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  • Sarah Aspinall

The Truth About Weight Loss in your 40s and Beyond




I don't often talk about weight loss because it’s not the sole focus of my programs. However, I'm fully aware that weight loss is an issue for many women. Particularly at this life stage when your body is changing. It’s frustrating because you are putting the work in, eating “clean,” and moving more but you just can’t seem to shift those pounds. Often we are left feeling deflated and hopeless, as we don’t understand what we are doing wrong.


So, is it as simple as calories in, calories out?


Well, yes and no. Once upon a time for us it probably was this simple. We knew that if we ate too many calories and we didn't burn it off, we were going to gain weight. So, we decided to eat healthier for a period of time and move more and just like that, we returned to more of an equilibrium. Unfortunately, it's not that simple when we're in our forties and fifties, and there are a number of factors that can contribute to you retaining weight.

Sleep


One of the factors that contributes to weight gain and weight retention is lack of sleep. There's research that shows that lack of sleep elevates your body mass index (BMI) which causes you to be more prone to putting weight on. You should be aiming for eight hours of sleep a night.


Eating at the right time


We all know that we should be eating a healthy and varied diet. But it's not just about what we're eating, it’s also about when we're eating. The body needs periods of fasting and the most natural time for us to do that is while we're sleeping. (Hence why breakfast is called breakfast, because you're literally breaking your fast.) However, because of the busy lives that we now have at forty or fifty, we're possibly eating later into the evening, waking up earlier, having an earlier breakfast or skipping breakfast altogether and getting into these kinds of habits that don’t serve us well.


What we should be trying to do is confine our eating time or feeding time into a 10 hour window. For example, if you're having your breakfast at 8:00 AM, then your last meal or the last time you eat should be at 6:00 PM.


Stress


Stress is a normal thing that occurs in all of our lives. It's not always a bad thing, but it can become a problem when we never have periods without stress. When we are stressed our bodies produce a hormone called cortisol to help us deal with it, but often the cortisol remains in our bodies after the stress has been relieved. Cortisol levels can remain in our bodies for several days, so if we're going through stress after stress, after stress, our bodies never have a chance to rid us of those levels. This can lead to chronic inflammation in the body, which then leads to cravings and feeling lethargic.


As you can see, it's not as straightforward as calories in, calories out, or even simply watching your diet. Really try to focus on what is causing your stress and if there are things you can change in your life to stop that contribution to your stress levels.


As frustrating as stubborn weight can be, I remain an advocate for trying to pull away from the focus being on weight loss and instead shifting your focus to being well. Remember, this is a health issue more than it should be an aesthetic issue. Of course, there will be times when you don't want to eat the healthiest food and you don't want to exercise, you may feel tired or exhausted and you just won’t be in the mood to do it. But, if in these moments, you can focus on doing it for your health rather than solely your looks, then you're much more likely to be motivated to work out.


Try to have this mindset: I want to protect my health. I want to be around for a long time. I want to feel strong and feel energized and feel healthy. Focus on controlling the things that are in your control.


Top two takeaways


My two tips to take away from this are to focus on getting those eight hours of sleep and eating within that 10 hour window, so that your body has a period of fasting, (naturally overnight). There are the two really strong connections between weight gain and weight retention in this age group for women who are not sleeping well, stressed beyond belief with through the roof cortisol levels, and not eating at the right time. Keep it simple and try and be good 80% of the time, because life is for living and the other 20% of the time it’s alright to push the boundaries.


Do one thing towards these goals every single day. Try and keep track of your progress, see what changes you can feel and see in your body, and let me know what results you get in a week's time, in two weeks time, in a month's time, etc. I really hope you find these tips helpful!


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