How do I lose weight in my 40s?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)

As women age, they lose estrogen as well as testosterone, a needed hormone for weight loss. In this video, Dr. Oz reveals some good news and good food choices for women in their 40s.

Deborah L. Neiman, MD
Internal Medicine

To lose weight in your 40's you have to recognize that you cannot use the same methods and tools that you did when you were in your teens or younger. Unfortunately, your "memory bank" for weight loss does not serve you well at this time period. You need to recognize that your metabolism at this age is not exactly the same as it was when you were younger and most likely it is lower than it was. Also, if you have taken on new responsibilities, such as a job outside of home or you have a family, all of these are commitments of your time and usually require focusing your energies away from yourself and to others. Therefore, when you go to lose weight, programs that worked in the past do not necessarily work now because your life style and priorities are different. You have to recognize that all of these things - your job, family, children, pets, etc. all come with you on this weight loss journey so your new means of weight loss has to fit into this life style.

Most of the time, activity(or lack thereof) is a big factor because even though your days are full and busy, you are not necessarily physically active. So, essentially, you have to "ramp up" your rpm's - which means you have to move more - not necessarily join a gym or commit to a serious exercise program, but you have to get up and move throughout the day. Try not to let yourself sit in one place for more than 45 minutes - just get up and get a glass of water or walk around - either way, you are burning calories. If you do have the time in the day to fit some exercise into your schedule, the best time is in the morning and start with 15 minutes of some type of cardio-activity, and as you get used to the routine, increase your time as much as possible(ideally, 30 minutes of day will do the trick).

Regarding calories, try to cut back on your calories at least 2-300 per day - this can mean cutting out the bread on your sandwich, any high calorie drink or any "extras" at each meal. Start small and slowly, begin to cut back on the extra calories you are eating, sometimes without even realizing!

Set realistic goals - shoot for 1 pound a week and even if you do not succeed every week - do not give up - it takes time and with the right goals and focus, you can make it a success!

Kat Barefield, MS, RD
Nutrition & Dietetics
The same way everyone does, eat fewer calories than you burn until you reach your goal. Sometimes being 40 makes it less convenient or more difficult to lose or maintain weight because of the lifestyle we settle into. In other words, our ability to move throughout the day as much as when we were younger causes us to burn fewer daily calories. Also our appetites have been shaped by our favorite foods, making them difficult to limit. Both these conditions make weight loss at 40 appear difficult but it doesn’t have to be when you understand the facts of the equation: You simply need to burn more calories than you consume any way you can. Start by using the Sharecare fitness app under the Coach tab to find out how many calories you burn and set your goal. Follow the program’s directions for daily calorie intake and use the fitness app food log to keep track. Make it easy to start, so not a lifestyle change but instead, begin with minor adjustments to your current lifestyle including eating habits. Example: eat your foods but stop at the calories you’re allowed, which might only require cutting normal portion sizes. Make the exercise program fit your current lifestyle, even if it’s only walking to start. The Sharecare fitness app gives you immediate results and instant gratification by having the ability to watch your fat/weight come off by the minute or hour each time you view your dashboard. Seeing is believing and a constant reinforcement what you’re doing is working. Think that the world is the gym: keep moving anyway you can; and your food is the diet: you can eat ANYTHING you want, just not EVERYTHING you want. Using the MILI program daily makes weight loss at age 40 easy. Set your goal to lose 1-2LBS/wk and follow the program’s directions each time you enter your weight and you will reach your goal. Basic tips if you come to a plateau: Increase daily activities such as daily steps or other non-athletic/exercise activities. Standing & pacing burns over two times more calories than sitting for the same time period. There are ~2000-2500 steps in a mile. Walking 2000 steps will burn ~75-150 more calories (depending on individual size) than sitting for the same time and only takes ~20-30min and can be done anywhere, even in the office, while on the phone or watching TV. Increase exercise time or intensity. Decrease food intake approximately 200 to 300 calories per day or remove a small portion of your largest meal.

I agree with Kat above here. You lose weight in your 40's the same as in your 20's. You must determine your caloric needs and eat less than those needs on a daily basis for an extended period of time. The age difference from your 20's to your 40's will impact your metabolic rate in a couple of ways. One, your lifestyle might be significantly different and demand less calories then when you were younger. The hormonal environment that you live in will be slightly different and the amount of lean body mass in most cases will be different. So your total caloric needs will be impacted by these things, but the formula remains the same: Eat 500 less calories then you need daily and you will lose one pound of fat per week.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.