How can a woman over 40 loose weight? It seems to be an elusive question and theories on the topic abound! I am not here to tell you that I hold the key to weight loss after 40 and that whatever other people say that contradicts my approach is wrong. I know full well that all women are different. What works for one may not work for another. However, I have been seeing some common misconceptions about weight loss in general and particularly for women over 40. These wild myths about weight loss for women over 40 drive me bunkers, so I decided to write this article to offer some counterarguments.
5 Common Myths About Weight Loss for Women Over 40
If you looked into how can a woman over 40 loose weight, you have surely seen some of these myths. Let’s talk about what they are.
1. Don’t skip meals
I see that a lot. Some specify breakfast, some talk about not skipping meals in general. Apparently, the thermic effect of food will help you burn more energy than the energy provided by your meal itself! lol
Ok, that’s not really what they say. Obviously, everyone knows that digesting a meal doesn’t require more energy than the number of calories that it provides. However, the common misconception is that eating frequently helps boost your metabolism. Let me quote from one such article:
Eating small, frequent well-balanced meals and snacks can keep your body burning calories, your appetite under control, and your blood sugar balanced.6 Things to Avoid When You Are Trying to Lose Weight After 40
For starters, eating any food raises your blood sugar, even if you pick low glycemic index foods. More and more studies are coming out to suggest that time-restricted eating is beneficial for blood sugar control. For example, a study from the University of Ottawa found that splitting calories over six meals provided not weight loss benefits whatsoever compared to eating all your calories in three meals. Another small-scale study found that restricting meals to a 9-hour window improved blood glucose levels.
Most women will notice that the more they eat, the more they want to eat. That’s because ghrelin and insulin work hand in hand. Ghrelin is your “hunger hormone”. It signals your brain to eat. Eating frequently keeps your insulin level higher and may contribute to insulin resistance. There seems to be a correlation between insulin resistance and higher levels of ghrelin. So, not, eating frequent meals will not keep your appetite under control.
2. Avoid Counting Calories
The idea is that counting calories is not sustainable long-term and makes you miserable. Well, I won’t argue with that! However, to make the blanket statement that you should always avoid counting calories is pretty bold!
If you have been wondering how can a women over 40 lose weight, you may find that counting calories is beneficial. Intermittent fasting, or time-restricted eating, is a more sustainable method to restrict calorie intake naturally, without having to log all your food intake. However, in the end, no matter what weight loss method you pick, it will always work because you are consuming fewer calories than your body needs. That’s just a fact!
Would you like to learn more about how can a woman over 40 lose weight? Sign up for my Intermittent Fasting 101 Workshop.
3. Let Go of Food Rules
I am sure this particular myth stems from the fact that adhering to strict rules is hard for everyone and not sustainable. However, if you want to lose weight, you are going to learn to change your behaviors surrounding food. Obviously, what you have been doing hasn’t been working. When you learn a new behavior, it is helpful to set up some “rules” at first. Eventually, these rules become second nature and they can be bent.
Helpful Food Rules
How can a woman over 40 lose weight? It’s not that complicated! Here are some food rules that will put you on the right tract:
- Restrict your eating window to 4 hours at least 4 days a week.
- Reduce your carb intake. No need to count carbs. As a general rule, picking veggies over bread will lead to better results. Makes sense, right? Consuming more healthy fat and protein will help you feel fuller longer.
- Eat whole foods. Pick the best foods that will nourish your body. Process foods do not serve you. Instead, you end up serving them as they trigger a desire for more.
- Drink water. Avoid juices and other beverages. Just drink water!
Food rules are not inherently wrong and they most likely will help you improve your habits over time. Small habits can make a big difference!
4. Avoid Fad Diets
I often hear weight loss coaches talk about the need to avoid “fad diet”, whether it’s the keto diet, low-carb diet, low-calorie, low fat, or whatever. This myth ties in with avoiding food rules, but it’s more than that. It’s the idea that changing the way you eat will most likely lead to failure and that any diet that is less common is a “fad diet.”
For example, the keto diet is often referred to as a fad diet. What? Do you know that the keto diet has been around since the 1920s? Of course, people didn’t use it for weight loss back then because, well, people didn’t consume an average of 57.1 g of added sugars per day back then. I think we shouldn’t be so quick to dismiss these other eating styles. The keto diet can be helpful for many women who want to lose weight after 40. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it long-term, but it can be extremely helpful as a weight-loss tool.
