How To Lose Weight After 40: 9 Best Ways For Losing Weight After 40 In 2024

how to lose weight after 40
You can lose weight after 40 with the right steps. Photo: Miss Ty/Shutterstock

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Losing weight can become more challenging as we age, especially after reaching the milestone of 40. Hormonal changes, a slower metabolism, and lifestyle factors can all contribute to weight gain.

Weight gain in itself also leads to age-related diseases such as diabetes. Excess weight places increased stress on the body and is known to contribute to the onset and progression of various conditions,[1] including cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and musculoskeletal disorders.

However, achieving a healthy weight is attainable with the right strategies even at 40. From understanding how to balance hormones at this age to learning healthy eating habits and engaging in regular exercise, we will provide practical tips to help you understand how to lose weight in your 40s.

Best Ways To Lose Weight After 40

Losing weight after age 40 may require some adjustments due to changes in metabolism, hormone levels, and lifestyle. Here are some tips that may help:

  • Set realistic goals.
  • Do not skip breakfast.
  • Increase protein intake.
  • Practice mindful eating.
  • Eat more fruits and vegetables.
  • Get regular physical activity.
  • Reduce alcohol intake.
  • Avoid fast food.
  • Try stress management.

Losing Weight After 40: 9 Amazing Ways To Try

how to lose weight after 40
You can lose weight after 40 with the right steps. Photo: Igor Palamarchuk/Shutterstock

Losing weight can be a challenging endeavor, especially for people over the age of 40. As our bodies undergo various changes with age, weight loss can become more difficult to achieve.

For one, with age, there is an increase in insulin resistance.[2] Your body starts to store more sugars circulating in the bloodstream as fats, which quickly adds to weight gain. At first, it can begin as water weight.

Water weight refers to the temporary increase in body weight primarily due to water retention. But this weight gain can become permanent over time unless someone changes their lifestyle through diet and exercise modifications.

By now, you are wondering how to lose weight if you are over 40. With the right strategies and mindset, it is possible to shed those extra pounds and improve overall health. So, here is how to jumpstart weight loss after 40:

Set Realistic Goals

At 40, weight loss may not be as rapid or effortless as it was in one’s younger years. So, instead of aiming for drastic transformation, focus on gradual and sustainable progress to a healthy body weight.

This might be done by reducing your calorie intake or exercising. Now, how long does it take to lose weight after 40?  It’s essential to recognize that losing weight is gradual; there’s no one-size-fits-all timeframe.

Setting realistic expectations ensures a healthier, more patient approach. It also promotes consistent habits that contribute to long-term weight management and overall well-being.

Do Not Skip Breakfast

Maintaining a healthy diet, especially after age 40, is integral to effective weight management. So you need good eating habits. Breakfast, often called the day’s most important meal, plays a key role. A study[3] showed that a high-protein breakfast prevents body fat gain by reducing hunger throughout the day.

So, instead of hitting that snooze button one more time, wake up for a breakfast packed with protein, fiber, and healthy fats. You can start with eggs, whole-grain toast, or yogurt topped with nuts and berries. You can also try detox water made with cucumber, lemon, and weight-loss herbs.

Increase Protein Intake

Increasing your protein intake[4] is a strategic approach to losing weight after 40. Protein-rich foods help maintain lean muscle mass, which tends to decrease with age. Foods with a lot of protein also contribute to a feeling of fullness.

Not only will protein-laden foods help boost your metabolism, but they also have a thermogenic effect. This means that they burn more calories during digestion than other foods. It can be a good idea to include lean protein sources such as fish, chicken, tofu, or beans in your meals to assist with weight loss.

Don’t forget to add low-fat dairy products like Greek yogurt or cottage cheese to ensure a well-rounded protein intake. This dietary adjustment aids in achieving a more balanced calorie distribution and provides the essential nutrients your body needs for overall well-being.

