Fat Loss Over 40

There comes an age when losing body fat feels impossible, especially among women over 40:

“My metabolism is broken.” 

“NOTHING is working.” 

“All of a sudden I woke up and was 20 pounds heavier.”

“Maybe if I do more cardio and eat less the scale will budge.”

“I cannot even look at a carb without gaining weight.”

“My hormones are completely to blame for how I look and feel.”

As a coach, I hear these concerns a lot because well, things start to change (we can all relate!), and it can feel like so much is out of our control BUT I promise you, so MUCH is in your control and it comes down to lifestyle habits, behaviors and choices.

Is your metabolism broken? Nope ‘cause If it were, guess what? You would be dead.

Can you gain 20 pounds overnight? Nope! Those 20 pounds crept up after several years of slowly changing your habits and being less active.

Will doing more cardio AND eating less get the scale to budge? Hell to the NO!

Are carbs “making you gain fat? Another big fat Hell to the NO!

Are hormones totally to blame for changes in your body composition? That would be a negative.

Today’s blog is teaching you:

  • Why losing fat over 40 feels impossible

  • 6 Habits to hit your fat loss goals

Why Does it Feel SO HARD?!

First, let’s be clear: Can losing body fat after age 40 and beyond take longer than it did a decade ago? Yep, it sure can. What worked in your 20’s isn’t going to work at 40+ years of age. This does NOT mean you are doomed and there’s no hope to look and feel the way you once did. It just means that achieving these goals, like anything else, requires more effort, patience AND consistency on your part!

It is 110% possible to achieve fat loss over 40!

For women, losing fat after age 40 can be challenging due hormonal changes impacting how you feel as well as your lifestyle habits, behaviors and choices. Here are two examples:

#1. Sleep: Getting solid and quality sleep may become difficult, leaving you too tired to exercise. Next thing you know, one bad night of sleep snowballs and several days or even weeks pass without getting to the gym.  Poor sleep also interferes with hunger hormones and increases cravings for more snacky, highly processed foods and no matter how much you eat, you may not feel satisfied.

#2. Stress: It is common to feel more stressed, suffer from depression, anxiety or see a decrease in your energy levels as hormones shift.  This can bring your daily activity levels, nutritional choices and mental state to a halt while affecting your body composition.

While it’s easy to solely blame hormones, you can still control these hormonal shifts to offset the changes you find challenging and frustrating.

To immediately start looking and feeling your best, I outlined 6 key habits below to start adding into your daily routine and practicing RIGHT NOW!


#1. Eat MORE Protein: As you age, your body become less efficient at building and maintaining muscle mass. Eating more protein preserves muscle mass, which can boost your metabolism and help you burn more calories.

PLUS, protein is the most satiating component of a meal to keep you satisfied and reduce food cravings.

Add this habit now: Add one serving of lean protein to each of your meals and snacks, you will be much closer to hitting the recommended daily amount for active adults.

Examples of lean protein include chicken, lean beef, fish, seafood, beans, and legumes. For women, a full serving of protein will be about the size of the palm of your hand (deck of cards).

#2. Eat SMART Carbs: Remember, what worked in your 20’s won’t work in your 40’s. As you age, you become less tolerant of SIMPLE carbohydrates – highly processed, addicting foods such as cookies, crackers, chips, pretzels, cake, soda, sugary drinks.

Add this habit now: Your body NEEDS carbs but not all carbs are created equal. Reduce your simple carb intake and replace with more SMART carb options!

Smart carbs digest more slowly and are your bodies’ preferred source of energy to maintain an active lifestyle and fuel for exercising. Long story short, eat the damn (right kind of) carbs!!

Examples of smart carbs: fruit, potatoes, sweet potatoes, beans, whole oats and grains, and starchy vegetables like squash.

#3. Strength Train: When it comes to losing body fat, not all workouts are created equal. To build and maintain muscle mass, you NEED to be strength training (and eating protein!). Cardio based workouts do NOT build or maintain muscle mass.

To be clear, strength training does not mean using super heavy weights like a bodybuilder. The goal is using “heavy” weights appropriate for your fitness level.

Unfortunately, women begin losing muscle mass as early as mid-30s and this loss only increases substantially with each passing decade. Add menopause to the mix and you are on the fast track to muscle loss IF you are not actively strength training.

Plus, the less muscle mass you have, the less effective your body is at burning calories. The fewer calories you burn, the more body fat will accumulate and be stored.

Add this habit now: To begin, complete 2-4 strength training sessions each week! We highly recommend working with a coach so that you can do it safely and properly! At Results Fitness, our focus is strength training AND coaching you so you always know what to do, feel safe and get the best workout for your age and fitness level.

#4. Limit Alcohol: Alcohol consumption has a very negative effect on your overall health in a number of ways, most notably, sleep, appetite, cravings, and body composition.

  • Alcohol + Sleep: Falling asleep may come easy but as your body processes alcohol, your REM cycle is disruptive preventing you from getting restful sleep. Not only will you wake feeling tired and groggy, but your hunger and appetite hormones will be outta whack.

  • Alcohol + Cravings: Once the hunger and appetite hormones are outta whack, this causes an increase in both cravings and appetite making fat loss very challenging.  Think about the foods you crave and reach for during/after a night of drinking…..

  • Alcohol + Exercising: Alcohol hinders your post-workout recovery so your body can’t repair and recover as needed to maintain and build muscle. All that hard work at the gym for nothing!

  • Alcohol + Body Composition: Remember, muscle mass is crucial for burning more calories! When you drink alcohol, your body has to process / burn it off and doing so temporarily stops your body’s ability to burn fat. Over time, if your body can’t (consistently) burn fat, it gets stored.

So, what should you do if you like to enjoy a drink or two on occasion?

Add this habit now: For the average-sized woman, consuming more than 2 drinks per day leads to all of the negative side effects listed above. Limit your daily consumption, and if you plan on having a drink or two, stay hydrated and drink plenty of water.

#5. Get (Enough) Sleep: Sleep is crucial for fat loss, especially as you age. Aim for at least 7-8 hours of QUALITY sleep per night to regulate hormones and support fat loss.

Quality sleep leaves you feeling well-rested, provides energy and prevents you from constantly waking through the night. Not getting enough quality sleep also effects your hunger and appetite hormones by increasing cravings and making you hungrier.

Add this habit now: As you transition to menopause, sleep can become more difficult. To create the optimal sleep environment, lower the temperature of your bedroom so it’s cooler, shut down electronics at least 2 hours prior to bedtime, eliminate all lights so your bedroom is as dark as possible, and limit caffeine intake.

#6. Manage stress: Chronic stress can contribute to weight gain, especially around the midsection. When chronically stressed, cortisol levels spike and while a little bit of stress can be a good thing, consistently high levels of cortisol increase appetite and cravings for sweets / higher fat foods. Over time, regularly giving in to these cravings lead to weight gain. Along with increased cravings, high stress can make you less likely to exercise.

Add this habit now: Begin experimenting with relaxation techniques like meditation, yoga, deep breathing, hot showers, and outdoor walks to manage /control stress levels as needed. It only takes a few minutes of mindfulness to bring you back to the present and lower your stress levels.

Remember, fat loss after 40 takes time, patience AND consistency.

By adding in and practicing my 6 habits for fat loss, you will be well on your way to looking and feeling your best. If you need help, click the button below to talk to an RF Coach so you have the support you need to build healthy, consistent habits and hit your fat loss goals!

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