Weight Management Tips For Women Approaching 40

by : Lori Pirog, M.S.

Has it been easy to manage your weight? Or has it been difficult? Maybe you’ve needed to take off a few pounds now and then but it wasn’t a big deal. Whatever your experience, if you are like most women approaching 40 that’s all about to change. Hang on tight for the ride of your life because you “ain’t seen nothing" yet!

If you’re carrying a little more weight than you would like, think hard about taking it off NOW! Losing those extra pounds becomes ten times harder the closer you are to 50.

Don’t need to lose weight? Do yourself a favor and don’t get smug because you don’t have to put up with the struggle most of the rest of us do. Your turn is likely to come sooner than you might like. And if smoking has been your ticket to a slim figure, well... I won’t get up on my soapbox. You already know the downside of that choice!

What you need to do is some strategic planning. Knowing what is ahead of you will put you ahead of the pack. But knowing isn’t enough. You will need to take action to avoid the inevitable. As a Nutritionist and a petite woman, I WAS fearless with respect to the tendency for women to put on weight past 40. I thought that might be a problem for other women but I had nothing to be concerned about. I’m past 50 now and I was wrong! I put on the same 10 pounds in my forties as most everyone else.

Beginning at about age 40 or earlier, you get hit with a triple whammy. Hormonal changes in your body predispose you to put on weight without an increase in caloric intake or less physical activity. In addition, your metabolism begins to slow down.

And if that weren’t enough, many women find themselves to be in one of the most demanding times of their lives. Between taking care of children, job responsibilities, and aging parents, there may be little time for exercise or other self-care.

So what can you do?

  • Start off with a plan to cut your caloric intake by at least 100 calories a day. This isn’t hard to do. How about smaller portions, or no second helping, one less snack, or eliminating one calorie-laden beverage?
  • Next come up with ways to burn 100 extra calories a day. No matter how busy you might be you CAN come up with a creative way to do this. You might choose to take the stairs whenever possible rather than the elevator. How about spending 20 minutes dancing with your kids at home? You’ll benefit from not only burning calories but also have some family time, and release stress! There are hundreds of other possibilities. Whatever you do, don’t underestimate the power of 100 calories. An additional 100 calories a day over your needs could add up to an additional 10 pounds in just one year!
  • In addition, start thinking in terms of mini-meals. Five or six smaller, low-calorie meals or snacks will keep your metabolism working better and burning calories more efficiently than three or fewer bigger meals a day.
  • Do eat breakfast! It can get your metabolism revved up and set the stage for more balanced eating throughout the day. If you have always had trouble eating breakfast, my next tip may help solve that problem.
  • Consider not eating anything past about 8:00 or so in the evening. Give yourself a few days or so to adjust to the change and you may find that you are hungry for breakfast! In addition, metabolism tends to slow down as the evening approaches. Some health experts believe eating later in the evening may result in greater fat storage than with food eaten earlier in the day. Others disagree with this viewpoint.

    But there are other concerns with eating later at night. If you neglect to eat enough during the day it may lead to feeling famished and then overeating in the evening. Also, it is easy to get carried away with nighttime snacking. Excess calories over your daily needs will lead to fat storage no matter when they are consumed.
  • My last tip is one you’ve heard before and you may ignore as so many women do. Don’t! Certified fitness trainers and exercise physiologists encourage women to lift weights for as little as 20 minutes two or three times a week for enormous benefits! You will add a little muscle that will in turn increase your flagging metabolic rate. It will also help to shape and tone your body that is succumbing to the pull of gravity!
Follow any one of the tips I’ve shared and you will do better than most other women. Adhere to most or all of these tips and you may succeed in beating the ten-year ten pound weight gain. Awesome!