Hormonal upheavals, aging, successive diets … After 40 years, the kilos inevitably become more difficult to lose.
The body begins to change from birth! But the periods when the body and silhouette change the most are adolescence and the peri-menopause, that is to say for most women between 40 and 50 years. Not only weight but also body fat tends to increase annoyingly. From 20 to 40 years, women take on average 10 kilos and after 40 years, 50% complain to take at least 3 pounds more.
Causes of weight gain at age 40
Women grow mainly because of hormonal changes related to this period of life. Having too much estrogen or missing it makes you gain weight. The basic metabolism slows down: the older we get, the fewer calories we need. Stress also plays an important role and women often have good reason to be stressed in their forties: teenagers are not always easy, parents are aging, work is demanding … But chronic stress induces a flood of cortisol which stimulates insulin, which itself encourages the storage of fat, especially in the abdominal area. So young, you lose weight easily by monitoring a few days, over the years, the “machine to lose weight” may have a tendency to seize slightly, especially if you multiply the catch then weight loss. And after 40 years, if we have often made the habit of chaining small (or large diets), the body has become over time as more “resistant” to deprivation: it grows more easily than before (especially if you are less active), and the pounds cling, becoming more and more difficult to dislodge: it seems to “take” more easily and lose … much more difficult! In addition, the yoyo is made even easier because the body has learned to work with fewer calories (by decreasing what is called its basic metabolism), but it then stores in its adipocytes the slightest surplus or cracking.
How does the body change from 40 years old?
At any age, the muscles melt when they are not working. And if they develop regularly until the age of 15, the maintenance and the increase of the muscular mass are proportional to the physical activity. Not only must we maintain its capital, but we must also fight against loss! Without regular exercise, the muscle melts from 1 to 2% per year, or 500 g less muscle each year! As for body fat, it increases on average by 1 g per day in women from the age of 20 years. Multiply by 365 days and you can imagine the result over time! In addition, at the peri-menopause and especially after menopause, fat also tends to migrate under the influence of hormones, thighs, buttocks, and hips to the belly. However, this fat distribution, which corresponds to a so-called android (or male) silhouette, is linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases. Nevertheless, do not panic, half of the women do not grow bigger after 40 years than before. Moreover, no one gains weight overnight (except depression or special disease). Overweight gradually sets in, evidence that it is due to diet and a sedentary lifestyle. It is quite possible to lose this overweight, but especially to avoid getting fat. The best is to worry as soon as possible and not to let the pounds settle over the years. Do not take 10 pounds before taking the bull by the horns!
How to avoid accumulating hard pounds?
In theory, weight balance is natural. The body is a marvel of balance, but this consistency requires a perfect balance between inputs and outputs. However, a sedentary lifestyle, too much sugar, and fat represent excess calories that are stored in the form of lipids or fat reserves in adipose tissue. For example, a single piece of excess sugar each day for 30 years would take 20 kilos if equivalent energy loss did not occur.
Errors to avoid
If you eat too much, you get fat because of the high caloric intake that is not compensated by physical activity. So you have to change your eating habits instead of yo-yo diets that make you grow slowly but surely. Diets that are too restrictive lose muscle mass and as soon as you “normalize”, the extra calories come to nestle in the body fat. The organism is intelligent, it stores in anticipation of periods of famine. Secondly, if the main principles are the same at all ages, you must be more vigilant after 40 years. If when you were a young girl, you could safely consume 2000 calories or more, at age 45, for all the above reasons, limit your intake to 1,700 calories to avoid gaining weight.
How to balance your diet?
You must choose wisely what you eat and always focus on quality and not quantity. It is quite possible to balance your diet without digging too much head and without limiting yourself to excess. We take the reflex of cooking fresh produce, and we compose our meals around vegetables (in quantity and with the greatest variety possible), animal or vegetable proteins (very satiating), legumes and whole grains and in moderate amounts. And we try to minimize or even eliminate sweet products (no fake dairy end of the meal!), Which maintain a phenomenon of addiction and are formidable for the line. It is not a matter of depriving oneself of life, but of adopting a more “responsible” and “adult” way of life: no more junk food, and much less nibbling, less alcohol, “superfluous” on the nutritional plan … and conversely, more expenses, vitamins … but also physical activity, ensuring a stable and normal weight, good muscle mass and a more toned silhouette! Because who says less muscle says more fat. The greater the muscle mass, the greater the energy provided by the body to maintain lean tissue. And on the contrary, the less important it is, the less energy you need. Finally, free yourself from stress by trying to make choices for your own well-being instead of always caring for others. Organize relaxing beaches, set yourself realistic goals, be more gentle with yourself and do not hesitate to use appropriate techniques. Yoga, massages, acupuncture, everything is good to take!
Thank you to Marie Belouze-Storm for her advice. The author has participated in many books including “lose weight after 40 years”, the first to address this delicate theme.