At 20, hitting the gym a few times a week and eating the occasional vegetable was enough to keep those abs chiseled. At 30, muscle definition was like a pair of Yeezys: hard to come by, but not exactly a pipe dream. And at 40, a friend mentions splitting dessert, and you’re in dad bod territory before you know it.
Unfortunately, as we get older, our metabolisms have the tendency to take a vacation, grinding to a screeching halt and making it feel like weight gain and a bloated belly are inevitable conclusions. Research suggests that our testosterone levels tend to decline as we round the corner toward middle age, taking our metabolisms along for the ride. In fact, research published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism reveals that providing testosterone supplementation over just a three-month period raised men’s basal metabolic rate by as much as 13 percent.
Even if testosterone replacement therapy isn’t in the cards, there are still plenty of ways to combat those hormonal changes that often accompany middle age, revving your metabolism and bringing your long-lost muscle definition back with it. Following our 40 tips for men who want to lose weight after 40 can get you back in shape in a hurry—and when you’re ready to turn your body into a lean, mean, fat-burning machine, make the best ways to boost your metabolism part of your routine!
Start Your Meal With an Apple
An apple a day keeps the weight gain at bay. A medium-sized apple packs about 4.5 grams of filling fiber—that’s about 12 percent of men’s RDA—and may be an effective edible solution for fending off the uncomfortable gas and bloat that would otherwise keep you sidelined. Apple peels are loaded with pectin, a fiber that research published in Anaerobe reveals to be effective at boosting healthy gut bacteria, including lactobacillus and bifidobacteria, which can help rev your metabolism. Red apples are also packed with quercetin, a phytochemical that can help reduce arthritis-related joint pain, and resveratrol, which is good for fighting belly fat.
Wake Up Earlier
The early bird catches the worm, especially when it comes to weight loss. Research conducted at Northwestern University reveals that catching some early morning sunlight was correlated with a significantly lower BMI when compared to people who caught some sun later on. And getting in some exercise on the early side may also help normalize your circadian rhythms, making it easier to get enough metabolism-boosting rest. Even better, research suggests that early birds tend to be more optimistic and have less stress than their nocturnal counterparts, potentially reducing your levels of stress hormone cortisol, which can trigger belly fat storage.
Those meals wolfed down in the car are doing no favors for your metabolism; slow and steady really does win the race, particularly for those over 40. Research published in the BMJ journal reveals that eating slowly not only increases satiety, it also can help regulate the hormonal response in your gut, making it easier to curb those cravings and keep the pounds from piling on.
Pump Some Iron
The easiest way to lose weight after your 40th is by adding some weight training to your routine. Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health discovered that just 20 minutes of weight training a day slashed men’s risk of abdominal obesity as the years passed, while performing the same amount of cardio had no such benefit. Packing on some muscle can also make you less prone to falling, reducing your risk of a debilitating fracture. Fuel up for your workouts and enjoy stronger muscles by adding the best proteins for weight loss to your menu.
Bulk Up on Bone Broth
Spike soups, smoothies, and stews with bone broth, and you’ll be sipping your way to a slimmer body in no time. Bone broth is a good source of glucosamine, which can help target the inflammation that’s causing the numbers on the scale to go up year after year. In fact, research published in PLoS One reveals that middle-aged adults struggling with their weight who added glucosamine supplements to their routine slashed the biomarkers of inflammation in their system by nearly a quarter. Bone broth is also packed with amino acids that can help repair the lining of your digestive tract, further reducing inflammation and promoting the growth of healthy gut bacteria, which can boost your metabolic rate.
Enjoy Some Pomegranate
Snacking on some pomegranate can have you feeling lighter in no time. Research published in BMC Complementary & Alternative Medicine reveals that rats who were fed a high-fat diet in conjunction with pomegranate supplements lost more weight and body fat while restoring serum lipid levels and reducing oxidative stress in the brain. Studies also suggest that antioxidant-rich pomegranate can help reduce LDL cholesterol and lower blood pressure, increasing blood flow and lowering your risk of erectile dysfunction.
