12 weight loss mistakes women make after 40
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Nothing is going right. For no reason, you are feeling fatigued all the time, gaining weight even after trying hard to lose, feeling irritated, depressed, facing excessive hair fall, bloating and flatulence, sometimes experiencing joint pain, missing your period, or getting your period twice a month. In short, your body all of a sudden started behaving differently. No matter how much you try you are just not feeling right.

Sounds relatable? Trust me, you are not alone. These are all very common symptoms for more or less every woman after 40.

Is weight loss possible for women after 40?

Yes, of course, but you must have patience. Your metabolism is getting slower every year so it will take time to see the desired result. Don’t expect your body to function like your 20s or 30s. Consistency and moderation is the mantra of the 40s. Try adopting small positive and sustainable lifestyle changes one by one and keep doing it.

Stop making these 12 common mistakes to lose weight. Accept the body changes and try to make age-appropriate strategies to get in shape.


Women over 40 weight loss Mistake 1: “Eating very little rice/roti”

There are two common mistakes women make after 40 with the carbohydrate. They want to eat way too less carbs than their capacity or they try to incorporate way extra fibre that their body can process.

Don’t treat carbs as “villains”.

Understand that the Indian diet has always been cereal (carbohydrate) based because of our hot &humid climate. Genetically our body can process carbs well as long as you are having good quality and appropriate proportion of carbohydrates in our daily diet.

Carbohydrate is good when you pay attention to its quality and quantity.



  • Good quality carbohydrate in moderation is great to keep you energetic throughout the day.
  • It also helps to keep the rate of your metabolism better.

12 weight loss mistakes women make after 40 - eat less rice

Once you significantly reduce rice/ roti intake, two things can happen –

  1. you feel hungry soon. In most of the cases, you end up stuffing yourself with biscuits, chips, bhujia, etc. So basically, to cut 300 calories of good carbs, you end up having 600 calories of bad simple carbohydrates.
  2. Even if you have managed to eat very little carbohydrate, a very low-calorie diet slows the metabolism, and therefore you find losing weight is tougher than before.


So, what to do?

Instead of a drastic reduction, eat a little less rice/roti than your usual appetite. Try to fill the gap with more salad and sabji. Try to get adjusted to this little change for a few weeks.

Also read –

Can Diabetes patient have rice? Which is the best rice?

Women over 40 weight loss Mistake 2: “Replacing rice/ roti with millet”


What is the problem of replacing rice/ wheat with millet?

Millets like jowar, bajra, ragi, etc – are generally high in fiber. Therefore, it prevents sudden blood sugar spikes and gives a better insulin response.

But it is a fact that most Indians are suffering from poor gut health which does not allow high-fibre food to process well. Therefore, many experience indigestion, stomach aches, bloating, and flatulence once they shift from rice/wheat to millet.

Besides this, high fiber-containing cereal – jowar, bajra, ragi, etc – takes time to digest and often prevents absorption of micronutrients.

What to do?

Fibre is good for you when taken in moderation.

There is a reason why post-harvest processing of cereal (rice/ wheat etc) is important. It makes the food light on your stomach –easily digest and absorb, and provides the nourishment that your body is craving for keeping an optimal fiber level.

However extra processed grain (eg – long-grain polished rice) or ultra-processed foods (biscuits, noodles, pasta, etc) contain no fiber. (14)


Try to strike the middle ground.

  • Replace white rice (too little fiber) or brown rice (too much fiber) with semi-polished rice which has the perfect amount of fiber that your body can handle at this moment.
  • Avoid refined flour, try whole wheat flour
  • Include millet – jowar, bajra, ragi, etc initially 3-4 times a week.
  • Don’t rely on only 1-2 cereals. Bring variety to your cereal choices. Add oats, poha, quinoa, millets, etc few times a week


Weight loss mistakes women make after 40 - replace rice with millet


Women over 40 weight loss Mistake 3: “having boiled food, using all most no oil in cooking”


After carbohydrates, the most villainous nutrient is fat for many of us. However, we forget that too little oil is bad for health just like too much of it.


  • As you age, nutritional deficiencies start setting in because of poor digestion and absorption. Vitamins like A, D, E, and K essentially need fat to get absorbed in the body.
  • Good fat helps to improve your skin and hair quality
  • It is needed to keep the joint healthy and control inflammation

What to do?

