The age of 40 is a great time! A 40-year-old reflects wisdom and settlement. He or she has seen a lot and still, there is so much to live for. But it is a time of a lot of responsibilities, like taking care of growing children, aging parents, managing work life and personal life, and so and so forth.
Amidst all this tension and anxiety, if you have reached 40 or past 40, you must take some time out for yourself, or at least remember to do so.
One of the greatest reasons for getting sick after 40, like suffering diabetes or heart problems, is due to belly fat. A very important question is finally raised, “How to lose belly fat after 40?”
A good diet, a healthy lifestyle, proper sleep-wake cycle, and abundance of exercise, are the key to losing belly fat fast! Some people find it hard to maintain all this due to a hectic work schedule or other obstacles. But whatever the cause may be, you must bring some changes quickly, the sooner the better.
Let’s not wait another year, and jump right into the 6 most effective ways to lose belly fat after 40!
How to lose belly fat after 40
Maintain the following steps on a regular basis and live longer!
1. Avoid sugar:
White sugar or processed sugar should be avoided at all costs. Your sweet tooth will crave for sugar in the morning tea, or in the afternoon snack. Processed sugar has been stripped of its fibrous goodness.
Once they are consumed, they get absorbed quite quickly into the bloodstream causing you to feel ever-hungry and crave for more. For this reason, eating food that contains processed sugar causes spikes in your blood sugar levels almost instantly, that could be quite harmful to people with diabetes or high blood pressure.
Excess sugar in the blood that does not get used up due to slower metabolism or inactivity, tend to accumulate as adipose tissue in the belly region. Belly fat is quite difficult to get rid of and even more so after 40.
However, when an eatery is labeled to have added sugar, you start to wonder which category of “added sugar” is it?
Think of flavored yogurt, for example—it contains both types of sugar, added and natural. So, is naturally occurring sugar unhealthy as sugar added as preservatives?
The simple thing would be to be wary of the word “flavored” or “sweetened”—for example, plain oatmeal has 1.0 g of sugar, while its flavored counterpart may have 15gm of added sugar. It is clear that if you pick the plain oatmeal for the next day’s breakfast, you would make a healthier choice.
Another thing to avoid is the term “artificial sweetener”—manufacturers even claim they are good for diabetic patients.
Foods that contain artificial sweeteners have sorbitol, xylitol, lactitol, or mannitol among other additives that cannot be digested, causing the person to bloat. So avoid them, or at least reduce their intake by folds.
2. Exercise and Lift Weights:
40-year-olds must go for strength training as well as aerobic exercise if your health conditions allow you to do so. If you are fit, you should consider doing them regularly.
Strength training builds up lean body mass, enhances your muscles, makes you look slimmer, and gift you an overall feeling of well-being. Strength training increases your metabolic rate. After 40, a person is more susceptible to gaining weight because of a lower rate of metabolism.
Therefore, if you had lifted weights before, do not hesitate to lift some now as well—your age should not be an obstruction.
Cardio exercises could be quite beneficial too, but it is best to avoid strenuous cardio regimes after 40. The main reason behind this is the declining estrogen levels in women and testosterone levels in men, that further lead to a decrease in the muscle mass and metabolic rate.
If your health or age is a limit to lifting heavy weights, then you can do pilates or barre classes instead. In short, do what you feel comfortable doing, but keep moving!
Having mentioned physical exercise, you must keep in mind certain things though. After 40, it would be a wise decision not to go for crunches or planks.
Health enthusiasts opt for them thinking they will get a flat and toned belly doing them but instead may get hurt or tired doing them. Therefore, the best option would be to do only strength training and cardio.
3. Eat plenty of protein-rich foods:
Start your morning breakfast with proteins instead of carbohydrates, especially when you have aged past 40. Instead of going for “flavored” oatmeal, or fried eggs and bacon, why don’t you opt for a veggie omelet and natural fruit juice instead?
You can alternatively go for hard-boiled eggs, protein shakes, chia seeds, or berries. Proteins are bodybuilding food and you need them in abundance to keep your body healthy and fit for longer.
