I wish I could say I was one of those 20 somethings who could eat anything and not gain weight. Being overweight was an issue I dealt with my whole life, never benefiting from the fast metabolism that allowed me to binge and still wear skinny jeans. Now in my 40's it seems even harder to take it off and keep it off. WHY????
Here are 5 reasons why losing weight after 40 becomes more challenging (and ways to defeat Father Time)
I'm sure you saw that one coming from a mile away! It is no secret that a change in hormones is one of the top culprits in the 40+ weight loss struggle. Hormones are powerful little chemical messengers in your body that play a role in everything from puberty and reproduction to mood and metabolism. When unbalanced, one may begin to feel fatigued or depressed, experience mood swings, irregular menstrual cycles, infertility and, you guessed it...weight gain!
I wish I could go back to my stressed out 20 something me and tell myself to chill...it's only going to get harder! Not to downplay the stressors of those wonder years, I just realize now most of what stressed me out was temporary or fixable and not the end of the world. Now as a mom, stress compounds not only from the safety and well being of myself, but also little humans that depend on me. This "adulting" lifestyle has introduced the stress of work, home, family, bills, hobbies and all around life balance. Adrenal glands are working overtime, hormones like cortisol are toying with my hunger and satiety cues, all resulting in weight gain with am emphasis on relocating stored body fat to the belly. It's true..adulting IS hard!
3. Poor Sleep
1 (hormones) + 2 (stress) = 3 Poor Sleep. Whether it is a hot flash in the middle of the night or a racing mind as you lay your head down on the pillow, sleep quality decreases as age increases. Add to the mix our dependence on all things technology and our brains do not know the difference between night and day. Less sleep or less restful sleep disrupts the hormonal balance, confuses our hunger vs. satiety cues, gets us craving carbs, confuses the natural circadian sleep/wake rhythm and leads the needle on the scale in the wrong direction.
4. Less Physically Active
So now you are tired, and stressed.... perfect recipe for a Binge Watching session. Who wants to lace up for a walk or put on yoga pants to actually do yoga, right? In my 20's I was walking to and from classes, meeting up with friends to go out to clubs at night and having boundless energy to go, go go! I wish I could go back and bottle some of that up. These days life looks more like 8 hours at a computer that zaps any enthusiasm I might have had to lace up for a walk after work. All work and no play...you know the story.
5. Decrease Lean Muscle
Less movement and no motivation to go to the gym means less resistance training. As we age, our lean muscle mass naturally declines (design flaw of the human body). Lean muscle burns more calories (aka metabolism) when the body is at rest. That roaring 20 something metabolism fire is a thing of the past. As lean muscle decreases, so does metabolism, fewer calories are burned throughout a day than once upon a time. Do the math. If you are burning fewer calories a day, but still eating the same amount of calories you did when in your 20's or 30's, where do the extra ones go? You guessed it...it is being stored right there in that lower belly bulge. Thanks again, hormones!!
Defend Yourself in your 40's
It's not like we can stop the clock on aging. What's a 40 something to do? Purchase shares in elastic waist bands? Hide under a cozy blanket with the top Netflix subscription? Cry???
Deep breath...there is a solution! (and it is not one of the above) There are many ways we can win the battle of the belly bulge. It will take change, commitment and consistency but it is possible. Here are some simple and realistic steps you can begin incorporating to battle the bulge:
The Bottom Line
Weight gain is sneaky and silent. A pound this year, two next year. By the time you have reached the next decade, you could be carrying an extra 10-20 pounds. The key is maintenance and prevention. Changing bodies requires changes in habits. Slowly incorporating these simple steps I have shared will have you moving in the right direction.
Need more support? Let's set up a time we can chat about your struggle. Together we can create a plan of action that will keep Father Time quiet!
