In the The Surprising Reason Why You’re Gaining Weight in Your 40s, I explained how our genes naturally make us pack on the pounds by slowing down our metabolic rate as we age. As we get older, we see a decrease in calorie-burning muscle and an increase in fat, which has been associated with inflammation, infections, and a weaker body in general.
The solution is to trick your genes into believing that you’re healthy and worthy enough to stick around longer, way past your reproductive age.
So how do you fool your genes, and therefore lose weight or prevent weight gain after the age of 40?
It’s simple: don't feed your genes what they want. Our genes want us to eat high-calorie foods that would naturally get rid of us sooner. We need to activate those genes that would make us leaner and extend our lifespan in the process.
Here are rules to remember when losing weight in your 40s and beyond:
1. Don’t fall into the pleasure trap of eating bad oils, sugar, and salt. The book The Pleasure Trap, talks about this. Fat, sugar, and salt are going to activate those genes that make you unhealthy as well as activate addictive tendencies. And when I say fat here, I am not talking about healthy fats like avocado or nuts but oils. See my prior article on Olive Oil to understand this better.
2. Lower your oxidative stress and convince your genes that you're a successful animal. Oxidative stress lowers immunity and causes various health problems. It also signals in a lot of people a certain type of inflammation that can affect blood sugar, which directly affects the ability to lose weight.
Lowering oxidative stress means getting rid of foods that are oxidized like seed oils and rancid fats, which I talked about in 4 Things You Absolutely Need to Know Before Buying Olive Oil. Overworking and not getting enough rest are also going to increase your oxidative stress. Learn about sleep hygiene in my previous article. Eating sugar and salt in high amounts are going to do that as well.
3. Eat high-nutrient, low-calorie foods. Not getting enough vegetables, which counteracts the effects of oxidative stress, won’t be good for you. You need to feed yourself foods that are low in calories, but high in nutrients to fool your genes into thinking you're a successful animal. Doing so lowers your body temperature and your metabolic rate, but is also associated with leanness and longevity.
Again, a lower metabolic rate has been correlated with longer life. It has also been associated with being lean, and fit, and healthy. You need to avoid feeding your body what it desires and learn how to make eating high-nutrient dense foods pleasurable. Thankfully, we have tons of books with high-nutrient dense recipes that allow you to enjoy the foods that are fooling your genes. Miracle Noodle is perfect for this as you can combine veggies with our noodles to fool your body into thinking you just had a huge calorie load when you didn’t.
4. Don't try to manipulate or hack your metabolism. Strategies to hack your metabolism like frequent-feeding, increasing animal protein consumption, or adding MCT oil to your diet can all potentially backfire, because you are just focusing on losing weight, but not necessarily making yourself healthy. Remember, the goal is to convince your genes that you are healthy, successful, and are worthy to be alive.
5. Focus on high-nutrient foods like green, leafy vegetables and fiber-rich foods. Again, it’s not about having a fast metabolic rate, but sticking to high-nutrient foods that will naturally lower your desire for calories and provide you with phytonutrients that will activate your life-extending genes. This will be the healthiest way to go. Let be wary of shortcuts that deep down we know aren’t healthy in the long run.
6. Preserve that muscle mass. Remember that if we keep that muscle mass going, we signal our bodies that we are active and fit, and worthy to stick around. Muscle also burns calories. If you don’t have an exercise routine yet. While resistance training would be the best way to go about this - remember that body weight exercises fall into this category as well. Walking is great but it is not enough. As I discussed in the 6 Things You Need to Know Before Starting an Exercise Program, the most effective exercise plans cover all 4 categories: 1. Resistance training 2. High Intensity Intervals 3. Walking long distances and 4. Flexibility.
I know you may be surprised to find that slow metabolism may be better for you in the long run. Pay attention to your long-term health goals here. We want to make sure that we put our bodies in a position where we are both lean and healthy, so we can live long enough enjoy lots of grandkids and great-grandkids.