Weight loss guide for women over 40 from personal experience. Don’t get fooled by the gimmicks…this is the real 411 on weight loss.
About 4 years ago I made the decision to not be fat anymore. I had crept up to 175 lbs and a size 14. My life had taken a huge turn and there were things I wanted to do that would not work well with weighing 175 lbs.
I made some necessary changes in my life, incorporating 7 habits that were the catalyst to where I am now – 35 lbs lighter, a size 2, so much stronger and feeling better than I could have ever hoped for.
Notice I didn’t say the best I have ever looked, although many say that about me now – it wasn’t really my goal or reason for changing my lifestyle.
Of course, it does work hand in hand, but looks are not the most important reason I choose to live the way I live.
It’s more about how I feel mentally and physically.
That’s the reason for living these 7 habits after 4 years with no plans to stop.
When I turned 40, I felt 50. I was so out of shape walking up a flight of stairs wore me out. I loved eating sugary junk food and ate out often.
Slowly I began to incorporate these 7 habits and the weight began to fall off, muscles began to build and time began to turn back as I felt younger and younger.
Weight Loss Guide to Successfully Losing Weight
The amount of sleep you are getting directly affects several hormonal balances, namely ghrerin and leptin. When sleeping for less than 8 hours per night, both hormones trigger increased appetite.
When sleep deprived, low leptin levels also triggers lower metabolism with telling the brain the body is in starvation, therefore, storing food as fat for survival. This same sleep study by University of Chicago also showed inadequate amounts of sleep reduced fat loss by 55% of dieters.
How much sleep is enough? According to the same studies, 7.5 – 8 hours per night is ideal.
As much as I used to love sleeping in until 7 or 8, I am up by 5:30 Monday – Friday now and feel so much better for it.
Don’t get me wrong, I still love sleeping until 7 on the weekends, but I’m also up a little later on the weekends.
I also stopped being a night owl – staying up until midnight or so. I set a goal to be asleep by about 9:45pm. Random, huh?
Well, truth is I love watching Grey’s Anatomy on Netflix until about 9:30. These days, I am active enough during the day that it usually only takes a few minutes to fall asleep.
Plan for Good Nutrition
There’s a lot to be said for planning. Adopt the boy scout motto, “Be Prepared”. If there isn’t a plan for eating, it will likely be easier to grab the Cheez-It box in the pantry rather than going for a healthy alternative. Stop buying junk food, if you are like me, it is too hard to resist.
Make a few changes that will work for you. The kids like chips, but I do too. So, instead of completely denying the kids all of their junk food – I only buy the individual bags now because I can resist opening a bag.
Dinner planning is a big deal. It used to be so easy for me to grab fast food or visit a favorite restaurant when life was busy with no planning ahead.
Not to mention, cooking isn’t my favorite thing to do anymore like it was 10 years ago. We may not have fancy dinners every night, but there are certain components I make sure to have on hand for quick, good healthy meals.
- Salad. We have a simple salad with almost every meal.
- Chicken breast – I keep chicken in the freezer for a throw together meal. As long as I think about it by lunchtime, I can do something with it. Marinade, dry rub, bake, BBQ – so many easy healthy options for little to no work.
- Water. We rarely drink anything else. We keep milk and sometimes juice for the kids in our house. I always have a water bottle with me whatever I am doing or where ever I am.
- Protein bar or healthy snack to go. Okay, this is one area where I can mess up big time if I am not super duper careful. Picture this…I’ve been out of the house for a few hours. Went horseback riding, ran some errands and now I am in the checkout aisle at Target with those candy bars staring at me. Very tempting and some days, honestly, I just can’t resist. But here’s the good news…no, the great news.
Once you have gone without candy bars for a while – no, not a few hours, but for a month or so…they don’t taste as good! Ha!! Really. (If you need to break the sugar habit, find out how I did it at Sugar Addiction: How I Broke Free)
Not familiar with protein bars? There are sooooo many to choose from it can be overwhelming and money can be wasted easily on bars that taste horrible. Check out this extensive protein bar review to help you choose the right bar for you! Plus, these snack bars are my favorite!
