Losing weight can be a challenge at any age, but it can be especially difficult for women over 40.
As we get older, our metabolisms naturally slow down and it becomes harder to maintain a healthy weight.
There is also naturally occurring muscle and bone loss, menopause, and other hormonal and lifestyle factors to consider.
But that doesn’t mean weight loss is impossible!
In this article, we will discuss 13 easy and sustainable weight loss strategies that are purposeful, practice self-care, and are perfect for women over 40.
The Top 5 Tips
Tips 1 and 2 are a great place to get started, and remember to always consult a dietition, nutritionist, or physician before undertaking any new weight lifestyle regimens.
1.) The Plate Method (you will naturally eat sensible portions)
The plate method is an easy way to control portion sizes and make sure you’re getting a balanced meal.
Simply fill your plate with fiber-rich foods such as vegetables and greens, beans, lentils, whole grains, or fruits, as well as an ample protein source of your choice and a good portion of healthy fats added to your plate or incorporated into your food as well.
This method will help you get the nutrients you need while being satiated without overeating.
2.) Timed Eating
Also known as Intermittent Fasting (IF), or Restricted Eating, this weight loss strategy is very effective and involves eating all your meals and snacks within a certain timeframe.
The most popular method is the 8/16 method, where all of your meals are consumed within an 8-hour window. For example 8 am-4 pm, 9 am-5 pm, 10 am-6 pm, and so on.
There are many different ways to do timed eating, so find the method that works best for you and your lifestyle.
If you want to try timed eating, start with a 12-hour eating window, and gradually decrease the window as you become more comfortable with the program.
This really helps to ease into it!
Tips 3, 4, and 5
Tips 3, 4, and 5 should be initiated after you have become familiar with the plate method and timed eating. Developing good habits slowly and surely will ensure greater success in the long run.
Exercise is crucial for weight loss, but it doesn’t have to be boring- find an activity that you enjoy and make it a part of your weekly routine.
Some great exercises for weight loss include walking, biking, swimming, weight training, and HIIT workouts. Don’t forget to warm up and cool down with some light stretching before and after your workouts.
Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate to intense exercise, six to seven days a week (or one hour if walking). And most importantly, choose a time of day when you will not be distracted or more likely to make excuses.
If you are relatively unfit, start with three days a week and gradually increase as you are able. YouTube is a great place to find workout videos for all fitness levels and interests.
Always consult your physician before starting any weight loss program.
4.) Plan Your Drinks
Water, green tea, and black coffee are the most beneficial liquids to consume for weight loss efforts. Ideally, women should consume anywhere from 2-3 liters or 3/4 gallon of water per day.
The secret to staying successfully hydrated is to plan your drinks daily and to develop a beverage routine you will stick to. For example:
- Place your first liter (33 ounces) of water where you will most likely drink it in the morning before your coffee- your bedside table, treadmill, desk, next to your purse for when you head out, etc.
- Later, make a pot of green tea (add 1 or 2 additional herbal teabags to improve the flavor if needed) and enjoy!
- Plan a drink with dinner (sparkling water, club soda), and another in the evening (a cup of decaffeinated tea or coffee).
Together with your day’s beverage intake, you should be well within your hydration quotas.
5.) Plan Your Snacks
Like planning your beverages, planning your snacks will keep you on track and nicely satiated.
Being well-hydrated and having snacks planned will prevent binging or overeating.
Your snacks do not have to be “clean” and super healthy. Eat what you enjoy, whether that be potato chips, broccoli and carrot sticks, cheese and crackers, chocolate, cookies, or fruit.
The secret to success is pre-planning and portioning your snacks. Have your indulgences, but have them in moderation. And have your snacks prepared the day or night before.
If you do have a cereal bowl of potato chips or half a chocolate bar, pair it with some fruit or veggies and dip, and a beverage to still feel satisfied, but not overly full.
8 Additional Tips for Long-Term Weight Loss Success
If you carefully follow the first 5 tips, you should begin to notice a decrease in weight within a few weeks. But here are some additional tips to aid in your journey toward lifelong, balanced eating habits.
6.) Develop Food Menus
Take an hour on the weekend to plan a weekly or bi-weekly dinner menu to:
- Reduce overeating due to hunger and mental exhaustion (no more “What’s for dinner?” burnout).
- Save time, reduce stress, reduce food waste, and save money.
- Ensure a greater likelihood of eating nourishing, balanced meals
All that’s required is to take stock of what you have in your pantry, fridge, and freezer, look up a few recipes, and plan a menu.
Then make a shopping list of what you need to complete your menu items.
If you practice the fine art of batch cooking or freezer meals- you’re already 10 steps ahead of the game!
Freezer meals or frozen components of meals such as marinated chicken, pre-made uncooked meatballs, frozen pre-cooked chickpeas, black beans, kidney beans, navy beans, lentils, barley, spaghetti sauces, etc. are lifesavers when you are rushed, tired, or running behind.
7.) Sit Down and Eat
For all of your meals, sit down and pay attention to what you are eating.
