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How to Lose Weight For Women Over 40 – Top Tips & Tricks

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By: Erin Coleman, B.S. - Nutritional Science, R.D., L.D.,

Writer, The Fit Father Project & Fit Mother Project

how to lose weight for women

Weight loss after 40 may be easier than you think. How to lose weight for women is a simple as swapping the bad with the good!

Changing up your diet can dramatically improve your overall health, in addition to boosting your self-esteem.

And, you don’t have to be a fitness guru or do intense workouts to become more physically active and effectively shed pounds!

The entire body is a complex system, but everything is connected together.

Even the make-up of gut bacteria plays a huge role in overall health and wellness.

Choosing the right foods (while steering clear of others), and staying active throughout the day are the keys to success in weight loss for older women.

As a general rule, women should aim to eat about 1,200 calories a day to shed pounds. This amount may fluctuate depending on your height, current weight, and physical activity level.

Ready to learn how to lose weight for women over 40? Let's dive in!

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How to Lose Weight for Women: Foods to Avoid

There are several foods and drinks you should avoid when weight loss is your goal and a few tricks that help you steer clear of the foods that are hindering weight loss success.

Try drinking 2 cups of water before meals, and getting in plenty of healthy fats to curb junk food cravings.

Sugary Drinks

It may come as no surprise that sugary drinks can halt weight loss, as these drinks provide empty calories but often no beneficial nutrients.

Examples of sugary drinks to avoid for weight loss for older women include:

  • Sodas
  • Juice drinks containing added sugar
  • Large amounts of fruit juices
  • Sweet tea
  • Lemonade
  • Coffee drinks containing added sugar

One can of soda contains about 150 calories, so switching from soda to water helps you cut calories when you need to shed pounds.

Unsweetened green tea and black coffee are other good options, as these drinks are almost calorie-free.

Diet Drinks

Diet drinks are calorie-free, but that doesn't mean you should drink them when trying to drop excess body weight.

Diet sodas contain artificial sweeteners, which taste sweet and increase your craving for sugary foods and drinks.

A study conducted by the San Antonio Longitudinal Study of Aging found that drinking diet drinks regularly is associated with higher body mass indexes (BMIs) and waist circumferences.

So no sugary drinks and no diet soda. What CAN you drink? Try these 6 healthy drinks!

Sweets

Steering clear of sweets makes weight loss for older women easier, as sugary treats pack in calories without keeping you full very long.

Ice cream, cakes, cookies, candy bars, baked goods (especially doughnuts), and other sweet treats are definitely on the list of foods to avoid when weight loss is your goal.

White-Colored Foods

Not all white-colored foods are bad for you, but as a general rule, it’s best to avoid certain white-colored items when trying to shed pounds.

Examples of white foods to avoid include:

  • White rice
  • White bread
  • White pasta
  • Plain white bagels

These carb-rich foods contain less fiber and satiating protein than whole grains, such as brown rice and quinoa, for example.

Other white foods to steer clear of or limit — due to high calorie, sugar, or saturated fat content — include cream-based soups, gravies, other white sauces and dressings, biscuits, and creamy sauces (Alfredo pasta sauce, for example).

Not all white-colored foods are bad for weight loss for older women, however.

Onions, white beans, and coconuts are some white foods that work well as weight loss options for older women.

What are the worst carbs to eat? Here are the most important carbs to avoid for weight loss!

Processed Meats

Processed meats are not only high in sodium, saturated fat, and calories — these meats are now known to be cancer-causing, according to the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC).

The IARC also classifies red meat as a food that probably causes cancer.

The IARC says eating 50 grams of processed meat (equivalent to one hot dog or four strips of bacon) daily boosts your risk of colorectal cancer by an astounding 18%.

In addition to hot dogs and bacon, other processed meats to avoid during weight loss for older women include ham, sausage, hamburgers, and many types of deli meat.

These meats are treated to preserve flavor and may be salted, fermented, cured, or smoked.

Fried Foods

Fried foods can pack in unnecessary calories, which is why these foods are on the list of those to avoid during weight loss (and throughout your life when possible).

Fried foods to steer clear of include French fries, onion rings, fried chicken, doughnuts, corn dogs, fried shrimp, mozzarella sticks, tater tots, fried fish, and chicken fried steak.

For example, a serving of three mozzarella sticks contains just over 300 calories, and eating a 4-ounce portion of chicken fried steak means you’re getting almost 400 calories.

Can't control yourself around French fries or doughnuts? Learn how to control food addiction and get the food addiction help you need!