5. Eat More
Apparently, many weight-loss coaches have had clients who couldn’t lose weight because they were not eating enough. I can’t speak to that, I will assume it does happen, but I would say for the vast majority of those who wonder how can a woman over 40 lose weight, eating too much is the issue rather than not eating enough. As you age, your metabolism naturally slows down. It can be hard to readjust to your new metabolic needs. That’s why most women over 40 seem to gain weight. While I don’t recommend a punishing attitude of deprivation, learning to enjoy fewer meals is very beneficial. For one thing, you don’t need to spend as much time preparing food, but you save money and feel better. Many people notice that the process of digesting foods makes them feel more fatigued. On the other hand, eating lighter meals less frequently makes them feel energized.
You most likely don’t need to worry that you are not eating enough. Most of us overestimate how much we are eating, I can speak from experience. Moreover, I think this idea stems from the fact that we all wish we could eat anything and not gain weight. We feel cheated when it turns out we can’t. Respect your body and its needs. If your body doesn’t need as much food, it doesn’t have to feel like a curse. Imagine when food was sparse throughout most of human history. Do you think anyone would have been frustrated at not needing to eat as much? No! We enjoy an abundance of food all year long. It’s a blessing in many ways, but it has led many to believe that not being able to partake of this abundance without gaining weight is abnormal somehow.
Why Is It So Hard to Lose Weight After 40
Why is it so hard to lose weight after 40? That’s the question I kept asking myself just 2 years ago! There is the issue of the natural metabolic decrease that I mentioned already. However, let’s look quickly at how hormonal changes also come into play.
Hormones and Weight Gain After 40
Hormonal changes caused by perimenopause and menopause all contribute the how much fat you are accumulating and where (midsection and butt, anyone?). The main hormones that will be affected during perimenopause and menopause are your reproductive hormones: estrogen and progesterone.
For example, both high and low levels of estrogen can lead to weight gain. Since perimenopause can lead to uneven rises and falls of estrogen, I am sure you can now see how this would be a problem.
Average Weight Gain Per Year After 40
It turns out the average weight gain per year after the 40 is 1 or 2 lbs. per year. If you had asked me to guess, I would have guessed much higher! From my experience and from talking to friends about it, I feel that many perimenopausal women see themselves gaining 5 lbs. or more in just one month sometimes!
Weight Loss After 40 Before and After
Before I talk a bit about the best weight loss plan for middle-aged women, let me show you some of my weight loss after 40 before and after pictures. If you have been struggling and frustrated, know that all isn’t lost! If I can do it, so can you! I have no willpower. I had started and stopped many weight loss plans over the years. Yet, I still lost over 20 lbs while feeling amazing and satified.
Best Weight Loss Plan for Middle-Aged Women
Wonder how I did it? Intermittent fasting is obviously a huge part of the process. It shouldn’t be a surprise considering that I decided to create an intermittent fasting website, right? Howver, there is a little more to what I consider to be the best weight loss plan for middle aged women. I had tried intermittent fasting before and hadn’t found it to be helpful. Here are the two main things I did differently when I finally saw the success I was hoping for:
- Modified fasting: I did two rounds of the Fasting Mimicking Diet one month apart at the beginning of my weight loss journey. I think this had a huge healing impact on my body. The way modified fasting (or the Fasting Mimicking Diet) works is by taking full advantage of severe calorie restriction and a specific macronutrient ratio to trigger autophagy. Learn everything you need to know about modified fasting here.
- Longer fasting window with intermittent fasting: Many women experiment with intermittent fasting by trying the 16:8 method. However, to experience the full benefits of the metabolic switchover that occurs with intermittent fasting, a longer fasting window is preferable. I explain how this works in my post Intermittent Fasting and Ketosis: How You Can Achieve Ketosis Without the Keto Diet.
I was so excited about my results and became so passionate about helping women over 40 lose weight and get in shape, I created a 30-day program to explain each step and give you all the resources you need in one place. It’s called the 30-Day Intermittent Fasting Transformation.
How Can a Woman Over 40 Lose Weight Video
How can a woman over 40 lose weight? Well by avoiding the most common weight loss myths. I mean, it seems pretty intuitive to me that if you eat more and more often and don’t impose any diet rules upon yourself, you are not going to lose weight, right? Instead, learn to adjust to your new metabolic requirement using intermittent fasting as a tool to avoid feeling deprived and counting calories. Simple enough! I know you can do it!