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As we get older the inevitable happens – the dreaded love handles or spare tires or good old belly fat . . .  call it whatever you want.

Our energy level has diminished – it’s not like it use to be in our early years. This is the natural progression of life.

For men there will be a lowering of testosterone levels and women will start getting the dreaded perspiration spells. But in spite of these changes we can still develop a healthy and fit looking body . . . even after 40.

What causes us to gain weight in our older years? 

There are varying reasons why we gain weight as we age:

  • You don’t have to chase after your kids as much – just yell a little louder.
  • We become more sedentary as we get older.
  • We continue to eat the same foods that got us through the day . . . 15 years ago.
  • The medications we take have side effects that can lead to weight gain.
  • Our hormones are transitioning every year.
  • It just seems that life is more stressful as we become older.

So even though we are getting wiser each year, there are multiple reasons why our clothes are becoming tighter.

How to get a flat belly after 40

The most important change to make – starting today – to show off the abs that are hiding under your belly fat is to want them. If you’re comfortable with your gut hanging over your underwear then you will never change. You must have a strong need to change. It’s a mind-set adjustment. That’s the hard part.

The easy part involves three main changes – (1) fixing your diet, (2) having planned activity times and (3) getting quality rest.

How to fix your diet for a six-pack after 40

Maintain a food journal for a period of time – approximately 2 weeks for every four-month period or at least three times per year. Be sure to include every thing you eat and drink each day for those two weeks.

Calculate your current daily calorie intake by carefully monitoring everything you consume for two weeks. Use a calorie calculator to determine how much you need to eat in order to lose, maintain or gain weight. To help you calculate your current calorie intake do the following:

  • Get a  food  scale or ask your butcher or deli person to weigh the meats you buy.
  • Note the weight on all package meats you buy (by law it must be included on the package label).
  • Read the label on all foods and drinks you purchase.
  • Calorieking has a handy tool for determining the amount of calories contained in various foods.

Example of a partial day’s food intake.

Cup of coffee with milk and sugar 30 calories

Two eggs – 12 grams of protein and 137 calories,

Fruits – calories from eating two types of fruits can vary from approximately 30 to 80 cals. depending on the type your eat

Fizzy drink can add up to 200 or more calories per drink

Bag of chips can add up to 250 calories

Nuts and dried fruits can be over 200 calories per serving

In a similar manner calculate the number of calories you eat each day and then determine how much you will need to adjust to meet your new goals . . . using the calculator above.

Rules to keep in mind when eating a healthy diet

Your protein intake should be roughly 1 gram per kilogram of body weight. For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, your kilogram weight would be 68.2 kilos – (1 kilogram is equivalent to 2.2 pounds)  ( 150/2.2). Therefore your daily protein intake would be about 69 grams.

Your carbohydrate intake should be approximately 50% of your daily food intake.

Your fat intake should be about 25 % of daily intake.

Eat plenty of naturally fibrous food – fruits and veggies – throughout the day.

Drink water when you are thirsty.

Get plenty of quality rest

Did you know that not getting enough sleep can cause you to gain excess flab. That’s right. Quality sleep will help regulate your hormonal (leptin) levels. Secondly, it re-energize you body to deal with the new day, and finally it reduces your need to carb out to re-supply needed energy. This has always been my problem. But for the last few months I have made a serious effort to improve my sleeping habits and the positive effects are very noticeable.

Assess the amount of rest you are getting each night and aim for approximately 7-8 hours.

Planned activity times

I have covered the activity portion in several post in the past. Get more information here.

So can you get a flat belly and even the coveted six-pack after 40? The short answer is yes but it will take dedication and a desire. These are the key to looking like you just walk out of the gym.

Don’t buy into any program that promise you will look like a bodybuilder after 4 weeks. You might start seeing results after four weeks but it will take up to six months really see noticeable results. Good news is that by summer you will definitely be able to fit into your new outfits . . . if you start now.

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