Alcoholic Drinks

Cutting alcohol is an excellent way to reduce your overall calorie intake, as calories in alcoholic drinks can range from 150 to almost 500 calories per drink!

Many people begin to drop weight after they quit drinking, even if this is the only dietary change made.

How to Lose Weight for Women: Foods to Eat

Adding certain foods to your diet increases satiety (feeling fuller for longer time periods), and helps curb junk food cravings.

Knowing which foods aid in weight loss for older women helps steer you in the right direction with your new healthy way of eating.

Healthy Fats

Adding healthy fats to your meal plan curbs cravings for unhealthy carbs, such as sugary cereal and white bread, according to the Harvard School of Public Health.

These carbs can negatively impact blood glucose and contribute to weight gain and Type 2 diabetes, but healthy fats help stabilize blood sugar.

Be sure to include a healthy fat at each meal to keep you feeling satisfied during weight loss.

Examples of healthy fats to choose include nuts, seeds, nut butter, olives, avocados, hummus, and plant-based oils (olive, coconut, and avocado oil, for example).

Protein Foods

Nutritious protein-rich foods help you feel full longer and increase the number of calories your body burns throughout the day.

Proteins also help you maintain lean body mass during weight loss, which often means reductions in body fat.

Fill one-fourth of each plate with healthy protein foods at mealtime.

Choose the most nutritious protein-rich foods — such as fish, seafood, grilled chicken, low-fat dairy foods (cottage cheese, plain Greek yogurt, reduced-fat cheese, and low-fat milk or soy milk), tofu, and eggs.

Nuts and seeds (and hummus) are good protein sources as well.

Try sunflower seeds sprinkled on top of low-fat cottage cheese or Greek yogurt, an egg white, and tofu veggie omelet, or veggie sticks dipped in hummus.

Yogurt is an excellent source of probiotics (healthy gut bacteria), which improves overall health and wellness.

Legumes (peas, black beans, lentils, and navy beans, for example) contain the perfect blend of protein and fiber, which is an excellent combination for weight loss for older women.

Try beans mixed with brown rice, or a refreshing cold three-bean salad.

Protein is important, but how much should you consume? This video has the answers!

Non-Starchy Vegetables

Dried beans and peas are starchy protein-rich veggies you should include in a weight loss diet plan for older women — but non-starchy veggies fill you up without adding as many extra calories.

Aim to include these lower-calorie veggies — such as green beans, leafy greens, asparagus, mushrooms, celery, cucumbers, tomatoes, broccoli, and cauliflower — at each meal.

Try to fill about half your plate with non-starchy veggies to aid in weight loss.

The other half of your plate should contain a mix of healthy proteins and whole grains (or other healthy starches, such as dried beans and peas or sweet potatoes).

Whole Grains

Whole grains contain more satiating protein than refined white grains and are excellent sources of dietary fiber.

Choose brown rice, wild rice, whole-grain pasta, oatmeal, bulgur, barley, or quinoa to get in your daily dose of whole grains.

Fill one-fourth of your plate with whole grains or other healthy starches at mealtime.

Remember, ingredient quality matters just as much as calories. This video teaches you how to read nutrition information on another level!

Water

Water is key to life and definitely during weight loss for older women.

This calorie-free beverage boosts satiety without adding calories, which is why drinking 2 cups of water first thing in the morning and before meals aids in weight loss and healthy weight management.

Set daily water goals — women can aim to drink at least 12 cups of water each day.

How to Lose Weight for Women: Stay Active

Eating better helps you feel good and become more active throughout the entire day, not just during workouts. If you’re new to regular exercise, don’t stress.

It’s easier than you think to boost your calorie expenditure with a few simple tips.

Get Outdoors

Believe it or not, being outdoors can boost your mood, which makes physical activity more enjoyable and easier to maintain long term.

Exercise is a natural mood enhancer as well, which is a positive cycle you want to be in.

To get in some extra physical activity outdoors, go for a walk or hike, bike on a path, go jogging, or even do yard work.

Outdoor activities that aren't necessarily workouts (but increase your calorie expenditure nonetheless) include:

  • Planting shrubs, raking, or bagging leaves (you’ll burn 149 calories in 30 minutes if you weigh 155 pounds)
  • General gardening, pushing a snowblower or lawnmower, or planting trees (you’ll burn 167 calories in 30 minutes)
  • Stacking wood, digging dirt, or laying sod (you’ll burn 186 calories in 30 minutes)
  • Chopping wood or shoveling snow by hand (you’ll burn about 223 calories in 30 minutes if you weigh 155 pounds)

Remember, expending 500 more calories than you eat in a day helps you lose about 1 pound each week.

