Just because you’re over 40, 50, or beyond doesn't mean you have to settle for a body weight you're uncomfortable with. Weight loss for older women is simple with the right weight loss plan. The first step is getting in the mindset of prioritizing weight loss and your health!
If you're over 40 your metabolism and muscle mass tend to slowly decrease, but that doesn't mean weight loss is out of reach. Building muscle and following simple tips gives your metabolism a boost so you don’t have to severely restrict calories to shed pounds.
Use this definitive guide to weight loss for older women to get on the path toward a happier, healthier life today!
Surprisingly Simple Nutrition Tips for Older Women
Use the simple tips below to get your diet on track and gear you up for weight loss. Follow several steps at a time to slowly ease into your new weight loss program, so you don't feel overwhelmed.
Step #1 Calculate Your Calorie Allotment
There are several ways to determine your weight loss calorie goal.
Track your current intake and subtract that number by 500-1,000 calories daily to shed about 1-2 pounds per week. You can also use general weight loss recommendations set by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, which are 1,200-1,500 calories per day for most women.
Your unique calorie needs for weight loss depend on your size, body composition, metabolism, and activity level.
Step #2 Plan Your Meals
Once you know your weight loss calorie goal it’s easy to create meal plans based on your calorie allotment. Weight loss and calorie-counting apps, such as MyFitnessPal, Lose It!, MyPlate, FitBit, Fatsecret, and Fooducate, are tools you can use for calorie counting.
If your allotment is 1,200 calories per day, try one of the following meal plans:
- Four 300-calorie meals
- Three 300-calorie meals plus two 150-calorie snacks
- Five 240-calorie meals
If you don't care to use calorie counting apps or a free online food database, such as the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Composition Database, simply write down what you eat in a paper food journal and use nutrition labels to track calories. Even if you don’t record calories, studies show that writing down foods and portion sizes in a daily log helps you eat fewer calories for weight loss.
Step #3 Choose the Right Foods
When shopping for weight loss foods, know which items to add to your grocery list. Choose plenty of fresh fruits, non-starchy vegetables, fiber-rich starches, lean protein foods, low-fat dairy foods or plant milks, and heart-healthy fats.
Non-starchy vegetables are lower in calories than starchy veggies but still are an excellent source of satiating fiber. Examples include broccoli, cauliflower, bell peppers, celery, tomatoes, cucumbers, mushrooms, asparagus, and leafy greens. Most contain about 10-40 calories in each 1-cup portion.
Fiber-rich starches include starchy vegetables like sweet potatoes, yams, corn, green peas, black beans, chick peas, lentils, and other legumes. Whole grains are also an excellent choice. Healthy examples include brown rice, wild rice, quinoa, whole-grain cereals, whole-grain pasta, oatmeal, and whole-grain Ezekiel bread.
Choose nutritious protein foods like chicken, turkey, fish, seafood, eggs, tofu, and seitan. Low-fat dairy foods (low-fat milk, nonfat Greek yogurt, low-fat cottage cheese, and reduced-fat cheese) and plant milks and yogurts are a good source of protein plus calcium.
Don’t forget to shop for heart-healthy fats like nuts, seeds, nut butters, avocados, olive oil, other plant oils, olives, and fish oil.
Step #4 Pick Delicious Recipes
Healthy weight loss foods taste better when you have nutritious recipes on hand. Choose recipes that provide a good mix of lean protein, veggies, and healthy fats like olive oil or avocados. Season your meals with herbs or other seasonings of your choice to add flavor to your favorite nutritious dishes.
Step #5 Divide Your Plate Properly
If you don’t have time to count calories or you’re dining out, divide your plate for weight loss instead! Fill:
- Half of each plate with non-starchy vegetables
- One-fourth of your plate with fiber-rich starches
- One-fourth of the plate with nutritious protein foods
Add in healthy fats and low-fat dairy foods or plant milks, and snack on fruits if you'd like between meals.
