Are you over 40 and struggling to lose weight? Well, you are not alone. Many people in their 40s struggle to lose weight. The reason is that your metabolism has slowed down. This downshift in metabolism makes weight management and weight loss more challenging. The toughest part is losing the belly fat.
What is belly fat?
Belly fat is the kind of abdominal fat that robs you of your slim waist. There are different kinds of abdominal fats. The fat found just under the skin is called subcutaneous fat. Then there is another type of fat within your skeletal muscles. The abdominal fat that does most harm is called visceral fat. It is present between your abdominal organs and leads to many health risks. Scientifically, it is called intra-abdominal fat. In common language, we call it belly fat or beer belly. Intra-abdominal fat is very dangerous. It increases the risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and premature death.
How to Measure Your Belly Fat?
Measuring belly fat is easy. Wrap a measuring tape around your bare stomach. Position the tape directly above the hip bone. Hold the tape snug, but don’t pull it too tight. A measurement of 35 inches or more indicates an unhealthy amount of belly fat in women. For men, a measurement of 40 inches or more is unhealthy.
Tips to lose belly fat after 40
Exercise to lose belly fat:
First of all, choose an exercise regime that you can sustain. A burst of intense exercising for a few days and then a long duration of no exercising would do more harm than good. Abdominal exercises like crunches, sit-ups, planks can help you lose belly fat. Combine these exercises with some cardiovascular and strength-training exercises like brisk walking, running, cycling, rowing, swimming, and lifting weights. Exercise regularly for a minimum of 30 minutes per day to reduce your unhealthy belly fat.
Avoid diet food:
Don’t fall into the trap of diet foods. These are highly processed products that have artificial chemicals. These kinds of products are unsatisfying and can have negative effects on your appetite and the healthy bacteria in your gut. They might even trigger inflammation. Stay away from such processed food and eat more natural and nutritious food.
Don’t starve yourself:
Don’t starve yourself either. Remember, the best way to sustainable weight loss is to exercise regularly and eat food that is filling, nutritious, and free of harmful fat and sugars. Say no to your temptations, not to your hunger.
Don’t skip meals. A long gap between meals may lead to increased levels of cortisol. This, in turn, may increase food cravings and lead to more fat stored in the abdomen. Instead of skipping meals and then eating a large meal to compensate, it is better to eat small meals and healthy snacks throughout the day. It will control your food craving and rev up your metabolism, reducing fat storage.
Eat a healthy diet:
A healthy and balanced diet is of prime importance if you want to reduce belly fat. Make sure your diet has all the essential nutrients and lots of fiber. And follow the following tips:
- Avoid processed foods: Eat more complex carbohydrates. That is, eat more whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. These are more filling, nutritious, and full of fiber. Try ancient grains like sorghum, farro, millet. These are nutritious and loaded with fiber.
- Eat less sugar: Sugar can cause spikes and crashes of blood sugar levels. When you eat sugar in excess, it gets stored as fat. When you want to eat something sweet, eat fruits.
- Eat healthier fats: Avoid saturated and trans fats. Replace them with a moderate quantity of polyunsaturated fats. You can find them in salmon, avocados, walnuts, extra virgin olive oil, etc.
- Choose lean protein foods: Quality protein food may help in reducing abdominal fat. Lean protein is present in tuna, cod, turkey, chicken, salmon, eggs, beans, soybeans, and ancient grains.
Increase the intake of Vitamin C:
Vitamin C can help in keeping Cortisol levels under control. It is also needed for the production of Carnitine, which helps in converting the fat into energy. In short, Vitamin C may help in weight loss. So, include more Vitamin C rich food items in your diet. These include citrus fruits, broccoli, kale, bell peppers, etc. Drinking warm water with lemon juice in the morning is said to reduce belly fat.
Studies suggest that probiotics have a lowering effect on abdominal adiposity. This helps in reducing belly fat. Fermented milk, Kefir, etc. can help you trim your waist.
Relax and have sufficient sleep:
Believe it or not, stress and quality of your sleep can affect your weight too. Insufficient or disturbed sleep may lead to mood disturbance and sugar and fatty food cravings. All of this can cause weight gain. Lack of sleep also raises the risk of diabetes and heart disease. By altering your hormone production, lack of sleep may even increase your cortisol levels.
Extreme stress may also increase cortisol levels and may even affect the function of the adrenal system. This may cause weight gain or make losing weight more challenging. Moreover, chronic stress may also decrease immunity and lead to inflammation.
Enjoy dark chocolate:
The good news is that you need not deprive yourself of all sweets to lose belly fat. You can enjoy dark chocolate every day. It will reduce your sweet cravings. Dark chocolate also helps in reducing stress, which can prevent mood-related food cravings too.
Five squares of 70% dark chocolate contain less than 250 calories. Dark chocolate provides antioxidants, fiber, and magnesium. It improves sleep and mood and may help you feel more relaxed. So, treating yourself to dark chocolate every day may help you lose weight. Knowing that you can treat yourself to chocolate at the end of the day may also keep you more motivated to eat healthy throughout the day.
When you laugh, it exercises your abdominal muscles. This can help you lose weight, especially in the abdomen region. (Know more about the .benefits of laughter)
Reducing belly fat after 40 maybe hard, but it is not impossible. With a healthier lifestyle and better food choices, you can lose weight. Avoid unhealthy practices of skipping meals, eating processed foods, smoking, consuming too much alcohol, and living a sedentary life. Determination and healthier choices can help you lose belly fat, no matter what age you are.