Most women in their 40s will tell you that, while they’ve grown more resourceful and confident, there are other changes they’re less excited about.
Something has shifted in their bodies:
- Does dinner with friends, office parties, and holidays impact the scale more than they once did?
- Are you carrying weight in parts of your body you didn’t use to?
- Is dieting all frustration and no results?
Fat loss after 40 feels like bodily betrayal - no matter how hard they try nothing seems to work, and what success they achieve is quickly reversed by a single “off” weekend.
Facing these challenges isn’t just disheartening; it’s frightening, and it’s easy to develop a sense of hopelessness.
You’re not broken and you DON’T need a too-good-to-be-true product or plan to start feeling confident and sexy in your clothes again.
Your body has changed. As result, you may need to make some changes, but those changes may not be what you think.
WHAT HAS CHANGED?
We sat down with nutrition expert and habit-based lifestyle coach Georgie Fear RD CSSD to discuss weight loss and women’s changing bodies. Here’s what she had to say.
Women’s bodies store weight differently as they age.
Most women in their 20s and 30s store weight in their hips and thighs, but as you age weight storage tends to shift to the midsection. “A lot of the change in where fat is stored is due to changing hormones, primarily a shift in testosterone and estrogen,” says Georgie.
For women who previously never gained weight in their midsections, it can be extremely upsetting to suddenly have issues with it.
“Fortunately, while your body may store weight differently, the process for losing that weight is the same,” assures Georgie.
Regardless of age, gender, or where weight is stored on your body, weight loss still requires you to eat less than the amount of food required to maintain your weight.
This is why a smart combination of exercise and lifestyle change is so critical for women over 40 looking to lose weight.
Women may need to start taking nutritional supplements.
According to Georgie, as we age we have more difficulty absorbing and synthesizing micronutrients such as B12, vitamin D, and calcium.
Technically we should be able to get all the Vitamin D and calcium we need from the sun and our diets, respectively. However, due to modern living, we rarely get the sun we need, and dairy (a source of calcium) isn’t always an option for some women. That’s why Georgie recommends her clients supplement with 1200mg of calcium and 800IU of vitamin D daily (provided you’re not already deficient).
Women face more challenges.
Disrupted sleep from hot flashes, emotional challenges from kids becoming more independent or moving out of the house, less energy, more responsibilities from work and family… “Women face more complex challenges as they grow older, “ says Georgie.
But while it’s easy to point out the challenges, it’s also important to remember how being older has made you so much more capable of overcoming these obstacles.
Georgie tries to remind her clients that they have “more personal resources to reach out to for help (doctors, friends, etc.), more financial resources for outsourcing support like housekeepers and nannies, and more emotional skills for knowing how to healthily manage negative feelings. And where they lack skills, they have more experience solving problems and asking for help.”
Women’s metabolic output decreases.
As women age, they tend to exert less energy throughout the day, which means you need to eat less food to avoid gaining weight and slightly less than that to lose weight. Metabolic output is made up of 4 things:
- Your body’s metabolism or metabolic rate (which includes how much muscle you have),
- The energy required to digest food,
- And the amount of daily activity you do.
Surprisingly, most of the decrease in metabolic output aging women experience has less to do with hormonal changes or a “broken” metabolism and more to do with a decrease in muscle mass and and daily activity, Georgie says.
This is why strength training is so important for women over 40 who are looking to lose weight.
This is also why having a program that helps you make great choices outside of the studio is equally important. Here at Delta Life Fitness, we help our ladies track steps, sleep, and nutrition through our custom MyDeltaApp.
We’ve helped thousands of women in the 40s become more toned and body confident, and even though it sounds cliché, feeling sexier and more confident isn’t about reliving the past, but about embracing your body’s changes, healthfully managing negative self-talk, and tapping into your resources.
Embracing your body’s changes means:
- Developing patience for the process.
- Developing the perseverance to take action and go to the gym even when you aren’t motivated.
- Being satisfied with making smaller, more subtle changes over time.
Your life is busy and full of responsibilities, so putting your regular routine on hold to follow a strict exercise and nutrition plan may not fit into your life anymore.
The good news is that these changes to your life don’t have to happen overnight, and pursuing them can be a fun process of self-discovery (and you’ll even make some new friends along the way).
If you’d like help getting started, both from the Delta staff and our amazing community of women, download our free trial pass and schedule your free class today.