Step #6 Drink Lots of Water
Drink 2-4 cups of water when you first wake up in the morning to begin each day, and 2 cups of water before meals for effective weight loss for older women.
Doing so helps fill you up with fewer calories.
A daily fluid goal for women is at least 12 cups per day, but you might require additional water in very hot weather or if you lose a lot of sweat during physical activity.
Coffee and tea, which each provide about 5 calories per serving, count toward your fluid goals!
Step #7 Eliminate Problem Foods
Eliminating certain foods from your diet can do wonders to achieve your goal weight, and eating a well-balanced diet rich in protein, fiber, and heart-healthy fats can reduce junk food cravings.
Foods to eliminate when weight loss for older women is you goal include white bread, white rice, baked goods, other refined grains, sweets, sugary drinks, fried foods, gravies, and processed meats – such as ham, hot dogs, regular bacon, and cold cut meats.
Steer clear of burgers, pizza, French fries, and prepackaged foods as much as possible.
Step #8 Limit or Cut Out Alcohol
Giving up alcohol entirely is best when you’re trying to drop weight, but limiting it helps too. Cutting out 2 glasses of wine daily can reduce your energy intake by almost 300 calories!
Reducing or cutting out alcoholic drinks also lowers your risk of developing certain cancers.
Step #9 Dine Out Less
Studies show that eating out often is linked with higher body weights, regardless of whether you dine out at fast food or sit-down restaurants.
Hidden ingredients and calories often lurk in restaurant foods even if you order healthy-looking dishes, and portion sizes are usually much larger than what's recommended for weight loss in older women.
Prepare meals at home vs. dining out when possible to get excess weight off.
Step #10 Try an Organized Weight Loss Plan for Women
Having a structured weight loss program in place keeps you accountable and can drastically boost weight loss. The Fit Mother Project 30X (FM30X) is a research-backed weight loss plan with proven success that's specifically designed for women of alleges, especially older women.
The program has helped thousands of people lose weight and keep it off for life.
FM30xX involves custom meal plans and menus, mouth-watering recipes, fat-burning workouts for women, and motivational support from health experts.
Studies show that health coaching significantly improves weight loss.
Exercises Recommendations for Weight Loss in Women
Staying active is just as important as eating right for weight loss in older women. The more you move the more calories you’ll burn and expending more calories than you eat in a day is the key to effectively weight loss. Exercise increases muscle mass to give your metabolism a boost and burn unwanted body fat. Consider the following exercise recommendations for older women:
#1 Exercise 30-60 Minutes Most Days
Aim to exercise at least 30 minutes a day, up to 60 minutes if you have time! Studies show that longer continuous aerobic exercise, such as jogging or cycling for at least 45 minutes at a moderate intensity, is associated with significant weight loss. Researchers found that burning 400-600 calories during exercise is effective.
High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is a weight and fat loss strategy for older women who can’t commit to 45 minutes of exercise daily. It involves alternating high-intensity training with lower-intensity recovery periods. You can achieve just as much weight loss success doing 20-30 minutes of HIIT vs. longer continuous cardiovascular workouts.
For best results, change up workout routines often and mix in weight training, circuit training for women, Pilates or yoga!
#2 Increase Activities of Daily Living
Stay active throughout the entire day instead of just during workouts to boost calorie expenditure even more. Add to your daily routine house chores, yard work, grocery shopping, golfing, or other activities that keep you moving. If your job requires being on your feet most of the day that counts too! Any activity that involves body movement enhances weight loss in older women.
#3 Warm Up, Stretch, and Cool Down
Warming up, stretching, and cooling down is important at any age especially if you’re over 40. Doing so prevents injuries and increases range of motion.
Warm up for 5 minutes before workouts by moving at a slow intensity.
Cool down at a low-intensity pace for 5 minutes after workouts and complete safe stretching exercises before or after exercise.
