6 Tips On How You Can Lose Weight When You Are Over 40

James Cunningham, BSc, CPT
Published by James Cunningham, BSc, CPT | Staff Writer & Senior Coach
Last updated: April 2, 2024
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As a certified personal trainer, I often deal with new clients in their 40s who have seen a sudden change in their body composition.

The diet and exercise routine they used to do doesn’t keep the pounds off anymore, and they see a gradual decrease in their body shape and fitness levels.

Unfortunately, that’s pretty normal for men and women, and it can be tough to lose weight after 40.

To come up with a plan for helping in these situations, I got together with a registered dietitian and we spent hours researching all the relevant scientific literature on the topic.

Quick Summary

  • To lose weight after 40, adopt a diet with fewer calories and engage in varied intensity workouts.
  • Hormonal changes, metabolism slowdown, and muscle loss are key factors affecting weight loss at this age.
  • According to Cleveland Clinic, hormonal changes, such as a 1% per year decrease in testosterone production after age 30, significantly impact weight loss efforts in later years.
  • I found that maintaining a balanced diet and regular exercise is crucial for effective weight management after 40.

How Can A 40-Year-Old Lose Weight Fast?

Close up shot of a muscular 40 year old

A 40-year-old can lose weight fast by taking a targeted approach to eating fewer calories at the right times and exercising at different intensity levels.

First of all, according to WebMD, it's important to note that your resting metabolic rate will gradually slow down [1].

It’s not a sudden change, but when you eat the same unhealthy snacks and sugary treats as before, then those extra calories will likely add to your waistline.

Scientists from Boston University have also found that regularly turning up the intensity levels when you exercise can have a significant impact on fitness levels and weight [2].

Some also argue that this becomes even more important when you hit middle age.

Before I get to some great tips and the health benefits they bring, let me tell you why it becomes increasingly difficult to achieve a healthy weight as you age.

Why Does Age Influence Weight?

A balding buff male working out in the gym

There are three key things that can change a lot in your 40s.


Many women face menopause in their 40s, and this can seriously affect hormone balances, and it’s one of the most common causes of female weight gain at this age [3].

But what might come as a surprise to some male readers is that they, too, will go through noticeable hormonal changes. In fact, according to the Cleveland Clinic, testosterone production peaks at about age 30 and then decreases by about 1% per year [4].

And this can impact insulin resistance, which will further cause problems in managing weight [5].

And one thing I would note is that if you think you have significant hormonal imbalances, then it’s best to get professional medical advice to help solve them.


Two fit women holding apples side by side

This is a very interesting impact and one that you have to be aware of.

From the age of 40, your body will naturally reduce the amount of muscle mass.

This is in part tied to the hormonal changes mentioned above. And when you have less muscle, you’ll also have a slower metabolism because you need to burn fewer calories [6].

It’s something that can catch a lot of people out on their weight loss because what used to work perfectly, well, simply won’t be enough anymore.

“At 40, your body starts to lose muscle mass naturally. This process is called sarcopenia. Even if you’re active, your body will still lose some muscle. During this time, fat will start to form instead of muscle.”

- Dan Brennan, MD at WebMD.com

Muscle Loss

Aging has two unfortunate side effects. One is a gradual loss of bone density, and the other is called sarcopenia, or loss of muscle mass [7].

I know; it makes you want to appreciate the youth you had when you didn’t care too much about it.

What it means is that you’ll find it increasingly difficult to build up muscles that would boost your resting metabolic rate and shed pounds more easily. It’s not impossible, but you’ll need to adjust your approach.

6 Weight Loss Tips For Losing Weight In Your 40s

A fit woman in the living room holding apples

These are six actionable tips that you should immediately start for your weight loss success.

1. Eat More Fruit And Veg

Cut out the sugary treats and try to have half your plate with vegetables and fruits for weight loss at every meal. This will deliver healthy carbs that release slowly [8].

I remember when I swapped out sugary snacks for a plate half-filled with fruits and vegetables. It wasn't easy at first, but the change made a significant difference in my energy levels and weight management.

And fruit can work well to deliver workout energy and many critical vitamins for optimal health. 

2. Focus More On Breakfast

Skipping breakfast can work well for fasting, but if that then leads to snacking later in the day, you could face weight gain. Instead, eat a breakfast with a good balance of whole grains, fruit, and fat from healthy sources like coconut butter.

This will also help with increasing fiber intake to make you feel full for longer.

One of my clients used to skip breakfast, thinking it would help her lose weight. However, she ended up snacking more throughout the day.

Once she started having a balanced breakfast with whole grains, fruit, and healthy fats like coconut butter, she noticed a decrease in her cravings and a more stable weight.

3. Reduce Food Intake Later In The Day

Every meal should be made up of nutritious foods, and always avoid processed foods. But even then, it can be a problem for weight loss goals when your eating habits involve having a late evening meal.

This is especially true if that meal brings you over your calorie limit for the day [9].

