Weight loss in 40s

Since I’ve turned 40, it feels like all my normal tools and tricks to lose lbs hasn’t been working. It’s like my body is holding on to ALL the weight. Any suggestions on how to increase my weight loss in my 40s?
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Replies

  • Tarzan37
    Tarzan37 Posts: 158 Member
    I feel your pain! I think perimenopause is hitting for me and wow, it is so much tougher to lose any weight!
  • AnnPT77
    AnnPT77 Posts: 24,799 Member
    Tarzan37 wrote: »
    JBanx256 wrote: »
    Unfortunately, turning 40 in & of itself has exactly zero to do with your difficulties. Human metabolism is remarkably stable from ages 20-60; it's lifestyle/behavioral changes. Obviously if there is a medical condition that crops up, that's another story, and in that case your doctor should be able to give better advice than interweb randos. But for the overwhelming majority of people, "my metabolism tanked when I hit 30 (or 40, or 50)" just isn't valid.

    Daily energy expenditure through the human life course
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34385400/

    She stated that the normal things don't work to lose weight like they used to, which has been my experience as well. Many women have fluctuations in hormone levels during perimenopause, which normally begins in the early 40's. This leads to more weight being stored in the mid-region among other things. Simply discounting someone's experience isn't helpful.

    I haven't seen any research supporting the idea that weight loss is biologically different during perimenopause or menopause, though I agree that hormonal changes at that age/stage do have some impact physiologically overall, of course.

    Here's the thing: In a practical sense, even if it does have such impact, it doesn't matter.

    Let's pretend that menopause drops BMR by 20% (though it doesn't). Let's pretend it reduces a woman's ability to reach a certain exercise intensity by 10% (though it doesn't). Let's pretend that it reduces daily life activity by another 20% (though it doesn't). That would be horrible, and challenging, very sad.

    It still wouldn't matter, in a practical sense. The person still has to do the same thing we all have to do: Find the right combination of calorie intake, manageable exercise, and daily life habits that result in sensibly gradual weight loss, followed - ideally - by long term weight maintenance. Because even if we believe all those horrible impactful numbers in the paragraph above (the numbers I totally invented out of thin air), there's pretty much nothing we can do about it. It's not actionable.

    "So sad!" or "It's so hard!" aren't action plans.

    Sure, some women can take hormone replacement therapy. (I can't, because there a high odds it would literally kill me.) If hormones are in fact a core problem for weight loss, that would make a difference. Some studies do report such an effect, though it's quite small, in ones I've seen.

    Beyond that, the action plan for post-menopause or peri-menopause weight loss is the same as for any other life stage: The levers available are eating, daily life movement, and exercise. That's pretty much it. If the exact things that used to work to lose weight don't work now, those are still the available tools.

    Anyone around here is likely to offer the advice that worked for them, and the kind of support that helped/helps them. Some people do appreciate expressions of sympathy or empathy, for psychological or emotional support.

    Personally, I like advice and support in the form of good quality research studies that represent the weight of the current evidence, and actionable suggestions about what to do. That's what I try to provide.

    This is the eating plan that worked for me to lose weight (class 1 obese to a healthy weight in less than a year), and to maintain a healthy weight for 6+ years since, starting at age 59, not just menopausal but also severely hypothyroid (which also IMO doesn't matter, especially once properly medicated):

    https://community.myfitnesspal.com/en/discussion/10636388/free-customized-personal-weight-loss-eating-plan-not-spam-or-mlm/p1

    On the daily life activity side, there was this:

    http://community.myfitnesspal.com/en/discussion/10610953/neat-improvement-strategies-to-improve-weight-loss/p1

    On the exercise front, there's no one specific thread, but IMO the best strategy is to find some enjoyable (or at least tolerable) way of getting more movement into one's life. Ideally, it will be energizing, not fatiguing (because fatigue reduces daily life activity, which is counterproductive for weight loss).

    The idea that exercise needs to be intense and exhausting to be beneficial is sheer nonsense, whether fitness or calorie burn is the goal. It should be just a manageable bit of a challenge. Exercise needs to have a time budget that allows the person to maintain good overall life balance, enough time and energy for family, job, home chores, etc. Then - as fitness improves, as it will - one should keep gradually progressing the intensity, duration, frequency or type of activity in order to keep that manageable challenge in the picture.

    That stuff above IMO, IME, comprises a reasonable approach to weight loss in menopause, or any other stage of life. Which is good, because OP didn't say anything about menopause. (I wasn't in menopause or peri at age 40, though some women are.)

