Weight loss at any age is possible, though it does become more difficult the older you get. Bones become less dense, muscle tissue fades and hormone changes can increase body fat. Still, regular exercise and healthy eating can combat many of the common causes for weight gain. Spot training does not exist, so it is not possible to target the stomach for weight loss, but losing weight from all over will eventually cause the tummy to flatten as well.
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How to Lose Weight
Losing weight requires you to burn more calories than you consume. For 1 pound, you have to expend an excess of 3,500 calories. For a safe, one-pound-per-week loss, reduce your caloric intake by 250 and burn 250 calories through exercise. If you can’t exercise every day, that number still has to be achieved through what you eat every day, and how much you exercise on workout days.
Hormones and Belly Fat
The older you get, the more likely it is for your hormones to get out of whack and affect your weight. One main hormone that will be affected is estrogen. Imbalances in estrogen can cause your body to retain more fat and fluid, and can even lead to depression. Another problematic hormone is cortisol, which is directly related to retention of fat in the abdomen. Cortisol is released by stress, and as you age it is also released in higher levels. Though exercise can help alleviate stress and get your hormones in check, you should consult a medical professional for your specific needs.
Create a Cardio Routine
Cardio will help burn the most calories, and this can be anything from walking around the neighborhood to riding your bike to jogging on the treadmill. Whatever you choose for your cardio, keep it challenging by increasing duration, distance or intensity so that you continue to burn as many calories as you can. Writing down a plan can help keep you motivated and goal-oriented, and it can also help you track your progress.
Lifting weights is not only critical for increasing strength, but it will help you lose weight as well. Since muscle tissue is active, it requires calories to function, and increasing the amount you have will enable you to burn more calories overall. Create a weight-lifting routine filled with exercises that incorporate multiple muscles groups at once.
Try Circuit Training
A circuit is when you move from one exercise to another with no break in between. Try mixing cardio into your circuit to help with weight loss. A sample circuit could be: upper body exercise, jumping jacks, lower body exercise, running in place. Try two to three circuits and hit all of your muscle groups, resting for two to three minutes before starting a new circuit.
You have to limit your fat, simple carb and sugar intake, but increase your complex carb, fruit, vegetable and lean protein consumption. If you are exercising to lose weight, eat some lean protein and carbohydrates directly after finishing to properly refuel. Appropriate choices are beans, oatmeal, whole grain pasta, salmon, eggs and Greek yogurt. Some foods, like coffee, cause specific hormones, like cortisol, to be released and could be your enemy in the belly-bulge battle.
Tips and Safety
While losing weight is possible in your late 40s, you still have to work hard to achieve your goals. Always observe proper technique when lifting weights, and consult a professional if you’re unsure about how an exercise or machine is used. Don’t work the same muscles on back-to-back days, and warm up before any activity.
REFERENCES & RESOURCES
- ACE Fitness: Circuit Training Basics
- Harvard Health Publications: How Stress Can Make Us Overeat
- National Center for Biotechnology Information: Cortisol Secretion and Functional Disabilities in Old Age: Importance of Using Adaptive Control Strategies
- Dr. Erika.com: Estrogen
- ACE Fitness: How Women Build Muscle
- Project Aware: Cortisol and Weight
- ACE Fitness: Will Eating More Protein Help Me Get Stronger?