Why do people get fat after 40 years and how to fix it?

Some people start gaining weight after 40 years, despite the fact that diet and physical activity level do not change.

Even if you are still active, the body is already running the aging process: metabolism is slowing down, the amount of muscle mass and some hormones important for maintaining a good figure is reduced. We will analyze the reasons for the appearance of excess weight and tell you how to deal with it.

Slowed down metabolism

In a large-scale studyRelationship Between Basal Metabolic Rate, Gender, Age, and Body Composition in 8,780 White Obese Subjects. 2010 was tested by more than 8 thousand people of different ages and found that in adults after 40 years the basic metabolism is reduced by 3.1-3.3%.

This means that the body at rest burns 50-60 kilocalories per day less. It seems that this is not too much, but if you do not change the level of physical activity and the usual diet, you can gain three kilograms per year.

What to do with it

You need to revise your diet and reduce your caloric intake. If you want to lose weight, reduce the amount of fast carbohydrates, at least approximately count the calories consumed and try not to exceed the daily rate.

Remember that even small changes lead to significant results in the long run. Having cut your diet by 60-100 kcal and making nutrition more healthy, you will lay a solid foundation for maintaining a good physical shape for many years.

The muscle mass is lost

After 50 years, muscle mass decreases very quickly – up to 15% per year. However, the process of losing muscle and strength starts after the third ten. According to the studyStrength and muscle mass loss with aging process. Age and strength loss. 2013, the difference in the number of muscle mass in people under 40 and after 40 years is between 16.6 and 40.9%.

Age changes, lack of physical activity, lower testosterone levels – all this negatively affects the amount of muscle mass, and in fact for its maintenance the body spends a lot of calories. Losing muscles, you further reduce metabolism and increase your chance to gain extra pounds.

What to do

If you have not done sports yet, it’s time to start. Strength training combined with high protein intake will help you maintain and increase muscle mass.

Hormonal background changes

In women after 35 years, a decline in the production of estrogen, which eventually leads to menopause and the onset of menopause. And although excess estrogen contributes to the accumulation of fat, its deficiency also has a bad effect on weight. The transition to the postmenopausal period is characterized byThe emergence of the metabolic syndrome with menopause. an increase in the amount of abdominal fat and glucose and insulin levels.

In men, testosterone levels drop after 30, but this becomes especially evident after 40 years. According to the studyTestosterone and Aging: Clinical Research Directions. 1991, in men after 39 years the level of free testosterone (not associated with proteins) is reduced by approximately 1.2% every year.

Depression, decreased libido, loss of muscle mass and an increase in the percentage of fat are all signs of a decline in testosterone levels.

What to do

Check the thyroid gland – the organ directly involved in the production of hormones. About 20% of women after 40 years suffer from thyroid problems. If you feel sluggish and gain weight for no apparent reason, ask your doctor if it is worth taking a hormonal balance test. Perhaps hormone therapy will help you avoid weight gain.

In addition, there are natural ways to increase testosterone: strength training, high protein diet without sugar, lack of stress.


After 40 years you can maintain a good physical shape, especially if a healthy diet and exercise will become part of your lifestyle. And although the time works against you, at 40 you may well look better than at 30.

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