You’re eating the same kind of foods, about the same amount and exercising about the same amount you always have, but suddenly you notice that it’s harder to keep the weight off or lose those few extra pounds.

Nothing has changed you tell yourself, except your a bit older than you used to be. What you may not be aware of is that your body has changed making weight loss more difficult.

Over 40 Weight Loss
As we age, our metabolism slows down which means you are burning fewer calories than when you were younger. There is no magical age in which this happens, but seems to occur more often when people reach 40 to 50 years of age. The secret to weight loss at any age is actually a very simple formula; consume fewer calories than you burn.
The problem is that as we age, we often fail to adjust for our slowing metabolism and this leads to weight gain. Our metabolism, or basal metabolic rate, accounts for 60 to 70% of the total number of calories we burn in a day. So you can see that if this changes by slowing down, you are burning fewer calories than you did just a few years ago. These calories over time add up and will lead to weight gain if you don’t take the proper steps to adjust for your age.

3 Steps for Weight Loss over 40
Now that you understand that losing weight is all about the calories, your first step is to understand the right calorie intake for weight loss over 40. You need to create a calorie deficit in order to lose weight. This means you must consume fewer calories than you burn. You can create a calorie deficit by either consuming fewer calories or adding more exercise; or a combination of both.

Trying to lose weight over the age of 40 is not impossible. Even with a slower metabolism you can still create the proper calorie deficit in order to achieve your weight loss goals. Just follow these steps in order to determine the right calorie deficit for you and your age.

Step 1:
Determine BMR for Weight Loss Over 40

Your first step to creating your calorie deficit is to first understand and determine your basal metabolic rate. This will tell you how many calories you burn while at rest and is responsible for up to 60 to 70% of the total calories you burn.

The simplest way to do this is use an interactive online BMR calculator. These calculators use your age, height and gender to approximate the number of calories you burn. This is your starting point to create your calorie deficit.

Once you know your BMR, you must then understand your maintenance calories, or the calories you would need to consume to maintain your current weight based on your BMR plus an activity factor. The activity factor you use depends on your current exercise lifestyle.

The results, based on your age, gender, height and activity, will estimate the number of calories you burn while doing everyday normal activities which include your activity level chosen. So if your activity level changes, be sure to readjust your calories accordingly.

These calories would be the amount of calories you should consume in order to maintain, or stay even, with your current weight.

But if what you want is to achieve weight loss, then you need to create a deficit. So, let’s move on to the second step.

Step 2:
Adjust Calorie Consumption for Weight Loss Over 40

As stated earlier, you must create a deficit by consuming fewer calories, exercising more or a combination of both. Experts agree that to obtain lasting weight loss you should look at doing both; exercise and eating healthier with fewer calories.

To achieve a weight loss of approximately 1 pound per week, reduce calorie intake by 500 calories and for 2 pounds, reduce by 1,000 per week.
It’s just as important to get the right calories from the right foods. Remember, you only have so many calories you can consume in a day, so make your choices healthy. You want to select foods that give you the most nutritional value for the amount of calories. Be sure to get enough veggies and fruits. Recommendation is 5 to 9 servings of these foods.
Make sure to get plenty of fiber and protein as well to help rev up your slowing metabolism. There are many foods that can give your metabolism that extra little boost. Metabolism boosting foods are a great addition to your weight loss program.

Lastly, get calcium. This is especially important for women over 40. As we near menopause, it’s critical to take more care in eating healthy and providing needed vitamins and minerals. It is not uncommon to gain weight before, during and after menopause. You can take steps to reverse the weight gain after menopause.

Step 3:
Just as important as eating healthy for weight loss as we age, exercise is another key component. There are many benefits to exercise for all ages, but the benefits for people over 40 are even greater. As we age we begin to lose muscle mass. This is one of the main reasons for our slowing metabolism. The more muscle mass we have the higher our basal metabolic rate. Regular exercise and activity helps slow down the loss of bone and muscle strength.

Adopting a regular exercise routine will not only help strengthen muscles but will speed up your metabolism and burn more calories. This is a critical step in order to create a calorie deficit for weight loss over 40. A regular routine of 30 to 45 minutes 3 to 4 times a week will go a long way towards your weight loss.

Pick an exercise that is appropriate for your exercise level and abilities and try to keep it fun and interesting. Walking for exercise is one of the greatest ways to get back into the routine of exercising. It will burn fat and calories and make you feel more energized. Walking is easier on the joints and can be done just about anywhere.

But don’t just do aerobics. You want to include strength training as well to help build up and maintain your muscle mass. Strength training is one of the best ways to get back your slowing metabolism. Always warm up, stretch and cool down and stretch again before and after your exercise routines.

Be sure you adjust your calorie intake needs for your exercise level. As you add more exercising to your weekly routine you may need to increase your calorie intake to ensure you are getting the proper nutrients. If you only exercise a few times each week, you may need to decrease your calorie consumption to ensure you have a calorie deficit for weight loss over 40.

So remember, know your calories, eat healthy and get active in order to lose weight.

Thank you to Sarah Aldridge for this article!