Weight loss is such a polarizing and sensitive topic, especially if you’re among the older crowd.
Sadly, obesity rates — regardless of age, gender, or ethnicity — continue to rise and make the symptom of being overweight seem more and more “normal.”
However, normal doesn’t mean healthy.
I’m a true believer in treating the root cause of a situation, not a symptom. There are a variety of physiological causes that can result in someone gaining excess body fat.
The good news is that there are different techniques you can add to your lifestyle, which are sustainable and scientifically proven to work.
These techniques are based on optimizing your hormones, improving your energy production at the cellular level, and increasing your metabolism.
So, if you want to know how to lose weight effectively, here are 7 best tips for both men and women over the age of 40.
1. Eat a rainbow of foods.
On average, when we turn 30, most of us begin to see signs of aging.
One of the most common symptoms of aging is a decrease in the production of our sex hormones such as testosterone, estrogen, progesterone, and human growth hormone (HGH).
These hormones are critical in maintaining lean muscle mass and your desired body size. One of the most important ways to increase and appropriately balance your sex hormones is to eat the best possible building blocks.
To provide your body with the necessary minerals, vitamins, and healthy fats for hormone production you may consider eating a variety of different colored vegetables, grass-fed meats and dairy, shellfish, and low-mercury seafood, such as salmon, herring, mackerel, and sardines.
Some good examples of healthy fats to incorporate are avocado, olive, coconut, nuts, and ethically sourced palm oil.
2. “Make” Vitamin D.
Vitamin D is actually more like a hormone than a vitamin. It’s critical for numerous physiological functions within our body, including the production of other hormones.
Sadly, many of us are chronically deficient in vitamin D. We can produce vitamin D from sun exposure and the foods we eat.
However, we are able to produce only a small amount of vitamin D from food, so appropriate and safe sun exposure is critical.
To produce vitamin D, you need to briefly expose yourself to the UVB rays from the sun, which are most prevalent from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Some factors that will affect how much vitamin D your body will produce include your age, skin tone, length of time, and amount of skin exposed to the sun, and where you live geographically.
The Vitamin D Council is a wonderful resource to dig into for more information on safe methods for increased vitamin D production.
3. Stop storing fat.
Insulin is the hormone that allows our cells to absorb the glucose (sugars) in our blood for the production of energy. It also stimulates our body to store excess glucose as body fat.
The best way to prevent yourself from storing excess sugars as fat is to reduce your consumption of simple carbohydrates and foods containing added sugars.
We all have different carbohydrate needs, depending on our individual metabolisms and activity levels.
One of the best ways to moderate the amount of sugar you consume is to begin incorporating healthy fats into your diet.
Your body can burn fats for fuel. In fact, as you train your body to utilize fats as a fuel source, it will become more efficient at burning your own body fat.
4. Sleep it off.
Sleep is critical for physiological and mental recovery, hormone regulation, and blood sugar control — all of which can play a role in the amount of body fat we store.
There are a number of techniques you can immediately utilize to improve your sleep quality, including sleeping in a pitch-black room and turning your thermostat down to 68 degrees.
Blue light from your indoor lighting and electronics can affect the amount of melatonin that you produce, which is necessary for deep and restorative sleep.
Decrease blue-light exposure by wearing Blue Blocker-style glasses after the sun has set and turning off digital media (smartphones, tablets, and television) an hour before bedtime.
Another important step to take is to eliminate caffeine consumption in the afternoon and evening, especially if you are slow at metabolizing caffeine.
5. Produce energy.
Mitochondria are the little powerhouses within our cells that produce energy. Just like the production of hormones decreases around the age of 30, so does the efficiency of our mitochondria.
Supporting our mitochondria can be a simple game of addition and subtraction. We need to add more components that strengthen our mitochondria, such as proper nutrition, sleep, exercise, and appropriate sun exposure.
Equally important is the elimination of factors that stress and weaken our mitochondria, such as excess sugar consumption, exposure to environmental and household toxins, and stress.
6. Decrease your inflammation.
Inflammation is directly correlated to obesity and almost all other chronic illnesses, such as cancer, dementia, cardiovascular disease, arthritis, and diabetes.
Some of the most common causes of increased inflammation within our body is the consumption of factory-farmed meat and dairy, trans-fats, and vegetable oils.
Examples of inflammatory vegetable oils include canola, sunflower, safflower, corn, and soybean oils.
Sugar also plays a role in fueling inflammation within our bodies, which is yet another reason to decrease sugar consumption.
Physical activity is critical in burning fat and increasing metabolism. Two of the most effective forms of exercise are weight training and High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT).
Both of these forms of exercise support the maintenance of lean muscle mass, promote the growth of mitochondria, and create a metabolic and hormonal cascade with prolonged physiological benefits.
Although HIIT is explosive and fast-paced in nature, any individual can benefit from doing an activity at a speed or intensity that becomes physically fatiguing and gets the heart rate up.
Working with a medical professional may be of use when formulating a nutrition and exercise program to meet your health and fitness goals.
This is especially true if you want to use lab work to establish a baseline and monitor your progress.
When it comes to self-monitoring your progress, ditch the scale.
If you lose the same amount of fat pounds that you gain in muscle, a traditional bodyweight scale will be of no use. One of the best ways to monitor your progress may be as simple as paying attention to how your clothes are fitting.