When it comes to women over the age of 40, the question “how to lose belly fat” becomes an even harder one to answer than for men of the same age or for men and women of a younger age. This article will explain:
- explain why it is more difficult to lose belly fat after the age of 40
- provide solid actionable tips how to lose belly fat if you’re over 40 years of age
By the end of this article you will be clear about why you accumulated belly fat in the first place and will leave knowing how to get rid of it and keep it off for the rest of your life.
Why is it more difficult to lose belly fat after 40?
The difficulty in losing belly fat after 40 boils down to two main reasons:
- a slower metabolism
- increased stress factors
There of course may be a number of other reasons, but assuming that there are no medical issues, the above two are the main causes of stubborn belly fat. Take care of them, and it’s simply a matter of time before you have that svelte ‘model’ figure you’ve always craved.
How to lose belly fat by understanding your metabolism
According to Dr Pamela Peeke, an expert who has carried out a lot of research on wellness for the over 40′s, womens metabolism declines at the rate of about 5% every 10 years starting from the age of 20. The reason for this is the natural loss of muscle that comes with age.
The reduction in metabolism means that less calories are burned off, which means more end up getting stored as belly fat. One would expect that the reduction of calories required would automatically translate to less appetite, but unfortunately that is not the case and at the very least, women over 40 tend to eat more or less as much as they did at 20.
To put this in context, at 20years they average calories required for normal living are about 2000calories, but in your 40′s this drops down to about 1700 calories. So if you continue eating at the same level you did at 20, you have a calory excess which continues increasing with time. Can you see how easy it then becomes to accumulate belly fat and why it’s harder to shake off?
So, to lose belly fat, you ideally need to start reducing the size of your portions over time. Before I go more into this, I will quickly cover the other aspect of the ‘how to lose belly fat’ equation i.e stress, as I believe it is an important factor to consider.
Stress as a variable in the ‘how to lose belly fat’ equation
Dr. Peeke has studied the link between belly fat and stress and her findings have shown that stress is a major contributor to increased belly fat. Unlike men or the younger generation, women over 40 have to contend with a combination of kids, partners, careers, aging parents/relative and hormonal imbalances.
This means that for most of the day the body is in a high stress state running on high amounts of the stress hormone cortisol. According to a Yale study:
Cortisol affects fat distribution by causing fat to be stored centrally—around the organs. Cortisol exposure can increase visceral fat—the fat surrounding the organs—in animals.
So, as you can see, increased stress contributes to added belly fat. Add to that the fact that the more belly fat you have the easier it is to get stressed and you see how much of a compounded effect stress has on beating the bulge!
How to lose belly fat
Okay, so we now understand how belly fat accumulates, time to explain how to lose belly fat. The first thing I need to make clear is DO NOT drastically cut down your calories based on your new understanding of your metabolism and how it affects belly fat. Drastically cutting down calories will have the effect of slowing down your metabolism even more. Any sudden change will trigger the bodies defence mechanism. A sudden reduction in calories will signify a shortage of food and hence the body will go into ‘storage’ mode to prepare for the upcoming ‘lack of food’, a result you don’t want!
What you need to be thinking of is in terms of ‘fitness’ rather than ‘thinness’. Your mindset should be one of getting fit and NOT one of getting thin.
Control your portions
So on that note, what you need to do is ensure you gradually reduce your caloric intake. Try aiming for a meal every 3 hours and use a smaller plate or bowl to better help you condition yourself to control your portions. A trick used by the french, which you might employ is to tie a ribbon around your belly(under your clothes). This will help you gauge whether you’ve eaten too much. After a couple of days of this you’ll instinctively know what the right quantities are.
Be aware of the ‘fat time’
The most dangerous time in terms of caloric intake, particularly if you live a stressful life tend to be between 3pm and midnight. It is during this period that the cortisone levels in the body drop and exhaustion takes over. This leads to the desire for high fat, sugary snacks to give a quick energy boost and hence results in taking in things like coffee and high calorie snacks which will add to your belly fat. Simply being aware of this time will help you avoid gouging on ‘bad foods’, however, and even better strategy is to stock up on ‘good foods’ and ensure you eat wholesome ‘slow burning’ foods such as wholegrain bread, skimmed milk, vegetables e.t.c every 3 hours.
I know for a lot, exercise is not their favourite when it comes to losing belly fat, however, it is in my opinion one of the greatest tools you’ll have at your disposal. As well as burning up calories, exercise also has the added benefit of providing you with a ‘feel good’ factor. This is good for reducing stress levels and for general wellbeing.
A video clip from Jani Roberts
This video clip by Jani Roberts more or less summarises some of the main points discussed in this article. In terms of losing weight for women over 40, you should pay particular attention to the part about your hormonal balance as it plays a critical role in your belly fat loss efforts.
Also, take note of the fact that the majority of women who accumulate belly fat, aren’t over eating, in fact, they don’t eat enough! SO YOU’RE NOT TO BLAME! Check out the clip below:
You now know how to lose belly fat
So that’s it. I did not want this article to run too long and purposefully kept it as short as I could. With the tips listed you now have the necessary knowledge on how to lose belly fat and al you have to do is come up with a customised plan and start blasting through that belly fat and making headway to getting the figure you’ve always craved!