Plan a Weekly Workout Routine
Again, planning is everything. I always have a weekly workout plan for the upcoming week by Sunday evening. I know when I will be working out and what workout I will be doing. I am so busy, if I don’t plan it out in my head and often on paper, it won’t get done.
Make a schedule and stick to it as much as you can, adjust as needed, but make it work by making your workout time a priority.
A well rounded weekly workout routine should incorporate both cardio and strength training. Cardio helps to burn calories fast, while the strength training rebuilds muscles that tend to atrophy after 40.
Many women may not see the direct benefit of strength training to weight loss. Less muscle tone contributes to a lower metabolism which leads to weight gain. Charlize Theron discovered how difficult weight loss after 40 is after she had to put on 50 lbs for a role in a movie.
Surround Yourself with Healthy, Fit People
Ok, so all of our friends and family aren’t going to get on the healthy wagon, but find some support somewhere. It takes a lot of willpower to order healthy when eating out – especially in the beginning and most especially when the person you are with is eating a piece of cheesecake in front of you.
Not very nice. But it will happen.
It’s ok, I really am a nice person and I really don’t get upset when people around me eat what I don’t want to indulge in.
Find health groups on Facebook, Instagram, local gyms, and even neighbors so that you will be able to support each other through this journey of changes.
Fit Found Me’s Facebook support group is Women Over 40, Losing Weight & Living Healthy, I hope you will join us in the ups and downs chatting about losing weight.
Set Short Term and Long Term Goals
When I started losing weight, I had a favorite old skirt I wanted to fit back into. It was a size 6. I hung it up where I could see it every day.
I tried it on a few times throughout my weight loss and was able to wear it several months in – but only a couple of times. Then it got too big!
Fitting into that skirt was my short term goal and it was a huge motivator when I surpassed it.
When I was having a tough time getting through the workouts, I kept in mind my why – horse back riding. I still do that, because I know the stronger I get, the more effective rider I will be. This has been my long term goal from the beginning.
Decide on short and long term goals that will motivate you. It makes a huge difference in sticking to your plan and toughing out the hard times.
Educate Yourself on Nutrition and Fitness
There is so much to learn about nutrition and fitness. New studies are always coming out about what to eat and what not to eat.
Workouts should adapt to your current level of fitness. Being educated about good health is needed to make the proper choices to meet your goals.
When I began to learn more about being healthy, it motivated me to implement more changes into my life. The changes I made were gradual, which is one reason why I believe I have been able to keep them up.
Never did I feel deprived. I didn’t starve myself and if I am absolutely craving something – I eat it.
Maybe not the entire serving, but I eat a bite or two…or three.
Verbally Share Your Goal with Everyone Who Will Listen
There’s a certain amount of accountability to ourselves when we verbalize a goal to others. Take advantage of that.
Weight loss and good health creates a massive snowball effect when shared. I loved hearing the reaction from people my first year of weight loss.
It was always such a motivator to hear how great I looked – ok, that sounds awful to say – but it’s true and it will happen to you as you lose weight, too!
Real quick – back to the surround yourself with healthy people – when you start sharing what you are doing, you will likely discover friends who have been or want to jump on the healthy wagon right beside you!
Weight Loss Guide to Losing Weight & Keeping It Off
2- Plan for good nutrition
3- Plan a weekly workout routine
4- Surround yourself with healthy, fit people
5- Set short term and long term goals
6- Educate yourself on nutrition and fitness
7- Verbally share your goal with everyone who will listen
So those are 7 habits I adapted into my life when I began losing weight. Those same 7 habits keep me on track, feeling great and doing everything I want to do now.
It is amazing at how a healthy lifestyle flows into every aspect of your life – happier, more fulfilled, more energy, fewer doctor visits, fewer sick days…and the list goes on.
Additional Helpful Tips for Losing Weight:
For more information on starting a weight loss program that is effective, visit the page, Start Here.