Eat Some Eggs
Starting your morning with some protein-packed eggs can help you shed that spare tire before you know it. A study published in the International Journal of Obesity reveals that middle-aged study participants who started their day with eggs lost more weight than those who kicked things off with a similarly caloric, high-carb breakfast. If you’re worried that adding some eggs to your meal plan will raise your cholesterol, don’t be; recent research shows that most people can safely consume up to three eggs each day without adversely affecting their cholesterol. In fact, scrambling 1-3 eggs per day resulted in an improved cholesterol profile!
High-fat foods, like nuts, can often feel off-limits to those eager to lose weight, but that doesn’t mean you should shun then from your menu. A study conducted by researchers at Reina Sofia University Hospital found that, over the course of a 28-day observation, study participants who ate a diet rich in monounsaturated fats (like those found in nuts) improved their insulin sensitivity and put on less belly fat than subjects whose meals were rich in saturated fats and carbohydrates. Nuts are also good sources of protein and fiber, which can help keep you full and fend off food cravings for longer than your average carbohydrate-rich meal.
Grill Up Some Salmon
Think of salmon as your secret weapon when it comes to losing weight after 40. Research published in Scientific Reports reveals that mice whose high-fat diets were supplemented with omega-3-rich fish oil put on less weight and less belly fat and enjoyed lower fasting glucose and insulin levels than a group fed the same foods, but without the omega-3s; they even burned more calories. For those concerned about their mental fitness as the years pass, fish oil provides an added benefit: research has linked the consumption of omega-3s to reduced rates of dementia, and their anti-inflammatory properties may help slow the progression of degenerative bone disease and arthritis. Fill up without filling out your waistline by making the healthy fats part of your regular routine.
Dress Your Salad With Vinegar
It’s time to ditch those high-fat salad dressings and start eating your veggies like a grown-up. Luckily, the solution to your dressing dilemma is both delicious and simple, even for relative kitchen noobs: just opt for some olive oil and vinegar instead. A study published in Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry in 2009 found that, over a 12-week period, obese study participants who added vinegar to their diet shaved off more belly fat and total weight than the study’s control group.
Grab Some Garlic
Grabbing a garlic-packed meal on a first date? Rookie move. Grabbing some garlic when you’re trying to lose weight over 40? Great idea. Garlic is a good source of allicin, which can reduce the level of cortisol in your bloodstream, thus reducing your risk of storing excess belly fat. Researchers in Korea have also found that supplementation with garlic helped mice fed a high-fat diet lose more weight and body fat while improving their liver health over just seven weeks.
Snack on Some Carrots
A few crunchy carrots on your menu could be the very catalyst you need for serious weight loss as you age. Carrots are a great source of beta-carotene, a potent antioxidant that has been linked to reduced obesity-promoting inflammation. The results of the Age-Related Eye Disease Study reveal that beta-carotene is also an effective means of combating age-related macular degeneration, improving the health of your eyes as you shave off the pounds.
Chow Down on Chia Seeds
The secret to staying slim after 40? Making chia seeds a regular part of your routine. Research published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition reveals that adding chia seeds to bread reduced the elevation of post-meal blood sugar levels. As the amount of chia seeds increased, subjects’ blood sugar went down accordingly, paving the way for reduced hunger and less weight gain. Chia seeds are a particularly good choice for vegans and vegetarians; their omega-3 content can reduce inflammation and promote weight loss in those who shun seafood.
While most high-sugar foods aren’t exactly weight loss-friendly, bananas are a welcome exception to that rule. Research published in Nutrition & Metabolism found that study subjects with prediabetes who added inulin, a prebiotic fiber found in bananas, to their diet enjoyed greater weight and belly fat loss than those who missed out. Their blood sugar levels also stabilized after an inulin-rich meal, keeping those food cravings at bay. Studies have also linked the consumption of prebiotic fibers to increases in beneficial gut bacteria, increasing your metabolism and boosting your immune system, too. Need something to pair with that banana? Try our best peanut butters!