Here's a great backyard workout the whole family will love!

Begin by Walking

If you have lots of weight to lose, walking as your workout is a good place to begin.

You don’t have to work out at high intensities to effectively shed pounds.

For example, a 185-pound woman expends 178 calories in just 30 minutes walking at a pace of 3.5 miles per hour.

Start by completing 10-minute walking increments, and work your way up to walking at least 30 minutes every day.

If boredom kicks in during walking workouts, find a workout partner to chat with during walks, listen to music or a book on tape using headphones, or watch a good movie during treadmill workouts.

Watch this video to learn about all of the research-proven 30-minute walk benefits!

Change Up Your Cardio Routine

Once you’re able to get in regular walks daily, change up your cardiovascular routine by mixing in other forms of low-intensity aerobic training sessions.

Consider swimming at your local gym or YMCA, biking, rowing, jogging, stair climbing, or using an elliptical machine to switch up your regular routine, work different muscle groups, prevent boredom, and avoid overtraining.

Again, work up to getting in at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise daily.

Once you’re comfortable doing this, try interval training (alternate periods of pushing yourself harder with lower-intensity bouts of recovery).

Check out these at-home cardio workouts!

Add Resistance Training

Once you've established a regular cardiovascular workout routine, add some resistance training exercises to enhance weight and fat loss results.

Choose push-ups, sit-ups or crunches, leg raises, squats, lunges, and plank exercises.

You can also hold light dumbbell weights when you’re squatting, lunging, or doing arm curls, shoulder presses, and triceps extensions.

Resistance bands also work well for tightening and toning.

Increasing lean body mass means you’ll burn even more calories throughout the day.

This full-body, at-home workout will help you stay fit!

Begin a Structured Program

Once you've become accustomed to regular exercise, begin a structured workout plan to further tighten, tone up, and enhance weight loss results.

Such programs often include social or health coaching support and take the guesswork out of planning regular day-to-day workouts.

Want a structured program that fits your body, metabolism, and lifestyle as a busy woman? Try the plan that's worked for thousands of moms!

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Your Journey to a Better Life

Determining how to lose weight for women may seem like a difficult task, but it doesn't have to be.

Begin by making small dietary changes, or sign up a free one-day meal plan to steer you in the right direction.

Boost physical activity throughout the day by getting outdoors, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, parking further away, or switching to a standing computer desk.

If stressful life situations cause you to overeat, chat with a therapist — or de-stress by getting outside, going for a hike, taking a vacation, or treating yourself to a pedicure or professional massage.

Be sure you’re getting in at least seven hours of sleep each night, to keep your appetite in check and have extra energy throughout the day.

Don’t get discouraged, you can do it! Begin with small, simple changes.

Even if you have lots of weight to lose, your goal weight is within reach.

You’ll not only achieve the body you've dreamed of, but you’ll also feel better too!

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Erin Coleman

Writer, The Fit Father Project & Fit Mother Project

Erin Coleman is a registered and licensed dietitian with over 15 years of freelance writing experience.

She graduated with her Bachelor of Science degree in nutritional science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and completed her dietetic internship at Viterbo University in La Crosse, Wisconsin.

Prior to beginning her career in medical content writing, Erin worked as Health Educator for the University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of Internal Medicine.

Her published work appears on hundreds of health and fitness websites, and she’s currently working on publishing her first book! Erin is a wife, and a Mom to two beautiful children.

If you’re a busy mom who wants to finally lose weight, get healthy, and actually keep the pounds off for good, this is the simple program you’ll love sticking to…

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Learn More About FM30X

If you’re a busy mom who wants to finally lose weight, get healthy, and actually keep the pounds off for good, this is the simple program you’ll love sticking to…

Our Fit Mother 30X Program (FM30X) is the answer you’ve been looking for. Inside FM30X, you’ll receive:

  • The simple & delicious Fit Mother Meal Plan with easy recipes for you and your family.
  • The metabolism-boosting Fit Mother 30X Workout (under 90 min/week) to kickstart your metabolism for fast fat burning.
  • VIP email coaching where we’ll personally walk you through the program.
Learn More About FM30X

*Please know that weight loss results & health changes/improvements vary from individual to individual; you may not achieve similar results. Always consult with your doctor before making health decisions. This is not medical advice – simply very well-researched info on how to lose weight for women.

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