Fighting the Battle of the Bulge After Age 40


While achieving and maintaining a desirable, healthy weight may be a challenge at any age, the approach of middle age often presents a whole new set of concerns. Lifestyle changes, career and family obligations, even the aging process itself all conspire to pack the pounds on the average over forty adult. Gaining weight becomes easier, losing it can be another matter.

While the odds may seem to be against you, there are some steps you can take to mitigate the effects of life and living on your waistline.

  1. Fruits and vegetables take on a whole new level of importance in your diet as you age. The nutrients and fiber were always important to healthy eating. After forty they are great low-calorie options for your overall diet. Fill half of every plate with produce to reduce your fat and calorie intake while satisfying your desire for food. Consider replacing unhealthy snacks with apples, strawberries or blueberries.
  2. Eat your breakfast, but make sure it counts. Donuts, danish or sugar coated cereals do not count as healthy options for a good breakfast. Instead, choose oatmeal, Greek yogurt with berries or hard-boiled eggs for a breakfast with substance that will carry you through to lunch.
  3. While the time of day you eat matters less than what you actually consume throughout the day, it’s still a good idea to have a predetermined cut-off time for eating. As much as possible, try to make your dinner the final time of the day for food consumption. Late night grazing can prove to be your downfall if you don’t keep it under control.
  4. Cook at home and keep it healthy. Restaurant eating can be a minefield of disastrous ingredients, many of which you would never include in a home-cooked meal. When you control the menu and the ingredients, you control your weight much better.
  5. Age forty is the perfect time to eliminate second helpings from your diet. Cutting a few hundred extra calories each day may be all you need to keep your weight from inching upward.
  6. Focus on just consuming three meals a day and one or two healthy snacks. Mindless picking between meals will sabotage the best of intentions. Track your eating in a journal if that will help keep you honest.
  7. The best liquid for your body is, and always was, water. This zero calorie beverage benefits your skin, your joints and many internal processes. The fact that water is a key ingredient in weight control is simply an added bonus. Choose water instead of soda or alcohol as much as you can.
  8. Life tends to get more and more hectic as adult responsibilities mount up. Maintaining a regular exercise program is more critical than ever if you want to keep the pounds away. Remember, even small efforts count. Walk whenever and wherever you can. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Find a sport or activity you love and stick with it.
  9. Spend your free time with like-minded friends who are concerned about taking care of their health and maintaining a healthy weight. Sharing your struggles with weight and fitness will make it easier to find ways to improve your efforts. You tend to behave the way your closest associates behave. Social interaction with active friends will keep you focused on healthy habits and keep you accountable as you work towards your goals.
  10. Never discount the value of a good night’s sleep. Adequate sleep is about more than simply keeping you from being tired throughout the day. It is a key factor in weight control. If health issues, medication or high levels of stress impede your sleep quality, see your doctor for help with those issues.

While it may be easier to maintain a healthy weight after forty if you have been health conscious throughout life, it is not too late to make some improvements in your lifestyle now that will benefit you in all the years to come.

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