Healthy Habits of Successful Skinny People
People who maintain ideal body weights practice numerous healthy habits, which often lead to success in other areas of their lives. Try the strategies below to increase your chance of dropping excess weight and keeping it off for life.
#1 Set Goals
Successful people and those who maintain healthy weights have something in common: they set goals.
Studies show that goal setting leads to long term weight loss success, even if you don’t always meet the goals.
Set weekly weight loss, diet, exercise, career, parenting, and financial goals to achieve success in weight loss and other areas of your life!
Your weight loss goal should be to drop 1-2 pounds each week, which is safe and effective for long term maintenance. Weigh yourself at least once each week but believe it or not, studies show daily weigh-ins are an even better weight loss strategy.
#2 Sleep Enough
Sleep is more crucial than you might think for weight loss and overall health and wellness.
Lack of sleep negatively impacts your thinking skills, mood, workouts, and even your appetite.
Hormone fluctuations associated with sleep deprivation tend to increase hunger and the desire for high-calorie foods.
To prevent this from happening, get 7-9 hours of sleep in each night. Take naps as needed to achieve this goal.
#3 Manage Your Time
Managing your time can be more difficult than it seems, but it's a skill that most successful people possess!
Set aside time to get plenty of sleep, grocery shop, prep healthy meals, and get regular exercise.
Don't forget to relax! Avoid overbooking your schedule to keep stress levels low and achieve a good balance of work and family time.
#4 Sit Down Less
The more you sit down the higher your risk of becoming overweight and developing other chronic diseases. Rest and relaxation are important but avoid sitting down for long time periods.
If you have a desk job, take short walk breaks often throughout the day or try a sit-stand desk so you can alternate periods of standing with sitting.
Relaxation is important at any age, especially for older men and women trying to shed pounds. That’s because chronic stress alters hormones within your body that increase appetite and the desire for unhealthy foods.
Set some time aside each day to relax by reading a book, taking a nap, watching a movie, spending time outdoors, or getting a pedicure or massage.
#6 Take Dietary Supplements
Taking dietary supplements for older women can improve your overall health and wellness.
Doing so can give you a boost of energy, prevent nutrient deficiencies during weight loss, enhance brain health, and keep your appetite in check.
Consider taking some of the best dietary supplements for women over 40, such as protein powder, multivitamins, probiotics, omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, or soy isoflavones supplements if your doctor recommends it.
#7 Set Regular Schedules
Set regular daily schedules and stick to them to improve your health and meet weight loss goals. For example, go to bed and wake up at the same time each day.
Weigh yourself when you awake each morning, drink 2-4 cups of water after that, and make time each day for workouts, healthy meals, your career, house chores, and relaxation.
Set goals and stick with them for a feeling of accomplishment, and watch the pounds melt away.
#8 Attend Regular Health Checkups
Attend regular wellness checkups with your doctor to catch chronic disease risk factors before they become problematic. Your doctor lets you know if hormone imbalances, nutrient deficiencies, or medications you're taking negatively impact weight loss. If so he might recommend hormone therapy, switching medications, or taking certain dietary supplements.
How to Get Started
Following the step-by-step guide above will get you on the path toward a happier, healthier life so you can reach the body weight and figure you desire!
To make your weight loss experience simple and receive custom diet and exercise plans plus motivational support, sign up the FM30X today!
If you’d like to give it a try free of charge, choose the FREE 3-day fit mom jump start kit and receive a free meal plan, a free workout, and free email coaching support plus access to private fit mom social media groups. Make the commitment to getting excess weight off. You'll be surprised at how easy and fun it can be!
Writer, The Fit Mother Project
A 15-year freelance writing veteran, Erin is registered dietitian and health educator who is passionate about health, fitness and disease prevention. Her published work appears on hundreds of health and fitness websites, and she’s working on publishing her first book! Erin is a wife and mom of two beautiful children.