Updated on March 17th, 2018
Are you a woman over 40 and noticing it’s getting harder to lose weight? Got some extra stubborn fluff and puff around the middle? Maybe you’re finding that the diets you did in your 20’s or 30’s don’t work as fast as they used to or don’t even work at all! If you’re already well past 40, chances are you’ve found it’s harder to lose weight. And, those inches around your waistline won’t budge.
Sometimes, though, something’s gotten off track, metabolically speaking, and there’s an underlying medical issue that needs to be dealt with before the usual weight-loss measures will have any effect. Here’s a 30-step plan for understanding the challenges that prevent weight loss over 40, and for learning how to overcome them.
1. Home gym
Gym memberships can be expensive, and some days you just can’t make it into the gym.
2. Schedule your workouts
Plan your workouts into your day just as you would schedule anything else.
3. Walk before you run
Ease into running. You might get discouraged if you attempt a jog without building up that type of strength—and this could put a damper on your motivation.
4. Stick with it
Remember that in order to keep the pounds off and maintain your happy weight, you need to develop a healthy lifestyle.
5. Download an app that’s right for you
There are hundreds of healthy living apps that can help you lose weight. Find one that aligns with your goal, whether it’s to get stronger, get faster, get off the couch, or eat healthy.
6. Find a mantra
Replace the negative voice in your head that’s telling you to quit with a motivational saying that will inspire you to keep going even when it gets tough.
7. Hang up your motivation
To keep herself on track during her weight loss journey, Mindy Badgley hung her motivation right on her fridge.
8. Mix up your workouts
Not only can doing the same thing day after day get boring, it might also become ineffective. “I kicked up my exercise and added in twice-weekly workouts with a trainer.
9. Pick a power song
Listening to music during exercise can help you to work out longer and harder because the tunes distract you from fatigue.
10. Add in strength training
Not only does strength training tone your body and help to prevent injuries, but it also increases your metabolism for days after the fact, meaning you’ll burn more calories even after the workout is finished.
11. Make exercise fun
In order to make a routine stick, you want to keep it fresh and exciting so you don’t burn out mentally.
12. Sign up for a challenge
Sometimes, you might need an external motivator—like a race or a competition—to keep you on track.
13. Fit in workouts when you can
Busy schedule? That’s not an excuse! You can still use the 5 or 10 spare minutes you get a couple times a day to work up a sweat.
14. Make it a family affair
Including your significant other in your workouts can help to keep you on track, even if your goals aren’t necessarily the same.
15. Find workout buddies
Schedule a workout with a friend—you’ll be less likely to skip out on it knowing that she is expecting you to show up. Or, use your workouts as “dates” where you can catch up with friends.
16. Eat a nutritious diet
Swapping out unhealthy foods for nutritious ones gives you benefits beyond just losing weight.
17. Use smaller plates
Think about it: If you have a big plate, it may be easy to pile on the food until the plate is full, leaving you with portions that are way too large.
18. Make your own snacks and bars
Instead of eating prepackaged foods, which can be loaded with unnecessary sugars and calories, whip up your own fat-burning healthy snacks.
19. Find better sweet treats
Satisfying your sweet tooth doesn’t require a refined sugar-packed snack. The key is retraining your taste buds to recognize naturally sweet foods, like fruit.
20. Make sleep a priority
People who get enough sleep tend to weigh less than those who don’t. Additionally, researchers found that well-rested dieters lost more fat than those who were sleep deprived, who lost more muscle.
21. Join a larger weight-loss community
Julie Real lost 104 pounds through Weight Watchers, and she credits the weekly meetings to her healthy lifestyle change.
22. Know your way around a cafeteria.
Whether you’re eating in a dining hall or an office cafeteria, it’s important to know how to spot healthy options. Instead of reaching for fried foods, choose baked, grilled, roasted, or broiled meat and fish, along with steamed vegetables.
23. Up your nutrition game in the kitchen.
Take a healthy-cooking class or look for free seminars about healthy eating run by health professionals, suggests Sopov.
24. Focus on healthy, filling fats.
Not all fats are created equal, says Dr. Bowden. He tells his clients to eat more healthy fat and protein and cut down on carbs.
25. Beware of buzzwords and marketing claims.
Companies that make everything from soft drinks to processed foods may not always be telling the whole truth about how healthy their foods are, says Bowden. Their use of buzzwords like “organic” and “natural” might trip you up when you’re trying to make healthy choices.
26. Eat more anti-inflammatory foods
High in omega-3s, along with garlic, turmeric, cocoa, tea and berries.
27. Eat more high-quality protein.
Higher protein diets have been shown to help with weight loss.
28. Eat more soluble fiber.
It fills you up so you feel less hungry, it can increase insulin sensitivity and you know the other reason.
29. Sleep more and stress less.
Easy, right? This may be the hardest part. There are plenty of things you can try. Melatonin and or magnesium at night. Massages. Yoga. Meditation. Hot baths before bed. Black out windows and cooler temperature in your bedroom.
30. Don’t bite off more than you can chew.
The same study also showed that new behaviors are more likely to become a habit when they’re simple.