    P.S. There are some studies suggesting that strength training is especially helpful in reducing central fat in peri- and menopausal women. I have mixed feelings about the totality of research I've seen on that front, but strength exercise has other benefits for anyone, so it's certainly worth doing. If it has some extra benefits in menopause, that's a bonus.
  • Tarzan37
    Tarzan37 Posts: 158 Member
    edited May 16
    I get what you all are saying but yes, there are studies out there showing that perimenopause affects weight gain as well as the ability to lose said weight for many women. I think it probably means that we just have to work that much more to get it off whereas in our younger years, simply drinking more water and reducing calories resulted in pretty quick results. I myself have had the same outdoor job for almost 20 years now but am finding it more difficult to lost weight in the past 6 months or so. This happens to coincide with other fun symptoms that point to me being in perimenopause like thinning hair, fatigue, increasingly painful cycles, water retention/bloating, etc.

    Obviously not everyone will struggle with difficulties losing weight in their 40's or 50's as perimenopause/menopause kicks in, but a high percentage will. That's all. I think that the body is a pretty complicated machine, and to think that it is as simple as calories in vs. calories out doesn't account for all of the changes happening at this age. Also, science is always changing so I tend to go by what I myself have experienced as well as what others around me are experiencing rather than what some researcher (majority of whom are male by the way) says about my body. Just my two cents. :)
  • Tarzan37
    Tarzan37 Posts: 158 Member
    edited May 16
    kshama2001 wrote: »

    I'm 55 and still not in menopause.

    The average age of entering perimenopause is in your mid-40's, but some begin as early as their late 30's and of course others are later. For some lucky ones, the symptoms may be mild and they may not realize they are actually in perimenopause. This may be the case for the OP. Menopause is defined as once you have gone at least a year without having your period. Perimenopause can last as long as 10 years (god help me, I hope I'm not in that group) for some people before they finally get to menopause. There's a lot of confusion around these terms so thought I'd clarify.
  • iam4scuba
    iam4scuba Posts: 38 Member
    Another thing that could be happening (happened to me), was that if you take a break from exercising or really staying on track, you forget what you were actually doing before. I never did calorie counting but when I started my weight loss journey I was pretty strict with that I was eating. Then I became a bit less strict but was still able to easily maintain, because maintenance is much easier than losing, and because I was able to exercise a lot more, and as a result, burn more calories. I fell off for a little while, and when I got back it seemed so much harder to lose because I was eating like I was during the maintenance period and forgot how strict I was at the beginning. So it seemed harder to lose weight, but then I read this theory somewhere else and realized that I actually wasn't doing what I was doing before when I was trying to lose weight.

    Also, I can't remember the psychology term for it, but things do seem easier to do after you do them than they do while you're doing them.
  • hesn92
    hesn92 Posts: 5,964 Member
    edited May 17
    I'm in my 30's and having the same issue. Seems like losing weight was always so much easier when I was younger. I went back and looked at my MFP log from back then (2012ish) and I was eating so much less than I am now. (1500-1600 calories) No wonder I was thin. I don't know, I guess I just get hungrier as I get older?? LOL. I'm having trouble even staying below 2000 nowadays. I dont want to be hungry :( The other things I'm trying to do is be consistent with lifting weights 3x a week, getting 6-7k steps a day, getting plenty of protein (roughly 30g per meal), making sure I'm staying healthy in general like getting enough sleep, lowering stress, eating nutritious foods etc.
  • cwolfman13
    cwolfman13 Posts: 40,874 Member
    Since I’ve turned 40, it feels like all my normal tools and tricks to lose lbs hasn’t been working. It’s like my body is holding on to ALL the weight. Any suggestions on how to increase my weight loss in my 40s?

    Have you had any other changes to your lifestyle? When I was younger I found it much easier to cut a little weight pretty much whenever I wanted without much issue. After I turned 30 I put on about 40-50 Lbs over the course of about 8 years. I chalked it up to just getting older and a lot of the little things I used to do to cut a little weight just didn't work. Shortly after my 38 birthday I decided I really wanted to make an effort at it because it was starting to have a pretty significant impact on my health.

    My first big realization was that I had not put on weight after 30 because of age. I had some major life altering events occur. Basically I was really pretty active all throughout my 20s. Not "workout" active...just active. I didn't own a car for much of that time so I walked or road my bike almost everywhere I needed to go. For work I did landscape construction, waited tables, and worked at a liquor warehouse/retail store. My roommates and I could often be found spending our free time playing Frisbee in the park or hiking or golfing. Anytime I needed or wanted to cut a little weight (like for summer or whatever) it really didn't take much...cut back on a soda here and there, stuff like that.

