Metabolism Fixes for Women Over 40

Metabolism Fixes for Women Over 40

Posted by Lori Shemek; March 1, 2024

Overweight and over 40? You may have noticed how your weight is slowly creeping up on you. One day you notice those proverbial ‘love handles’ and a larger belly. Your clothes are fitting tighter and you are frustrated. You are not alone.

Many women believe that their metabolism has slowed and they are correct…but why? As we age our metabolism slows ultimately due to a combination of factors such as diet, physical activity and other factors; with two glaring reasons – a loss of muscle mass – the main calorie-burning engine in your body. Coupled with a slower metabolism, it prevents the loss of fat as we once knew it.

Additionally, hormone balance is another critical factor. As you approach menopause or mid-life, levels of estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone fluctuate, This fluctuation in hormones causes a cascade of changes, including lack of muscle, bone density, sex drive and mood issues.

The good news? We can fix it!

The Foundation of Supporting a Healthy Weight

When you think about what it takes to feel better, leaner and more confident about your body, diet is the number one foundational factor. When you eat for cellular health, you are also not only fixing your metabolism, but hormone balance, mental well-being and gut health.

Lifestyle factors are also vital such as moving your body, being proactive about reducing stress, ensuring you get enough sleep and targeted supplementation with your doctor’s approval.

