Your body goes through a lot of changes in your forties. While wisdom and experience are what we admire in your 40s, there’s an unwanted guest that often decides to stick around: stubborn belly fat. So why does it seem like those extra inches around the belly become more and more challenging as you move through this stage of life? Sitting for long periods of time, lack of exercise, stress and other conditions can lead to the accumulation of belly fat. As you get older, your body goes through many changes and it can become difficult to lose weight. So it’s better to lose belly fat in your 40s before it’s too late.
If you want to get rid of the fat accumulated in the front, here is some advice from gynecologist Dr. Pooja Divan.
Why Does Belly Fat Increase Faster After Your 40s?
There are many factors that play a role in the accumulation of fat in your abdomen, especially in your forties. Although everyone is different, according to the expert, there are some common reasons that can lead to belly fat in women in their 40s:
1. Loss of muscle mass
As you get older, you tend to lose muscle mass, which is part of the natural process called sarcopenia. The more you lose muscle mass, the greater the weakness and less mobility. A decrease in your muscle mass also slows your metabolism and makes it difficult for you to burn calories, according to data from Harvard Medical School.
2. Hormonal changes
Did you know that weight gain or weight loss is determined by your hormones? As age increases, the production of testosterone and estrogen hormones in our body decreases. And unfortunately, this hormone plays an important role in helping you build muscle and burn fat.
The expert says estrogen levels are affected after menopause and perimenopause and can lead to the accumulation of fat around the abdomen, according to the study published in the Journal of Mid-life Health.
Stress combined with other hormonal changes can cause belly fat. After age 40, your metabolism slows down, muscle mass begins to decline, and even a little stress will only make things worse. Although stress is common among people today, it is crucial to address and manage it to avoid complications.
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How can you lose belly fat in your 40s?
Although these factors can lead to belly fat, you can reduce it even after age 40 to reduce belly fat.
1. Manage stress
Stress is one of the leading causes of weight gain, especially in the abdominal area, according to a study published in the Current Obesity Reports. When we are stressed, our body produces a hormone called cortisol, which can increase appetite and trigger cravings for high-calorie foods. Cortisol also stimulates the body to store belly fat.
There are many ways to deal with stress, and what works for one person may not work for another. However, some simple stress management techniques include things like yoga, meditation, and deep breathing exercises.
Also read: Is stress keeping you from losing your stubborn belly fat?
2. Eat a higher protein diet
Increasing protein intake can help you reduce belly fat. A study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition found that eating a high-protein diet can help you lose weight. So if you want to reduce all the extra fat around the belly, make sure you include enough protein in your diet. You can include lean meat, poultry, fish, tofu, beans, lentils, eggs and dairy products in your diet. Nuts and seeds such as almonds, walnuts and pumpkin seeds are also good sources of protein.
3. Limit alcohol consumption
If you want to lose belly fat, you may want to consider limiting your alcohol intake. Although a glass of wine or beer can be enjoyable, drinking too much can lead to weight gain. Alcohol contains calories that make you gain weight and make it difficult to burn fat in the body.
Also read: Weight loss on your mind? Take alcohol consumption into account
4. Reduce salt intake
High salt intake can lead to weight gain. A study published in the Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism found that the higher your salt intake, the more weight you will gain in the form of fluid. So avoid consuming too much salt as your body will retain it, and water adds weight and volume to your abdominal area. Reducing your salt intake can help reduce water retention and lose belly fat.
5. Physical activity is a must
One of the best ways to control belly fat is exercise. When you do cardio and lift weights, your body uses more energy and burns more calories. This works even if you’re not even exercising. In addition, strength training helps you build muscle mass. Muscle burns more calories than fat. In other words, the more muscle you have, the more calories you burn during the day.