If you fit the bill of Ricardo Arjona’s famous song, ‘Lady of the 4 Decades,’ then you understand how difficult it is to maintain those feminine curves. Especially because there are so many factors working against you! Beginning with menopause (whether it has arrived head-on or is looming around the corner) and continuing with sleep pattern disruption (often joining hand in hand with menopause), slower metabolism, stress (which seems to go where it's not wanted), and a decrease in physical activity that all take a toll on our bodies (1). Therefore, let's focus on the 3 most important aspects of weight change in both men and women, and how to combat them. Who knows, maybe you’ll even achieve the best figure of your life precisely at this stage!
Menopause and hormonal changes
We have touched on this topic before because we know how complicated it becomes to maintain a healthy and fit body when going through these changes. This occurs due to a drop in estrogen levels that contribute to fat accumulation within the body. When fat is deposited in the abdominal area, it often causes another issue, insulin resistance, further complicating weight loss. Many women end up feeling frustrated with their bodies as it takes more effort to eliminate excess fat in this stage of life. (2)
Other hormones also decrease, such as those responsible for regulating the feeling of satiety, and this is what drives many people to consume more calories than necessary. They are no longer able to regulate their appetite and recognize the signs of feeling full. (2)
For men, it is not much easier. As testosterone decreases, this slows down metabolism and contributes to the loss of muscle mass. If a man reaching older age does not stay physically active, he begins to lose muscle and look flabby. (3)
To control weight:
Cut down on sweets, including sugary drinks. Eat smarter, considering what is good for your body, such as fiber, vegetables rich in antioxidants, proteins, and good fats.
Add fiber and more water to your diet to help decrease appetite. This combination not only improves digestion and controls sugar, but also collaborates in regulating senseless food cravings as the fiber occupies more space in the intestine.
To improve physical strength:
Drop the excuses and focus on exercise. No matter what it is, do it for at least 50 minutes three times a week. According to a study on obese women, exercising for that amount of time at least 12 weeks continuously can help you lose abdominal fat (4). If you lead a sedentary life, start with just 30 minutes five days a week. You must start somewhere, right? And it’s not too much to ask when it comes to our health.
Improve your sleep pattern and follow in JLo's footsteps
Have you read the Bronx girl’s, or any other celebrity in their 50’s, best secret on how to look better today than they did in their 30's? Sleep, that's right! JLo learned a long time ago that, just as disrupted sleep increases weight, proper rest protects the body.
When the sleep pattern is erratic, not only are we more likely to wake up the next day feeling down and grumpy, but we are also more likely to open the fridge all day long in search of food. This is because appetite-regulating hormones are further altered, and metabolism negatively affected, with reduced sleep. (5)
Work on regulating your sleep pattern, no matter what. Start by creating a more stable sleep schedule. Make sure to go to bed and get up at a certain time each day. Try to fall asleep between 10 and 11 pm, sleeping for 7 or 8 hours, and waking up early. Do this regardless of any responsibilities or obligations you may or may not have the following day.
Search our blogs on the subject to get more ideas to create and improve your sleep routine.
- If you have difficulty falling asleep, prepare an infusion of passionflower tea. Add a supplement containing melatonin and other products that help with this purpose.
Focus on your muscles
Many bodily and hormonal changes begin at the age of 40, with others happening even before that milestone. The maintenance of your body is like a car: if you neglect it when it has only been running for a couple of years by not providing good maintenance and repairing the small details, the lifetime of your car will be very limited. This can also happen with the human body. If you mistreat it, every year becomes more of a burden and the body becomes difficult to carry around.
Remaining inactive or sedentary affects the ability to burn calories at a faster rate like when we engage in consistent physical activity. This is called the resting metabolic rate. While muscle mass decreases, body mass increases. The only way to counteract this natural equation of the body, is to strive for strengthening the muscles. (6)
You already know the importance of exercise, but to avoid losing what little muscle mass remains, you must create new mass. Do this by alternating weight training and cardio endurance with low and high intensity interval exercises.
Increase the amount of quality protein you consume. We already discussed eating smarter, a parameter that involves food products whose benefit to the body is greater than the cost to it. For example, if you are a carnivore, choose lean and ideally organic meats. You can also incorporate eggs and oily fish rich in omega 3. If you prefer vegetable sources, opt for pumpkin seeds, oats, almonds, quinoa, and chickpeas.
You can add a good whey protein supplement to complement your protein intake. Make sure to get what your body requires at this stage.
It's true that as time goes on, the task of staying fit and remaining healthy becomes increasingly difficult. However, it is also scientifically proven that if we pay attention to our bodies, make the necessary changes, and stay consistent, you can find success at any age! Even if you have never been a traffic-stopping hottie or a very healthy person, this is exactly the right time to start and conquer it.
Let's get healthier and fitter together.
Your Santo Remedio Team
1. Nanette Santoro, MD, C. Neill Epperson, MD, and Sarah B. Mathews, MD, Menopausal Symptoms and Their Management, Endocrinol Metab Clin North Am. 2015 Sep; 44(3): 497–515.
2. Jarosław Kozakowski,Małgorzata Gietka-Czernel, Dorota Leszczyńska, Agnieszka Majos, Obesity in menopause – our negligence or an unfortunate inevitability?, Prz Menopauzalny. 2017 Jun; 16(2): 61–65.
Published online 2017 Jun 30. doi: 10.5114/pm.2017.68594, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5509974/
3. Huanguang Jia, Charles T Sullivan, Sean C McCoy, Joshua F Yarrow, Review of health risks of low testosterone and testosterone administration, World J Clin Cases. 2015 Apr 16; 3(4): 338–344.
Published online 2015 Apr 16. doi: 10.12998/wjcc.v3.i4.338,
4. Hye-Ryun Hong, Jin-Ok Jeong, Ji-Young Kong, Sang-Hee Lee, Seung-Hun Yang, Chang-Duk Ha, and Hyun-Sik Kang, Effect of walking exercise on abdominal fat, insulin resistance and serum cytokines in obese women, J Exerc Nutrition Biochem. 2014 Sep; 18(3): 277–285. Published online 2014 Sep 10. doi: 10.5717/jenb.2014.18.3.277,
5. Y Wu, Long Zhai, Dongfeng Zhang, Sleep duration and obesity among adults: a meta-analysis of prospective studies. Sleep Med. 2014 Dec;15(12):1456-62. doi: