Struggling to lose weight as you turn forty? Here are three weight loss myths which are holding you back.

There are so many women in their 40s and 50s who are looking to drop a dress size or two. Yet, they struggle to see any movement with their weight. These are women who are trying all the plans and programs which worked for them in their 20s and 30s, but they step on the scales at the end of the week and see no progress.

This can be REALLY frustrating for these ladies, and can leave people feeling completely trapped!

While it’s true that age and hormones can make it easier to gain weight (especially around the middle), there IS a quick and easy way to escape from this situation!

Usually, it comes down to a few common weight loss myths that people believe. These stop them from getting the results they want.

In this blog, we’re going to go through the 3 most common weight loss myths that cause women over 40 to struggle to see movement on the scales. We also share our most effective strategies to get the scales moving and drop a few dress sizes before summer.

You can also listen to us discuss this topic on our podcast.

1. It all goes to pot when you reach a certain age

This is a really common narrative. And when people hear it enough, they believe it.

It’s true that things change, but it doesn’t have to “go to pot.” All is not lost!

In reality, hormonal changes mean the body is more sensitive to stress. The approaches that worked for you in your 20s or 30s will no longer work. Things like HIIT, spinning, gym classes or running are going to be much less effective. And things like low calorie restrictive dieting, shakes and juicing might even have the opposite effect.

These things over-stress the body and trigger the Weight Gain Triangle, causing leptin resistance, insulin resistance, and thyroid deregulation. This effectively makes the body push back and resist weight loss by increasing cravings, reducing metabolism, and increasing fat storage (especially around the middle).

What are the key things to focus on to avoid this?

You need to do something different. You should avoid over-stressing the body, and work with changing hormones rather than against them.

We’ll cover exactly what this is in the next steps.

2. You have to do cardio or sweat a lot to lose weight

Just because something feels really hard, that doesn’t actually make it effective.

It’s like hand-washing all your clothes – it would take hours, you’d be exhausted and they still would probably be less clean! Instead, the easy (and more effective) route is to just put it in the washing machine.

Cardio can work for people who are younger – they can pretty much do anything and see results. However, for women, as they get older, certain changes happen that make cardio a poor choice for losing weight and toning up.

Your sensitivity to stress increases – and HIIT, gym classes, spinning and running all stress the body a lot.

You also start losing 3-8% of muscle from age 30, and this leaves people feeling saggy and flabby (plus it slows your metabolism). Cardio is catabolic, meaning it burns muscle and makes this happen even faster!

Joint issues can get worse around menopause too, as oestrogen is a natural lubricant. So pounding the pavement running or doing burpees in a HIIT class can easily lead to injuries.

So what would be the best type of exercise for people to do instead?

What is needed is something:

  • That keeps stress on the body low to moderate
  • That builds muscle rather than burns it
  • That increases your metabolism 
  • That is gentle on the joints

We do this in our Fit Over 40 program using LIST, or low-impact strength training. You can find out more about this here.

3. It’s all about eating less and moving more

This is a huge oversimplification. In the run up to menopause, the body becomes more sensitive to stress. So what issues can be caused when people fall into this trap?

When people just focus on calories in vs. calories out, they can get a lot of things wrong. For example, doing ineffective exercise just because the calorie burn is supposedly high. People also might be eating poor quality food and drink just because the calories are low. 

Low calorie foods also can stress the body, as they’re toxins that have to be processed out. This exacerbates menopause symptoms, disrupts sleep, and makes you feel tired and sluggish.

So what does work?

You need to focus on quality AND quantity. We do this using an approach called Hormonally Balanced Eating. We start with quality i.e. making the right food choices and breaking bad habits. Then focus on quantity (but not just calories). Focus on calories, protein, and fibre. And find the sweet spot for each – not too much and not too little, just right!

We do this for clients in our Fit Over 40 program, and it’s not uncommon for them to lose 5-10lbs in the first few weeks! Many of our clients go on to lose 1-2 stone in 12 weeks or less. Find out more about this below!

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Blog-Footer-Image.png