Turning 40 is a milestone for many people: it signifies reaching a level of maturity and professionalism and perhaps even balance in life that most of us recognize as an important checkpoint. But it also marks a lot of changes in the body. You might still be operating under the habits that worked for you best when you were in your 20s or 30s, so it’s important to recognize that you can have great health, high energy, and even a flat belly after 40, it just takes a different set of knowledge than what you used to use!
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Love your workouts.
The first commandment of having a flat belly after 40 is to love your workout. Why? Well, by the time you get to 40, you’re in full-on career mode and it’s likely that you also have a family. Add in social events and other responsibilities and your schedule is crazy full, right? Everybody has used the ”too busy” excuse at some point or another to avoid working out, but here’s the thing: If you don’t really enjoy your workout, you’re always going to use that excuse.
Find a workout that you enjoy– hiking or climbing, swimming, zumba, hot yoga, boxing… the list is almost infinite! You might have to try a few different workouts to get to one that you really like, but have patience and keep an open mind, because once you’ve found a workout that you really enjoy, you’ve done half the hard work of actually working out!
Drink way more water.
We all know that drinking water is important to our overall health, but staying completely hydrated is one of the best things you can do when working toward a flat belly. Besides drinking plenty of water throughout the day, try drinking a glass of water any time you want a snack. Give it 15 minutes after you’ve finished the glass of water, and if you’re still hungry, go get that (healthy) snack. Often we’re bored or thirsty, and we’re confusing the signals that our brain sends us with the hunger signal. Drinking an extra glass of water never hurt a soul, and it might just solve your problem before you go off in search of more calories!
Sugar isn’t bad for you.
AHEM: sugar from fruit isn’t bad for you. Added sugar is definitely not good, but you shouldn’t be skipping out on fruits because you’re trying to avoid sugar. Added sugar and natural sugar work differently in the body, and when you’re getting sugar from fruits, you’re also getting a ton of other good stuff that justifies that sugar. Bananas are filled with potassium and can help flatten your belly. Apples are great sources of fiber, and we know that fiber is a must for flat bellies!
Watch your protein intake.
You read that right– it’s totally possible (and fairly common) to consume too much protein. And what happens when we consume too much protein? Well, your body can turn some of that protein into stored fat, and that’s what we’re definitely trying to avoid! Make sure you’re getting the daily recommended amount of protein, and make sure you’re being smart about it– Having a protein shake for breakfast isn’t the best use of your protein allowance if you’re going to work out at 5 pm. It’s important to have a bit of protein at each meal or snack to help you feel full, but save your big protein attack for after working out!
Cut back your salt intake.
Eating salt can dull our body’s reactions to fatty foods, making us require more of said foods in order to feel full. Besides other health problems that salt can cause, too much of it can definitely trick us into packing on extra body fat. Skip the salt (or use it sparingly) and turn to other spices that are full of flavor! Make sure the pepper you’re using is freshly ground, as it contains a compound that burns fat! Finally, if cutting back salt is tough for you, at the bare minimum, only use it while you’re actually cooking, and take it off the table when you serve the food. Many people cook with salt AND add salt to the top of their food after serving it. Don’t double dose yourself!
Exercise an hour each day.
This sounds like more than the recommended daily amount, right? It is. 30 minutes per day is a nice recommendation for exercise, but that’s meant for people who are maintaining their healthy shape. For those of us that want to lose weight, we need around an hour each day of moderate activity– think that if you could hold a conversation with the person next to you, but you’d still be breathing a bit harder than normal, that’s moderate. This includes walking or jogging with the dog, dancing, and plenty other activities. The important thing is to work that hour in. Maybe it’s a 30 minute walk in the mornings and a 30 minute bike ride after work, maybe it’s one full hour in salsa class or at the gym– find what works for you and make it part of your daily routine!
What other tips do you follow to get a flat belly after 40?
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