Your 40s are a magical time when you have a better sense of who you are, what you want, and where you’re headed. It’s also a time when it seems like you just can’t avoid a hangover and weight loss might feel impossible.
Thanks to our changing bodies, your metabolism starts to slow once you hit the big 4-0. But not to worry! We’ve got your guide to being 40, flirty, and thriving on your weight loss journey.
1. Focus on feeling good
There’s nothing wrong with wanting a “hot bod”. But having a mindset that’s about improving your health rather than improving your appearance may actually be better for achieving your weight loss #goals.
One study found that participants who were primarily motivated to lose weight to improve their appearance actually gained weight over a 30-month period. Participants who wanted to lose weight to improve their overall health and reduce risk of disease experienced significant weight loss.
Bonus: A 2020 research review suggested that maintaining a moderate weight can boost your self-confidence and body-image. (But for the record, we like you very much just as you are!)
2. Make sleep a priority
There are only 24 hours in a day, so squeezing in a quality snooze sesh can be a challenge when your time is filled with work, a social life, and caring for your children/fur-babies/plants. But it’s important to get in those Zzz’s for optimal health — and successful weight loss.
But how much sleep do you actually need? The American Academy of Sleep Medicine and Sleep Research Society suggests that the sweet spot is somewhere between 7 to 9 hours a night. Sleeping less than 7 hours on the reg may put you at a higher risk of developing obesity or other health concerns.
3. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!
Keeping your body flush with fluids is key for maintaining a moderate weight. How much H2O you need depends on a bunch of factors, like your age, activity levels, and current weight.
Drinking plenty of water can also help keep your metabolism in check. In fact, a small 2003 study showed that a single 16-ounce serving can boost your body’s calorie burning potential and rev your metabolic rate by as much as 30 percent!
Plain ol’ agua not making your taste buds sing? Try infusing it with delicious fruity flavor or enjoying some sparkling water.
4. Get your body moving
Not-so-fun fact: Muscle mass starts to decline as you get older, particularly after you turn 30.
Better fact: You can build and maintain muscle mass with regular movement and exercise. And this doesn’t even mean you have to hit the gym every day.
Choose whatever kind of workout or movement that suits your style and sparks joy. Take a yoga or Pilates class, dance around your living room, chase your kids (or dogs) around the yard. Whatever brings a smile to your face and gets your body moving and grooving can help your body!
5. Just say “no” to fad diets
There are countless fad diets that promise a “get slim quick!” solution to all your weight loss woes. While some popular diets might help you lose weight temporarily, many won’t work at all. And most aren’t sustainable.
According to a research review, dieting and disordered eating won’t help with long-term weight maintenance. Restricting what you eat and limiting calorie intake can also have a negative effect on both your physical and mental health.
Instead of jumping on the fad-wagon, prioritize your well-being over whatever wellness trend is currently gaining buzz. Make nutritious choices, indulge in moderation, and treat your body like the temple it is. If you find yourself struggling or you could use personalized guidance, consult your doctor or a nutritionist for support.
6. Keep stress in check
Stress can definitely take a mental toll, but what about the physical? From headaches to digestive probs, stress can negatively impact your bod. It can also boost your cortisol levels or make you reach for that not-so-healthy treat. Both of those effects can lead to weight gain. This stress weight can be harder to get rid of in your 30s.
A small study suggested that you can prevent stress-related weight gain by adopting techniques to manage your stress. Eating a balanced diet, getting plenty of sleep, and exercising regularly can all help keep your stress in check. You can also try doing mindful activities focused on easing your body and mind, like yoga or meditation.
If you find that your stress isn’t going away and continuing to lead to weight gain or other health concerns, talk with your doctor.
7. Fuel your body with nutritious foods
A nutrient-rich, balanced diet is the “secret” to weight loss at any age. But what does this diet actually look like?
Start by getting enough protein. This helps you feel full and helps you build muscle. You’ll also want to add fiber-rich foods (like veggies, fruits, beans, and nuts) and nutritious fats (like eggs, yogurt, and avocado).
Avoid processed snack foods whenever you can. This includes fast food, packaged snacks, and drinks like soda (aka “pop” if that’s how you roll). These items can not only make you more likely to gain weight, but can also up your risk of developing heart disease or certain cancers.