We all want to look good. But after we crest 40 years old, weight management becomes about a lot more than looks. Obesity is an open door for a plethora of diseases and ailments, some fatal.
The best strategy for great health in your mature years is to keep your weight down. But that can be more difficult than it sounds.
Healthy weight management doesn’t start with brisk walks or KETO. It starts with what you know about the body and how extra weight affects your health.
Why Your Weight Is so Important After 40
If you’re going to struggle with obesity, the stats say it’s most likely you’ll start to struggle between age 40 and age 59, according to Craig Primack, MD, an obesity medicine physician at the Scottsdale Weight Loss Center in Arizona.
So, if you’ve maintained some poor habits (or left a clinical condition unaddressed), your forties and fifties is when your body could start losing the battle with weight gain.
The reason it’s so much easier to gain weight after 40 is that your metabolism will start to slow down around this time. For women, hormones associated with menopause will also change the way the body distributes and puts on weight—usually it means women gain weight more easily.
Weight gain is definitely an inconvenience of getting older. But it can also be dangerous because of all the other health problems to which you’re susceptible.
According to the CDC, “People who [are overweight or obese], compared to those with healthy weight, are at increased risk for many serious diseases and health conditions. These include:
- High blood pressure (hypertension).
- High LDL cholesterol, low HDL cholesterol, or high levels of triglycerides (dyslipidemia).
- Type 2 diabetes.
- Coronary heart disease.
- Gallbladder disease.
- Osteoarthritis (a breakdown of cartilage and bone within a joint).
- Sleep apnea and breathing problems.
- Many types of cancer.
- Low quality of life.
- Mental illness such as clinical depression, anxiety, and other mental disorders.
- Body pain and difficulty with physical functioning.”
However, your chances of succumbing to or being at risk for these ailments decreases substantially when your body is at a healthy weight. For that reason, it’s important to plan healthy habits into your life.
Habits for a Healthy Weight
Weight gain can be discouraging. Fortunately, changing small habits can help your body to adjust to a slower metabolism, reverse the rate at which you gain weight, and mitigate the risks of obesity.
Here are some habits to incorporate:
Balanced Diet: Focus on a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, and healthy fats. Avoid excessive consumption of processed foods, sugary drinks, and high-calorie snacks.
Regular Exercise: Incorporate regular physical activity into your routine, including both cardiovascular exercises (e.g., walking, jogging, cycling) and strength training. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity per week.
Portion Control: Be mindful of portion sizes and avoid overeating. Listen to your body’s hunger and fullness cues to avoid unnecessary calorie intake.
Hydration: Drink plenty of water throughout the day to stay hydrated. Sometimes thirst can be mistaken for hunger. So stay hydrated to avoid confusing your body.
Adequate Sleep: Aim for 7 to 9 hours of quality sleep per night. Poor sleep can disrupt hormones that regulate appetite and contribute to weight gain.
Stress Management: Practice stress-reduction techniques like meditation, yoga, or deep breathing to prevent stress-related eating and weight gain.
Regular Health Checkups: Visit your healthcare provider regularly for checkups and screenings to monitor your health and promptly address any potential issues.
Limit Alcohol: Reduce alcohol consumption, as it can contribute to excessive calorie intake and weight gain. If you choose to drink, do so in moderation.
Social Support: Engage in activities with friends or family that promote healthy behaviors, such as group workouts or healthy cooking classes. Social support can help you stay motivated.
These habits aren’t the fads you’ll see in tabloids or YouTube commercials. They’re tried and true to help you manage your weight and feel good. Although they may also require some patience and discipline.
To help give you an edge as you manage your weight, you can also explore supplements as a way to control appetite and support your metabolism.
Supplements to Help Weight Management
Consider some of these over-the-counter options:
Appetite Suppressants: These reduce hunger and food cravings, making it easier to control calorie intake.
Metabolism Boosters: Supplements containing ingredients like green tea extract or caffeine aim to increase calorie burn and energy expenditure.
Fiber Supplements: Adding more fiber to your diet can promote feelings of fullness and aid in weight management.
Probiotics: Some research suggests a link between gut health and weight, so probiotics may be used to support a healthy gut.
Your health is your greatest asset. Invest in the tools, habits, and relationships that will help you protect your health. So you can fully enjoy the best years of your life.
- Obesity can lead to various health problems, especially after the age of 40.
- Metabolism tends to slow down with age, making weight management more challenging.
- Diseases associated with obesity include high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and more.
- Healthy habits for weight management after 40 include a balanced diet, regular exercise, portion control, hydration, adequate sleep, stress management, and mindful eating.
- Regular health checkups and social support are essential for maintaining a healthy weight.
- Over-the-counter weight management supplements like appetite suppressants, metabolism boosters, fiber supplements, and probiotics can complement a healthy lifestyle.