Losing weight in your 40s. I was recently at a family dinner when the talk turned to diets and weight loss (hey it could have been politics). It was a strange and interesting thing to watch because on one hand, they were for the most part really well versed in the complexities of food. For instance, pretty much everyone could name which food fell where on the Glycemic Index, they knew the caloric value of a meal and almost everyone was enumerating which foods they had just eliminated from their diets. On the other hand though, no one was actually very fit or healthy. There was a very clear and missing piece to this puzzle which we call fit and healthy.
When we are in our 20s and early 30s, weight loss isn’t that tough. We simply eat a little less, workout a little more and the pounds seem to melt off. As we get older, staying fit is harder, the pounds pack on and it takes a lot more to get them back off again. Now, this is isn’t to say that it’s not possible to be in shape and even athletic, it just takes more work.
I had this amazing client for a while who, in her 50s, decided that she was going to enter an Ironman competition. As far as I know, she was always active but never a full-on athlete (or at least not for a long time). Her metamorphosis was incredible and by the time the competition rolled around she was in an incredible shape. She’s a true inspiration for what’s possible if you just set your mind to it.
Of course, I’m not saying that we will all (or even most of us) become athletes, but it is very possible to stay in great shape as we age.
LOSING WEIGHT IN YOUR 40S
Eliminate underlining health issues. This really applies to any age, but if you are truly doing everything in your power to get healthy (eating clean and working out regularly) and you aren’t seeing any results then it’s probably wise to go see a doctor. There are many conditions that could be impeding you on your road to success. This could be anything from food allergies/sensitivities to an underactive thyroid to other hormonal imbalances. Thyroid issues can be very frustrating, so if you are having issues, know that you are not alone. Read: Underactive Thyroid And Weight Loss.
Improve your eating habits. So, you know that you can’t eat whatever you want, whenever you want and you’ll have to adjust accordingly. Think about it this way, if you take in as little as an extra 100 calories a day (that you don’t burn off) that will lead to a 9-10 pound weight gain in a year. Repeat this pattern over the course of a few years and suddenly you’ll find yourself carrying a lot of unwanted pounds. What’s 100 calories? 1 large apple, 1 medium banana, 1 cup low fat plain yogurt. It’s easy to overeat without even realizing it. For more tips read: Why You Are Not Losing Weight. For many women, low bone density will become a bigger issue, so you might want to look at increasing your intake of calcium, but other than that if an eating plan is already working for you then stick with it.
Workout regularly. With age comes more responsibility and less precious free time, so regular exercise doesn’t always make the cut. As you age, however, it’s even more important to make time for regular workouts. The trend is to lose muscle and you want to do everything you can to reverse that effect. Not only will building muscles help keep your bones strong, but it will also help keep your metabolism active and running at its optimum levels. Above all, don’t be afraid to lift weights. (Why Women Need To Lift Weights)
Get enough sleep. When it comes to regulating your metabolism and losing weight, getting enough sleep is an important piece of the puzzle. A lack of sleep affects your production of cortisol which regulates your appetite, so you’ll find yourself turning to food even when you are full. Not only that, but your body might not be able to metabolize carbs as effectively which will increase your blood sugar levels.
Don’t deprive yourself. At this point in your life you should have a healthier approach to food. There’s no reason not to treat yourself, just be mindful of how much and how often you are indulging. One trick that I like to use when it comes to desert, is to ask myself how much I really love it? If this is the best desert ever then I’ll have some, if it’s only okay,on the other hand, then I don’t eat it. This takes some time to implement, but it’s definitely worth it in the end.
Be patient. The basics of weight loss actually remain the same whether you are in your teens, 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s and beyond. The major difference is that as you get older it get harder to lose the weight. The worst thing you can do is jump on the latest and greatest bandwagon. Slow and steady wins the race and drops the pounds. It’s all about adopting a steady pace with both your diet and workouts and not worrying about one “bad” day. Make the conscious decision that you are done with diets forever and that from now on, it’s all about eating mindfully.
Over the years, I’ve met some really amazing women who were committed to being healthy and fit and their age was irrelevant to that equation. There’s no reason to spend hours and hours in a gym or starving yourself, it’s about making small informed choices everyday and in the end, it just comes down to how much you want it.