It's in our 30s, fat really starts to accumulate - sometimes everywhere, and sometimes in specific parts of our body, like our belly. When we hit our 40s, it all starts to fall apart. Our body is shellshocked by age and there is no way to turn back the hands of Father Time. It's virtually impossible to boost your metabolism and lose weight in your 30s, 40s or beyond.
Get the mom jeans ready, because there is no turning back. You're stuck in the land of creeping obesity.
Such a common notion. But completely untrue.
I'm here to tell you that you actually can do a lot to keep your body in great shape for where you are. You may not be wake up next week as your 20-year-old self, but you can become as fit or as healthy as you hope you can be. You can absolutely boost your metabolism and lose weight in your 30s and 40s.
You don't even need plastic surgery.
I get it, though. It's hard to carve the time out to focus on getting healthy, especially when you've let things spiral for months, years or even decades.
As a mom with three young kids, I too, feel pulled in a thousand different directions all day long. Everyone always needs something and no one ever wants to go to bed. When it comes to work, it's a struggle - plain and simple. The time I have for myself, whether it's eating a meal, exercising or sleeping, is thoughtful.
I don't have a perfect balance, but I do my best. And that's all you can expect from yourself.
Metabolism and Age
Truth be told, our body naturally loses a little bit of muscle every year. We can, of course, compensate for some of that loss with strength training, but we'll get to that in step #4 below.
That little bit of muscle loss has a small effect on our overall BMR or basal metabolic rate - which is also called resting metabolism. Think of your BMR as how many calories you burn if you were to just lay in bed all day long and never move a muscle.
Then there's purposeful activity, or exercise, which jacks up your metabolism a little bit temporarily throughout the day. Research has shown that strength training and high intensity interval training boost metabolism longer through the day that straight cardio activity. Again, this is something we'll get to in step #4.
And let's not forget about food. Eating small amounts of food regularly actually contributes to about 10% of your metabolism! High fiber foods take a little more effort to digest and can improve what's called the 'thermic effect of food' - so start eating those high fiber foods pronto!
Different, but not completely separate from metabolism are your hormones. If you're not losing weight, it's probably less your metabolism and more your hormones. Stay tuned as you read on as we'll get to hormones (the real tools that will help you boost your metabolism and lose weight in your 30s and 40s) and hormonal weight gain in step #3.
Sleep and stress management also play a tremendous role in metabolism. You can read more about how important sleep is to weight loss.
How to Boost Your Metabolism and Lose Weight in Your 30s & 40s
This may not be the "lose weight quick" article you were expecting, or even anything exclusively about diet and exercise. It's so much more than that. Let's take a top down approach of what you need to do to boost your metabolism and lose weight in your 30 & 40s...longterm - starting with what's going on in your head.
In working with people since 2004, I've seen some people lose 8 pounds in 10 days by cutting out anti-inflammatory foods (and yeah, it can happen that fast if you cut out the junk). And I've worked with people for months who only drop 10 pounds but lose 17% body fat along with 20+ inches. Both are good. Both are healthy.
It's important that we all get it through our heads that what's not important is the number on the scale, but how we feel. Usually how we feel is a reflection of our overall health. Many of us never know how good we could possibly feel.
No matter why you're gaining weight - your metabolism or your hormones - these steps will absolutely help you boost your metabolism and lose weight.
Step 1: Believe it
See yourself as a healthier version of you. Close your eyes or just take a minute right now to see yourself as you want to be. What does that person look like? She or he is probably happy. Probably active. And probably eating something with avocado. Okay, maybe that last part is what I see when I close my eyes, but you get the picture.
My point is, when you see the healthier version of yourself, you start creating the mental pathways that contribute to the much-needed positive attitude you have to possess to become healthy.
What you want is a faster metabolism that helps you burn fat faster, right? What I want for you is to be healthier, and a faster metabolism that burns fat usually comes with the territory as you exchange unhealthy habits for healthier ones.
Step 2: Work through it
Nothing good happens without working for it - your body included. When I wrote The Belly Burn Plan, I created it around a 6-week program, mostly because we simply can't create longterm habits in a shorter period of time.
New behaviors need time to take shape. In fact, according to the European Journal of Social Psychology, it takes a rock solid 66 days to solidify new habits.
Whether your habits take 42 days, like I suggest in my book, or a little bit longer, you need to be prepared to go through the phases of dealing with breaking into a new habit.
Creating a healthy habit usually means breaking a bad habit (or routine).
Be prepared for a little something called rationalization.
If your habit is fast food, eating lots of bread for lunch or indulging in dessert several nights a week, you'll be inclined to tell yourself - for any number of reasons - you can start tomorrow or next week or next month.
It's human nature to rationalize. Just know that rationalization is a very effective form of self sabotage. It's the biggest road block in the initial process to boost your metabolism and lose weight in your 30s, 40s...really anytime.
I just read somewhere that "kicking a habit is badass." So thing of yourself as the king or queen of badassery as kick the habits that slowed your body down.
Step 3: Cut Out Foods that Slow Your Metabolism and Mess with Hormones
Steps 1 and 2 really take no time at all, but Step 3 is the lynchpin to your ability to boost metabolism and lose weight in your 30s and 40s - so let's get real with this one!
First, understand these two things:
- Metabolism is the rate at which your body burns calories.