Be thankful for the delicious food, be mindful of each bite, be calm and happy, savor the flavors, and enjoy.
8.) Avoid the “All In” Mentality of “Clean Eating”
There is no need to overhaul your entire way of life.
Eat the foods you like, eat them within your eating window, and on your plate in their appropriate category (proteins, carbohydrates, fats, and fibers).
Avoid the “healthy” or “clean” rhetoric; simply portion your favorite foods and eat them in moderation. Don’t deprive yourself of the foods that make you happy.
Yes, incorporate other nourishing beneficial foods into your diet, but remember, we can still enjoy our tidbits, drippings, oozings, and morsels in moderation.
9.) Eat High-Volume, Well-Balanced Foods
We’ve heard it before- eat the rainbow! Try to ensure that many of the foods you eat are colorful- lots and lots of greens, purples, reds, blues, yellows, oranges, and whites!
Enjoy plenty of healthy fats like fish, eggs, avocado, nuts, seeds, and oils like coconut oil, consume carbohydrates like whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and beans, and have proteins like lean meats, fish, eggs, lentils, nuts, beans, dairy, and shellfish.
10.) Go To Bed Earlier
A good night’s sleep is important for weight loss.
When we’re tired, our hormones become unbalanced, which can lead to weight gain. To balance our hormones and have proper metabolism function, we must get enough sleep every night.
So, turn off the electronics at least 30 minutes before bedtime, have a cup of herbal tea, read a book, and relax to fall asleep easily and have a restful 7 hours of sleep each night.
Going to bed earlier will stave off night-time snacking, especially when you begin timed eating, and it will also result in earlier, more productive mornings.
11.) Get Up Earlier.
Getting up earlier will give you more time in the morning to get things done, enjoy a cup of tea or coffee, relax and gather your thoughts for the day, or head out for that walk.
A productive morning routine will jumpstart your day, help you make healthier choices throughout the day, and promote weight loss.
So, aim for waking up 30 minutes to an hour earlier than you currently do- your body and mind will thank you!
12.) Be Aware of Your Social Habits and Food Environment
We are creatures of habit and if we are not aware of our social habits and food environments, they can lead us astray.
- Do you eat when you watch TV?
- Do you eat takeout at lunch or on the drive home?
- Do you regularly eat in restaurants?
- Are there certain people in your life that encourage overindulgent eating habits?
- What times of the week or month are you most likely to overeat and eat mindlessly?
- Do you often quit your group or solo exercise regimes? Why?
Be mindful of these habits and brainstorm strategies to reduce or avoid them altogether:
- Pack lunches, plan your dinners, and have snacks readily available
- Store non-perishable (tasty) snacks and water in your vehicle or purse,
- Eat and hydrate yourself before you shop or run errands,
- Explain to those close to you that you will be eating out less, and having less take-out- get your family on board!
- Make a plan for maintaining your exercise routines if unexpected events temporarily derail your efforts.
And the same goes for your food environment- if your kitchen is full of less nourishing foods, you are more likely to eat those foods.
While having those foods in your timed eating window and as part of your snack routine is fine, it might be a good idea to make sure you have a good amount of nourishing snacks and foods as well.
And don’t just have nourishing snacks on hand- eat them!
13.) Create Beautiful and Relaxing Environments for Yourself
When our environments are clean, decluttered, and well organized we feel better; we’re happier, less overwhelmed, and less burdened both mentally and physically.
A clean, organized home makes it easier to focus on other positive initiatives in our lives, such as meal planning, weight loss maintenance, exercise, and pampering ourselves.
And when we take care of ourselves, we can then best take care of those around us.
To make your eating and snacking environments extra beautiful and calming:
- Take some plants to work, put a lamp in your office, and turn off the fluorescents.
- Pick flowers, branches, and even some beautiful “weeds” for table centerpieces.
- Use colorful straws, mugs you love, and table settings you enjoy-even if they’re mismatched!
Common Pitfalls That Derail Our Weight Loss Attempts
The pitfalls or regression in good weight loss habits often happen when:
- we are busy,
- we are stressed,
- or we are unprepared for situations- anything unexpected in our schedules can set us back.
Due to the unpredictable nature of life, unexpected events happen, and the trick is to be prepared and have a plan ready for when those situations arise.
But the most important practice for long-term weight loss success is to constantly and continuously persevere.
Even if you are derailed for a week, don’t quit, don’t feel bad, and most importantly- do not over-research weight loss, it’s too overwhelming and you can get lost in the weeds quickly.
Simply restart your journey.
Weight loss is not easy. It takes consistency and patience.
These 13 weight loss tips may seem like a lot of big changes to incorporate, but if you persevere through the first two months, and incorporate the tips gradually rather than all at once, the strategies will become easier.
And if you can persevere for 2 more months, it will seem even less regimented and more natural.
And from that point on it will be easier and easier. You’ll be stronger, more confident, and more willing to stand up for your health and you’ll feel GREAT!!!