So don’t hate me, but I was skinny for most of my life. In my teens and into my 20’s, I tried to gain weight and without success. I could eat whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted and never really gave it much thought. Yes, it was wonderful I won’t lie. When I hit my 30’s, I put on a few pounds. I was probably more of a healthy weight, but still in the lower end of the range. This weight gain however did not stop. And I’m only talking a pound or two a year but over time, it adds up.
Then I hit my 40’s, menopause hit and it just seemed that things changed, I just could not lose the weight. The most frustrating part is that I had not picked up any bad habits like sitting on the couch 10 hours a day and bags of potato chips (even though I do so love them). I have a friend who lost 20 lbs when she stopped drinking the jumbo sized bottles of soft drinks on a daily basis. I was not regularly drinking soft drinks or eating chips, cookies or cakes! My eating habits had not really changed but as I discovered, the way my body was now metabolizing the food had.
According to Healthline, the biggest factor which causes this stubborn weight gain for women in their 40’s is too much estrogen. I don’t know about you but as least it gives me comfort to know I was not doing anything “wrong”. “Excess estrogen increases body fat. Fat tissue produces and stores more estrogen. The estrogen in turn, causes the body to increase fat tissue. If the cycle is not interrupted, fat tissue will continue to produce estrogen, and estrogen will continue to produce fat tissue.” Welcome to 40!
…the reward centers of the brain–where the pleasure of those high-calorie foods registers–also respond to other substances that bring about pleasure….But those reward centers also respond to other gratifying things, like watching a sunset or experiencing a loving touch…So while you may not be able to change the wiring in your brain, you can “feed” those reward centers other pleasures…Biology isn’t destiny when you have effective strategies…
― Bob Greene, The Life You Want: Get Motivated, Lose Weight, and Be Happy
So what’s a mid-life woman to do? And I know you are wondering about the 3 “fun” things a woman over 40 does to lose weight. Well first you must work out for 5 hours a day and then eat my recommended cabbage only diet and for the next two months. You will lose weight, I promise….. Ok so I am joking, there really are some much easier methods. Maybe “fun” is a bit of a misnomer but really these 3 things are pretty painless and simple to implement and best of all, they WORK.
So What Are The 3 Fun Things Women Over 40 Must Do to Lose Weight That I Promised?
1. You’ve got to Move it move it! It’s that basic, get out and get your body moving as much as possible. You can join and gym and get a personal trainer but you don’t need to. Try to get in some fitness at minimum for 30 minutes 3 times a week. Preferably it will be something that you enjoy doing; ride a bike, play tennis or dance to your favourite music in your living room. What you are doing is not as important as just busting a move. In addition to regular exercise, walk as much as possible. Park your car farther away, walk the dog, walk to the corner store.
If time is limited, try to incorporate shorter bursts of activity as much as you can. If you have a desk job, get up and walk around every hour or so. If you are watching TV, does a walk about your house during commercials, dance as you get ready for work in the morning – anything to get your body in motion as often as possible – everyday.
2. Love to eat and eat to love – What the heck does this mean? It means to be more mindful about what and how you are eating. Make healthier choices and eat smaller amounts – it’s really that straightforward. Healthier choices are of course incorporating more fruits and vegetables into your meals, eating less processed food and drinking lots of water. The choice is yours to make – would you like a salad or fries with that? Salad please, with dressing on the side.
It is also recommended that each meal include a protein. Livestrong suggests avoiding sugary sweets, especially soda and baked treats, as well as refined grains found in white bread, pasta and rice and focusing on eating lean proteins such as fish, poultry, lean beef and tofu and including whole grains. Portion sizes also make a BIG difference. Use smaller plates, instead of taking an extra scoop, put a scoop back. Another great tip is to eat until you are 80% full then STOP. You don’t need to clear your plate; I promise I won’t tell your mother :).
3. Go High Tech – No I am not suggesting that robots chase you around the house but I am saying that we now have all kinds of wonderful technology at our disposal to help us. I find that when I am tracking my food intake and how active I am, I stay accountable to myself and it makes a huge difference.
I personally use MyFitnessPal to record my calories and I have a Fitbit to track my activity. It only takes me a few minutes a day to implement this tech. Even though I am the only one that sees my tracking and my results, I do not want to go over my daily limit and I know if I have that second piece of pie I will! When I see from my Fitbit that I only need another 1,000 steps to hit my step goal, I get off the couch and do it. If you need that another person to keep you accountable, you can share your progress by sharing with friends or using the community integrated into the apps if that works better for you. Either way, track your progress and be accountable – it really does work.
So where am I on my weight loss progress? So far I have lost about 8 lbs and have about another 7 lbs or so to go. I know I will never be back to my super skinny self but I am not a teenager anymore, I am a woman. My goal is to be a healthy and happy woman with energy to spare. You can too, I’m with you sister!