1. Tweak Your Diet Sugar Wreaks Havoc on Metabolism and Hormones. Kick sugar to the curb. Sugar is inflammatory and a nemesis to those striving for a healthier body. Choose products that have healthy sugars substitutes such as monk fruit sweetener, swerve, stevia or allulose. Remove processed oils such as corn, vegetable, canola or soy! Perhaps even more important than sugar, are the devastating effects from these inflammatory oils. These seed oils not only promote poor bacterial growth in our gut. These oils are also inflammatory to our cellular health. They stiffen the cellular lining and matrix which prevents nutrients necessary for energy metabolism that is vital for weight management. These oils are hidden in most foods and why, just like sugar, we need to read the ingredient list. Reducing inflammation in the body is foundational to a leaner and healthier body. Add in anti-inflammatory foods such as leafy greens, broccoli, berries, spices, coffee, tea, fatty fish, dark chocolate and many more, to aid in reducing inflammation that leads to faster aging, health conditions and weight gain. 2. Add in Movement Exercise can fall further down the priority list as we get older due to diminishing energy, lack of motivation, family and career obligations and more. Creaky, achy joints are another reason many people become less active. However, moving your body is crucial – especially for those over 40 years old. Movement of any kind is anti-inflammatory and promotes muscle growth and maintenance. Just keep moving! One important powerful tweak: add strength training or any type of resistance training. Crucial for women and men over 40 who are literally naturally losing muscle mass. This will help you lose excess fat and keep it off. Why? Because muscle is metabolically active. This means the more muscle you have, the higher and more efficient your metabolism. Use resistance bands, free weights, machine weights, body weight alone as examples. Exercise most days of the week with some form of cardio and resistance training 3. Add Targeted Supplementation When we are young, our bodies have the specific nutrients that keep our cells and ultimately us energized and leaner. As we age, we naturally lose key important nutrients such as CoQ10 or PQQ. Replenishing lost nutrients and supporting with others can help promote a healthy body and weight management. MCT (Medium Chain Triglycerides) Oil MCT oil can help you increase energy expenditure by boosting metabolism. Unlike other oils, MCT oil is used for cellular energy in the body and not stored. It also contributes ketones that reduce inflammation and help break down fat. Apple Cider Vinegar Helps balance blood sugar that can help promote insulin sensitivity which can lead to type two diabetes and weight gain, reduce high insulin and glucose while optimizing gut health. Gut health is key to optimal health. 1-2 tablespoons daily is excellent. CoQ10 Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is an antioxidant that your body produces naturally. Your cells use CoQ10 for growth and maintenance. The highest is in our mitochondria and muscle. As we age, we naturally lose CoQ10. Without adequate mitochondrial health, we do not have optimal energy metabolism. This promotes potential fatigue, weight gain and more. PQQ PQQ boosts energy levels, relieves inflammation, enhances brain function, weight management and this compound may also aid in disease prevention, reduce oxidative stress and provides energy to mitochondria – key to health over 40. Magnesium This mineral is crucial for overall optimal cell health. Unfortunately, at least 50% of the population is deficient in. It is involved in over 600 bio-chemical reactions in the body. It boosts exercise performance, helps prevent insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes, is anti-inflammatory (inflammation may promote weight gain) and magnesium may be helpful for balancing blood sugar and insulin levels in people who are overweight or obese. B Complex Vitamin B complex is a group of eight B vitamins that help convert food into glucose and thus provide the body with energy. They also help the body metabolize fats and proteins. Research has indicated that overweight and obese people were likely to have low levels of Vitamin B12. Fish Oil or Algae Oil Fish oil or Algae oil (for plant-based choices), contribute omega 3 fat. This essential fat is generally lacking in our diet and yet must be obtained through our diet as we do not produce it. One of omega 3’s role is to reduce inflammation – vital to keep weight manageable. Inflammation plays a key role in adding inches. Fish oil helps to reduce appetite and increase metabolism. It may also help build muscle while boosting the effects of exercise. Whey Protein Using whey protein can not only add quality protein, but promote gut health and immune health as well. Whey protein helps you feel full, suppressing the urge to eat large meals or snack all the time, thus helping you to consume fewer calories throughout the day. Creatine Creatine protects against natural age-related decline in muscle that leads to potential weight gain. One of the most well-known benefits of creatine is its ability to increase muscle mass and speed up muscle growth. Muscle is metabolically active boosting metabolism. Creatine also enhances mitochondrial health – the energy producers of the body that reduces the ravages of aging in many ways. The more cellular energy you have, the better you metabolize fat. Proactively Reduce Stress When you’re stressed, your body secretes cortisol, the ‘stress hormone.’ Chronic cortisol secretion can cause blood sugar levels to drop, which makes you want to eat more, especially sugar or carbohydrates, leading to the dreaded belly fat and/or overall weight gain. A larger waistline is linked to metabolic conditions such as diabetes and heart disease. So how do we reduce chronic stress? Reading, massage, meditation, coloring, yoga, tai chi are all excellent. One of the best ways to literally stop the stress response in its tracks immediately is to use deep breathing techniques. Deep breathing activates the parasympathetic nervous system, which sends a signal to your brain to tell the anxious, stressed part that all is okay and you don’t need to use the fight, flight, or freeze response. Deep breathing or breath work slows our heart and breathing rates, lowers blood pressure and promotes digestion. This allows our body to enter a state of relaxation and can be done most anywhere such as driving or to get back to sleep. Deep breathing gets more oxygen to the brain as well. Two very popular deep breathing techniques are the 4-7-8 Technique and Box Breathing used by Navy Seals in high stress situations or general wellness that reduce stress immediately. 4-7-8 Technique: -Breath in deeply through the nose for 4 seconds -Hold breath for 7 seconds -Exhale for 8 seconds Box Breathing: -Inhale deeply through nose for 4 seconds -Hold breath for 4 seconds -Exhale for 4 seconds -Hold for 4 seconds Establish Quality Sleep Habits We are living in a world where stress levels are rising, we are being pulled in many different directions including our smart phones. A chronic lack of sleep is a major risk factor for weight gain, belly fat, high blood pressure, poor immune health, cravings, hunger, brain fog, irritability, moodiness, fatigue, injury risk, insulin resistance and more. If we get adequate sleep, we are protected from these onslaughts. We are able to fight illness, strengthen the immune system, repair damaged tissues, better gut health, hormone health, detoxification and brain health. To Help Create Quality Sleep:
  1. Sleep in a very dark room
  2. Manage Stress
  3. Avoid Blue Light from Phones/Computers at Night 1 hour before bed
  4. Get Daylight Exposure (increases melatonin to help you sleep better at night)
  5. Tweak Your Diet – Veggies, Grass-Fed Beef, Flaxseeds, Chia Seeds, Wild-Caught Salmon etc.
  6. Use Supplementation (with your doctor’s approval) Such As: Melatonin, Valerian, Magnesium
  7. Create a Bedtime Routine
  8. Aim for 7-8 hours of sleep a night
Other strategies and tools that can help with weight management after 40 include intermittent fasting which is very effective for slowing aging as well, keeping a food diary, wearing a fitness tracker and sticking to moving more throughout the day. Always remember that once you are consistent, these changes will become second nature to you. Be kind to yourself, knowing that every positive choice is making a difference!