Real talk: Losing weight can be a grueling process as you age. In fact, after you turn 30, your body endures changes that can make weight gain much easier and weight loss more of a challenge. You naturally lose lean muscle, which is crucial for burning fat, and your metabolism shifts. And it doesn’t stop there. According to the Mayo Clinic, women may notice their waistlines start to expand after menopause when body fat typically heads to the midsection. So if you’re on the lookout for the best tips for faster weight loss after 40, consider your search a success. We spoke with members of our Medical Expert Board, The Nutrition Twins®, Tammy Lakatos Shames, RD, CDN, CFT, and Lyssie Lakatos, RD, CDN, CFT, who share their go-to secrets. The best part? None of them involve a vigorous workout!
Of course, some form of physical activity during the day is imperative, as a sedentary lifestyle is directly linked to weight gain and even early mortality. But you don’t have to spend countless hours at the gym lifting weights or getting in strides on the treadmill to shed weight. Keep reading to learn about the Nutrition Twins’ best tips for faster weight loss after 40. And when you’re done upgrading your routine, be sure to check out the 10 Best Superfood Snacks to Strip Away Belly Fat.
Spicing things up adds variety to your meal rotation and weight loss routine. The Nutrition Twins encourage you to literally spice things up by adding spices and herbs to your home cooking, and you’ll “spice up your metabolic fire.”
The Twins explain, “There are two ways to benefit—first by choosing thermogenic spices that have been shown to increase metabolic rate, such as black pepper, as well as hot pepper, which contains capsaicin and has been shown to boost weight loss. While the metabolic benefits are modest, research shows spices and herbs also contain potent anti-inflammatory compounds, which are especially critical as you age, since inflammation makes weight loss more challenging.”
Overall, the anti-inflammatory aspect of spices and herbs improves the way your body functions, which can boost the efficiency of your metabolism while offering extra flavor to your homemade meals. The Nutrition Twins recommend adding basil, ginger, turmeric, parsley, rosemary, cilantro, cumin, black pepper, and any additional herbs and spices you favor in order to replace rich, calorie-dense sauces.
Having protein-packed snacks and foods handy to add to your meals is a smart idea when it comes to weight loss. You should even think about on-the-go options so you aren’t as likely to stop for an unhealthy lunch or treat during the workday.
“Protein is not only essential to keep you feeling satisfied, but it helps to stabilize blood sugar and prevent crashes that result in surges of the belly fat hormone, cortisol,” The Nutrition Twins tell us. “Research has shown that a higher-protein diet can help with weight loss and help to prevent metabolic syndrome, which becomes even more important after forty when blood sugar becomes harder to regulate.”
Aim to have a minimum of 20 grams of protein in each meal. The Twins caution against having just rice or oatmeal for a meal without any protein. Instead, add an egg or dollop of Greek yogurt to your oatmeal, or tofu or chicken to your rice.
Digestion may not be something you think about on the regular, but it should be. “As you age, your body’s digestive enzymes naturally start to decline, making it harder to break down carbs, protein, and fat and absorb the nutrients you need to keep your body working efficiently and your metabolism humming,” The Nutrition Twins explain.
In order to ensure your metabolism is working efficiently and you’re maximizing the amount of nutrients your body absorbs, chew your food slowly and thoroughly. In addition, consider kicking off meals with bitter green veggies such as watercress, spinach, and dandelion greens to activate your digestive enzymes. The Nutrition Twins also recommend adding one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to eight ounces of water to drink before a meal.
Pour yourself a cup of tea—green tea, that is. According to The Nutrition Twins, “Green tea is one of the few foods that has been shown to help the body to burn more calories and fat, thanks to its’ potent catechin EGCG, which works in tandem with its’ caffeine, to trigger fat burning. Women over 40 typically complain that their metabolism has taken a hit, and green tea can help to offset it. The antioxidants in green tea help to fight against oxidative damage, lowering inflammation, which is critical when it comes to losing weight, since inflammation makes weight loss harder.”
Turn drinking green tea into one of your healthy daily habits. The Nutrition Twins explain it takes around four to five four-ounce teacups each day to see results. And if you want to boost the effects of green tea, opt for matcha, which “concentrates” the EGCG, as the stems and leaves are ground up to be part of the tea. The Twins recommend whipping up and enjoying a client favorite, their Skinny Matcha Latte, for a snack if you want to lose weight.
“When you’re not digesting and metabolizing food, you aren’t triggering the release of insulin, a hormone that shuttles sugar out of the blood and shuts down fat burning,” The Nutrition Twins explain. “By simply avoiding snacking between meals, you’ll give your body a chance to burn fat, which becomes even more important with age.”
Cutting out snacks from your day is an excellent way to start, considering many popular snack options are overflowing with calories, sugar, and fat. A useful tip that can help you avoid reaching for the snack drawer is to make sure the meals you eat are filling—aka rich in fiber and protein. Think non-starchy veggies, along with a half-cup of wholesome carbs to promote stable blood sugar levels and keep you feeling satisfied. If you do feel the urge to snack, opt for a healthy choice such as vegetable crudité, which comes with a low calorie count and lots of nutrients.
Swap out your plastic water bottles and storage containers for stainless steel and glass. Why, might you ask? Well, the connection between plastic packaging and weight loss may surprise you!
“Most people don’t realize there is a connection between getting older, plastic packaging, and struggling to lose body fat, but as we get older, our lifetime exposure to toxic chemicals continues to climb,” The Nutrition Twins explain. “These chemicals are endocrine disruptors, and they’re called obesogens with good reason—they wreak havoc in the body and create inflammation, making it more difficult to lose weight and easier to gain weight.”
It’s about time to invest in a stainless steel water bottle, along with glass storage containers. And if you need to heat up takeout, transfer it from the plastic container to a plate before you do.
Take one week to measure out portions of protein, carbs, fats, and veggies. This includes any sauces and dressings. “Most people find that they have been overeating certain foods (like carbs), consuming several servings at a sitting, and not getting enough of others—hello veggies,” The Nutrition Twins say. “One week of relearning portions helps you to shave the fat, figuratively—and literally—and moving forward, you can eyeball appropriate portions for the next month until you do this again. Simply re-learning portions and eating more appropriate amounts is a quick way to drop pounds without having to change what you’re eating.”