My client says that avoiding late evening meals made a noticeable difference in her weight loss journey, helping her avoid those extra pounds that seemed to stick around.

4. Count The Type Of Calorie

A 40 year old buff male holding an apple while looking at the phone

According to an article on Help Guide, reducing simple and refined carbs is one of the best ways to naturally promote weight loss [10].

So, what you need to do is keep track of how many calories you get from carbs, healthy fats, and lean protein. Here is our guide on how you should count calories.

The more calories from simple carbs that you can cut out, the more balanced your blood sugar levels should remain.

5. Exercise More Regularly

Yes, you’ll need to exercise to achieve weight loss in your 40s. And I would recommend adding high-intensity interval training and lifting weights to make sure you build up more muscle.

Strength training is one of those things that many people avoid, but you don’t need ambitions to look like a pro bodybuilder to justify regularly doing weights.

Kent Probst – personal trainer, kinesiotherapist, and founder of the Long Healthy Life Blog – recommends joining a fitness support group so you can have people to lean on when you are struggling to continue the exercises.

You are more likely to hold yourself accountable and have fun while maintaining healthy weight.

6. Drink Less Alcohol

The final thing I have to mention is that if you’re serious about getting a weight loss plan going, then you need to cut down on alcohol consumption.

Not only is it full of calories, but you’ll probably tend to eat more junk food as well.

Reducing my alcohol intake was one of the toughest yet most rewarding changes I made. I noticed that cutting down on alcohol not only helped with my weight loss goals but also improved my overall health and sleep quality.

Read here about how alcohol affects weight loss.

Psychological Aspects of Weight Loss After 40

Losing weight after 40 isn't just a physical challenge; it's a mental one too.

Understanding and addressing these psychological aspects can be key to successful weight loss in this stage of life.

  • Coping with body image changes: It's important to acknowledge these changes in our bodies without judgment.  Encourage self-compassion and remind yourself that your worth is not tied to your weight or shape.
  • Managing midlife stress: High stress levels can lead to emotional eating and disrupted sleep patterns, which in turn can affect weight. Developing stress management techniques such as mindfulness, meditation, or even simple breathing exercises can help in managing these urges.
  • Maintaining long-term motivation: Setting realistic goals and celebrating small victories can help maintain motivation. It's also helpful to remind yourself why you started this journey. Keeping your 'why' in mind can be a powerful motivator.
  • Navigating social and family dynamics: Be open with your family and friends about your weight loss goals and how important they are to you. Seek support from those who understand and respect your journey.


What Foods Should You Not Eat At Age 40 To Avoid Weight Gain?

You shouldn’t eat processed and high-sugar foods to avoid weight gain at age 40. These may have a significant impact on your blood glucose levels, which can speed up fat storage processes.

Do You Gain More Fat In Your 40s?

Yes, you can gain more fat in your 40s. This is mainly down to impacts on your hormone balances and metabolic rate, meaning that you need to increase the amount of physical activity.

Control Your Weight After 40

Weight management has to become a carefully planned effort in your 40s as staying fit and toned becomes a bit more difficult.

With more regular exercise and careful tracking of your diet in a food diary, you should be in a good position.

And to have an easier weight loss journey, I would also suggest that you look into some natural fat-burning supplements that we extensively tested:

These won’t replace a good diet and workout plan, but they can help burn off more calories faster.


  1. https://www.webmd.com/diet/features/fighting-40s-flab
  2. https://www.bu.edu/articles/2021/moderate-vigorous-exercise-boosts-fitness/
  3. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/22673-hormonal-imbalance
  4. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/15603-low-testosterone-male-hypogonadism
  5. https://www.nature.com/articles/ncpendmet0848
  6. https://www.webmd.com/healthy-aging/how-much-does-your-metabolism-slow-down-as-you-age
  7. https://www.webmd.com/healthy-aging/sarcopenia-with-aging
  8. https://www.weekand.com/healthy-living/article/list-slowrelease-carbohydrate-foods-18014944.php
  9. https://intermountainhealthcare.org/blogs/will-eating-at-night-cause-me-to-gain-weight
  10. https://www.helpguide.org/articles/healthy-eating/choosing-healthy-carbs.htm
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About The Author

James Cunningham, BSc, CPT
Staff Writer & Senior Coach
James Cunningham, BSc, CPT holds a BSc degree in Sport & Exercise Science from University of Hertfordshire. He's a Health & Performance Coach from London that brings a unique blend of academic knowledge of health supplements and practical exercise experience to the table for his readers.
Learn more about our editorial policy
Dr. Harshi Dhingra, MBBS, MD is a published peer-reviewed author and renowned physician from India with over a decade of experience. With her MBBS from Bharati Vidyapeeth and an MD from Rajiv Gandhi University, she actively ensures the accuracy of online dietary supplement and medical information by reviewing and fact-checking health publications.
Learn more about our editorial policy

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