Practice Mindful Eating

Practicing mindful eating habits can support your weight loss goals. Instead of devouring your meals, take the time to savor each bite. Pay attention to your body’s hunger cues by stopping eating when you’re satisfied and not when you’re stuffed.

Another way to practice mindful eating is through portion control. Portion control helps you avoid overeating. Also, avoid distractions, such as eating in front of the TV or while scrolling through your phone, as they can lead to mindless overeating.

By practicing mindful eating, you’ll enjoy your meals more and maintain a healthier relationship with food, which is essential for long-term weight loss.

Eat More Fruits And Vegetables

Enhancing your weight loss journey post-40 involves embracing fruits and vegetables. Fruits and veggies are low in calories but contain loads of nutrients for weight loss[5] and overall health. They are packed with essential nutrients, fiber, and antioxidants. 

For example, apples, berries, and turmeric[6] are helpful for weight loss. And what is great about fruits and vegetables is their versatility. You can have fruits and vegetables in the form of a salad, a refreshing smoothie, or stir-fried veggies.

Get Regular Physical Activity

To support weight management proactively, you need more physical activity. After 40, we tend to become less physically active. As our metabolism slows down with age, exercise becomes even more important for maintaining a healthy weight.

Easy cardiovascular workouts, strength training, and body weight exercises can help you burn calories, build muscle mass, and increase your overall fitness level. Aim for at least 150 minutes[7] of moderate-intensity aerobic activity.  It could be 30 minutes a day, five days a week if that works with your daily schedule.

Additionally, consider incorporating activities such as yoga to improve flexibility and promote relaxation. Prioritize activities that you enjoy and are sustainable in the long term to ensure adherence to your exercise regimen.

Reduce Alcohol Intake

Cutting out alcohol is very important, especially with how to lose belly fat after 40.  Alcohol not only contains empty calories, but also inhibits fat-burning and disrupts the body’s hormone balance. This substance has also been linked to obesity[8] because excessive alcohol consumption can lead to overeating due to impaired judgment and diminished inhibition.

Consider moderating your alcohol consumption and opting for lower-calorie alternatives.

Avoid Fast Food

Another effective strategy to easily lose weight after 40 is consciously avoiding fast food. Fast food options are often high in calories, unhealthy fats, and sugar, which contributes to obesity and other health issues.[9]

Instead, opt for homemade meals prepared with fresh ingredients rich in nutrients and low in calories. This approach gives you better control over portion sizes and quality of ingredients.

Try Stress Management

Another significant way to lose weight over 40 is by managing stress. Chronic stress can lead to emotional eating[10] and cause weight gain. Engaging in activities that promote relaxation helps alleviate stress.

Some stress-reducing practices include meditation, deep breathing exercises, and yoga. They help to cultivate mindfulness and may make it easier to make healthier choices.

Why Is It Harder To Lose Weight After 40?

how to lose weight after 40
Losing weight after 40 can be quite challenging. Photo: TommyStockProject/Shutterstock

Age can play a significant role in the difficulty many people face when trying to lose weight, particularly after reaching the milestone of 40 years old. While weight loss itself is a complex process, various factors come into play as we age, making it harder to lose weight.

Here are some reasons why it is harder to lose weight after 40:

Slow Metabolism

As we age, our metabolism tends to slow down.[11] Metabolism refers to the chemical processes that occur within our bodies to convert food into energy. As we age, our bodies undergo some metabolic changes[12] and become less efficient at burning calories. This causes weight gain. 

Hormonal Shift

Hormones also come into play regarding weight loss after 40. Women experience a shift in hormone levels during menopause, which can contribute to weight gain and make losing weight more challenging. Fluctuations in estrogen levels[13] can impact metabolism and even cause obesity.

Muscle Loss

Another unfortunate side effect of aging is the loss of muscle mass. Age-related muscle loss[14] begins as early as our 30s and accelerates with each passing decade. Not only does this loss of muscle affect our strength and mobility, but it also impacts our metabolism. As we lose muscle mass, our metabolic rate decreases, making weight loss more challenging.

