Why Losing Weight After 40 Is So Hard for Women (And What to Do About It)
It’s hard enough to lose weight at any age, but for women, losing weight after 40 can seem downright impossible. Where it used to be enough to cut back for a few days (or even a few weeks) after a vacation or the holidays and fit right back into your skinny jeans, now those extra few pounds are starting to feel like they might be permanent. That number on the scale keeps creeping up, despite your best efforts.
What used to work just doesn’t anymore.
What you don’t know is why.
The reality is that your metabolic slowdown isn’t just the result of your age, although getting older definitely plays a role. But there are also massive hormonal changes that start happening for women after 40, as well as a natural decrease in muscle mass. Additionally, as we age, we tend to become less active—spending more time sitting behind a desk or watching TV or watching our kids’ baseball games—which only makes losing weight more difficult.
The good news is that while losing weight over 40 can be more challenging and even require a little more effort than it did in your 20’s, it’s not impossible. Not even close.
In fact, once you learn more about how your body actually burns fuel—and what you can do to retrain your metabolism—maintaining a healthy weight after 40 can actually become almost effortless.
The question then becomes whether you are actually willing to rethink your approach and consider a whole new way of eating.
What makes it so hard for women to lose weight after 40
There are a number of factors that contribute to why it can be hard for women to lose weight after 40.
First, there’s the hormonal change.
Women over 40 experience a sharp decline in estrogen and progesterone—two hormones that play a major role in weight regulation. As these levels drop, it can cause an increase in appetite as well as changes in where your body stores fat. In other words, you may start packing on the pounds in places you never did before—like your middle.
At the same time, your body’s metabolism starts to slow down as you lose muscle mass.
Muscle tissue is much more metabolically active than fat tissue, so as you age and begin to lose muscle, your metabolic rate declines. This means that you burn fewer calories at rest, making weight loss more difficult.
In addition to the hormonal and metabolic changes that occur with age, many women over 40 find themselves in a more sedentary lifestyle. This could be due to a number of reasons—a desk job, kids at home, or just a general lack of motivation to exercise.
Whatever the reason, a decrease in activity level can further slow down your metabolism and make it more difficult to lose weight.
So, what can you do about it?
The first step is understanding how your body actually burns fuel.
Most people think that weight loss is all about cutting calories—eating less food in order to take in fewer calories. But that’s not even close to the whole story.
In reality, your body has three different fuel sources that it can use for energy: carbohydrates, fat, and protein. Carbohydrates are the body’s easiest, most low-effort fuel source. When you eat carbs, they are broken down into glucose and sent to your cells for energy.
Your body will only store a limited amount of glucose, however, so when you eat more carbs than you can immediately use for energy, the excess is converted to fat and stored in your cells.
This is why a high-carb diet can lead to weight gain—and why cutting carbs is often effective for weight loss. Unfortunately—especially with the dramatic rise in popularity of low carb and ketogenic diets over the past few years—there are a whole lot of women who are doing “low carb” totally WRONG.
Why a complete lifestyle change is necessary
The reality is that in order to successfully lose weight after 40 and actually KEEP it off, you have to commit to making a complete lifestyle change.
And while that might mean overhauling your diet, getting more active, and training your body to burn fat for fuel instead of carbs, it also means changing your mindset and the way that you actually think about food.
But it also means that realistically, the only way to make that sort of lifestyle change stick is for it to be something you can actually live with—a way of eating and living that you actually enjoy so much that it doesn’t ever feel like you’re depriving yourself.
The harsh truth is that diets almost never work. Believe me—the statistics are grim. According to one study, as many as 95% of people who go on a diet end up regaining all the weight—and often more—within a few years.
But the reason for this is simple: when you tell yourself you are on a diet, your whole life becomes all about deprivation and about all the things you can’t have. Your brain looks at it as a temporary punishment, and when that punishment is over, you find yourself craving all those forbidden foods even more.
As women, we’ve been conditioned to think that deprivation and misery means we’re doing a diet “right,” and so we keep deluding ourselves that the more miserable we feel, the more it’s going to work.
Except it doesn’t. Especially after we turn 40.
So what does work?
Fixing your metabolism and changing the way your body burns fuel.
This is exactly what our Thin Adapted System™ is designed to do.
