Your 30s are a magical time when you have a better sense of who you are, what you want, and where you’re headed. It’s also a time when it seems like you just can’t avoid a hangover and weight loss might feel impossible.

Thanks to our changing bodies, your metabolism starts to slow once you hit the big 3-0. But not to worry! We’ve got your guide to being 30, flirty, and thriving on your weight loss journey.

How to lose weight in your 30s

Losing weight in your 30s can be tough, but it’s totally possible. Here are some tips for doing it safely and sustainably.

  1. Focus on feeling good.
  2. Make sleep a priority.
  3. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!
  4. Get your body moving.
  5. Say “no” to fad diets.
  6. Keep stress in check.
  7. Fuel up with nutritious foods.
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There’s nothing wrong with wanting a “hot bod”. But having a mindset that’s about improving your health rather than improving your appearance may actually be better for achieving your weight loss #goals.

One study found that participants who were primarily motivated to lose weight to improve their appearance actually gained weight over a 30-month period. Participants who wanted to lose weight to improve their overall health and reduce risk of disease experienced significant weight loss.

Bonus: A 2014 research review suggested that maintaining a moderate weight can boost your self-confidence and body-image. (But for the record, we like you very much just as you are!)

There are only 24 hours in a day, so squeezing in a quality snooze sesh can be a challenge when your time is filled with work, a social life, and caring for your children/fur-babies/plants. But it’s important to get in those Zzz’s for optimal health — and successful weight loss.

But how much sleep do you actually need? The American Academy of Sleep Medicine and Sleep Research Society suggests that the sweet spot is somewhere between 7 to 9 hours a night. Sleeping less than 7 hours on the reg may put you at a higher risk of developing obesity or other health concerns.

Pro tip: It’s easy to let precious sleep time slip away. Try scheduling your sleep or finding a supplement that works for you.

Keeping your body flush with fluids is key for maintaining a moderate weight. How much H2O you need depends on a bunch of factors, like your age, activity levels, and current weight.

Drinking plenty of water can also help keep your metabolism in check. In fact, a small 2003 study showed that a single 16-ounce serving can boost your body’s calorie burning potential and rev your metabolic rate by as much as 30 percent!

Plain ol’ agua not making your taste buds sing? Try infusing it with delicious fruity flavor or enjoying some sparkling water.

Not-so-fun fact: Muscle mass starts to decline as you get older, particularly after you turn 30.

Better fact: You can build and maintain muscle mass with regular movement and exercise. And this doesn’t even mean you have to hit the gym every day.

Choose whatever kind of workout or movement that suits your style and sparks joy. Take a yoga or Pilates class, dance around your living room, chase your kids (or dogs) around the yard. Whatever brings a smile to your face and gets your body moving and grooving can help your body!

There are countless fad diets that promise a “get slim quick!” solution to all your weight loss woes. While some popular diets might help you lose weight temporarily, many won’t work at all. And most aren’t sustainable.

According to a research review, dieting and disordered eating won’t help with long-term weight maintenance. Restricting what you eat and limiting calorie intake can also have a negative effect on both your physical and mental health.

Instead of jumping on the fad-wagon, prioritize your well-being over whatever wellness trend is currently gaining buzz. Make nutritious choices, indulge in moderation, and treat your body like the temple it is. If you find yourself struggling or you could use personalized guidance, consult your doctor or a nutritionist for support.

Stress can definitely take a mental toll, but what about the physical? From headaches to digestive probs, stress can negatively impact your bod. It can also boost your cortisol levels or make you reach for that not-so-healthy treat. Both of those effects can lead to weight gain. This stress weight can be harder to get rid of in your 30s.

A small study suggested that you can prevent stress-related weight gain by adopting techniques to manage your stress. Eating a balanced diet, getting plenty of sleep, and exercising regularly can all help keep your stress in check. You can also try doing mindful activities focused on easing your body and mind, like yoga or meditation.

If you find that your stress isn’t going away and continuing to lead to weight gain or other health concerns, talk with your doctor.

A nutrient-rich, balanced diet is the “secret” to weight loss at any age. But what does this diet actually look like?

Start by getting enough protein. This helps you feel full and helps you build muscle. You’ll also want to add fiber-rich foods (like veggies, fruits, beans, and nuts) and nutritious fats (like eggs, yogurt, and avocado).

Avoid processed snack foods whenever you can. This includes fast food, packaged snacks, and drinks like soda (aka “pop” if that’s how you roll). These items can not only make you more likely to gain weight, but can also up your risk of developing heart disease or certain cancers.

You’ve got questions, we’ve got answers.

Why is it harder to lose weight in your 30s?

This just has to do with the normal aging process. Once you reach 30, your body starts to work a bit… differently.

An older 2004 research review showed that in your 30s, you start losing 3 to 8 percent of muscle mass per decade. Muscle helps torch calories, so losing muscle means you’re burning fewer calories. Your metabolism is also slowing down. That makes it even harder to get those cals gone. Add in fluctuating hormones (your body starts experiencing a reduction in estrogen or testosterone levels) and you’ve got a recipe for a weight loss stalemate.

Can you “kick-start” your metabolism in your 30s?

While there’s no magic fix to get your metabolism into gear, making small diet and lifestyle changes may help give it a nudge.

Some suggest adding spicy foods or (more) coffee into your diet can help get your metabolism going. But the research is mixed on whether this really makes a difference.

How do you lose pregnancy weight in your 30s?

One older 1997 study showed that losing weight after a pregnancy can take longer as you get older. Patience is key to postpartum weight loss. Your body just created life! So, treat it with love and care.

Eating a balanced diet, getting enough sleep (or as much as possible with bébé!), and getting in some mindful movement can help you reach a moderate weight.

Losing weight in your 30s may be more challenging than when you were younger, but it’s not impossible. It’s important to have patience and make mindful, nutritious choices. This includes eating a balanced diet, getting enough sleep, drinking plenty of water, and making sure to get your body moving.

There’s no fast-pass to weight loss, but these lifestyle changes can work wonders in helping you to lose unwanted weight (or maintain your current weight!), no matter what your age.