Eat Some Tomatoes
You say tomato, I say to-mah-to, but doctors say that these flame-colored fruits are a prescription for better health. Tomatoes are one of the best sources of the carotenoid pigment lycopene, which researchers at Taiwan’s China Medical University have linked to reductions in waist circumference and overall body fat. Just make sure you’re opting for fresh tomatoes and don’t try to achieve the same results from ketchup; the four grams of sugar you’ll get in every tablespoon are likely to have the numbers on the scale moving in the wrong direction.
Skip the Salt Shaker
Your penchant for savory snacks could be standing between you and that cut physique you’re after. Scientists at the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine found something surprising when studying the effects of salt intake: When given extra sodium in their foods, study subjects didn’t become thirstier, as researchers believed they would. In fact, they drank less water and were hungrier after their salty snacks. Unfortunately, while their high-sodium diet didn’t increase their thirst, as expected, it still made them retain water. So if weight loss is on the agenda, skip the salt.
Bring On the Beets
When it comes to shedding those nagging pounds around your waist, beets can’t be beat. Beets derive their crimson hue from betaine, a pigment known for its anti-inflammatory properties and metabolism-boosting effects. Even better, a review of research published in The Journal of Nutrition found links between beet consumption with a reduction high blood pressure.
Put a Cherry on Top
Middle age and a ballooning belly tend to go hand-in-hand, but adding some tart cherries to your regular routine can help you ditch that jiggle around your middle. Researchers at the University of Michigan discovered that, over the course of a 12-week study, rats fed a high-fat diet supplemented with tart cherries had nine percent less body fat than those fed the high-fat diet alone. Tart cherries may also help keep you active as you age, thanks to their wealth of anthocyanins, antioxidant compounds that can reduce inflammation and joint pain.
Watch Out For Trans Fat
When you’re trying to lose weight after 40, calories aren’t the only things that count. Researchers at Wake Forest University found that monkeys fed a diet containing eight percent trans fat over a six-year period increased their body fat percentage by a whopping 7.2 percent, while the bulk of that fat went to their bellies, increasing their risk of chronic disease. While the World Health Organization (WHO) launched a global initiative called REPLACE in May 2018 to eliminate artificial trans fats (in the form of partially hydrogenated oils) from all packaged foods by 2023, this progressive rule doesn’t apply to restaurant meals. Luckily, you don’t have to cut out fat completely to enjoy steady weight loss; just avoid these meals you should never eat after 40.
Make Some Sweet Potato Fries
Carbs aren’t off-limits just because you’re over 40 and eager to slim down; in fact, baking up a batch of sweet potato fries can help you indulge those carb cravings in a healthy way while shaving off that extra weight. Sweet potatoes are a good source of resistant starch, which researchers at the University of Colorado, Denver have found effective at reducing body fat, particularly harmful belly fat. Sweet potatoes are also loaded with inflammation-fighting beta-carotene, keeping you healthy and active well into your golden years.
Add in Some Intervals
Don’t slog through another ineffective and repetitive cardio workout; add some interval training to your routine and you’ll be slimmer before you know it. A recent ACE Fitness study divided participants into three groups: a non-exercise control group, a HIIT (high-intensity interval training) group, and a moderate-intensity resistance training group. Researchers found that while body fat percentage decreased significantly for both resistance-exercise groups, systolic blood pressure and harmful LDL cholesterol decreased significantly in the HIIT group only.
Fill Up on Fiber
Fill up and slim down by loading your diet with fiber; it might just slash your cancer risk, too. A study conducted by scientists at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center reveals that over five years, every 10-gram increase in soluble fiber slashed study participants’ visceral body fat by 3.7 percent. Those who were physically active were even luckier, shaving off twice that amount of chronic disease-promoting visceral fat. A more regular digestive tract also reduces your risk of developing colon cancer, the third deadliest form of non-skin cancer.
Sip Some Rooibos
Swapping out your usual coffee in favor of some rooibos tea could be the key to ditching those extra pounds creeping on in middle age. Rooibos is packed with aspalanthin, a flavonoid that can help reduce the amount of stress hormones in your bloodstream, thus slashing the amount of belly fat your body stores. Researchers at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University have also found the polyphenols in rooibos tea effective at protecting against skin changes that can spur the development of wrinkles, helping you continue to look as young as you feel. Rooibos isn’t the only fat-fighting tea out there; the best teas for weight loss will have you looking leaner before you know it.