Avoid fried food regularly to control your calorie intake. But incorporate approximately 6 -8 teaspoons of oil/ghee/ butter etc in your daily diet.

Use the required amount of oil for seasoning the sabji/ dal etc. You can use a teaspoon of ghee on top during your lunch and dinner.

Avoid any refined oil. Use extra virgin olive oil only for salad dressing but not for cooking food.

Use cooking oil that has its color and flavor like cold pressed/filtered / Kachhi Ghani coconut oil /groundnut oil/ mustard oil/ sesame oil. Feel free to use good-quality ghee or butter.

Weight loss mistakes women make after 40 - use no oil

Women over 40 weight loss Mistake 4: “Taking avocado but no result” 


Are you having an avocado toast to lose weight? If yes, then stop.


Make a sustainable choice so that you can continue for life.  If you compare imported fruits with our desi fruits, you will often find imported ones are costly, less tasty, and generally need more pesticide to remain fresh until they reach your home.

Therefore, avocado may be great for the country where it is grown but may not be for you.


What to do?

Your body craves enough micronutrients after 40. Seasonal fruits are a wonderful choice to replenish your nutritional needs.

You must add 2 types of fruit to your daily diet- one citrus fruit (mosambi, orange, amla, lemon, grapefruit/ jambura, etc) and sweet or neutral taste fruit (banana, apple, mango, papaya, guava, mask melon, etc.

Try to have fruits as per season. Avoid fruit juice, rather have the whole fruit.

Have fruits as mid-morning snacks rather than with breakfast or lunch for better insulin response.


Weight loss mistakes women make after 40 - eat imported fruits not desi

Women over 40 weight loss Mistake 5: “Stopped having dal and milk as they cause bloating” 

Many of you may agree with this point. Yes, women after 40 often find it difficult to digest dal and milk items. But that doesn’t mean you will stop having these items completely.


Dal and milk products are major protein sources for vegetarian Indians. So avoiding these means you are hardly left with any protein-rich foods.

What to do?

Protein is your best friend after 40. It will help you to increase your metabolism, develop lean muscle, and to lose weight. However, recent reports suggest that a large portion of urban Indians are protein-deficient and they have no clue about it. So no matter what, you can not miss your daily protein dose.

Soak dal overnight. Next day cook it in the open pan so that you can remove the white foamy layer easily. These simple steps will help to discard all the anti-nutritional factors that may cause bloating.  Enjoy at least 2 bowls of dal daily. Don’t forget to bring variety in your dal choices.

If you struggle to digest milk, try milk products like homemade curd or chena/ paneer. These are much lighter on your stomach.

If you are a vegetarian and even after all these still struggling to meet the protein need, consider having a scoop of good quality protein powder regularly. This will take care of your fatigue, improve your hair, skin, and nail health, and help to lose weight faster.

Weight loss mistakes women make after 40 - stop having dal

What about non-vegetarians?

Ladies, gone are the days when you had given the best piece of fish/ chicken to the male member of the family. You are 40 and it is time to give importance to yourself. Keep no guilt attached to have the best portion from now onwards. It is the time when you need more protein to bring a better hormonal balance.  Consume at least 150 g of fish/ chicken and an egg daily along with milk and dal to supply ample protein. (13)


Women over 40 weight loss Mistake 6: “I have vegetables, yesterday I had gourd”


As mentioned earlier, your body is now craving for micronutrients, soluble and insoluble fiber.  So having vegetables 4 times a week won’t work anymore. Reduce some amount of your carb intake but increase vegetable consumption to a greater extent.

What to do?

Take raw as well as cooked vegetables daily. The best way is to start a meal always with some raw salad. It could be the basic cucumber, tomato, onion, and carrot salad. But it is important to have some raw vegetables. If possible have some raw vegetable juice a few times a week.

Add ample green leafy vegetables, some roots/tubers, and a decent amount of other vegetables as sabji in daily lunch and dinner. (11)(12)

Women over 40 weight loss Mistake 7: “I just forget to have nuts”


Nuts and seeds are vastly underrated until you struggle to regain your health. Consider these as medicine. Walnuts and flax seeds are your best friend if you are struggling to fix your cholesterol levels. Sesame is a game changer for your knee or other joint pains. Garden cress is undoubtedly number one when it comes to fixing anemia. Black raisin and seed cycling works wonders in fixing pre-menstrual syndrome.


What to do?

Do not miss the daily dose of your nuts and seeds. Take a handful of mixture and soak for at least 3-4 hours before consuming. Caution –  don’t end up having nuts like popcorn, then your dream of losing weight will remain in your dream.

Weight loss mistakes women make after 40 - have more veggies

Women over 40 weight loss Mistake 8: “I haven’t had biscuits, bhujia, sweets, or any processed food for the last few days but seeing no result”


You can’t lose 10 kg within a month just because you have stopped eating junk. You are expecting too much too soon. Therefore, you feel demotivated too early.

Let’s accept that we are all sugar addicts to some extent. It is always a struggle to refuse ultra-processed ready-to-eat or ready-to-cook foods. Keep no doubt that they are unhealthy, no matter whatever they claim on package or advertisement. They are always loaded with refined flour, refined oil, refined sugar, and salt along with loads of chemicals. So ignore if it says “low calorie”, “zero sugar”, “diet”, “baked”. “healthy”, heart-healthy” etc.

Remember no health issue can be fixed by having this ultra-processed junk. So relax. Take small steps and slowly try to get out of this addiction trap. Trust me it is going to take time to be in shape so have patience. (9)(10)

Weight loss mistakes women make after 40 - eating junk

Woman over 40 weight loss Mistake 9: “I just forgot to drink water”


No matter how busy you are, you cannot afford to stay dehydrated anymore. Drinking enough water daily is the most inexpensive and simplest way to fix many health issues in one go. (6) (7)(8)



  • We often misinterpret thirst with hunger. Once you drink enough water, it helps to curb your untimely hunger, so you eat less and can check your calorie intake easily.
  • You don’t want dry skin and hair to fall right? Hydration helps to keep your skin and hair healthy.
  • It helps with better digestion and fixes constipation


Weight loss mistakes women make after 40 - forget drinking water

Woman over 40 weight loss Mistake 10: “I just miss taking supplements” 


Nutritional deficiencies like vitamin D, B12, vitamin C, vitamin A, iron, calcium, magnesium, biotin, collagen, or general protein deficiencies are very common after 40. Once it is diagnosed, take it seriously. In most cases taking regular supplements as per medical advice can easily fix the issues. Otherwise, it may bring other bigger problems later in life. So do not take it casually. Finish the course following the right doses as advised. (5)

Weight loss mistakes women make after 40 - forget pills

Also read –

Best vegetarian, non dairy sources of calcium

Women over 40 weight loss Mistake 11: “I have no time to exercise, but go for a walk 1-2 times a week”


You can’t be busy to an extent that does not allow you to exercise. Consider regular activity and exercise as a prime medicine for your hormonal balance, fatigue, joint pain, depression, anxiety, mood swings, and weight loss. (1) (2)

Stop bargaining like –  is 3 times a week okay? or is 2 times a week walk fine?

You must exercise for at least 30 minutes every day. It could be a mixture of running/ jogging/ walking/ swimming/ dancing/ yoga etc. Try to do strength training 3 times a week. It helps immensely with your joint pain, bone health, and toning of your body.

Doing 30 minutes of exercise every day is not enough. You must keep yourself active throughout the day. So sit less, move more. Sitting is very addictive so now sitting is considered as the new smoking.

Weight loss mistakes women make after 40 - stop exercise

Women over 40 weight loss Mistake 12: “Too busy getting a good sleep “


Sleep is not a luxury for you, it is the necessity for bringing hormonal balance, curbing sugar cravings, controlling mood swings, anxiety, depression, and fatigue.

If you are struggling to fix your sleep cycle, you must reduce your unnecessary screen time and completely stop it for at least an hour before you go to bed. You must sleep for 6-8 hours every day. (3) (4)


Weight loss mistakes women make after 40 - not sleep well


Don’t set a difficult goal at first. Go slow and take baby steps. Instead of focusing on weight loss. Try to adopt good lifestyle changes. Seek professional help. Consult with a qualified and experienced nutritionist for customized diet plan. Trust me, it has no side effects. You can do it. All the best.



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Dr. Soma Chakrabarty is based in Hyderabad. She has 15 yrs of working experience in nutrition. She guides people to modify eating behavior and achieve goals for wellness. She believes in a practical diet that helps people to live rather than survive.

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