If you were to ask most Americans about losing weight, they’d likely talk to you about eating less. This is a fair point, as weight loss often boils down to calories in against calories out. Bring in fewer calories than you burn, and you’ll lose more weight.
But many people will likely cite the inability (or unwillingness) to eat less as a reason for not losing weight. For whatever reason, they simply can’t find the personal disciple to eat half a burger or a smaller order of fries. That second helping of pizza is so easy; just drop it on your plate and off you go. An extra spoonful of pasta is hard to pass up when there are plenty of leftovers.
But what if you could lose weight without significantly cutting back on the amount you eat? What if you could maintain a filling, satisfying diet without cutting back on your portions? You can, but it all comes down to what you eat as well as how you eat…
How to Eat Well, Be Healthy, and Look Great
Breaking the Less-Food Myth: Choose Quality Foods Instead of Lowering the Total Quantity
There is little doubt among the scientific community that the quality of your food is just as, if not more, important than the quantity. For example, a study from researchers with Stanford University found that people who focus on eating vegetables and whole foods, and are not necessarily concerned with portions, are more likely to lose weight. Calorie counting and portion sizing have their roles in overall fitness, but this study suggest that they should take a back seat to the simple principle of eating quality foods. Interestingly, this strategy worked for people regardless of whether they were focused on low-fat dieting or low-carb dieting.
Dietary guidelines may have changed since you last looked at them, especially if you were in school twenty, thirty, or forty years ago.
According to the Harvard School of Public Health, while calories matter, it may be time to focus on quality over calorie counting. So what constitutes quality foods? The article says that high-quality foods are generally minimally-processed and usually unrefined. This includes fresh produce, such as fruits and veggies, as well as whole grain breads and cereals. Healthy fats and healthy sources of protein should also be considered when creating a diet plan.
Lower-quality foods, as you might have guessed, are the ones that have, in general, gone through the most processing. For example, highly-processed snack foods, high-sugar beverages, white grains, and fried foods often go through a long process, and generally don’t resemble their original state.
One study cited by the Harvard article included over 120,000 men and women who were studied over the span of 20 years. The researchers found that weight gain was most commonly associated with eating potato chips, sugary beverages like soda, and red meat. On the other hand, veggies, whole grains, fruits, nuts, and yogurt were associated with weight loss.
The Low-Carbs or Low-Fat Battle: A Draw?
One of the articles we looked at above referenced the debate between low-carb and low-fat diets, which are often viewed as the solution to weight problems. However, research is starting to demonstrate that, from a weight-loss perspective, neither one has a particular advantage over the other.
According to research, which once again comes from Stanford University, neither the low-carb or low-fat diet is significantly superior over the other. The study was actually an effort to see if any specific biological factors impact the effectiveness of either low-carb or low-fat diets. In other words, researchers wanted to know if certain diets are better for one type of person than another, and if so, what are the factors that impact results.
The collected data showed many results, but most notably, it implied little difference for weight loss between a low-carb and a low-fat diet.
Lose Weight and Eat Your Fill by Heading to the Produce Section
Of all the foods we’ve talked about, is there one specific type that should be the foundation of our diets? While there is certainly a lot of healthy reasons to consume meat, it’s becoming clear that limiting meat consumption may be an effective way to reduce overall weight.
Studies now show that vegetarian diets are more effective for helping people lose weight. The study found that vegetarian diets are better for reducing fat content in the body than simply reducing calorie intake through other measures. Using a vegetarian diet can be twice as effective at helping you lose weight than maintaining regular meat consumption. Vegetarians not only lose weight, they reduce the amount of muscle fat in the diet, meaning their metabolism gets a boost too. The study focused on the implications for people with metabolic syndrome and type-2 diabetes, but the findings are important for the general population as well. The implication seem to be that if you can reduce meat consumption and have a vegetarian meal on occasion (or often), you’ll be more likely to shed the pounds, all without reducing the amount you eat.
Is there a Right, and Wrong, Time to Eat?
So we know that eating lots of fresh vegetables and fruits is better than eating lots of meats and highly-processed foods, and we’ve seen that there is little difference between a low-carb and low-fat diets (for weight loss, at least), but what about the time of day? Assuming we eat the same amount, does eating right after you wake, before you sleep, or in the middle make a difference in overall health? Is there a best time to eat? According to the research that we’ve seen, yes there is.
