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Embarking on a weight loss journey after 40 comes with challenges, but there is always time to make positive changes for a healthier life. As hard as weight loss after 40 can seem, a few tips apply to everyone, regardless of how many trips around the sun you may have taken. With weight loss, it's true: age is just a number.
In this article, we'll explore ten practical and easy-to-follow tips to help you shed those extra pounds efficiently and sustainably. Rather than focusing on extreme measures, our approach emphasizes a strategy that encompasses balanced nutrition, regular exercise, and improved lifestyle habits. Here's what you can expect in this article:
Table of contents:
Let’s not waste any time. Here are the ten best ways to lose weight after 40.
The most fundamental tip to lose weight is to ensure you are in a calorie deficit. It doesn't matter if you are twenty, forty, or sixty; losing weight comes down to calories in versus calories out (CICO). It goes beyond just eating a healthy diet. Calories are king.
The next logical question is, how big of a calorie deficit do we need? Well, that depends on how much weight you want to lose and how quickly you want to lose it. Losing twenty pounds fast requires a significant deficit.
Let's run the numbers.
You must create an approximate calorie deficit of 3,500 calories a week to lose one pound. This results in a 500-calorie daily deficit to lose a pound per week. Losing weight at this rate is significant, but we want results more quickly.
An aggressive weight loss program is double this pace. So, instead of a 500-calorie daily deficit, we will aim for a 1,000-calorie daily deficit. The entire deficit doesn't need to come from diet alone. Most should come from diet, but increased physical activity can contribute as well.
In theory, a 1,000-calorie daily deficit should result in losing two pounds per week. At that rate, you will lose twenty pounds in ten weeks. In the grand scheme of things, ten weeks to a healthy body weight is a small time investment.
After calorie intake, protein is next up in terms of importance for improving body composition. Eating a high-protein diet is crucial for weight loss because it provides several benefits that support a more effective and sustainable approach.
First, protein is more filling than carbohydrates or fats, helping curb hunger and reducing overall calorie intake. Feeling full makes you less likely to snack on unhealthy foods. Anyone who has dieted for an extended period will tell you that hunger is your biggest enemy.
Additionally, a high-protein diet preserves lean muscle mass, which is essential for a healthy metabolism. As you lose weight, maintaining muscle helps ensure that the weight you're losing is primarily fat, not precious muscle tissue. Also, maintaining muscle throughout the diet is critical to looking your best.
Lastly, the thermic effect of protein means that the body expends more energy digesting and metabolizing protein than fats and carbs, contributing to increased calorie burning. It's a slight difference, but every detail matters. Aim to consume around one gram of protein per pound of body weight.
Be honest. You knew this one was coming. We have been told to eat more fruits and vegetables since we were kids. And guess what, we should.
Eating more fruits and vegetables is a crucial strategy to lose weight, and here's why: these foods are low in calories but high in volume, meaning you can eat a satisfying amount without taking in a bunch of calories. It's the opposite of fried foods. They are high in calories and low in volume.
Imagine having a plate full of colorful veggies or a refreshing bowl of fruit – they fill you up without weighing you down with excess calories. One reason is that fruits and veggies are high in fiber, which adds bulk to your meals and helps you feel full.
So, you get to enjoy a generous portion, feel satisfied, and keep your calorie intake in check. The key is finding fruits and veggies that you like. It's a win-win for your taste buds and your fitness goals.
Meal preparation is a game-changer because it brings simplicity and consistency to your diet. When you prepare your meals in advance, you're not scrambling to make choices in the heat of the moment.
Instead, you have a plan, and your healthy options are ready. This helps you stick to your nutritional goals, avoiding impulsive, less healthy choices like fast food or excessive snacking. It's like having a roadmap for your meals, ensuring you stay on the right path.
When your meals are pre-prepared, you're less likely to cheat on your diet and more likely to stick to the nutritious choices you've already made. So, it's not just about saving time; meal prep helps you take control of your calorie intake.
When you are planning your meals, include primarily lean proteins, whole grains, fruits, veggies, and healthy fats.
Although cardio should not be the primary driver of weight loss, it is an important co-pilot. Engaging in cardiovascular exercise is a key player in the fat loss game. When you do activities like running, biking, or rucking, your heart rate increases, and you start burning calories.
Remember, weight loss is all about calories in versus calories out. We control this mainly with diet. However, cardio is the icing on the cake. It helps shift the calorie equation further in the direction of weight loss. You can lose weight safely without cardio, but cardiovascular exercise allows you to eat more while still making progress.
Start with 20-30 minutes of low to moderate-intensity cardio (60-75% of your max heart rate) three to four times a week.
Lifting weights is not often seen as a weight loss activity but is an integral part of the process. Lifting weights helps build and maintain muscle, which acts like a metabolic engine burning calories even at rest.
When you engage in strength training, whether using free weights or machines, you're not just getting stronger; you're boosting your metabolism, making your body more efficient in utilizing calories. Think of it as an investment—more muscle means more calories burned throughout the day.
Lifting weights also helps maintain muscle mass, which is vital for maintaining a healthy metabolism during weight loss. The more muscle you have, the more effectively your body can torch calories, supporting sustainable and long-term weight loss.
So, incorporating strength training into your routine isn't just about lifting heavier weights; it's about giving your body the tools to become a more efficient calorie-burning machine, making your weight loss journey more effective and lasting. Aim to lift weights at least three days a week.
One of the easiest things to do on the list is also the one that is the easiest to skip. Tracking your weight, taking update pictures, and using a logbook are key components of successful weight loss.
It's akin to keeping a personalized diary of your weight loss journey. The scale provides a numerical snapshot, giving you an objective measure of progress. It's important to weigh yourself multiple times per week. Weight loss is rarely linear, and daily fluctuations are common. By weighing yourself multiple times per week, you can average the weights together to get a more accurate and valid measure of weekly progress.
At the same time, combining the scale with update pictures brings added context. The update pictures offer a visual timeline of your transformation, showcasing changes that might not be evident on the scale alone. Sometimes, your physique can improve more visually than what the scale indicates. Think of update pictures as a before-and-after story captured in images. Plus, it's always motivating to look back at how much progress you have made.
Using a logbook keeps you honest in the gym. A common problem people have during a fat-loss phase is decreased lifting performance, which can result in reduced muscle mass. Using a logbook to track your weights on given exercises can be one of the best ways to prevent this from happening. Each time you walk into the gym, look at the logbook and try to beat your previous performances.
What if I told you the activity you do outside of the gym can significantly impact weight loss more than your workouts? It's true. Increasing your daily steps is a crucial element in any weight loss program, and it's tied to a concept known as NEAT or Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis.
NEAT encompasses all the calories your body burns during daily activities that aren't formal exercise—things like walking, taking the stairs, or even fidgeting. Think of it as the energy your body expends during the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
By intentionally upping your daily step count, you're artificially boosting your NEAT, significantly contributing to the overall calories burned in a day. Whether opting for a short walk during lunch or choosing stairs over the elevator, these extra steps can add up and support weight loss by increasing your overall daily calorie burn. So, in the grand scheme of things, those additional steps aren't just a stroll—they're a practical and accessible way to enhance your weight loss efforts.
Although cardio does count toward your daily step goal, the idea is to become more active the rest of the day. A cardio session only lasts 30 minutes; there are still another fifteen and a half hours in the day to sneak in more activity.
Adequate sleep is a crucial factor in fat loss. When you don't get enough sleep, your body craves more calories, often favoring unhealthy, high-calorie snacks. Research shows that sleeping more has the opposite effect. More sleep benefits:
Additionally, being well-rested supports overall bodily functions, making adhering to an exercise routine easier. When well-rested and feeling good, a hard workout is much more manageable.
Taking a fat burner can be the final step of a successful weight loss formula. These supplements often contain ingredients that increase energy expenditure and promote fat oxidation, acting as a supportive tool in your fitness journey. Fat burners may also decrease appetite, which helps you stick to your diet.
While not a magic solution, fat burners, when used responsibly, can be a helpful component in achieving your fitness objectives. Look for research-backed products containing caffeine, green tea extract, yohimbine, synephrine, capsaicin, and forskolin.
PhenQ is one of my top recommendations for both men and women because it is designed to increase overall energy, control appetite, and improve focus and mood.
You can check out our full PhenQ Review here for more information.
Losing weight quickly is not without its concerns. Here are a few things to look out for on your journey to a healthy weight.
As we went over, losing weight quickly requires an aggressive calorie deficit. The problem is an aggressive calorie deficit is hard to sustain. The key is to do everything in your power to mitigate hunger. Ensure you are following a high-protein diet and eating loads of fruits and vegetables.
On top of that, resist the temptation to fit higher-calorie foods into your diet. Yes, you technically can lose weight while having a few treats, but be mindful of wasting empty calories on the regular.
Quick weight loss can significantly reduce calorie intake, potentially leading to low energy levels. When calorie intake is low, it can cause fatigue, weakness, and a lack of motivation. This low-energy state can make it challenging to maintain an active, healthy lifestyle as required to lose weight.
One of the most significant risks of losing weight too quickly is the likelihood of regaining the lost weight. When normal eating patterns resume, the body may be more prone to storing calories as fat, leading to weight gain.
This cycle of quick weight loss followed by weight gain is often referred to as "yo-yo dieting" and can have negative effects on overall health. After losing weight, it’s important to maintain the healthy habits you developed during the fat-loss phase.
Losing weight after the age of 40 can be more challenging due to several factors:
For men after age 40, a notable challenge in weight loss is the gradual decline in testosterone levels. This drop in testosterone, a key male hormone, can lead to a decrease in muscle mass and an increase in body fat. This shift makes it more challenging to maintain or build muscle, and muscle is crucial for an efficient metabolism. As a result, men in their 40s and beyond may find it harder to burn calories and shed excess weight.
If you are a male over age 40 and are having a hard time with weight loss, it makes sense to get your testosterone levels checked. Seeking medical help to boost your testosterone levels can help you look and feel your best.
A great starting point is to get your testosterone checked with a personalized Fountain TRT evaluation. Or, check out these 8 Best Online TRT Clinics. You can get your low T levels corrected in the comfort of your own home.
Weight loss can present unique challenges for women after the age of 40, too. Menopause, a significant hormonal transition, often occurs during your 40s or 50s, leading to a decrease in estrogen levels. This hormonal shift can contribute to an increase in abdominal fat and a slowing metabolism, making weight loss more challenging.
Additionally, busy schedules often come with career and family responsibilities, making it harder for women to prioritize regular exercise. The key is making exercise and healthy eating a priority.
If you have significant weight to lose, the first 20 pounds might be the starting point. To continue losing weight, you must be patient and continue the process.
A diet break is one thing to consider during an extended weight loss journey. Diet breaks are planned periods during a weight loss journey where individuals temporarily increase their caloric intake to maintenance levels. This break typically lasts a few weeks, providing a mental and physical respite from the calorie restriction associated with weight loss efforts.
The primary goal of a diet break is to mitigate the potential negative effects of prolonged calorie deficits, such as metabolic slowdown and hormonal imbalances. During this time, individuals still focus on making nutritious food choices but allow themselves more flexibility, aiming to recharge mentally and physically.
Diet breaks can help prevent burnout, enhance long-term adherence to a weight loss plan, and contribute to a more sustainable and enjoyable approach to achieving and maintaining a healthier weight.
After the diet break, return to your regular calorie-restricted diet and continue until you reach your weight loss goal.
Reading an article like this can sometimes make the process seem too good to be true. Although the process is simple, weight loss is hard at any age. Here are some real-world success stories to provide some inspiration for what is possible.
"I'm 51m. Six months ago i was 284lbs, between CICO, a 500 cal deficit, and getting around 10k steps daily I'm now down to 220lbs. Age is just a number. I'll be 52 and have a 6 pack. That's a number I like!" (Source)
"I did it at age 40. Lost 130 lbs, and feel better than I ever have in my life. I found that limiting carbs was helpful, but really it was just cico. I also made sure to move my body at least 30 minutes a day. I think the reason it’s harder when we’re older is that we get so busy. Between work, kids, parents, housework, pets, etc, we just don’t prioritize ourselves. Make yourself a priority, exercise is self care, and it is every bit as important as anything else in your life." (Source)
"I was approaching 41 when I lost 30lbs through counting calories, weighing and measuring all my foods, intermittent fasting and... here’s the bad news... giving up alcohol. I had a 40lb weight gain that I struggled to lose. I was convinced it was due to my age and metabolism slowing. Truth is, I was eating too damn much and just needed to control it!" (Source)
Do you still have questions about losing weight fast past 40? Let’s answer them.
Losing weight after 40 is challenging due to becoming less active, hormonal changes, and the potential for decreased muscle mass, making weight loss efforts more complex.
The biggest reason you are gaining weight in your 40s is your daily activity has decreased while your eating has stayed the same or even increased. This is a recipe for weight gain.
Realistically, a safe and sustainable rate of weight loss is about 1-2 pounds per week. Therefore, if you are on the high end of that rate, you can lose 20lbs in about ten weeks.
Yes, it is possible to lose 20 lbs in 10 weeks.
To jump-start weight loss after losing 20 pounds, consider reassessing your diet and exercise routine and ensure you are still in a calorie deficit.
Fast weight loss is hard at any age. However, turning 40 is less of a weight loss impediment than some people make it seem. The ten tips in this article offer practical strategies to shed 20 pounds efficiently and sustainably.
As alluring as extreme diets and exercise programs seem on the surface, they are not needed. Instead, focus on creating a moderate calorie deficit, regular cardio, lifting weights, and creating a few new habits.
By incorporating these tips into your daily routine, you're not just aiming for a number on the scale but embracing a new you. Remember, it's never too late to prioritize your health; small positive changes are the key to achieving and maintaining a healthier weight at age 40 and beyond.
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