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Choosing The Right Diet Plan After 40
It’s not your imagination. It really is harder to lose weight as you get older.
That’s no reason to give up, though. By choosing the best diet plan, you can lose weight and get in shape, no matter how old you are.
Extreme diet plans you may have tried when you were younger can be dangerous as you get older. Hidden health issues may cause undesirable and even dangerous side effects.
Finding a sustainable weight loss plan that is part of an overall health strategy is the key to achieving your weight and fitness goals over 40.It's not your imagination. It really is harder to lose weight as you get older. That's no reason to give up, though. By choosing the right diet plan after 40, you can lose weight and get in shape, no matter how old you are.Click To Tweet
Why Is It Harder To Lose Weight After 40?
- As you get older, your metabolism begins to slow down. We simply don’t burn calories the way we did when we were young. The cells that convert food into energy begin to slow down or die after age 40. Our estrogen levels start to decrease as well. This sets off a chain reaction of increased insulin levels and lower thyroid levels.
- You begin to lose muscle more rapidly as you get older and your body retains more white fat, which store excess calories, and levels of brown fat, responsible for fat burning, decrease.
- tress build-up causes an increase in Cortisol, which contributes to high blood pressure, lowered immunity, high blood sugar, insulin resistance, and the storage of fat.
- You are hungrier! This is related to the decrease of estrogen and muscle mass.
Does that mean that we should give up? After all, what can one do about metabolism, muscle tone, and Cortisol levels?
As it turns out, quite a lot!
A combination of exercise, which includes regular sessions of resistance or strength training, and nutritionally dense foods as part of a lower calorie plan can balance your metabolism and retain and build muscle. Decreasing your daily calories is important even if you are just maintaining a healthy weight. Your body can’t burn what it used to.
Cortisol is also known as the stress hormone. Stress relief techniques, including making sure that you are getting a good night’s sleep every night, will lower your Cortisol levels while also giving you a better quality of life. Regular exercise and healthy foods also help decrease Cortisol.
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An Overview Of The Most Popular Types Of Diets
Note: I am not advocating or promoting any diet plan as I am neither a doctor nor a nutritionist. Consult your own doctor before embarking on any diet plan to make sure your own health needs and safety are addressed.
Fasting & cleanses
Both fasting and cleanses are not dangerous for most people IF done for a brief period and with the approval of your doctor. There are medical conditions such as diabetes that would make fasting or cleanses dangerous.
Low Calorie Diets
From the 1200 calorie diet sheet that doctors and hospitals have been handing out forever to the VLCD (very low calorie diet), which has been popular of late, calorie counting is the basis for many diet plans used today. Be wary of the VLCD plans, however. They can be dangerous to do over a long period of time.
Low Carbohydrate Diets
This type of diet replaces sugar and starchy foods such as beans, pasta and refined grains with lean proteins, healthy fasts and high fiber fruits and vegetables. Examples include the Atkins diet, the Keto diet, and the Paleo diet.
Diet pills With Very Low Calorie Diet
You know why I’m listing this one? Because these plans are still out there, with doctors who are still willing to prescribe various pills. Don’t even consider this one. Maintaining our health as we get older is our biggest priority and diet pills combined with an unsustainable very low calorie plans are dangerous! This category also includes diet clinics that prescribe and administer HCG injections. Don’t experiment with your body!
Weight Watchers gets its own listing because they have been around for ages, have a demonstrated ability to help you lose and maintain weight over a long period of time, and because they use a point system that is exclusive to them. WW has meetings, both in person and online, a ton of support, cookbooks, website, Facebook groups and who knows what else! They are a reliable program that has adaptations for various health conditions.
Frozen Or Packaged Meal Plans
Jenny Craig and Nutrisystem come to mind when you think about pre-packaged meal plans.
Jenny Craig has outlets in most major cities and requires weekly check ins/weigh ins and has a wide variety of foods available. Their plan averages 1200 calories a day (for women), and clients choose their meals. They also provide guidance on eating out while on the program.
Nutrisystem is a similar 1200 calorie plan that is packaged and delivered to your door. If attending meetings is not your thing, that may be a good choice for you.
Meal Replacement Nutrition Bars & Shakes
Slim Fast, Soylent, and GNC are well-known brands in the meal replacement field. Sitting down to a healthy meal is your best choice, but there are times when having a nutrition bar in your purse or backpack can keep you from grabbing the wrong thing.
Choosing a meal replacement and knowing when to use them can be complicated. All diet shakes are not the same. For a good review on how to choose a meal replacement, check out Webmd’s article.
How To Choose The Right Plan For YouWhat factors are most important to you?
A weight loss diet, by definition, means reducing the consumption of, or eliminating entirely (such as fried foods) certain foods. To lose the weight you want and keep it off, you have to consider those changes as permanent or you will start gaining again.
That’s why very restricted calorie diets and fasting are not a good choice for a long term maintenance strategy. They can be useful in getting a diet kick started but not viable for the long term.
If you are going to think of your weight loss plan as a long-term change to your eating habits, you need to make sure that you are willing to make the alterations to your diet as a permanent change.
If you are cooking for other members of your household, you might want to think about how your diet will fit in with the other foods you will be preparing. It certainly doesn’t have to dictate your choice, but you need to consider how to balance two different meals.
For example, I’m vegan and my husband is not. I don’t usually prepare an entirely different meal for myself. I plan 2 to 3 vegetable side dishes (which are vegan because I don’t add much besides seasoning) and serve that with a small portion of meat or fish for him, and maybe an added vegan protein source for me.
Can you feed your family with the same foods you are eating on your plan, supplementing them with some of their favorite foods?
Diet choices vary from the very inexpensive (cook at home using the same whole foods you would be purchasing anyway) to pricey delivery meal systems that make it easy but come at a price that not everyone can afford.
Food delivery programs are good for learning portion control. The exact amount of each meal and snack is calculated for the calorie count and you can’t fool yourself into thinking that eating extra is not cheating.
On the other hand, if you are committed to your diet plan, you can create the right portions and calorie count for yourself easily.
It’s hard to maintain the enthusiasm for a diet over the months it may take to reach our goal. Creating goals the right way will help keep you motivated! Download the free Goal Setting Cheat Sheet.
No matter what diet plan you choose, it’s possible that some of the recommended ingredients may be difficult to find where you live.
Although food transport has come a long way, stores have a choice in what they stock and they made those decisions based on the purchasing decisions of their region.
The good news is that you are only a couple of clicks away from anything you might want. For example, I live in a large city with stores that began to carry a good variety of vegan products only in the last few years. Before that, I had to order egg replacers, vegan marshamallows and other vegan ingredients online through Thrive or Amazon.
If the diet plan you favor requires ingredients not readily available where you live, find another source before you even begin.
When choosing a diet plan after 40, there is no such thing as a “best” weight loss diet.
Different diets work for different people, and you should pick a way of eating that suits your lifestyle and your taste preferences.
The best diet for you is the one you can actually stick to in the long-term.
There are some great diet tracking apps available for free and they are wonderful for keeping you accountable. Here are a few focused on food tracking:
- My Fitness Pal (free & for both Android and iPhone)
- Lose It (free & for both Android and iPhone)
- Weight Watchers (free & for both Android and iPhone)
- MyNetDiary (paid app for both Android and iPhone)
There are also numerous other apps that track for specific health conditions or exercise plans. Browse your app store to find the best fit for you.
Leave a comment about the diet plan you chose for yourself and why. I’d love to hear about your success!