.
By incorporating one or two of the following strategies, you can maximize your results and establish a healthier lifestyle.
1. Ditch the Diet
Although fad diets often promise quick weight loss, they can do more harm than good when it comes to your waistline and your health.
For example, one study in college women showed that eliminating certain foods from their diet increased cravings and overeating.
Fad diets can also promote unhealthy eating habits and lead to yo-yo dieting, both of which are detrimental to long-term weight loss.
2. Squeeze in More Steps
When you’re pressed for time and unable to fit in a full workout, squeezing more steps into your day is an easy way to burn extra calories and increase weight loss.
In fact, it’s estimated that non-exercise-related activity may account for 50% of the calories your body burns throughout the day.
Taking the stairs instead of the elevator, parking further from the door, or taking a walk during your lunch break are a few simple strategies to bump up your total number of steps and burn more calories.
3. Set Attainable Goals
Setting SMART goals can make it easier to reach your weight loss goals while also setting you up for success.
SMART goals should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. They should hold you accountable and lay out a plan for how to reach your goals.
For example, instead of simply setting a goal to lose 10 pounds, set a goal to lose 10 pounds in 3 months by keeping a food journal, going to the gym 3 times per week, and adding a serving of vegetables to each meal.
4. Keep Stress Under Control
Some studies suggest that increased stress levels can contribute to a higher risk of weight gain over time.
Stress may also alter eating patterns and contribute to issues like overeating and binging.
Exercising, listening to music, practicing yoga, journaling, and talking to friends or family are several easy and effective ways to lower stress levels.
5. Try HIIT
High-intensity interval training, also known as HIIT, pairs intense bursts of movement with brief recovery periods to help keep your heart rate elevated.
Swapping cardio for HIIT a few times per week can amp up weight loss.
HIIT can decrease belly fat, increase weight loss, and has been shown to burn more calories than other activities, such as biking, running, and resistance training.
6. Use Smaller Plates
Switching to a smaller plate size may help promote portion control, aiding weight loss.
Although research remains limited and inconsistent, one study showed that participants who used a smaller plate ate less and felt more satisfied than those who used a normal-size plate.
Using a smaller plate can also limit your portion size, which can reduce your risk of overeating and keep calorie consumption in check.
7. Take a Probiotic Supplement
Probiotics are a type of beneficial bacteria that can be consumed through food or supplements to help support gut health.
Studies show that probiotics can promote weight loss by increasing the excretion of fat and altering hormone levels to reduce appetite.
In particular, Lactobacillus gasseri is a strain of probiotic that’s especially effective. Studies show that it can help decrease belly fat and overall body weight.
8. Practice Yoga
Studies show that practicing yoga can help prevent weight gain and increase fat burning.
Yoga can also decrease stress levels and anxiety — both of which may be tied to emotional eating.
Additionally, practicing yoga has been shown to reduce binge eating and prevent preoccupation with food to support healthy eating behaviors.
9. Chew Slower
Making a conscious effort to chew slowly and thoroughly can help increase weight loss by cutting down on the amount of food you eat.
According to one study, chewing 50 times per bite significantly decreased calorie intake compared to chewing 15 times per bite.
Another study showed that chewing food either 150% or 200% more than normal reduced food intake by 9.5% and 14.8%, respectively.
10. Eat a Healthy Breakfast
Enjoying a nutritious breakfast first thing in the morning can help start your day off on the right foot and keep you feeling full until your next meal.
In fact, studies find that sticking to a regular eating pattern may be linked to a reduced risk of binge eating.
Eating a high-protein breakfast has been shown to decrease levels of the hunger-promoting hormone ghrelin. This can help keep appetite and hunger under control.
11. Experiment With Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting involves alternating between eating and fasting for a specific window of time each day. Periods of fasting typically last 14–24 hours.
Intermittent fasting is thought to be as effective as cutting calories when it comes to weight loss.
It may also help enhance metabolism by increasing the number of calories burned at rest.
12. Limit Processed Foods
Processed foods are typically high in calories, sugar, and sodium — yet low in important nutrients like protein, fiber, and micronutrients.
Studies show that consuming more processed foods is associated with excess body weight — especially among women.
Therefore, it’s best to limit your intake of processed foods and opt for whole foods, such as fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, lean proteins, whole grains, and legumes.
13. Cut Back on Added Sugar
Added sugar is a major contributor to weight gain and serious health issues, such as diabetes and heart disease.
Foods high in added sugar are loaded with extra calories but lacking in the vitamins, minerals, fiber, and protein that your body needs to thrive.
For this reason, it’s best to minimize your intake of sugary foods like soda, candy, fruit juice, sports drinks, and sweets to help promote weight loss and optimize overall health.