Unlocking Weight Loss After 40 in Women

Unlocking Weight Loss After 40 in Women

Posted by Matt Grimm on

By Ginger Cochran, MS, RDN, CDCES, EP-ACSM

Entering the 40s has many benefits, including a stronger sense of self, better boundaries, and strong connections. However, many people can be discouraged by the weight that may trickle on during their latter 30s and beyond due to muscle loss, busy schedules, hormonal changes, and slowing metabolism. Fear not; with the right adjustments to your routine, weight loss after 40 is completely possible.

Designer Wellness is here to support you at all stages of life. This blog demystifies the complexities surrounding weight management beyond your 40s, spotlighting the synergistic relationship between high-quality protein intake, strategic exercise, and comprehensive self-care.

Hormonal Shifts

According to data, about 52% of women ages 20-39 and 68% 40 to 59 become overweight as they age (1). Horrmone changes and lifestyle are thought to be responsible for this increase in body fat.

Hormonal shifts in estrogen can start as early as a woman’s 30’s known as perimenopause(2). Pre-menopause estrogen is mostly made in the ovaries and corpus luteum. In postmenopausal women, estrogen is mostly made in fat tissue (3). This shift in estrogen levels is a main cause of age-related weight gain, especially in the midsection (4). 

Importance of Physical Activity 

In addition to hormonal shifts, many women experience a shift in activity level with age, whether it's from catering to children or being stuck at a desk during the day. Women who experience decreased physical activity show the most weight gain, especially in the midsection. According to research studies, women who exercise an average of 60 minutes daily can decrease weight gain even around the midsection (5).

Exercise, focusing on strength and interval training, is paramount for mitigating age-related muscle loss and kickstarting metabolism.

High-Intensity Interval Training

High-intensity interval Training(HIIT) involves alternating high-intensity and low-intensity exercise. It has been shown to be one of the most effective workout strategies for weight loss after 40 (5). Not only does it help target abdominal fat, but it also has cardiovascular benefits and reduces overall fat reduction. 

An example routine could consist of 60 seconds of jumping jacks followed by 30 seconds of push-ups or a walk-run routine where you walk for 5 minutes and run for 1 minute. 


Sarcopenia, or the age-related erosion of muscle mass, starts in our 40s. This can further decrease our metabolism and strength plus cause weight gain, supporting another reason to aim for 60 minutes of physical activity every day. 

Protein Intake

Protein is essential for muscle preservation, metabolism support, and weight management.  Eating protein at every meal supports metabolism and tissue repair and growth. Understanding and optimizing protein intake is foundational to preventing weight gain. 

According to research, 25 to 30g of protein is needed to stimulate muscle building. Eating this amount of protein at each meal is shown to increase metabolic burn and tissue repair for up to 24 hours after eating (6). 

Going over 30g of protein per meal is not necessary. Research shows that 30 g of protein in a meal has the same boosting as 90g of protein (7). 

The Type of Protein Counts

Not all proteins are the same when it comes to muscle building. Leucine, an essential amino acid, is instrumental in muscle protein synthesis. Its role becomes increasingly critical as we age, combating the natural decline in muscle mass and strength.

Proteins containing the amino acid leucine are needed to signal the body to build muscle. Eating high-leucine proteins throughout the day, especially after physical activity, promotes metabolism and muscle building (8).

Protein foods high in amino acid leucine include the following. 


Self-care and Stress Management

The impact of stress in the quest for weight loss cannot be overstated. Chronic stress can inadvertently contribute to weight gain by causing carbohydrate cravings, contributing to mindless eating, decreasing motivation, and affecting overall mental health (9).  

Stress management practices such as yoga, meditation, and mindfulness should be included in one's daily lifestyle to lose weight effectively at every age. 

Sleep: The Unsung Hero

The role of sleep in weight management is profound, with its ability to regulate hunger hormones, enhance metabolic functions, and facilitate recovery from physical activities. Prioritizing sleep is beneficial and essential for those looking to shed pounds and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Anything less than 7 hours of sleep can increase our cravings for carbohydrates, decrease motivation, and impact our weight (#). For optimal health, pay close attention to your sleep hygiene. Try to avoid screen time an hour before bed, remove your cell phone from your bedroom, and ideally, stop eating 2 to 3 hours before.

Bringing It All Together

Tip#1 Aim for protein 25-30g of protein - 

Tip#2 Pick proteins with the amino acid leucine (like in Designer Wellness products)

Tip#3 Exercise 60 minutes daily

Tip#4 Incorporate interval training into your exercise routine

Tip#5 Manage stress daily

Tip#6 Sleep at least 7 hours a night

Achieving weight loss after 40 is possible, and we at Designer Wellness are here to support you with a full line of high-quality products to help you meet your protein and leucine needs. 

Check out these blogs to learn more about a holistic health and weight management approach.

The Best Metabolism Boosting Foods

Getting The Best Result From Your Intermittent Fast

The Best Ingredients For Stress Relief

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