- Hormones are chemical messengers that tell you body where to store fat.
It's much, much, much more likely that you've goofed up your hormones. Read more about hormonal weight gain here.
Hormones like thyroid, insulin, cortisol, estrogen and many others all greatly contribute to your body's ability to lose weight. Naturally, this has an effect on your metabolism, too. But if you focus on balancing your hormones through your diet, exercise and lifestyle habits, it will all work together.
Next download this free food journal and start tracking what you eat for at least three days. Try to track your food on non-consecutive days, including one weekend day because most of us eat differently on the weekends. A completed food journal will give you an idea of what it is you're eating
There are thousands of ultra-processed foods in the world. Many of them are in your grocery store or even you kitchen right now. Some of them are healthy sounding, but they're the reason you're gaining more fat and throwing your hormones off. They also increase your risk of cancer by about 10%.
Common sense has probably already told you that foods like donuts, soda and fried chicken are bad and should be avoided. It is absolutely essential to cut these foods out because they affect metabolism, throw off your hormones and block your body's ability to burn fat.
Here is the top 20 of ultra-processed foods you need to avoid:
- Processed cheese (American cheese, Cheez Whiz, etc)
- White Breads, Hot Dog Buns, Burger Buns, Bread Sticks
- Luncheon Meat and Lunchables
- Margarine (but NOT butter)
- Coffee Drinks and Sweet Teas
- Energy Drinks/Sports Recovery Drinks
- Fried Chicken
- Chicken Nuggets
- Hot Dogs, Sausages and Bacon
- Store-bought Burgers
- Candy and Store-bought Cookies
- Ice Cream
- Sugary Cereals (including those labeled as heart healthy, like Honey Nut Cheerios)
- French Fries
- "Diet" Foods
- Artificial Sweeteners
- Pre-made Sauces and Fake Creamers
- Soy Sauce (not Tamari)
Side note: This list above is one part of the reason why I can't stand keto diets for weight loss reasons. Unless you're buying and eating purely organic, grass-fed or free-range meat and fats, you're literally shortening your life by filling your body with chemicals just to lose weight fast. It's just not worth it. Slow and steady wins the race if you want to boost your metabolism and lose weight in your 30s and 40s.
Healthy Foods That Turn You Metabolism On
So what can you eat? Here are 30 healthy alternatives that you can sink your feel into to feel healthy all day long.
- Real Cheese
- Butter, Coconut Oil, Olive Oil
- Sprouted Grain Bread (like Ezekiel)
- Sprouted Corn Tortillas (like Ezekiel)
- Against the Grain products (more processed, but I'm pretty happy with everything)
- Brown Rice
- Unprocessed Meats and Fish (chicken breast, turkey, salmon, etc.)
- Unsweetened Iced Tea
- Unsweetened Coffee
- Any Fresh or Frozen Vegetables
- Any Fresh or No-Sugar Added Frozen Fruits
- Brown Rice
- Sweet Potatoes
- Cashews and Cashew Butter
- Almonds and Almond Butter
- Black Beans
- Tamari (not soy sauce)
- Hot Sauce
- Fresh-popped popcorn
- Dark Chocolate (I love Theo Chocolate)
- Fresh-Squeezed Juice
- Herbal Teas
- Green Tea (especially matcha)
- Amy's Frozen Burritos (more processed but healthier)
- Dr. Praeger's Littles (more processed but healthier for kids)
- Fresh Homemade Smoothies (see my list below)
If you're shopping on a budget, then read through my clean eating shopping list. It's a list that comes to right around $50 and includes many of the foods above, and a few more.
Step 4: Do More of These Exercises
I truly believe that abs are made in the kitchen, not the gym. So it's important to understand that exercise will affect your metabolism as long as you sustain whatever exercise routine you have going on.
Something a lot of people don't realize is that exercise really doesn't burn that many calories, so don't worry about counting them. It really doesn't do much good, and it make the priorities calories, not making your body stronger, as you should be.
Any sort of activity is better than nothing, so if you're not taking the time to even go for a 15 minute walk, start there.
I mentioned high intensity interval training (HIIT) above, and I will post a few workouts for you to do below. HIIT is a super quick way to not just boost your metabolism, but get your heart and muscles in great shape. It's kind of a happy balance of both.
I have six weeks of interval workouts in The Belly Burn Plan, which have proven to be really effective. The workouts are developed for three different levels: beginner, intermediate and advanced.
In the meantime, try one or two of these interval workouts. There are 11 in total, so you'll have little variety. Download the ebook below. I created it several years ago, Most of the workouts are fairly short, but extremely effective.
Other Types of Workouts
Keeping your body active helps to tone or develop muscle, lower blood pressure, control blood sugar levels, reduce stress, and generally makes our lives healthier.
Bottom line: you don't need to do interval training if it's not your thing. Instead of interval training you can do any of the following:
- Traditional Strength Training
...really, anything works. Just remember that all forms of exercise simply help to keep your body healthy and strong, thereby helping to boost your metabolism and lose weight in your 30s and 40s.
Pick up a copy of The Belly Burn Plan to take all the guesswork out of what it is you should be doing. You'll also eat right for your body type, which means you'll focus on balancing your hormones as well.
Note: This post contains affiliate links, which means if you click on a link and make a purchase, I may make a small commission.