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CHEATSHEET: Losing Weight After 40: Hormones, Healthy Habits, and Sustainable Success

Losing weight and keeping it off can be a challenge for anyone, but it can be especially difficult for women over 40. As we age, our metabolism slows down, and we may have less time to exercise. However, it is still possible to lose weight and keep it off for good if you follow a few simple tips.

Understanding Calorie Deficit

The basic principle behind weight loss is creating a calorie deficit, which means burning more calories than you consume. All effective diets work on this principle. Without a calorie deficit, weight loss is not possible, no matter which diet you choose. However, we all know in practice this can be easier said than done! Here are the key areas I ask my clients to focus on:

1. Feeling Good

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Prioritising your mental and emotional well-being is crucial for successful weight loss. Stress and lack of sleep can increase levels of cortisol, a hormone that promotes fat storage, particularly around the abdomen. Ensure you get 7-8 hours of sleep per night and engage in stress-reducing activities such as meditation, yoga, or spending time with loved ones.

2. Nutrition

Balanced nutrition is key to weight loss and overall health. Focus on eating a variety of whole foods, including fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains. Minimise processed foods and sugary drinks as they tend to be higher in calories and salt and do not provide the nutrients your body needs. Remember, eating nutrient-dense foods helps you feel full and satisfied while staying within your calorie goals. I don't advocate cutting out food groups or going super low on calories, it simply is not necessary and for most people this just leads to feeling of deprivation and is not sustainable beyond a week or two. Long term change means you need a way of eating you can sustain and enjoy a social life.

3. Movement

Incorporating more movement into your daily life is essential. This doesn't just mean formal exercise; it includes all physical activities like walking, taking the stairs, gardening, and even dancing. These non-exercise activities can significantly contribute to your daily calorie burn and overall health. So, a daily walk, dancing round the kitchen as you prepare dinner all adds up in a positive way and contributes to your long-term success. Aim to move regularly throughout the day to keep your energy levels up and your metabolism active.

4. Resistance Training

Strength training is vital for building and maintaining muscle mass, which naturally decreases as we age. By incorporating resistance exercises like lifting weights, using resistance bands, or bodyweight exercises into your routine, you can boost your metabolism and improve your physical function. Building muscle also helps in burning more calories, even at rest.

5. Habits

Developing healthy habits is the foundation of sustainable weight loss. Make gradual changes that you can stick with over time. Start by setting realistic goals and making small adjustments to your diet and activity levels. Consistency is also key, so focus on building routines that fit into your lifestyle and that you enjoy AND that you can stick to, a 2 or 3 week blast isn't going to get you lasting results. But, over time, the small changes that become part of your daily routine are the ones that will get you that long-term success.

6. Be Realistic - Impatience can trip you up

Set realistic goals. There are no universal truths that apply to everyone but as you age, weight loss will most likely be slower, and if your progress is slow, see this as a positive, as too much stress on your body via dieting can disrupt your hormones. With perimenopause you really don't need any extra hormone fluctuations going on. Losing about 1 pound per week is probably as good as it gets, and it's important to understand that your weight loss won't be linear. Some weeks will be better than others, get comfortable with that now.

Don't get discouraged by these fluctuations (they are normal no matter how perfectly you are at sticking to your diet); instead, focus on the overall trend and long-term progress.

Additional Tips

  • Find a Support System: Surround yourself with friends or family who support your goals.

  • Make it a Lifestyle Change: Shift your focus on long-term changes rather than short-term diets.

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Start With Purpose

START WITH PURPOSE, is a 6wk group plan aimed at women struggling with weight loss and maintenance. It provides the focus, support, and accountability to help you succeed. It is designed to support women in midlife as they start and maintain a diet/fitness programme for the physical and mental health benefits, and building the new healthy habits that often get neglected as we progress through midlife.

Losing weight and keeping it off is a challenge, as it requires changes to how you live your life ofr the long term, but it possible with some work and focus to finding a new way that works for you.

I hope you found this CHEAT SHEET helpful. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me. I offer support and advice on social media to help with fitness and fat loss, specifically aimed at women over 30. Click these links to follow me on Instagram  @fitforapurposeuk  or on Facebook fitforapurposeadmin

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