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How to lose weight in your 40s

How to Finally Lose Weight After 40 (4-Week Guide)

“It’s impossible to lose weight after 40,” some people swear. 

Allow me to clear your doubts, because that’s very far from the truth. 

You can lose significant weight even after 40 if you change your approach.
The tactics you used to lose weight in your 20s and even in your 30s won’t work the same anymore. 

You don’t have as much leeway again, your metabolism isn’t as high as it used to be, and you start losing muscle. 

If you have been trying to lose weight using one method and you see little to no progress, then you need to change it. 

So, in this post, I will give you a detailed guide on how to lose weight in your 40’s and even in your 50’s. 

PS: Helping my mom lose weight inspired me to make this post 🙂 

Before we get into it, if you’re over 40 and you want to lose weight without any unknowns holding you back, you may want to check in with your doctor first. 

There are other things that could be stopping you from losing weight, such as hormone imbalances, menopause, and thyroid problems. 

Disclaimer: I’m not a registered dietitian or nutritionist; I’m someone passionate about fitness and helping people achieve their body goals. This is for educational purposes only. 

Let’s get into why weight loss gets harder as we age. 

Image by stockking on Freepik

Why is it so hard to lose weight after 40?

You can’t get away with eating a box of pizza and then taking a “30-minute brisk walk” to burn it off anymore.

You’re playing on a different field now with a new set of rules and strategies.

People in their 40’s struggle to lose weight because they are playing with the same old rules on a new playing field.

(It’s just not going to work.) 

Here are some factors that affect weight loss as we age: 

Muscle Loss

As we age, we naturally lose muscle mass, a process known as sarcopenia. 

Muscle burns more calories throughout the day than fat, so a decrease in muscle mass leads to a slower metabolism, which makes weight loss difficult. 


As we get older, hormonal changes, particularly a decrease in estrogen and testosterone levels, can affect metabolism and lead to weight gain, especially around the abdomen. 

For women, estrogen levels peak in their 20’s and decline by 50% by age 50. 

For men, however, the decline in testosterone happens slowly over time, averaging around a 1% drop per year. 

Lack of quality sleep 

Getting good sleep becomes difficult as we age due to stress and the many responsibilities we have. 

Poor sleep quality can disrupt hormonal balance, increase cravings for unhealthy foods and lead to nighttime snacking, which leads to weight gain.

Not prioritizing nutrient dense foods

The concept of “all calories are the same” becomes less true as we age. 

Eating enough of the right macronutrients and micronutrients matters now more than ever. 

It’s common to assume the cause of weight gain is eating too many calories. 

But what if your body just responds differently now to what you’ve been eating? 

What if you can’t get away with consuming as many processed and calorie-dense foods as you used to? 

You may lose weight by eating the same number of calories but with healthier, more nutrient-dense options. 


Increased stress, whether from work, family, or other factors, can cause emotional eating and unhealthy coping mechanisms, making weight loss more difficult.

Changes like these are what make weight loss harder to achieve as we get older. The good news is that these problems are not permanent. 

If you put in the work to improve on them, you will definitely start to see your weight drop. 

Changing your diet: Making it optimal for weight loss

80% of the process of losing weight starts with what you eat.

Even without exercising, if you make the right nutrition changes, you can start losing weight and feeling better in no time. 

So, what’s different now? What nutritional tweaks will elicit weight loss? 

Here are some essential diet tips and changes for losing weight in your 40s. 

1. Prioritize protein

Protein is essential for preserving muscle mass, supporting metabolism, and promoting feelings of fullness. 

Maintaining muscle becomes more important for overall health and weight management as we get older. 

The more muscle you have, the more calories your body has to burn.

Therefore, prioritize protein-rich foods, such as:  

  • Lean meat and poultry.
  • Fish
  • Nuts
  • Eggs
  • Dairy products like yogurts and cheese
  • Legumes like beans

Include protein in every meal and snack to help curb cravings, promote satiety, and support muscle growth.

2. Reduce starchy carbs and increase complex carbs

While carbohydrates are a valuable source of energy, not all carbs are created equal. 

In your 40s, you need to focus on eating complex carbohydrates, which provide long-lasting energy and are less likely to cause blood sugar spikes. 

Go for whole grains, such as: 

  • Quinoa
  • Brown rice
  • Oats
  • Barley

And other complex carbs, such as: 

  • Broccoli
  • Leafy greens
  • Mushrooms
  • Cucumbers
  • Green beans

Over refined grains like white bread, pasta, processed snacks, and sugary cereals.

Related: Do You Need Carbs to Build Muscle? (See What Science Says!)

3. Include healthy fats

No, fat isn’t evil. Healthy fats are an important part of a well-balanced diet because they help with hormone production and nutrient absorption. 

Adding sources of healthy fats, such as: 

  • Avocados
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Olive oil
  • Fatty fish (salmon, mackerel, and sardines)
  • Coconut & Olive oil 

These fats not only provide satiety but also help regulate inflammation and promote heart health.

4. Eat foods that make you feel good

Listen to your body and select foods that will nourish and energize you.

Pay attention to how different foods make you feel, both physically and emotionally. I believe certain foods are unique to us. 

Certain foods give me brain fog; some others make me “feel fat,” and some others make me feel light on my feet. 

Pay attention to the foods you eat and pick the ones your body responds well to. 

Changing how you exercise: It becomes different now

I’m going to break a common weight-loss bubble here. Cardio isn’t the best exercise for weight loss. 