Proteins can be found in abundance in both plants and animal products—chicken, fish, peas, beans, and legumes, to name a few. Instead of having a fleshy-fatty pork chop for dinner, switch to chicken roast instead, with a side dish of peas and bean salads.
Maintain a regular diet rich in proteins. If your morning starts with the goodness of proteins, the rest of the day will fall into place.
4. Avoid food that makes you feel bloated:
Dairy products and salty food may make you feel uncomfortable after a certain age. As we get past 40, the body’s ability to break down lactose may decline.
When your body would be unable to digest properly, it is normal that you would bloat and feel nauseous.
Similarly, salty foods may give you edema and bloating tendencies. Consuming 1500 mg of salt per day after the age of 40 would be more than enough.
Canned and processed food contain loads of salt in them in the name of “preservatives” and “taste” that may harm you in the long run. So, avoid them at all costs.
When you go to a restaurant, mention that you do not want salt in your food. So if you are that guy or that gal who once loved to munch on salted peanuts and almonds, well you would need to reconsider having them.
5. Add plenty of vegetables and fruits to your diet:
Add vegetables to everything you eat—it will make you feel fuller and reduce your hunger or craving for more carbohydrates. Whether it is a Chinese take-out or a pizza home delivery—be it burrito, fajita, stir-fry, sushi—match them up with a side dish of vegetables.
Steamed vegetables taste amazing—chop them up and add them to your pasta or soup! Or go organic—eat them raw. There are endless ways you can eat vegetables and have your daily dose of naturally-occurring vitamins.
Vegetables will decrease your calorie intake thus help burn those layers of lard in your belly that you so desperately want to get rid of.
Some fruits that are good at reducing belly fats include apples, tomatoes, strawberries, kiwi fruits, and guava, to name a few.
Kiwi fruit contains an enzyme called actinidain that assists protein digestion, strawberries are quite low in calories, guava is full of fibers, and apples are packed with flavonoids and fibers.
Tomatoes stimulate the production of an amino acid called carnitine that assists in the breakdown of fatty tissues.
All these elements are great at a belly-fat reduction, pose no side-effects, and are great sources of vitamins and minerals. Eat mouthfuls of them every day!
6. Sleep for at least 8 hours and de-stress:
Don’t stress thinking about the future and worrying about what you did wrong. Stress is one of the major causes of health deterioration after 40, so stress is an absolute no-no. Practice mindfulness—be in the present, because that’s the only time segment under your control.
At 40, you must find yourself anxious and overwhelmed at times taking care of the people around you—well it is high time that you reserve some “me” moments for yourself from time to time.
Go for short holidays whenever you feel you cannot take it anymore, meditate, do yoga, practice Tai Chi, or take up art or writing as a hobby.
Another way to relieve yourself of stress is to ensure that you sleep for a sufficient number of hours every day or night. Lack of sleep or maintaining a poor sleep-wake schedule will affect your brain in the long run, so do not compromise with it under any circumstance.
Lack of sleep will leave you demotivated, trigger depression, and increase your cravings for sugary items. So, ensure an abundance of shut-eyes.
You are 40! It is a beautiful age to be in—maybe you have a family to look after, or are single with a secured bank-balance. You have achieved a lot, and still looking forward to conquering the whole world!
But this is also a quite delicate time, especially as far as health and wellness are concerned. If you do not take proper care of yourself at this time, you might end up with various illnesses that are rampant at the age of 40 or beyond—like diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, and stroke.
Most of these diseases are triggered due to a poor diet and an unhealthy lifestyle. At 40, the metabolic rate starts declining, giving rise to belly fat or increasing your susceptibility to retain more fat in the body. A common question among people of this age is, “How to lose belly fat after 40?”
The solution lies in the problem– your diet and your lifestyle. Avoid sugary foods, and include more fibers, proteins, vitamins, and minerals in your diet.
Go for that morning jog that you have always wished to do but never had the time for. Do not stress and sleep well.
Most importantly, pursue anything and everything that makes you happy—if you are happy, you can make your world flourish at any given age.