A study grouped participants into two basic groups: early and late eaters. They looked at when the people in the study chose to eat the largest meal of the day, which in this case is the midday lunch, and studied their weight-loss rates for 20 weeks. The results found that people who ate late lunches (who were also more likely to skip breakfast) lost more weight. This suggests that, in addition to other strategies, the timing of your meal could impact overall weight loss.
There is also a debate of when to eat your biggest meal of the day. Should it be breakfast, lunch, or dinner? Another study found that consuming a larger meal early is often better for your overall weight loss. This study looked at two groups who consumed a 500-calorie lunch, but one had a 700-calorie breakfast and a light supper, while the other had a light breakfast and a 700-calorie supper. Despite the fact that the nutrient content was exactly the same, the results showed that the big-breakfast group shed over twice the weight (8.7 lbs vs 3.6) and reduced their waistline by over 4 inches.
Eating Frequency: Is there a Right Amount of Meals?
You’ve likely heard the theory that eating five smaller meals, instead of three regular meals, is more effective for losing weight. It’s been passed around so often, that many of us simply take it for gospel. But is there any truth behind this theory?
According to a study from the Harvard Medical School, there is a connection between more meals and less weight. The article says that there is scientific research verifying the theory that eating four or five meals a day could bring better weight loss results. Benefits to a high-frequency meal plan include a decrease in regular hunger, which prevents overeating. It also increases your chances to eat healthier foods, such as fruits, vegetables, and whole-grain breads. However, if you choose low-quality foods, such as sugary snacks or fatty, salty chips, you won’t benefit from the high-frequency plan.
Final Thought: You Can Lose Weight, No Matter Who You Are!
Whether you come from a family of large or skinny people appears to be irrelevant, or, at least, less relevant than you might think. Unfortunately, some people blame genetics for their heavy bodies and inability to lose weight. While there are certainly genetic factors that may make it harder to lose weight, research shows that genetics plays a small, virtually insignificant role in weight loss.
The study that we discussed earlier, which addressed low-fat vs low-carb diets, also found that genetics plays a small role in determining weight loss. This runs contradictory to the messaging of some business that sell genetics-related approaches to weight loss. However, it appears that many in the scientific community are disputing the thought that there should be an entirely different weight loss plan for different types of people.
So while you may come from a family of large individuals, you can always lose weight. You don’t need fad diets, you don’t need specialized coaching, and you don’t need to starve yourself. As science and the experiences of many will demonstrate, it’s possible to lose weight by simply adjusting your daily routine and, more significantly, eating healthy, wholesome foods.
With the right approach, you can create a happier, healthier, more active you!
Boosting your metabolism is one of the commonly-discussed ways to increase overall weight loss. By making your body burn through foods faster, you increase your chances of loosing weight and keeping it off, which is essential to overall health for many reasons.
Everyone has theories about metabolism, but do you understand how metabolism works and how you can use it to your advantage? One of the ways to kickstart your metabolism is to eat the right foods, and there are many foods that not only taste great, but also increase your chances of loosing weight in a safe, healthy, and sustained manner.
Before getting started, it helps to briefly talk about metabolism. Essentially, metabolism means how your body digests foods and burns calories. You may hear some people claim that they can’t loose weight because their body has a “slow metabolism.” They are basically saying that their body processes foods and burns calories too slowly, and the excess energy is then stored in the form of fat, usually around the belly.
It is true that each individual will have a different metabolism, but there are things that everyone can do, regardless of genetics, to boost their metabolism. Theories abound, including frequent small meals, enhanced hydration, and a focus on strength training.
But the foods you eat can have an impact on your overall metabolism as well, meaning you can, when done right, eat a hearty amount while still burning calories. Every weight-loss plan needs to include regular exercise, but these foods can increase you metabolism and (possibly) make you slimmer.
One of the conditions we’ll mention in this article is metabolic syndrome. This is not a specific disease, but a cluster of conditions that increase the risk of heart disease and diabetes. The syndrome can include many risk factors, including high blood pressure, high blood sugar, and obesity, but it’s believed to be rooted in the body’s inability to properly utilize energy, leading to excess storage. Anyone with metabolic syndrome needs to be particularly diligent with their diet and lifestyle.