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You've sweat it out in your kickboxing, spin or Pilates class, lifted ridiculously heavy weights, knocked out a few extra miles on the treadmill and done more burpees than you care to admit....but the weight is NOT coming off! (insert profanity rant here)
One of the biggest myths about weight loss is that it requires endless trips to the gym where you spend hours going nowhere on a machine or lifting weights to the point that walking up stairs becomes a workout in itself. As with overall Health and Wellness, weight loss requires a balance between multiple dimensions. Poor eating habits, lack of sleep and stress are some of the biggest culprits keeping you from your goal weight. So put down the dumbbells and keep reading for some helpful ways to battle the bulge without the sweat.
Weight Loss Happens in the Kitchen
The Standard American Diet (SAD for short) is primarily composed of highly processed, refined "food" that has no right calling itself food in the first place. The 80's brought us big hair, remarkable style and longer lists of unpronounceable ingredients that promised our beloved snacks would be fat free. Chemicals replaced flavors and sweeteners were magically derived from corn. Coming from a generation that invented the Fat Free potato chip, butter that, believe it or not, isn't butter and low sodium salt (??), I can personally confess to eating some strange foods all in the name of slimming my waistline.
Not weight loss! In fact, my weight constantly yo-yoed, I was tired all the time and symptoms of depression were prevalent while I was in denial. Can you relate? As more and more "diet" foods hit the shelves, more and more Americans became overweight. The 1 in 30 children who were obese became the 1 in 6 with a bonus risk of Type II diabetes. I was one of the SAD diets sad stories.
My ah-ha moment came when I checked out a little book with a whole lot of simple information. Food Rules by Michael Pollan is the must have beginner guide to healthy eating. Rules as simple as "Eat Food...Not Too Much...Mostly Plants", "Don't Eat Anything Your Great-Great Grandmother Wouldn't Recognize" and "Don't Eat Breakfast Cereals that Change the Color of the Milk" became my mantras. I learned to cook and hoarded recipes from magazines in waiting rooms (pre-Pinterest of course), I began reading and understanding the information on nutrition facts labels. I realized the cause of my weight issues did not come from calories or fat (a once deemed naughty F-word) but from the unrecognizable ingredients I was consuming.
Keeping track of portions and calories is important, but fueling the body with real food takes priority. Food delivers the vitamins and nutrients necessary for muscle growth, cell regeneration, and basic bodily functions. Real food can be digested to deliver these nutrients throughout. The proper balance of macro-nutrients can keep the body energized while balancing the calories that come in with the calories that are burned.
These rules take a while to adopt as habit, but with each small step, a healthier weight and lifestyle is within reach!
Get Your zzzzzz's
How long does it take for your phone or device to recharge to 100%? I bet your evening routine includes plugging it in every night to be sure it is fully charged for the busy day of texting, browsing, calling and streaming the next day, am I right?
So how many hours do YOU recharge each night? Do you get the full 7-8 hours of sleep necessary to recharge your body to 100% for the following busy day?
If you are like most overworked and multitasking Americans, you likely sacrifice sleep to "get everything done" rather than sacrifice one more season of your favorite Netflix binge.
Growing evidence from both laboratory and epidemiological studies points to short sleep duration and poor sleep quality as new risk factors for the development of obesity. NCBI:
In Simpler terms, lack of sleep causes disruption of the hormones that regulate hunger and satiety and increased weight gain by 32% in women who averaged 5 hours of sleep a night. So plug the devices in, diffuse your favorite sleep inducing essential oils, turn out the lights and tuck yourself in for a solid 7-8 hours of recharging. You will feel more energized and boost your weight loss efforts.
You are out for your morning walk when suddenly a large dog lunges towards you. You immediately jump and either defend yourself or hightail it out of there. A quick dose of adrenaline and cortisol gets your heart racing and provides you with a surge of energy and strength that will help you fight off the threat or escape. This is referred to as the Fight or Flight Response, a built in defense mechanism to keep us alive in a dangerous situation.
When you realize the lunging dog is securely leashed and safely behind a fence, the Stress Response deactivates and the parasympathetic nervous system kicks in to bring you back to equilibrium.
Sounds great, right?
Only problem is, the Stress Response does not know the difference between a viscous dog, a looming deadline, traffic or a screaming toddler...each of these situations elicits the stress response and the corresponding impact on the body with one big difference....the latter situations tend to last a lot longer, putting continuous strain on the Adrenal glands and cause hormonal imbalance. Translation: the adrenal glands continuously pump adrenaline and cortisol resulting in adrenal fatigue and weight gain.
This process truly highlights the need for strategies to manage and reduce stress. Yoga, hobbies, nature and mindfulness are all great ways to reduce stress. Check out my blog on Mindful Practice for the Beginner to get started on one of the easiest and fastest way to bring on the Relaxation Response, Mindfulness. There are also a variety of apps and podcasts that will help guide you through meditations while the use of certain essential oils such as lavender or this set De-Stress Essential Oil Set have been shown to help reduce stress.
The Bottom Line
So, does this all mean that you should ditch your exercise? NO!! Weight loss and a Healthy Lifestyle are a balance of healthy eating, sleep, stress reduction AND exercise., You do not need to spend hours in the gym, 30 minutes a day should suffice along with a healthy diet, time to rest and recharge and identifying triggers for stress and the strategies that help keep it in control.
My 12 Week Spring Weight Loss Challenge, starting March 7th, provides support and accountability. Through this group coaching program, you will visualize optimal health and set realistic goals that will get you closer to your healthiest you, learn how to crowd out unhealthy habits as you make room for healthier behaviors and practice stress reducing activities specific to your needs and interests.
If you are ready to take this journey and incorporate these practices to lose weight into your life, be sure to check out the Spring Weight Loss Challenge.
Health and Happiness!
Disclaimer: This post includes affiliate links to product I personally use and recommend to achieve balance in health and wellness. I receive compensation from the sales of any linked items which helps me continue with my business providing clients with the skills and tools to reach their wellness goals. Thank you for your support
Spring is my most favorite season. It is like the world is awakening from a long winter slumber, opening her eyes through blooming flowers and chirping birds. It is also a time where I can realign my goals and get back into a healthy routine. This especially trying winter with the pandemic has certainly left its mark on physical ad mental health. A few extra pounds and binged Netflix series have me feeling a little sluggish. Can anyone relate?
Bring on the motivation
Seems like the perfect time to challenge you to get off the couch, cancel the pity party and get back on track...summer is coming!!
I have designed a 12 week weight loss challenge that has time and again proven successful in helping my clients lose weight. I know what you are thinking. "Ugh! Another weight loss program". I get it. I have been through my far share of shakes, bars, fasts, and food logs to know the struggle.
This is different!
Yes you will be tracking numbers on a scale, but this is only a fraction of what you will be gaining (or losing) during these 12 weeks. With a focus on what you CAN have or CAN do instead of what you have to give up, along with a community of peers for support, you can join others who have participated in losing up to 12% of your body weight through healthy behavior change that is sustainable and realistic! Through clean and healthy eating, exercise, stress management and mindfulness, you will be on your way to finally losing those extra pounds you have been carrying.
A Vision and the Journey
The program starts with your vision, imagining yourself at your healthiest and happiest. Over 12 weeks, you will learn to set realistic goals and action steps to get you closer to the ideal you. You will learn healthy eating strategies, workouts for every level, stress management techniques and mindful tools to balance all areas of your health and wellness. The road that lies ahead may not be an easy one, but you will be supported the whole way through Health Coaching. a caring and supportive community and a plan that will hold you accountable.
The real incentive here is good health. Losing just 5% of your body weight can:
The top three losers with the highest percentage of weight lost will receive:
Ready to get started?
Learn more about my 12 week weight loss challenge here. I would be honored to support you through your personal journey to weight loss, health and happiness.
Questions? You can ask in the comments or find me on Facebook.
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I can't wait to see where your journey takes you!
Health and Happiness
I'm Liz. Mom, wife, teacher, Health Coach. My passion lies in everything health and wellness. When new research and trends pop up, you can bet I am finding the best resources to information, weeding out the not so good and making the great easy to digest. From meal planning and recipes to exercise and mindfulness, wellness touches upon so many dimensions. Your path to optimal health is out there and I can help you find it.