Strength training is. 

But this isn’t an either-or answer; you need both and need to add them the right way to your routine. 

1. Stop prioritizing just cardio

This is a common mistake I see many older people make. In your 40s, focusing mainly on cardio for weight loss may be what is keeping you stuck. 

While cardio exercises like running and cycling are beneficial for heart health and calorie burning, they don’t address the changes in metabolism and muscle mass that occur with age.

During cardio, you burn calories, but a single donut can easily replace those calories. 

2. Strength training becomes essential

As you age, maintaining muscle mass becomes increasingly important for weight management. 

Strength training exercises, such as lifting and bodyweight, help preserve and build lean muscle mass. 

This in turn enhances metabolism and calorie burning, even at rest. 

Your lack of muscle is what makes weight loss difficult. Without muscle, your body doesn’t fight as hard to burn calories. 

3. Include low-intensity cardio

Low-intensity physical activities like walking, swimming, or gentle cycling provide cardiovascular benefits without placing much stress on your joints or nervous system. 

These exercises improve endurance, burn calories, and promote fat oxidation, making them ideal for people who want to lose weight without pushing their limits. 

You now know how to eat right and exercise right. Now, here’s a 4-week guide for losing weight in your 40’s. 

4-Week Guide for Losing Weight in Your 40’s

Before starting any weight loss program, you need to set realistic and achievable goals. 

Weigh yourself, write down your current weight, determine your target weight, and establish a realistic and healthy timeline for reaching it.

Week 1 & 2: Go on a 2-Week Diet Reset

During the first two weeks, focus on resetting your diet to kickstart weight loss. Here’s a breakdown of what to do:

Rule 1: Clean eating

Emphasize whole, nutrient-dense foods such as fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains. 

Cut out processed foods, sugary snacks, and high-calorie beverages. 

So, what we’re trying to do with this is get your body to stop craving unhealthy foods and boost your metabolism. 

You must cut out unhealthy carbs completely for the entire 2-week reset diet. 

This will make the rest of your diet easier. 

People who have done this reported feeling less cravings and being motivated to carry on with the rest of the weight loss phase. 

Rule 2: Go on a slight calorie deficit 

Aim to create a calorie deficit by consuming fewer calories than you expend.

Although I preach calorie tracking, I’m aware that not everyone wants to go through the struggle of weighing and measuring their food. 

(By the way, it’s an extremely effective method for weight loss.) 

You can start a calorie deficit by simply serving your foods on smaller plates.

This gives you the illusion that you are eating plenty while actually eating less.

Rule 3: Start exercising 

If you haven’t been regularly exercising till this point, then you need to ease into exercise in the first week.

If you start hard, you will quit. You need to build the habit of exercising first.

Walk for a few minutes a day, jog for a few minutes a day, and do any amount of strength you can. 

Focus on increasing the duration over time.

Week 3

Pay attention to your food

This week, you want to maintain the eating habits you started building in the first 2 weeks.

You can introduce some of your favorite foods again; however, you must pay attention to portion sizes and how frequently you eat them. 

A golden rule for me when I’m trying to lose weight is to eat “my favorite unhealthy foods” just once per week. 

On a Sunday evening to reward myself for being consistent throughout the week. 

Strength Training Focus

Dedicate this week to ramping up your strength training efforts.

Perform resistance exercises targeting major muscle groups, such as squats, lunges, deadlifts, chest presses, rows, and shoulder presses. 

Aim for three to four strength training sessions per week, allowing for adequate rest between workouts.

(I created a workout plan below.)

Cardiovascular Exercise

To burn more calories and improve heart health, combine strength training with cardiovascular exercise. 

What people get wrong here is that they do way more cardio than strength training. You’re going to do the opposite.
Use cardio to supplement your muscle-building efforts. 

Incorporate activities like brisk walking, jogging, cycling, or swimming into your routine. 

Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity cardio or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity cardio spread throughout the week.

Week 4

Progressive Overload

Keep challenging your muscles by gradually increasing the intensity or resistance of your strength training workouts. 

Progressive overloading could include adding more weight, doing more repetitions, or progressing to more advanced variations of exercises.

Mindful Eating

Practice mindful eating techniques to tune into your body’s hunger and fullness cues.

At this point, you should be eating even less than the first 2 weeks, so mindful eating may become necessary. 

Avoid distractions while eating, chew your food slowly, and savor each bite. Pay attention to how different foods make you feel, and then adjust your diet accordingly. 

Stay Consistent

Consistency is key to long-term success. Maintain your healthy eating and exercise habits even after completing the 4-week program.

Focus on making sustainable, long-term lifestyle changes to support your weight loss goals.

Here’s a sample workout plan for the 4-week program:

MondayFull-Body Strength Training60 minutes
TuesdayCardio (Brisk Walking, Jogging, Cycling)30 minutes
WednesdayRest or Low-Intensity Activity (Yoga, Stretching)
ThursdayLower Body Strength Training60 minutes
FridayCardio (Swimming, Rowing, Jump Rope)30 minutes
SaturdayUpper Body Strength Training60 minutes
SundayRest or Active Recovery (Walking, Hiking)

Adjust the exercises, sets, and repetitions based on your fitness level and preferences.

Make sure you warm up before each workout and cool down afterward to prevent injury and promote recovery.

The end. 

Faysal Tahir
Faysal Tahir
Articles: 74

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