Decreased Physical Activity

Along with muscle loss, decreased activity levels can also contribute to weight gain or hinder weight loss after 40. Many of us find ourselves caught up in the demands of work, family, and a million other responsibilities, which leaves little time for physical activity.


The difficulty of losing weight after age 40 can be attributed to genetic factors.[15] As we get older, our metabolism tends to slow down naturally. This decline in metabolism may be caused by a variety of genes[16] that regulate appetite, fat storage, and energy expenditure. For instance, certain gene variations may increase the way the body stores fat. It can also reduce the body’s ability to burn calories efficiently.

Foods You Should Eat To Lose Weight After 40

When you’re over 40, losing weight often requires a combination of healthy eating habits, regular exercise, and lifestyle adjustments. Food is one of the big three. So, here are some nutrient-rich foods you should eat after age 40:

  • Lean proteins: As we have emphasized, protein helps maintain muscle mass, which is crucial for metabolism and weight management. Chicken, turkey, fish, eggs, tofu, and legumes are excellent sources of lean protein. Lean protein sources are also low in fat, which offers an added benefit.
  • Fruits and vegetables: Aim to include a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables in your diet to ensure you get a broad range of nutrients. These are low in calories and high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
  • Whole grains: Whole grains provide more fiber and nutrients compared to refined grains, helping you feel fuller for longer. Opt for whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, oats, and whole wheat.
  • Healthy fats: These are essential for overall health and can help satisfy you. Include sources of healthy fats such as avocados, nuts, seeds, and olive oil. 
  • Dairy and alternatives: Choose low-fat or fat-free dairy products or fortified dairy alternatives like almond milk or soy milk for a good source of calcium and vitamin
  • Probiotic-rich foods: Yogurt, kefir, and other fermented foods can support gut health. A healthy gut has been associated with better weight management.
  • Water: When it comes to losing weight, hydration is often overlooked but incredibly important. Water can boost your metabolism,[17] curb your appetite, and even help your body burn more calories.


Here, we spoke about how to lose weight in your 40s. The ten ways outlined, from setting realistic goals to seeking professional help, create a comprehensive guide to navigate the intricacies of weight loss after 40. It’s not just about losing weight; it’s about starting sustainable habits that contribute to long-term well-being.

The key lies in adopting a holistic approach that combines mindful eating, regular exercise, and lifestyle adjustments. Small, consistent adjustments to your lifestyle can yield significant and lasting results.

Frequently Asked Questions

How to lose 20 pounds after age 40?

The best advice to lose 20 pounds after age 40 is to focus on a balanced diet, exercise regularly, and stay consistent. But it’s always best to consult a healthcare professional for personalized advice before getting started.

Can a 40-year-old woman lose belly fat?

Yes, a 40-year-old woman can lose belly fat. All she needs to do is combine cardio and strength training, maintain a healthy diet with lean proteins and veggies, and manage stress for effective belly fat loss.

What are the 5 foods that burn belly fat?

Foods like avocados, berries, fatty fish, green tea, and leafy greens burn belly fat. Combined with a balanced diet and regular exercise, these can boost metabolism, control hunger, and aid in fat loss.

How can I restart my metabolism at 40?

Restart your metabolism at 40 by prioritizing protein intake, incorporating workouts, staying hydrated, getting sufficient sleep, and opting for smaller, frequent meals to support metabolic function.

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EHproject has strict sourcing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We work mostly with peer-reviewed studies to ensure accurate information. We avoid using tertiary references. You can learn more about how we ensure our content is accurate and current by reading our editorial policy.

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Dr. Susan Adeosun (MPH, MD) is a medical doctor and public health enthusiast. She has over five years’ worth of experience in public health and preventive medicine and is a firm believer in the famous phrase… See More