Struggling to lose weight after turning forty? Here’s why weight loss is harder as you get older…

It’s extremely common for women who are over forty to struggle to shift extra pounds. They might be in a situation where their clothes are getting tighter every year, and this can make it even more difficult to reach their goals.

In our experience working with thousands of women, it’s common to experience yo-yo dieting in your forties. These women might get a burst of motivation and put in loads of effort, thinking it’ll be different this time. They might cut out all alcohol, spend hours prepping healthy meals and do a bunch of cardio…

However, then they step on the scale at the end of the week and find that the number has barely moved. Sometimes, it might have even gone up!

Maybe you can relate to this yourself?

Many women we speak to assume this is all part of the ageing process. They’ve been told it’s just a part of getting older that they’re going to have to accept…

But the reality is; there are significant hormonal changes happening after you turn forty which might be affecting your weight loss efforts. Combined with a stressful career, dealing with the pressures of a busy job, and the responsibilities around the home… It’s enough to put the brakes on any results!

But the good news? It IS possible to lose weight despite all of these factors!

At Trinity, we’ve worked with thousands of women over forty to helped them do just that.

In our most recent podcast episode, we explained why hormonal changes happen to women over forty, and how to lose weight in spite of these changes!

Why weight loss is harder for women over forty

Everyone knows about menopause. These hormones can have a significant impact on how your body works. People generally overlook the stress hormone cortisol, but this is a heavy player in losing weight over forty…

Is cortisol good or bad?

In short bursts, from short-term stress, cortisol is actually beneficial. For example, if you exercise, cortisol is released. This helps your muscles break down and build back stronger! Additionally, it helps with releasing fat from fat cells. Cortisol also helps to form memories, which is why we tend to remember stressful events more than happy times!

However, if cortisol is elevated all the time from long-term stress (also known as being chronically elevated)… there can be a lot of negative side effects:

  • Insulin resistance: which encourages fat storage, especially around your middle
  • Leptin resistance: you feel hungrier and cravings for “comfort foods”
  • Thyroid function decreases: slower metabolism (making it harder to lose weight)
  • Reduction in bone density: which is not what you want when you’re getting older!

What causes cortisol levels to be chronically elevated?

Ideally, cortisol will come in short bursts to help bring the positive benefits of regulated hormone function. However, when this stress hormone is chronically elevated, that’s where the problems lie. This tends to be why weight loss is harder for women over forty! But, what causes cortisol to be chronically elevated?

Reasons your stress might be getting the better of you include:

  • Constant work stress
  • Constant family stress

But it’s not just the obvious things that make cortisol levels higher. Things that make it worse include:

  • Getting older: you’re more sensitive to stress
  • Your gender: women receive a 3x higher stress response in than men during ageing
  • Lack of sleep
  • Alcohol: drinking to destress actually raises internal stress levels
  • Low calorie dieting
  • High intensity exercise
  • Caffeine 
  • Dehydration
  • Staying in the house all day/not going outside

Think of your stress levels like a bathtub filling up; all of these contribute to higher cortisol levels, making it easier to gain weight and harder to lose it.

How to avoid the cortisol trap?

Inside our Fit Over 40 program we use a system called the F3 Formula, which is designed to combat the reasons why weight loss is harder after turning forty. The F3 Formula includes:

  • Exercise: low-impact strength training just 3 times a week, which minimises the stress response and builds muscle to combat bone losses!
  • Nutrition: focus on healthy foods 80% of the time, and hit a sweet spot with calories. These should be low enough to lose weight, but not so low it increases the stress response on the body!
  • Family & Fun
  • Mindset: follow a daily mindset routine to release stresses from work and family life, keeping cortisol levels low
  • Me time: take some quality time out each week away from work and family even if it’s just for an evening!

By finding a plan which is designed for your specific lifestyle, you’re able to finally see the results you deserve.

If you’re interested in finding a long-term, sustainable diet designed for women over 40, you can find out more about working with us here!

Snacks to lose weight