Women: How to Lose Weight After 40

A woman over 40 stretching and smiling in bed.

Weight loss can be a tough process, and unfortunately age makes it that much more difficult.  

For women, midlife signals significant weight management challenges (hello, hormone changes!) As well as perimenopause and menopause, you’ve also got muscle loss and higher stress to contend with. But your 40s are the perfect time to get your health on track to prevent or treat conditions like type 2 diabetes, arthritis and high blood pressure, so it’s worth finding the best weight loss diet for you and making some lifestyle changes.  

Why weight loss is different for women over 40

Weight loss can be more difficult for women over 40 due to several factors, including changes in hormones, metabolism, and lifestyle.

  • Menopause 

    The hormone changes that come with perimenopause and menopause in midlife can lead to weight gain. The drop in oestrogen you experience at this time can affect fat distribution, leading to more fat stored around your midsection.

    Experiencing various symptoms of menopause can also make weight loss difficult. Symptoms like hot flushes, fatigue and poor sleep make it harder to exercise regularly or eat healthy food.

  • Muscle and metabolism

    Between the ages of 45 and 55, on average, women gain half a kilogram per year. You may find this happens even if you haven’t changed your eating or exercise habits. One of the reasons for this is slowing metabolism caused by muscle loss.

    From the age of 30, humans naturally start to lose about three to eight percent muscle mass every decade. A higher muscle mass gives you a faster metabolism (i.e. your body burns more kilojoules for energy), so as you lose muscle, your metabolism slows and burns fewer kilojoules.

  • Stress, sleep and alcohol

    Good sleep and low stress are two of the main pillars of health. But in your 40s, you might find these parts of your life are totally unbalanced. With more career and family responsibilities as well as any hormone changes you’re going through at this time, you may find your stress levels start to rocket while your sleeping hours plummet.  

    Both high stress and poor sleep can trigger increased eating, making it harder to manage your weight. What’s more, when you’re sleep-deprived, you’re more likely to reach for an unhealthy quick-fix meal, rather than something nutritious.   

    Alcohol can also be a significant barrier to weight loss as you get older. You may not be knocking them back like you did in your 20s, but even a moderate amount of booze can still add to your waistline thanks to the number of kilojoules in each drink. Plus, much like being stressed or sleep-deprived, you’re more likely to make poor food choices when you’re a few drinks deep. 

How to lose weight after 40

The goal posts will shift slightly in your 40s, but a well-planned diet and some lifestyle changes will still help you lose the weight you want. The key things to keep in mind for the best weight loss diet include:  

  • Eat more protein to lose weight. Research shows that by consuming a higher protein diet, you can treat or prevent age-related muscle loss. Including more protein in your meals and snacks will help you retain muscle mass, which will keep your metabolism firing and working its best. Aim to eat around 20-25g of protein at main meals.

    RELATED: 12 fantastic protein foods

  • Stay active. Exercise is essential for weight loss and maintaining a healthy weight. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity per week, such as brisk walking, cycling, or swimming. Incorporating strength training into your routine can also help maintain muscle mass, which can decrease as we age.

  • Get enough sleep. Sleep is vital for weight loss and overall health. Aim for 7-8 hours of sleep per night, and establish a consistent sleep routine.
  • Get familiar with portion control. Generally as you get older, you don’t need to eat as much as you did in your 20s and 30s. Learning the right portions for your health and weight loss needs will keep you full and satisfied, give you the energy you need and help you lose weight.  
  • Cut back on booze. Alcohol can still have a place in your life, but consider it an occasional indulgence that you factor into your overall diet. The CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet allows for regular indulgences, including alcohol, so you can still enjoy a glass of wine or beer (sans any guilt!) and know you’ll still lose weight. 
  • Manage stress. Chronic stress can lead to weight gain, so it's essential to manage stress levels. Meditation, yoga, and deep breathing exercises can all help reduce stress levels.
  • Seek support. Losing weight can be challenging, and having a support system can make a significant difference. Consider joining a weight loss support group like our online member group, working with a registered dietitian or joining an online program for guidance.

How the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet can help women over 40 lose weight  

The CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet is a scientifically formulated weight loss program that focuses on healthy eating habits and regular physical activity. This program can be beneficial for women over 40 who are looking to lose weight and improve their overall health.

higher protein meal plans feature delicious recipes that take the guesswork out of meal planning and portion control, while the simple exercise plans make it easy to get fit from your living room (no equipment needed!)  

Check out two of our inspiring members, Janice and Pat, who both smashed their weight loss goals with the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet:  

A before and after image of Janice

Janice lost 19.7 kg

Janice lost an impressive 19.7 kg in six months through the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet - and now feels like she did in her 30's!

"I never ever thought I would lose the weight around the middle. All I heard from other women was how hard it is to lose weight during or after menopause, but now I have a waist again!"

"I can wear jeans and tuck tops in, instead of wearing bigger, baggy clothes and hiding. I have come down from a size 18-20 to a size 14-16 and that feels great."

A before and after image of member Pat who lost 17kg with the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet.

Pat lost 17 kg

Pat struggled with her weight since she was a child and had tried many diets that had worked only temporarily. She attributes her weight gain to her parents' mantra that she ate every crumb on her plate.

After hearing about the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet on TV, she checked out the website and joined the program, and in 34 weeks, she lost 17 kg* and has maintained her weight ever since. Pat's newfound health has led to more energy, improved cholesterol and blood sugar levels, and a reduction in body aches and sickness.

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