Bust Out the Blueberries
Snacking smarter is essential when you’re trying to shed those stubborn extra pounds after your 40th, but luckily, that doesn’t mean your food choices have to be bland. Adding some blueberries to your diet can help you lose weight and may even make those less-than-healthy food choices have less of an impact on your waistline. Research published in the Journal of Nutrition suggests that the anthocyanins in blueberries may help reduce the impact of high-fat and carb-heavy foods, as well as reducing inflammation throughout the body that can cause pain and may contribute to your risk of obesity.
Make Whole Grains a Priority
Swapping out those refined carbs in favor of whole grains will make it a whole lot easier to ditch those not-so-lovely love handles and get your weight where you want it to be as you get older. A study conducted at Tufts University reveals that consumption of three or more daily servings of whole grains a day reduced study participants’ disease-promoting visceral belly fat by as much as 10 percent. Whole grains also pack more fiber than their refined counterparts, keeping you full and promoting the growth of healthy, metabolism-boosting bacteria in your gut.
Fill Up on Folate
Loading your diet with folate can help you unload those extra pounds in a hurry. Research published in the British Journal of Nutrition reveals that folate, a B vitamin found in foods such as spinach, broccoli, and beans, increased morbidly obese study subjects’ weight loss by as much as 28 percent over a one-year period. Folate has also been deemed effective at reducing atherosclerosis risk, improving blood flow throughout the body, reducing your risk of erectile dysfunction as you age.
Turn Up the Heat
Hot peppers make for a hot body. The results of a study conducted at Maastricht University reveals that supplementation with 2.56 milligrams of capsaicin, which gives spicy foods their heat, significantly boosted the fat-burning ability in test subjects. Even better, it did so without increasing subjects’ blood pressure, making it a potentially safe and effective weight loss treatment for those at risk for hypertension.
All Hail Kale
We know, kale is about as overhyped as Jennifer Lawrence, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore its benefits when it comes to your weight. A review of research published in PLoS Medicine reveals that study subjects who consumed the most fruits and vegetables, including leafy greens such as kale, over a 24-year period were the ones least likely to become overweight or obese. Better yet, research reveals that consuming just two servings of leafy greens on a daily basis reduced brain aging by a whopping 11 years when compared to people who ate little to no vegetables. Turbocharge your weight loss by making the 26 Foods That Melt Love Handles part of your diet, too.
Run it Off
You don’t have to be a marathon runner to enjoy some serious weight loss; just a few jogs a week can make you slimmer in no time. A study conducted by researchers at Duke University reveals that jogging just 12 miles a week yielded significant reductions in belly fat for study subjects. Luckily, jogging is one of the few activities that you can do almost anywhere for a major calorie burn. A 175-pound man can expect to torch upwards of 441 calories per hour while running at a leisurely pace.
Snack on Some Sardines
Sure, sardines aren’t exactly the world’s sexiest food, but they could be the key to a leaner body as you age. Sardines are an amazing source of non-dairy calcium, helping you build strong bones as you shed weight. Research published in the British Journal of Nutrition reveals that overweight and obese middle-aged study subjects with calcium deficiencies who were provided calcium supplementation lost approximately 13.2 pounds over the course of the 15-week test period, while the control group shed just two.
Indulge Your Inner Chocoholic
Ditching dessert isn’t the only way to lose weight; in fact, adding some chocolate to your menu may actually help you reach your weight loss goals. Researchers at Louisiana State University discovered that when fermented in the digestive tract, chocolate takes on anti-inflammatory properties that can help improve insulin sensitivity, spurring weight loss and promoting heart health.
Make Beans a Diet Staple
Instead of slapping another burger on the grill, opt for some beans as your protein of choice. Beans are an excellent source of protein, fiber, and resistant starch, which can help reduce unhealthy, organ-enveloping visceral fat, slashing your risk of health issues such as heart disease and diabetes with every bite. Research published in Nutrients also reveals that study subjects who ate black beans had lower insulin levels after their meal than those who consumed a comparable amount of antioxidants and fiber from another food source.
Dip Into Calcium
Strengthen your bones and enjoy more weight loss by adding some additional calcium to your meal. A study published in the Journal of Nutrition reveals that overweight study participants on a high-dairy, calcium-rich diet lost more visceral fat than those who ate moderate or low amounts of dairy. For those sticking to a vegan or lactose-free diet, dairy isn’t the only way to achieve this result; the 20 Calcium Rich Foods That Aren’t Dairy will help you shed the pounds and build strong bones.
Eat More Often
Waiting until you’re famished to eat could be the reason you’re having a hard time losing weight. When you’re hungry, it’s harder to make good food choices, and that little voice inside your head telling you that a box of donuts is a sensible choice often gets louder than the one telling you to stick to salmon and salad. Eating more frequently can also help prevent metabolic lulls, keeping your body working like a well-oiled machine to burn off those extra calories and maintain your energy.
Grab Some Grapefruit
Grab some grapefruit and watch those extra pounds melt away. A study conducted at Vanderbilt University reveals that obese adults who sipped a half-cup of pure grapefruit juice before meals lost an average of 15 pounds over a 14-week study period and enjoyed greater decreases in cholesterol and appetite than those who consumed an equal amount of water. A study by Texas A&M University also found grapefruit effective at building bone strength, making it easier to avoid an osteoporosis-related injury as you age. Researchers say it’s because grapefruit juice (as well as orange juice) increases antioxidant levels, which testosterone lowers, which therefore helps protect bone cells.
Skip the Binge Watching
A TV binge can be just as bad for your waistline as a food binge. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reveals that people who eat in front of the TV consume as much as ten percent more food than those who eat more mindfully. Scarier still, one study suggests that, for people over 25 years old, every hour of TV watched shaves 22 minutes off their life expectancy.
Sleep It Off
One of the easiest ways to shave off the pounds that seem to pile on with every passing year is something you do every day: sleep. According to the CDC, one-third of adults aren’t getting the recommended amount of sleep, putting themselves at an elevated risk for weight gain, heart disease, and even death. A study of 60,000 adults conducted over a 16-year period reveals that those who got in five hours of shut-eye or less each night increased their risk of gaining 30 pounds during the study by as much as 30 percent when compared to their better-rested counterparts. Getting too little sleep also increases the amount of hunger hormone ghrelin in your bloodstream, making it more likely you’ll turn to high-calorie processed foods for a quick hit of energy.
Bring on the Blackberries
Breaking out some blackberries can help break you out of your weight loss rut. Blackberries get their distinctive hue from antioxidant pigments called anthocyanins, which can reduce obesity-promoting inflammation and joint pain. Blackberries are also a good source of resveratrol, which can help you shave off that belly fat and has even been shown to reduce the risk of dementia.
Ditch the Junk
Once 40 rolls around, you’re undeniably a full-blown adult, so why are so many of us still eating like kids? Sure, you may promise yourself that you’re keeping those chips or cookies in your kitchen for when company comes over, but odds are, you’ll end up eating them yourself and find yourself facing down those extra pounds on the scale. In fact, researchers at Cornell found that people who kept junk food out in their kitchen were significantly heavier than those whose homes were full of healthier snacks. You don’t have to eat perfectly all the time, but making sure your cabinets aren’t loaded with the very foods making you fat can make a major difference.
Make Your Home a Stress-Free Zone
Your home is your castle, but only you can decide how your reign in the Kingdom of Chiseled Abs and Better Health plays out. The good news? Trying to limit stress on the home front may help you fight back against that midlife weight gain. Minor changes, like exercising while you watch TV, keeping work out of the bedroom, and unplugging for a few hours every day can yield major results. If you want to go pro in terms of your relaxation, try meditating. Research conducted at the University of California, San Francisco found that overweight subjects who implemented some mindfulness exercises into their regular routine had less cortisol in their bloodstream and reduced both their weight and belly fat. Start on the path to a stress-free life today with the 20 Ways to Strip Away Stress!