If you are a woman over 40, and you are exercising regularly and eating clean, you may be feeling very frustrated by the lack of progress with your weight loss goals. No matter how hard you try, it seems that the scale will not budge! Some women feel so defeated, they believe that there is nothing they can do about their bodies changing and they inevitably give up. I am here to tell you that there is hope for you! Even with a sound diet and consistent fitness habits, you may be making a few mistakes that can stall your weight loss progress.
Turning 40 is a milestone and time of transition. It is also a time of heavy responsibility, caring for children, parents or considering a career change. We have less time for ourselves and end up being stressed out and exhausted. Entering our 40s is also a time of menopause. The average age of menopause is 51, with most women reaching this milestone somewhere between 45 and 55. You are considered menopausal if you haven’t had a menstrual period for 12 consecutive months.
Before you reach this milestone, you could be experiencing changes in your body for a full decade before your menstrual cycle stops. Everything is affected, from your appearance, to the health of your heart and bones. This is considered the perimenopausal stage, which is when your estrogen levels decrease. You will notice heavier or shorter periods, missed periods, hot flashes, irritability, and problems sleeping. Peri-menopause can lead to anxiety and depression for some women. Metabolism also begins to slow, and weight gradually shifts from your hips and thighs, to your abdomen, shoulders and chest.
However, it is important to know that it is never too late to start a plan to improve your health, have more energy and look your best, at every age. Exercise and strength training will help strengthen your bones as your body produces less estrogen throughout your older years.
First and most importantly, you must focus on your overall health. The main components of health are a sensible diet and healthy weight. Although changing lifelong habits can be difficult, it is possible to make changes to your health at any stage in your life.
Below are a list of common mistakes women over 40 are making with their health and wellness. These mistakes can easily contribute to weight gain but can be remedied with my tips below.
- Lack of consistency /skipping workouts – you must commit to long-term change. Exercising daily is crucial to your success. It should be something you just do, much like brushing your teeth and getting dressed in the morning.
- Lack of cardio. The American Heart Association recommends 150 minutes of sustained aerobic activity per week. Your slowing metabolism burns 300 less calories per day according to the American Council of Exercise. Based on these two facts alone, it is evident that the body needs to move daily. This could be a walk with your dog, a run, biking or whatever activity you enjoy.
- Pay attention to your heart. In your 50s, the American Heart Association confirms that there is a 90% risk of high blood pressure who never had a problem before.
- You don’t practice self-care. Raising kids, aging parents, and jobs, many women find it hard to squeeze in personal time. However, if you don’t take care of you, then you will not have the energy to help anyone else.
- Not enough sleep. Lack of sleep leads to greater risk of heart disease and other health problems, including weight gain.
- Carb phobia. You need energy at the right times. Carbohydrates are a vital macronutrient that your body needs for it to function properly. Eating foods in amounts that your body doesn’t require for energy or eating excess sugars (mostly processed forms) will add to the weight gain.
- Lack of weight training in your exercise routine. Since your body loses muscle mass as you age, the less muscle you have the less calories you burn at rest. You can offset this by building muscle with weight training. You will look better, have more muscle tone and feel younger. Aiim to incorporate three strength training sessions per week at minimum.However, eating nutritious foods in proper amounts are necessary to your overall well-being..
- You eat foods you dislike. Why? There are so many foods to choose from. Try making it in a different way before you decide you don’t like the particular food. Certain foods prepared without any seasoning will not be palatable in general. Find recipes with foods you would like to incorporate into your diet.
- Remember the golden rules of weight loss. Eat enough to nourish yourself and feel satiated. Exercise daily. There is no need to do anything drastic. Cut down foods that are not nutritious, slim your cocktails, swap for lighter foods, eat more plant-based foods.
- You don’t seek help of a professional. If you are frequenting the gym, but have not seen any results, invest in a personal trainer. Personal trainers are in the business of getting results. They know the most effective exercises, combinations and proper form that will engage multiple body parts for a time efficient workout.