Few foods have such a positive reputation as green tea, and, among other theorized benefits, it’s also believe to boost your body’s metabolism. This theory is supported by a few different studies, including a study from researchers in Iran. In an attempt to discover the possible connection between certain doses of tea and metabolic factors, researchers worked with 63 type-2 diabetics, who all started the program with no green tea for two weeks. The subjects were then assigned random placement into four groups that had different daily intakes of tea: four cups a day, three cups, two cups, and a control group with zero cups per day. The results found that drinking four cups every day led to a significant reduction in weight and blood pressure.
Olive oil, which is a staple of the Mediterranean diet, is also believed to improve metabolism in the body. Again, we can look to evidence for the connection between eating olive oil and maintaining a healthy lifestyle with a strong metabolism. A study published in Nutrition and Metabolism found that replacing other oils and fats with extra virgin olive oil could have a cardio-metabolic effect in obese adults. This study randomized 41 overweight people into two groups, those who received corn oil, soybean oil, and butter for their foods, and those who received olive oil. Three months later, researchers measured blood pressure, biochemical, and immunological factors; those in the olive-oil group had better stats for both metabolism and immunological health.
Dairy isn’t usually considered a weight-loss food, but a study from the University of Tennessee claims that three to four servings of dairy foods, including milk, could “significantly increase weight loss.” This was a 24-week study that had adults on a reduced-calorie diet eating three or four servings of dairy every day. The group lost an average of 24 pounds, which was “significantly more” than another group in the study that cut calories but ate less dairy foods. The dairy foods in this study included milk, as well as yogurt and cheese.
Garlic is a powerhouse of nutrition, with properties linked to enhanced immunity and fighting the aging process. Another attributed quality is garlic’s ability to enhance your metabolism. Garlic has a powerful taste, but adding even small amounts can increase the number of calories you burn during regular activity while decreasing your body’s tendency to produce and store fat. Adding garlic to some of your recipes, such as pasta or salads, could be the key to increasing your metabolism.
Stress has been linked to a slower metabolism; in other words, the more you stress, the slower your metabolism works and the more fat you store. However, a study from German and Swiss researchers has found that dark chocolate, by reducing stress, can actually enhance metabolism. The study found that eating only 40 grams of dark chocolate (less than 1.5 ounces) over a two-week period is enough to create noticeable changes in a person’s metabolism.
Medical News Today has a report stating that whole grains, as opposed to refined flours, will deliver a superior diet. Not only does whole-grain food reduce the amount of calories consumed, it also speeds up metabolism. Whole-grain foods can include a wide variety of products, including certain types of rice, oats, barley, and wheat. As opposed to refined grains, whole grains have not been processed to remove bran and germ, which increases shelf-life but also reduces nutritional value.
You will find lots of healthy seafood options, but when it comes to boosting your metabolism, salmon may be the best. Many cases of under-active thyroid, which is linked to low metabolism, are due to an inflammation in the gland. Salmon, fortunately, can have anti-inflammatory properties thanks to its high density of omega-3 fatty acids. Salmon is often believed to be better for weight loss than other seafoods, including cod.
Apple can reduce or prevent metabolic syndrome, a condition that includes a group of risk factors that combine to significantly harm your overall metabolism. A report from News Medical claims that people who eat apples, as well as apple-based foods like apple juice and apple sauce, have a 21% reduction in the chances of being diagnosed with the issue.
From cleaning the home to helping you lose weight, it seems like vinegar is one of the most effective household products in your cupboard. Vinegar is believed to have the ability to activate genes that release proteins, which in turn help breakdown fat in the body. A Japanese study found that overweight people who consumed vinegar had better body weight, BMI, and waist circumference, among other factors. Daily intake of vinegar could also be useful for reducing the chances of metabolic syndrome.
Iron is an important mineral for our metabolic systems, helping to catch oxygen for our muscles and binding oxygen for delivery to various organs. When you are looking for iron-rich foods, few are as good as beef. Although too much beef can have health consequences, eating a regular, moderate portion could be beneficial to your metabolism.
Spinach is another food that is rich in iron, and it also has plenty of other healthy benefits. Adding spinach to your salad is a great way to boost your nutritional intake while also eating low-calorie meals.
Beans can have lots pf protein to help you maintain a healthy diet, and they can also be beneficial to overall weight-loss. This is supported by many studies, including research published in Nutrition & Metabolism, which found that eating beans could increase fat burning and prevent fat accumulation in the longterm by affecting how a body processes fats.
