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Women Weight lifing

Why am I Having Trouble With Weight Loss After Turning 40?

Posted 5 years ago by Lori Scholle

As women get older things about our bodies as we know them seem to change.  Our energy levels are not as high as they used to be, we have aches when we wake up in the morning and we gain weight with seemingly little or no control of it.  We ask ourselves “Why am I having trouble with weight loss after turning 40?” This question is a common one that Registered Dietitian Nutritionists hear from their patients who are approaching 40.  Experiencing trouble with weight loss is a valid health concern for women as they age and there are reasons behind it.

As a women approach their 40′s their bodies start to undergo changes that prepare the body for menopause, which occurs around age 51.  One of these changes and possibly the largest contributor to this process is the change in hormones, particularly estrogen.  Estrogen levels fall during this phase of life which causes an increase in the rate in which women store visceral fat, fat that surrounds their organs, particularly in their abdomen.  With an increase in visceral fat comes an increase in risk for cardiovascular disease and diabetes.  The changes that are occurring are a natural part of aging and should not be feared.  The good news is that there are hormone therapies that are available to women that can help ease the symptoms that accompany the transition into menopause and those should be discussed with their physicians.  There are also lifestyle changes that women can implement right away that can assist them in keeping up with the weight goals.

Here are three lifestyle adjustments that women can make to their lives that can help them maintain their weight and minimize the addition of visceral fat to their abdomens:

  1. Be physically active for 60 minutes a day – The Institute of Medicine recommends at least 60 minutes of activity per day for adults.  Maintaining this level of activity can not only help prevent weight gain but it also helps to reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes.
  2. Maintain or Increase Lean Muscle Mass – One of the affects of aging is loss of lean muscle mass, primarily due to inactivity, which starts in our 30s.  Lean muscle is more metabolically active than fat and maintaining or increasing it is key to maintaining weight.  Combat this loss by doing a variety of exercise that builds muscle – strength training, yoga, swimming, brisk walking and running.
  3. Eat enough protein throughout the day - The amount of protein women eat has an effect on their bodies’ ability to generate and maintain muscle mass.  The USDA 2010 Dietary Guidelines recommend that adult women should consume at least 46g of protein per day.  Aim to include at least 15 grams of protein per meal.