Quickest Weight Loss Diets for Women Over 40

Overweight and obese women over 40 years old can reduce their chronic disease risks by following a reduced-calorie diet. Although quick weight loss may be beneficial for extremely obese women with obesity-related health problems, rapid weight loss is safe only under medical supervision. For many women over 40, boosting physical activity and making dietary changes are effective.

Medically Supervised Programs

Medically supervised, very low-calorie meal plans can help obese women over 40 lose 3 to 5 pounds weekly, notes Weight-control Information Network. A very low-calorie diet often contains just 500 to 800 calories daily, and it requires medical supervision because nutrient deficiencies, gallstone formation, nausea and diarrhea can result when you're following a very low-calorie diet. Protein-rich nutrition shakes or bars are sometimes used as meal replacements.

Low-Calorie Diets

Low-calorie diets containing 1,200 to 1,600 calories a day are often appropriate and safe for women over 40 and do not require medical supervision. Individual weight-loss calorie needs are based on typical calorie intake and activity level. To lose 2 pounds weekly -- the maximum safe amount recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention -- you should reduce your current intake by 1,000 calories a day and emphasize healthy foods -- such as whole grains, egg whites, soy products, low-fat dairy foods, fruits, veggies, lean meats, seafood, skinless poultry, legumes, nuts and seeds -- and exercise 60 to 90 minutes most days of the week.

High-Protein, Low-Carb Diets

Diets that are rich in protein but low in carbohydrates help weight loss because of the high-protein component of this diet, according to a study published in 2012 in “Physiology and Behavior.” Protein helps you feel full from fewer calories and increases your body’s energy expenditure. Therefore, boosting your protein intake and eliminating unhealthy carbs -- such as refined grains and added sugars -- can help women over 40 lower their usual calorie intake for effective weight loss. However, excess protein in amounts greater than 1.14 grams of protein per pound of body weight can lead to toxin buildup in your blood, nausea and diarrhea, notes a 2006 review published in the "International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism."

Sample 1,200-Calorie Menu

Using the 1,200-calorie meal plan provided by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010 as a guide, a healthy weight-loss breakfast may include 1 cup of whole-grain cereal, 1 cup of skim milk, two egg whites and one-half cup of cantaloupe. For a snack, try 1 cup of low-fat cottage cheese and 1/2 cup of strawberries. A healthy lunch might include a black bean burger topped with a slice of reduced-fat cheese on a whole-wheat hamburger bun, 1/2 cup of cucumbers and 1/2 cup of cherry tomatoes. For an afternoon snack, try 1/4 cup of peanuts. A nutritious dinner may include 2 1/2 ounces of grilled chicken breast, 1/2 cup of cooked quinoa, 1 cup of mixed salad greens and 1 1/2 teaspoons of Italian salad dressing. Always check with your doctor before beginning a new weight-loss diet.