    At 30 I went from that to a 10-12 hour per day desk job, owning a car, and getting married and beginning domesticated life. Of that 40-50 Lbs I gained I put on about 20 in my first year of office work. I tried working out and making little dietary changes here and there that had worked in the past, but I just kept gaining weight. The issue was that those little changes and some workouts simply didn't make up for how overall inactive I was relative to when I was younger.

    Once I figured out my calorie needs...which was kind of a sad day...I realized I was still eating like my 28 year old college student self and my true calorie needs were far less than they had been. Once I got that figured out, the weight came off pretty easy.

    I'm 47 now and working on the 20 Lbs I put on over the last couple of years with COVID. At first things really weren't budging and I couldn't figure out why...but once again, it really came down to me being less active than I was in my late 30s when I lost weight and through most of my 40s when I maintained. My exercise had become more recreational in nature vs when I was losing and maintaining I was doing a lot of endurance cycling and easily spending 10+ hours per week training...I just don't have the time for that at this point in my life as my kids are older and I'm spending a lot more time shuttling them around to soccer practices and soccer games and track practices and track meets and archery tournaments, and helping with homework, etc.

    So it was once again life changes resulting in a net decrease in activity for which I have to eat less now to lose weight than I did when I was in my late 30s and early to mid 40s and cycling my butt off.
  • shockbishop
    shockbishop Posts: 37 Member
    Oh no. This is not my first weight loss program but my first in my 40s. Gonna sit and watch the thread.
  • nutmegoreo
    nutmegoreo Posts: 15,534 Member
    Since I’ve turned 40, it feels like all my normal tools and tricks to lose lbs hasn’t been working. It’s like my body is holding on to ALL the weight. Any suggestions on how to increase my weight loss in my 40s?

    It's worth considering life changes between younger years and now, as others have mentioned. There might be differences you are attributing to age that are more about life circumstances. I'm not sure what your usual tricks and tools were, but those are also worth looking at. There are certainly things now that are more challenging than they used to be. Chronic neck and back pain limit some of my activities that I used to use to support weight loss. That being said, at 49 I find my weight loss is as predictable as it was in younger years.
  • AnnPT77
    AnnPT77 Posts: 24,799 Member
    Tarzan37 wrote: »
    I get what you all are saying but yes, there are studies out there showing that perimenopause affects weight gain as well as the ability to lose said weight for many women. I think it probably means that we just have to work that much more to get it off whereas in our younger years, simply drinking more water and reducing calories resulted in pretty quick results. I myself have had the same outdoor job for almost 20 years now but am finding it more difficult to lost weight in the past 6 months or so. This happens to coincide with other fun symptoms that point to me being in perimenopause like thinning hair, fatigue, increasingly painful cycles, water retention/bloating, etc.

    Obviously not everyone will struggle with difficulties losing weight in their 40's or 50's as perimenopause/menopause kicks in, but a high percentage will. That's all. I think that the body is a pretty complicated machine, and to think that it is as simple as calories in vs. calories out doesn't account for all of the changes happening at this age. Also, science is always changing so I tend to go by what I myself have experienced as well as what others around me are experiencing rather than what some researcher (majority of whom are male by the way) says about my body. Just my two cents. :)

    OK, so if it's harder, and we have to work that much more to get it off, what does "working that much more" mean, i.e., what steps do we need to take, or what behavior changes, specifically, in order to succeed over 40s or in menopause?
  • Tarzan37
    Tarzan37 Posts: 158 Member
    edited May 19
    OK, so if it's harder, and we have to work that much more to get it off, what does "working that much more" mean, i.e., what steps do we need to take, or what behavior changes, specifically, in order to succeed over 40s or in menopause?[/quote]

    I never claimed to have all the answers, I was simply saying not to discount the changes that occur for many women in their 40's as part of the reason that weight loss can be tougher. For me personally, I don't feel that I can get away with eating sugar as much even if it is within my calorie goal for the day. Higher protein, more water, and more movement seem to be the key but even then it is slow going. My aunt noticed a big change in her 40's - she used to be able to eat an entire pizza herself and was always very thin. When she hit her mid-40's she cut back on her food intake and exercised regularly but still struggled to get rid of the weight that she started to hold in her mid-section. Maybe it's genetic for some families like mine and for others here nothing changes.
  • LiveOnceBeHappy
    LiveOnceBeHappy Posts: 256 Member
    I'm in my 50's. What I find is that at this age, I'm more likely to meet a friend for coffee or at a wine bar or for happy hour or for lunch on a weekend than to suggest we go hiking or rock climbing as I would have done in my 20's and maybe 30's. I know for sure that I've changed my activities as I've grown older. I think that's why I could eat pretty much anything I wanted to *then* and absolutely cannot now!