Need a pick-me-up? Millions of Americans turn to coffee as their choice for a morning beverage or as a boost to get through the afternoon lull. However, you may want to consider coffer as a metabolism-booster as well. Research from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggests that drinking coffee may promote thermogenesis, which is the production of heat in the body. Thermogenesis takes energy, so drinking coffee could kickstart your body’s engine.
Food Preparation: Is there a Strategy to Increase Metabolism?
So we know what foods are good for boosting our metabolism, but is there a strategy for how we eat? Does the frequency or routine of our diet have any impact?
Can Meal Plans Impact Metabolism?
According to popular myth, eating multiple small meals, as opposed to three full meals, is a better daily plan because it keeps your metabolism running all through the day. However, research is indicating that meal frequency may not make a significant difference in overall weight-loss or the effectiveness of a diet plan. A study from the Netherlands and Germany found that, despite the hypothesis of researchers, frequency of meals did not lead to noticeable changes in body weight.
A Little Protein with Every Meal
A strategy for kickstarting your metabolism, or at least keeping it running, is to have a bit of protein with every meal. Protein helps build muscle, and the more muscle you have, the more calories you burn. This is a result of the fact that simply maintaining muscles takes more energy than maintaining stores of fat. Simply having a portion of healthy meat, beans, or nuts with every meal could help keep your body strong and slim.
If you are going to harness your metabolism to decrease weight, remember to eat right, strategize, and maintain consistent exercise. Eating healthy foods that boost your metabolism will have you feeling better and give you more energy through the day!
When you were 25, losing weight and staying in shape seemed so easy. Now that you are in your 40’s, 50’s, or 60’s, it seems practically impossible.
When you were young, you could eat pizza, spend a night on the town, then burn it off at the gym the next day. Now those pizza and drinks seems to stick with you forever, and even if you find time for the gym, the weight doesn’t seem to melt off like it used to.
It’s a problem we all experience, but by understanding the changes in your body and making strategic adjustments to meet those changes, you can lose weight when over 40…
Why is Losing Weight When Over 40 So Hard?
Losing weight is a challenge even when we’re young, but as we age, certain changes in our body and our lifestyle can make it more complex and more difficult. Looking at the body, we see that many people struggle with weight loss over the age of 40 because of body composition changes. Studies have shown that fat mass increases and muscle mass decreases as we get older. Although we don’t exactly know why, we do know that our general metabolism, the way we burn calories, slows as we get older. Instead of naturally burning calories, our body puts more in storage, which means belly fat.
But it’s not just our bodies, as our lifestyles often get in the way of weight loss as well. If you are over 40, you have likely found that losing weight can be more difficult because you are busy with children, family, and social commitments, not to mention a growing career. All of these factors make it hard to find the time for exercise, and a busy lifestyle can lead to a poor diet.
For many reasons, it can be difficult to lose weight after the age of 40. However, with the right plan, you can reach your goals for fitness and wellbeing.
To get the best results, you should separate your efforts into three categories: changes for your (1) workouts, (2) diet, and (3) lifestyle. With subtle changes in these three areas, you’ll be feeling healthier and looking better for years!
Losing Weight When Over 40: The Workouts
Add Swimming to Your Routine
Many people over the age of 40 avoid the high-impact exercises that cause pain in the knees, especially jogging and running. Some even avoid riding a bike or even walking. If this is the case for you, consider adding a few swims to your regular routine. Not a confident swimmer? You can always take a lesson or stay near the shallow end until you gain the confidence for a full swim.
Don’t Forget Strength Training
According to a study from Wake Forest University, older adults should add weight training to their exercise routine, not to bulk up, but to slim down. The study found that combining weight training with a low-calorie diet helps preserve and build lean muscle, which can be lost when older adults go through aerobic exercises. The 18-month study looked at obese adults in their 60s and found that weight training brought about less muscle loss and significant fat loss, and appeared to be more effective than simply dieting.
Add Weekly Yoga
An article published in LiveScience says that middle-age (40-59 years old) women have the highest rate of depression among all groups based on age and sex. Unfortunately, this not only impacts your mental health, it can also impact your physical health, as depression has been linked to weight gain and the inability (or difficulty) of losing weight.
One of the best ways to combat depression, and get a great workout, is yoga. This low-impact exercise has a connection to reduced rates of depression, as well as the ability to help individuals lose weight. For many important reasons, yoga appears to be an extremely-beneficial workout.
