Is age really just a number?
Sadly, no! Our bodies go through so many changes throughout our lives—especially women! From the time we get our first cycle all the way to menopause, our hormones dictate how we feel, look, think, eat, sleep, and lose weight. As women approach and enter their 40s, a whole new wave of hormonal shifts happen making weight loss more challenging. Because of the hormonal changes, your metabolic rate has likely been downregulated making your once go-to diet plan ineffective.
However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t solutions! You just need to learn your new body and honor it during this phase of life. Nourishing your body from the inside out with whole, nutrient-dense foods and making daily movement and weight training a priority will allow you to start feeling like yourself again.
I’ve rounded up my top five tips that I’ve used on hundreds of women to help them navigate this new chapter without crash diets or endless amounts of cardio. If you’re struggling to feel like yourself and lack that energy you once had, let’s chat to figure out the missing piece to your healing.
My Fit by Design 1:1 coaching not only focuses on workouts and nutrition, but I take a holistic approach to full-body wellness. We’ll come up with a plan that protects your energy and nourishes your mind and soul so you feel ready to conquer the days ahead.
Tip 1: Move more
As we age, our lifestyles adapt! With less energy, we tend to protect ourselves by moving less than we used to. Older women tend to be busier raising children or at the height of their careers which leaves little time for exercise and proper daily movement. Begin with small, daily modifications like a 15-minute walk after dinner every night to slowly start moving more. Skip the elevator at work and take the stairs, or offer to walk the kids to school instead of dropping them off (if distance permits). All of these little daily habits that don’t seem big right now can add up to a significant calorie burn at the end of the week. Not only is this beneficial from a calorie perspective, but taking breaks to move can also help lower cortisol levels caused by the stress of a sedentary lifestyle. So take those breaks and prioritize yourself!
Tip 2: Focus on restful sleep
Do you experience sleep-deprived, zombie-like mornings? We’ve all been there! But a constant lack of sleep is a massive no-no for our hormones. Studies show that lack of sleep interferes with our body’s ability to properly regulate our hunger hormones, which can cause weight gain simply by feeling hungrier from little sleep. Plus, you’ll likely move less from low energy. Our rest has a huge domino effect on how we tackle our day, so ensure you’re getting 7-9 hours of sleep per night. If you have a hard time falling asleep at a decent time, try taking a relaxing bath, journaling, reading, or finding a nighttime routine that helps your body know it’s time to wind down.
Tip 3: Strength train
As females, we naturally have less muscle mass than men (sigh). And as we age, we can lose that even faster if we are not working our bodies properly to preserve it. Adding weight training to your weekly movement routine can be a game changer! You’ll be burning calories and adding to your muscle which helps improve your metabolism and overall shape. Yes, you can burn more calories at rest if you have more muscle on your body. Not only does lifting benefit your muscles, but it supports your bone density and joints to help you move better as you age.
Tip 4: Fill up on nutrients
Does your busy schedule land you in the drive-through after work? I see it all the time with coaching clients! One of the biggest things I teach my 1:1 clients is how to properly structure your meals and how to fill your plate with nutrients that will help your body thrive. When you can fill up on less processed foods, they will often contain more fiber and more micronutrients to help you feel fuller longer. Highly processed, packaged foods are often highly palatable leaving you to eat more at a time when you are not needing the extra calories. So opt for whole foods like nuts, leafy greens, lean proteins, whole grains, eggs, avocados, and other nutrient-dense finds that support your hormones—at least 80% of the time. Some small treats or a glass of wine here and there is 100% okay in my book and for my clients, but keep wholesome foods as the priority.
Tip 5: Up your protein intake
Protein is essential for maintaining a healthy, functioning body and plays a big role in how you move and feel as you age. It’s responsible for the structure of everything from our hair, skin, and bones to antibodies in our immune system. If your diet is lacking in protein, you’ll notice a decline in your muscle tone and overall energy, brittle hair and nails, and you’ll feel a heightened appetite. Protein helps keeps us fuller longer because it takes more time and energy to digest than a simple carb like white rice, for example. When trying to lose weight in your 40s, focus on protein-dense meals aiming for 0.7-1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight per day. If you’re not quite there or that number feels daunting, start small! Begin adding a protein source to one of your usual meals per day and increase or make adjustments as you feel more comfortable.
Some of my favorite protein sources are:
Protein powder of your choice
Turkey, chicken, beef
Lentils, beans and chickpeas
Extra-firm tofu or seitan
Don’t be afraid to ask for help
This is a new chapter and it can be scary not knowing what’s going on and how to manage unwanted weight gain. But you don’t have to go through it alone! Having an objective second eye to take a look at your routine, make adjustments, answer questions, and be your personal hype girl is exactly what you need during this stage of life. This is why I created Fit by Design, to help women just like you connect with themselves on a deeper level to understand their mind and body and help them reach their fitness goals no matter their age. You don’t have to wake up every morning wondering if it’s too late for you to live the life you love because with proper support and guidance, you can get back to feeling like yourself again!
Let’s fight the forties together and get you back to thriving, not just surviving.
Thanks for reading!
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