How to make those changes
The best and easiest way to get your metabolism working again is by stabilizing your blood sugar in order to allow your body to burn fuel more efficiently. This happens when you cut out the foods that tend to spike your blood sugar and instead focus on eating the foods that will keep your insulin levels stable, which will then allow your body to go into a state of ketosis, or fat-burning.
So what are the foods that will spike your blood sugar and raise your insulin levels, the ones that you should avoid at all costs? Well, they primarily include sugar and carbohydrates, (which your body simply turns into sugar), as well as some artificial sweeteners, such as sucralose, aspartame, and saccharine. (Yep, that’s right–that diet soda you think is “being good” is actually making you fat.)
Unfortunately, as previously mentioned, there are a lot of very frequent and common mistakes made with low-carb diets, which are also sometimes referred to as ketogenic, or “keto” diets, and those mistakes usually happen when people don’t understand the science behind this way of eating.
The reality is that 95% of your success with changing the way your body burns fuel will be mental, not physical. Your success will come when you stop believing you need to deprive yourself, and start embracing a new way of thinking about food. That said, we believe that understanding the science behind why this actually works is extremely important for retraining your brain and the way you think about food as fuel.
In essence, your body needs fuel to function, very similar to the way a car needs fuel to drive. In your body, that fuel can come from one of two places—either carbohydrates or fat. And because carbohydrates are less work & easier for your body to burn, your body will always default to burning carbs FIRST, before burning fat. Thus, as long as you continue refueling your body with carbohydrates, your body will continue relying on carbohydrates as its primary energy source.
Ketosis happens when your body runs out of carbohydrates to burn, and instead begins burning fat for energy. This can happen after a prolonged period of fasting (such as overnight), but it will also happen when you eliminate carbohydrates from your diet. Essentially you are forcing your body to burn fat instead of carbohydrates.
What does it mean to become Thin Adapted?
Becoming Thin Adapted happens when your body switches it’s DEFAULT energy burning system from burning carbohydrates to burning fat. This will only happen after a prolonged period of ketosis–typically around 4 weeks.
Once your body has become fully Thin Adapted, a number of different positive changes will occur. First you will likely experience a significant increase in sustained energy throughout the day. Because your body is now relying on FAT rather than carbs, and because you have a nearly unlimited amount of fat available to burn in your body, you suddenly have a constant source of fuel to energize your body, regardless of whether you have eaten recently. That means no more afternoon slumps or coming home from work feeling utterly spent. It’s amazing!
Second, once you have become fully Thin Adapted, you’ll likely find that you are very rarely hungry. Again, because your body is already burning your stored fat, you simply won’t need to eat as often or as much as before. You’ll feel satisfied most of the time, without even trying.
Third, losing weight will become pretty much effortless. As long as you stay in fat-burning mode, the pounds will continue to melt away.
Sounds pretty awesome, right? Yep, it really is!
The benefits of losing weight after 40
Losing weight feels pretty great at any age, but losing weight after 40 has a number of added benefits. These include:
- Reduced risk of chronic disease. Excess weight is a major risk factor for chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes. Losing weight can help to reduce your risk of developing these conditions.
- Improved mental health. Being overweight or obese can take a toll on your emotional well-being, especially for women. Losing weight can help to improve your mood and increase your self-confidence.
- Better sleep. excess weight can lead to sleep apnea, a condition that causes you to stop breathing for short periods of time during the night. Losing weight can help to alleviate this condition and improve the quality of your sleep.
- More confidence. When you feel good about your appearance, it shows. Losing weight can help to increase your confidence and improve the way you feel about yourself.
- Longer lifespan. Studies have shown that people who are at a healthy weight live longer, on average, than those who are overweight or obese. So not only will you feel better if you lose weight after 40, you’ll also be doing your health a favor in the long run.
For women, losing weight after 40 can feel like an uphill battle, and the reality is that it’s not all in in your head. It’s hard to lose weight after 40 because the body has a harder time burning fat due to a decrease in hormones and muscle mass. But it also means that a diet is not going to cut it anymore. Instead, a true lifestyle change is necessary to retrain your metabolism. And while change can be hard, the benefits are worth it! Once you’ve become thin adapted, you’ll have more energy, better sleep, and a longer lifespan (not to mention smaller jeans!)
So what’s the best way to get started?
We recommend starting with our Thinlicious™ 28-Day Metabolism Reset, which is designed to introduce you to the Thin-Adapted System and help you retrain the way your body burns fuel in just four weeks. Get it HERE.
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