There are definitely perks to getting older: we know what we like, our bank account is a bit more robust than during those college years, and we have experience on our side. Unfortunately, there are a few trade-offs in the way our bodies change. Most notably: We might not see results from healthy eating and workouts as quickly as we once did. It can be frustrating to maintain a healthy lifestyle without seeing the change you want in your body, but you don’t have to skip meals or spend hours at the gym to fit into those skinny jeans again. It’s completely possible to lean up and maintain a flat belly after you learn how to lose belly fat after 40.
By following six simple principles, you’ll find yourself healthier and fitter than you have been in years. And they’re not unachievable tips, either. Each one just takes mindful thinking and a little commitment. It’s time to diet smarter, not harder, and this this guide will walk you through exactly what you need to know about how to lose belly fat after 40. You’ll have all the information you need to achieve (and maintain) that flat belly, so let’s get started!
1. Clean Eating
This is one of the first major lessons for how to lose belly fat after 40. We may have been able to eat junk food when we were younger, but there’s no way we’ll see results that way today! Make a lifestyle change to choose healthier options for foods. That means minimally processed foods with limited ingredients. Organic is always best, but it’s not 100 % necessary for clean-eating.
We would also encourage you to choose lean sources of protein, like fish or chicken. They provide all the protein you need while also helping you avoid unnecessary fats. Plant-based proteins – like legumes, tofu, or tempeh – are also great. These are perfect options to help you consume low-calorie foods that are healthy, nutritious, and make you feel more satisfied while avoiding overeating.
Next, let’s talk about the type of foods you’re choosing. Fruits and vegetables should take up the bulk of your diet, along with heart-healthy grains, seeds, and beans. You should seek a diversity in food types, as well as color. Different colored food contains different vitamins, which are beneficial to your body. The more colorful your daily fruits and vegetables are, the better!
Check out our Top 25 Flat Belly Foods that provide a few options to get your belly on the right track.
2. Portion Control
Next up, let’s talk about changing your eating habits to rebuild your body. A fundamental principle of clean eating is to eat more frequently, in smaller portions. You should have 3 meals per day and 1 snack in between each meal to keep your hunger at bay. But, as we get older, our bodies still need the same amount of protein and vitamins. At times, we may actually need more! So, keep that in mind as you portion.
Breakfast options are plentiful, but it’s important to choose the right foods. Foods like donuts, cereal, and bagels might satisfy us in the moment, but they provide no real benefits to our system. Your choice for breakfast food sets the tone for your day. Think light, filling, and energy-rich foods. Our breakfast section has a large variety of options to kick-start your day.
For lunch and dinner, you should choose meals that include a nice balance of fruits or vegetables, grains, and lean protein. As always, it’s a good idea for those vegetables to take up the majority of your plate. Try these lunch and dinner suggestions to help you to get an idea of how to portion those meals.
Finally, snacks should always be nutritious and filling. Feeling full is not only beneficial to our overall well-being, but it also prevents binge eating. Our 25 Best Flat Belly Snacks post provides delicious options to flatten that belly and satisfy your taste-buds.
Our bodies are 60% water. The more hydrated we are, the better our organs will function. Benefits of regular water consumption include sweating to release toxins, hydration to keep workouts going strong, and a feeling of fullness that wards off cravings. On average, you should aim to drink 8-12 oz glasses of water a day.
Did you know there are 21 Ways to Eat Your Water?
4. What to Avoid
Cutting certain items from your diet can be the greatest lesson for how to lose belly fat after 40. It will also contribute to your overall weight loss and wellness. Alcoholic drinks can add extra inches to your belly line, and that kind of fat is hard to get rid of. Soda is another beverage that has no nutritional value. Be wary of juices also. Some may be 100% natural, but their sugar content can be high. Moderation in these types of drinks is always a good option, or try some of our favorite recipes and make your own juices and smoothies.
Food such as white rice, white sugar, white bread, and regular pasta are processed and offer less nutrition. It’s not just that they’re carbs, either. These types of foods provide your body with simple carbohydrates instead of filling you up with beneficial complex carbohydrates. Instead, try some of these carbs for weight loss, like brown rice, brown sugar, and whole wheat bread and pasta.
To wrap things up our list of things to avoid, let’s talk about artificial sweeteners. These products are unnatural and provide little (or no) benefit to your body. Instead, try some natural sugar substitutes. Our 10 Alternatives to Refined Sugar provides great options that can satisfy your sweet tooth and give your foods flavor.
If you’re looking for some options to still enjoy delicious food, try these three article options:
This might be one of the most important tips of the day. Exercise (and varying your exercises) is the best way to create a flat belly. Let’s talk about a few different types of exercises to help you lose that belly fat:
- Ab exercises are important in order to build muscle and slim down your mid-section. Hitting your abs from all angles (targeting lower abs, upper abs, and obliques) will help you to get amazing results.
- Cardio exercises are also a beneficial way to tone. Although we can target where we want to build muscle, we can’t decide where our body burns fat. Cardio works to involve your entire body in fat-burning action. Jogging, treadmills, spinning, and even swimming are good options for burning body fat and revealing a more toned belly.
- Building muscle is key. Although ab work and cardio will get you results, exercising other parts of your body will bring faster results. The more muscle we have, the faster we burn fat. Work on your butt, which contains the biggest muscle in your body. Also include your arms, legs, back, and chest to increase your fat burning abilities.
Unsure of where to start on with transforming your belly? Our 6-Week Flat Belly Program will guide you into a belly you’ve always dreamed of.
Once we hit 25 years of age, our metabolism begins to slow down gradually. Our muscle mass also decreases, making it more difficult to burn fat at the rates we need. High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is one of the best methods to kick-start your metabolism. HIIT involves doing fast-paced exercises for a short period of time.It allows us to change our bodies on a cellular level. The higher the intensity, the more you change you’ll see in your body.
The famous Japanese routine, Tabata, is a great HIIT workout. It involves working for 20 seconds followed by a 10 second rest. In total, you’ll repeat this process about 8 times with various exercises. That creates a 4-minute workout that can burn fat for up to 24 hours. Start your morning with these Tabata routines and watch your belly fat disappear.
If you’re looking for more, these are some of our favorite HIIT routines.
- Plan your meals ahead. The more you prep in advance, the easier it will be to stick to a meal plan and get the results you need.
- Everything takes time. Give your body time to adjust to your healthier lifestyle and exercise routine. In 4-6 weeks you should see a significant change.
- Change your exercise routine every 3-4 weeks. Our bodies begin to get used to routines and our muscles hit a plateau and stop reacting to the resistance.
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