AS a personal trainer working with women over 40, I regularly get asked what the key to sustained weight loss is, so I thought I'd share with you my top ten tips for fighting the flab after 40...
1. Nourish your body
80 per cent of success in weight loss comes from the food you eat. But it's not enough for you to focus on reducing the number of calories you take in, you also need to make sure the foods you eat nourish your body. Cutting out processed foods, simple sugars and stimulants such as caffeine and alcohol helps to assure the foods that you do eat can be processed to make optimum use of the vitamins and minerals they contain to turn your body into a fat burning furnace.
2. Consider your hormones
You might think you’re eating well, but if your hormones are unbalanced then your body won’t function properly and fat burning will be nigh on impossible. I’ve previously written two articles on this subject for Body Confidential, the first looking at Peri Menopause And The Muffin Top and the second asking: Is Stress Making You Fat? Check them out and learn how to achieve hormone balance and kick start your fat loss.
3. Don't ‘Diet’
Change your way of eating for life. Once you've learnt the keys to good nutrition, use them every day. To achieve successful, sustained weight loss you need to make nutritious food an everyday habit, not something that you do for a month to lose weight.
4. Drink water
Feelings of hunger and thirst can go hand in hand. Next time you feel ‘hungry’ grab a glass of water instead. It’ll take away the hunger feelings and at the same time ensure your muscles and organs work properly and help to rev up your metabolism. Struggle to up your intake to the recommended two plus litres per day? Do it slowly. Add a glass or two per day. Over time your body will get used to the extra intake and your trips to the loo will subside.
5. Exercise effectively
You don't need to spend hours in the gym or pounding the pavements to be successful at losing weight. You need to work hard using resistance and high intensity interval training combined. You can find more information about these in two earlier articles I wrote for Body Confidential: The Jessica Ennis Effect and Lift Weights to Lose Weight.
6. Exercise with a friend
Struggle with motivation to exercise? Find yourself a workout partner or a personal trainer. Research has shown that women work out more regularly and are more motivated to train harder when they work with someone else. Just be sure you pick someone who will positively challenge you, not intimidate you or worse still encourage you to rest and have a chat and a cappuccino when you should be exercising.
7. Set yourself goals
You wouldn’t set out on a car journey not knowing where you were going or how you were going to get there. Well, the same applies to weight loss. How do you know where you’ve got to if you don’t know where you’re going? Setting goals gives you a path to follow and something to aim for. It helps you to make effective decisions – when that slice of cake calls, you can ask yourself ‘is this taking me nearer to, or further away from my goals?’ The answer should help you decide whether to eat it or walk away from the plate.
8. Be kind to yourself
When you make a positive choice to eat good food or workout, do you spend hours ruminating on why you made the choice? What the choice says about you as a person? No, you don’t. So when you make a doubtful choice why do you insist on beating yourself up, using negative self-talk to convince yourself you’ve failed? We all have times in our life when other stuff is going on and we make choices that don’t take us towards our health and fitness goals. Don’t give yourself a hard time, spend the time you would usually be talking yourself into a pit of despair and failure to think of how you can be kind to yourself (A manicure? half an hour of ‘you’ time?) and get yourself back on track.
9. Take small steps
Does making the changes needed to lose the weight and keep it off seem like an insurmountable task? Break it down. Increase your water intake first. Do it for a few days, then start to change your nutrition habits. Aim to cook and eat for health on three days of the week for a couple of weeks, then up it to five days and so on. Got the nutrition nailed? Introduce exercise but do it in manageable chunks. It doesn’t have to be an all or nothing approach. Do it in a way that suits you and you’ll be setting yourself up for healthy habits for life.
10. Start today
This article caught your attention, you’ve taken the time to read to this point, so what’s stopping you? Make a change today and get yourself firmly on the road to fitness, health and happiness in your forties and beyond.