Many women not only gain weight before, during and after menopause and after the age of 40 but find it much more difficult to lose weight. Hormones have a huge part to play in this frustrating development. I know from my own experience that what worked when you were in your 20s and 30s will not necessarily work in your 40s, 50s and 60s and you have to work a lot harder to either get in or remain in shape.
Why is it more difficult to stay in shape after 40?
There are a number of factors at play after 40. Certainly, there are some hormonal changes and many women in this age category, particularly late 40s and 50s will be experiencing peri (or pre)-menopause. This means that hormones are decreasing including estrogen, progesterone and testosterone. Some women will address the menopause symptoms that go alongside this with Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT). But taking HRT is not the solution for addressing weight gain or trying to lose weight because hormones are not the only thing that may be preventing you from losing weight. Women naturally lose muscle and gain fat as we get older, so that muscle loss slows down the rate that we burn fat, resulting in a slower metabolism.
Seven steps we can take to get and stay in shape after 40
- We need to pay much closer attention to diet as we get older. We can no longer get away with how we ate in our 20s and 30s. I would recommend a whole food diet with healthy grains and carbohydrates, healthy fats with a relatively high amount of protein. I am not a fan of faddy, quick-fix diets as in the long term they can damage your metabolism which is why many women find they gain even more weight when they come off a diet. I have a FREE nutrition guide and meal plan that you can download here if you would like to know more about how what you should be eating. If you would like something that is much more comprehensive than the free meal plan then check out my High Protein Meal Plan Program here. You will need to watch your sugar and alcohol intake and keep these down to very small amounts or cut them out completely if you are going to succeed. I know this will seem quite painful at first, but remember we cannot eat how we did in our 20s and 30s if we expect to be in the same shape we were back then.
- Consider logging and restricting your calorie intake. You need to know how much you are eating and whether you are getting the right amount of fats, protein and carbohydrate. Downloading an app like My Fitness Pal will really help to firstly understand what you are eating and how much you need to eat to maintain your current weight, then how much you need to cut back on if your goal is to lose weight. You can watch my YouTube video here which tells you EXACTLY how to do this.
- Eating foods that will balance our hormones is very important for menopausal women and this isn’t talked about in the weight loss community enough. Some weight loss coaches will tell you just be in a ‘calorie deficit’ but there is more to it than that. We need to cut out processed foods and eat hormone balancing foods like oily fish, olive oil, green tea and 70% dark chocolate. I have made a YouTube video on eating for hormones which you can watch here: or find below.
- Ensure you have an exercise plan in place and you stick to it. You will need to make a commitment, so if you have some form of goal to work towards, that always helps. Perhaps for a vacation or wedding, you would like to get to a certain weight or lose a number of inches so set those goals to keep you focussed on what you are trying to achieve. Then choose an exercise plan you know you can stick to which includes something you enjoy doing. You will need to work harder than you did in your 20s and 30s to get in good shape. Accept it and embrace it!
- Because (as I have stated above) you have lost muscle you need to work on putting it back on. The best way to do this is incorporate weight training into your exercise plan. You will not get bulky! Instead you will get toned and put the muscle back that you have lost over the years. This will give your metabolism a much-needed boost. Weight training will avoid the need for lots of cardio exercise. I only generally do 1-2 hours of cardio a week and I am very lean. You can watch this video about how to strength train for fat loss here. And you can try out my strength training workouts on my FREE 7 day plan on my iPhone and Android app. I run 3 strength training programs: At Home Beginners Strength Training program for women that are new to strength training, Six Week Shred challenge at home workout and diet program, Lean and Strong 12 week at home or gym workouts plus diet plan for women who have some experience of strength training and want to build muscle whilst losing fat.
- Getting enough rest, sleep and reducing your stress levels is one major factor in determining how sucessful our weight loss journey will be. This is because we need to take care of balancing our hormones. You can watch this video on balancing hormones for weight loss to find out more
- Finally, take your time. Rome was not built in a day! If you lose weight too quickly you will be less likely to keep it off and damage your metabolism as your body will adapt to the really low calories you are feeding it. Once you come off the diet the weight will just come piling back on. If you reduce your calories by a small margin and take your time by eating sensibly you will also avoid the temptation to binge as you will not be hungry. Give yourself 6 months to a year depending on how much weight you need to lose. You can set milestones leading up to the first year.
Choose one of my menopause and over 40 weight loss programs to ensure you get it right:
If you are interested in a program that is specifically designed for women around the menopause and after 40 take a look at my Six Week Shred Challenge here
If you already have your exercise covered but are looking for getting your diet right I have a High Protein Meal Plan program that takes all the guesswork out because everything is already calculated for you, according to your current weight, goals and activity levels. Find out more about the program here
My 12 week Lean and Strong program is for women who have had a little experience of lifting weights but would like to take this to the next level, and at the same time lose body fat. Find out more here
If you are new to strength training or had a long time out of exercise then my Beginners At Home Strength Training 8 week program is for you. You can find out more here
I now have an iPhone and Android app where everything is covered from at-home to gym workouts from beginner to advanced level for strength training and HIIT. It also includes meal plans and how to balance hormones for weight loss and for the premium subscription you get weekly Zoom calls with me. Follow this link for the iPhone app and this link for the Android app.
Please watch the video below for more information about menopause and weight loss from my YouTube Channel: