If you are in your 40s, you may have noticed that your body isn’t the robust machine it used to be. Your metabolism is slowing down, You are losing muscles, gray hairs are popping everywhere, estrogen levels are dropping, and you don’t feel energetic at all.
Everything is going downhill. Up until now, age was just a number, but now your body is making you think differently.
The truth is with age, our bodies get weaker, along with our ability to transform. The older we get, the easier it gets for us to gain weight and harder to lose.
According to a review published by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality in March 2013, we tend to gain weight with age (1-2 lbs per year). Few pounds are nothing to worry about, But the review concluded that overtime, It can easily lead to significant weight gain, even obesity in some cases.
That’s why it’s important to maintain health as you get older. Since, with each passing year, it’s only going to get harder.
Luckily, you can still lose weight & maintain your health in your 40s with wise diet changes and physical activity. One such diet choice is keto.
Keto is a diet plan that focuses on consuming food that contains a lot of fats, an adequate amount of protein, and very few carbohydrates. The goal of the diet plan is to get more calories from fat by reducing carb intake. Initially, it was developed by Russel Wilder to treat epilepsy (1921). But now, it’s used all over the world for speedy weight loss.
Millions of people have tried keto and shared their journey on Instagram, with photos of their unbelievable transformations.
Moreover, The effectiveness of the diet has been proven in multiple studies. One such study on keto even suggests that people who followed keto lost 2.2 times more weight than people on a low-calorie and low-fat diet.
All these facts make keto a game-changer. But that doesn’t make it any less restrictive & complicated. The diet of most Americans is high in carbs and processed foods. As a result, Proper information on keto is crucial for a successful keto journey.
Assuming that you know nothing about keto, Here’s a brief guide on how it works, Its benefits for adults over 40, followed by steps on how to start it successfully in your 40s.
How Keto Works?
Keto diet involves reducing your overall carbs intake and then replacing it with fat. The reduced carb intake puts the body into ketosis.
Ketosis is a natural metabolic state in which the body becomes efficient in burning fat for energy. As you enter ketosis, your body will start burning fat as it doesn’t have enough glucose to fuel itself (Due to a reduction in carbs intake).
Molecules called ketones are formed in the body and are used as fuel. When the body burns fat for energy, it results in weight loss.
What Happens When You Start Keto?
To gain any potential benefits of keto, you need to get into ketosis. To get into ketosis, all you need to do is lower your overall carb intake.
Assuming you lowered your carb intake properly, It will take about 2-4 days for your body to enter ketosis (If you’re not in ketosis within 1-2 weeks, then your diet plan may contain hidden carbs)
In most cases, the transition to ketosis results in keto flu.
Keto flu is a term used to describe symptoms like fatigue, nausea, increased thirst, mental fogginess, poor concentration, muscle soreness, which you may experience when your body breaks through the carb cycle and enters ketosis. It usually lasts for a week.
It’s completely normal to have keto flu. To deal with it, Just stay hydrated, get enough rest, and consume a proper amount of fats and carbs.
After you enter ketosis, your goal will determine how long you need to stay in ketosis. For instance, Your goal is to lose 20 lbs then remain in ketosis until you lose 20 lbs.
Even if you are following keto for other health benefits, you still have to stay in ketosis.
In weeks 2-6, your body will go through the ketogenic adaptation phase (getting fat-adapted), making it easier for you to stay on keto. If you are following the diet to get in shape, you should consider following it for at least a month.
If this is your first time trying keto, you may need to lower your carb intake to 30-40 grams per day. But after few weeks, your body will get adapted to keto, and you will start noticing results.
Benefits of Keto Diet Over 40
There are several reasons why keto is great for everyone:
- It Reduces acne
- Improve your blood sugar levels
- It Improves brain function
- It Improves heart health
- Keto can help reduce the risk of certain cancer
- It reduces appetite
- Increased focus and high energy levels
- Weight loss
If you are over 40, Here are few more reasons that make keto perfect for you:
- Metabolic Rate: Metabolic rate decreases with age (Each decade by 10% after age 20). Food rich in nutrients can help in maintaining health & boosting metabolism. One unique benefit of keto is that it provides more nutrition per calorie compared to a standard diet.
- Menopausal Transition: During menopausal transition (ages 45-55), estrogen level drops. As a result, many women struggle with sudden weight gain. On the flip side, Multiple studies and anecdotal evidence verify the effectiveness of keto for fat loss.
- Hunger: The primary reason why keto is so popular is that it reduces appetite despite weight loss. Moreover, On keto, you will have high energy levels.
- Insulin Sensitivity: As we age, Insulin resistance increases. On the other hand, Ketogenic diets are low-insulin-producing, low-glycemic, and can boost insulin sensitivity.
Types of Keto Diet
Here are a few keto diet types you can choose from:
- Standard Ketogenic Diet: 5% carb, 75% fat, and 20% protein.
- Cyclical Ketogenic Diet: In this type, you follow keto for a particular number of days every week. For example, 5 ketogenic days followed by 2 high-carb days.
- Targeted Ketogenic Diet: Let’s a person add carbs around the workout schedule.
- High-Protein Ketogenic Diet: 35% protein, 5% carb, and around 60% fat.
Standard Ketogenic Diet (SKD) is the most researched and recommended version for the weight loss
How to Start Keto Over 40?
Assuming that you are a newbie, here are steps you need to follow to make keto work for you:
Step 1: Goal Setup
Before you start your keto journey, figure out your goals precisely. For instance, If you are following keto for weight loss, be clear about how much weight you want to lose.
You are going to measure your progress and make adjustments according to your goals every week. Thereby, you need to be specific about your targets.
Step 2. Divide your calories
Before you start dividing your calories, here are four things you need to keep in mind:
- You need to divide your calories in such a way that you consume 5-10% calories from carbs, 20-30% calories from protein, and 60-70% calories from fats.
- In keto, fat is your friend. But that doesn’t mean you can consume fat from any source. You should stick to only healthy sources of fat. For instance, nuts, avocados, eggs, butter, cheese, and avoid artificial trans fats and processed meats.
- The success of the keto diet is directly proportional to carbs intake.
- You are in your 40s. So, even small errors can have an immense impact on your overall health.
Step 3. Plan Your Menu
To plan your menu, you need to know what to eat or avoid. Typically, anything low in carbs is good to go.
Here’s a list of food you should consume on keto:
- Low-carb veggies including celery, broccoli, zucchini, spinach, cauliflower, green beans, lettuce, kale, cucumbers, radishes, etc
- Nuts and seeds
- Butter, cream, cheese mainly unprocessed
- Eggs, meat
- Healthy oils include sesame oil, coconut oil, hazelnut oil, walnut oil, avocado oil, etc
- Fatty Fish
- Fruits including peaches, honeydew, avocados, berries, etc
Food to Avoid:
- Avoid grains including rice, oats, corn, buckwheat, rye, white, oatmeal, pumpernickel, barley, etc
- Fruits high in carbs like apples, banana, pears, grapes, mangoes, peaches, tangerines, pineapples, etc
- Avoid potatoes, peas, yams, corn, cassava, sweet potatoes, baked potatoes, artichoke, parsnip, etc
- Dairy product including milk, condensed milk, yogurt ( low-fat or fat-free) should also be avoided
For a much more detailed food list, check out this article on Keto Diet Food List for Beginners.
Here’s a sample 10-day keto diet meal plan you can utilize to plan your daily meals. If you do it right, It will not take more than 7-days for you to enter ketosis.
If you are unable to enter ketosis even after the first week, Just lower your carb intake to 20-30 grams/day and start looking for hidden carbs.
I followed the keto diet last year for 47 days, and I managed to lose 24.5 lbs. To ensure that I stay in ketosis, I reduced my carb intake to about 20 grams/day.
Moreover, I am in my 20s. My metabolism played a crucial role in my improvement. Assuming you are in your 40s, Your metabolism is not as robust as it used to be (Metabolism tends to slow down with age, and the rate at which we break down food decreases each decade by 10% after age 20).
So, stay extra vigilant and avoid random keto meals. Unlike other diets, random consumption does not guarantee results in keto. Create a proper meal plan for yourself or seek professional help.
If you are serious about following the keto diet, I recommend you consult a nutritionist to help you with the diet.
During all my keto attempts, I only followed a custom meal plan rather than creating a meal plan myself and picking food & meals randomly. When it comes to nutrition, Balance is the key, and I think nutritionists know more about it.
(If you consider visiting a nutritionist an unnecessary hassle like me, then you can get a custom keto diet plan from here.
This diet plan will be tailored to your weight loss goal. Plus, It will help you in avoiding nutrient deficiencies, maintaining ketosis, and preparing healthy meals to the exact amount of calories you need.
This custom diet plan will also respect your food preferences and will be created based on the expertise of certified nutritionists, personal trainers, and chefs.)
The Keto diet is a medical diet. Utilizing it for losing weight without the proper guidance of a health expert can lower your results.
Step 4. Avoid Side Effects
Most side effects of keto are due to unbalanced macros consumption and nutrient deficiencies. You can avoid them easily by consuming a varied diet.
If you are going to create your own meal plan, Just make sure you get the full spectrum of B vitamins by consuming leafy greens, raw vegetables, pastured chicken and pork, wild-caught fish, eggs, etc. Moreover, drink plenty of water to keep yourself hydrated, Since keto will naturally make you urinate more often.
Step 5. Fat Adapted
After the ketogenic adaptation phase (Week 2-6), you will get fat-adapted, making it easier for you to stay on keto.
The only thing you need to do is maintain the flow for as long as you need to lose weight or reach your health goals.
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