Losing Weight When Over 40: The Diet and Eating
Add Healthy Fiber to Your Diet
Boosting the amount of fiber in your diet can help you lose weight, according to a study published in the Annal of Internal Medicine suggests that making one simple change, the addition of high-quality fiber, to our diets, can increase weight loss. Aiming for 30-grams of fiber a day could not only help you lose weight, it could lower blood pressure and improve your body’s response to insulin, all of which are important to the health of older adults.
To add good fiber to your diet, include beans, fresh leafy vegetables, and whole-wheat products to your diet.
Add Omega-3 Foods to Your Diet
Omega-3, which is found in salmon, tuna, and mackerel, and other fatty fish, is extremely helpful for losing weight and keeping it off. It’s believed that the benefit from this nutrient may also help reduce hot flashes during menopause, which is an important concern for middle-aged women.
Portion Control Becomes Essential
Because our metabolism is slower when we age, we don’t process food as quickly as we used to. This means that you really need to focus on portion control, because your body simply doesn’t need the high amounts of energy that it did when you were in your twenties. In the past, excess calories were burned at a higher rate, now they are stored mostly around the belly, increasing your weight and waist. Even if you are eating healthy foods, be sure to limit your portions so you’re not overeating.
You Can’t Skip Meals Like You Used To
As we discussed earlier, your metabolism will go through changes as you age, so you can’t abuse it the way you used to. One of the fastest ways to throw off your metabolism is to skip meals, especially breakfast, which basically tells your body that lean times are ahead so we better start storing fat for the future. Skipping meals increases the chances of low blood sugar, which can lead to ravenous overeating. Be sure to eat high-quality meals on a consistent basis, and don’t skip breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
Losing Weight When Over 40: The Lifestyle
In our 40’s and 50’s, sleep may be harder to come by. With the demands of a career and a family, getting enough sleep becomes tough. What does this have to do with weight loss? Getting enough sleep has been well-established as an important part of weight loss. This is because sleep impacts how your brain creates and interprets hormones related to hunger. Lack of sleep can lead to fatigue, reducing your motivation for exercise, and can make you more likely to choose unhealthy foods over healthy options, largely because you’re simply too tired to fight the cravings.
Create a Time-Management Plan That Includes Eating Right
One of the greatest challenges to losing weight over 40 is time. Finding time for the gym and time to prepare healthy meals is more difficult now that you have a family and a career, but it’s not impossible. A study from the University of Minnesota found that people who implement time management strategies and “nutrition-related messaging” are more likely to eat healthy foods. Although this specific study focuses on young adults, it does emphasize the importance of time management in your health efforts, which is crucial for people over 40.
Have Your Thyroid Checked
Any woman experiencing trouble losing weight after the age of 40 should consider having her thyroid checked. Women are more likely to develop issues with this gland as they age, and the symptoms can range from fatigue to depression to weight gain. Fortunately, the problem can be fixed with medication, but you have to get checked and discuss the issue with your doctor first.
Keep Your Legs Strong
While overall leg strength, from exercises like squats or lunges, may not seem like a way to melt away the fat, it can be an effective way to burn calories. Perhaps more importantly, it’s a way to maintain strong legs and good balance as you age. If you lose your leg strength by the time you are 60 or 70, you may not be able to exercise as much, which can mean a decline in overall health. Consider leg strength an investment in your healthy future!
Set Small, Reasonable Goals
One of the traps of weight loss is trying to lose too much too quickly. You can’t honestly expect to lose ten pounds a week for a month, at least not in a healthy, sustained manner. Make your goals more reasonable, such as one to two pounds a week. With this goal, you’ll stay motivated and focused, and you’ll be more likely to keep the weight off. Remember, we’re in it for the long haul, so focus on smaller, attainable goals so you can keep the weight off after the age of 40.
With these strategies for workouts, diet, and exercise, you will increase your chances of success. When you strategize your workouts, plan your diet, and make sustained lifestyle changes, you’ll be more likely to shed the pounds and keep them off for the rest of your life. You can lose weight after 40, but it takes knowledge and planning. More than anything, it takes a commitment to being a healthier, happier person, which should be the ultimate goal for any weight loss plan! This is clearly a way to make yourself a “Better You by Design”.