You didn't have to worry about having the right mind set for losing weight when you were in your 20's. You would stock the fridge with celery and cottage cheese, starve yourself for 3 or 4 weeks and lose 3 or 4 kilos?
Then when you hit 40 it was a whole different ball game. Starving your self is probably the worst thing you can do. It's like a tug of war, you at one end pulling with all your might and the fat at the other end saying "no way I'm not budging".
Then two seasons later you’re back on the diet trail trying some 'cabbage soup every second day diet' that only succeeded in having you spend ridiculous amounts of time hiding in the loos at work while trying to fart quietly.
In your forties thanks to declining estrogen levels and shrinking muscle mass it seems like your body is totally against you letting go of any excess weight. I could go into a long explanation about why it doesn’t work anymore but I've discussed that already in these blog posts:
Today I want to talk about mindset and the changes I found I had to make in and keep making in the way I approached and thought about weight loss for it to finally work for me.
Before I go any further I want to make sure that you know this is not about dieting. This is about breaking the dieting cycle and how you can finally get into the groove of what your lifestyle and eating habits need to look like to enable you to lose some weight and be healthy.
Why do I need to lose the weight around my belly?
As ironic as life is, just when it’s most important not to carry weight around your middle it’s also the most difficult it has been in your life to lose it.
This is visceral fat now and it is snug as a bug around your tummy and vital organs and it’s not letting go in a hurry.
This fat is dangerous to your health. Pure and simple.
Visceral fat is implicated in a number of chronic conditions, including cardiovascular disease, dementia, asthma, and breast cancer.
If you are carrying weight around your belly the argument "I'm beautiful at any weight" doesn't cut it anymore.
This is now a matter of good health, pure and simple. You either want to take your best shot at living a longer, healthier more able life or you don't.
This alone should be incentive enought to make you stop, take stock and get into the right mindset to lose weight.
Forget the quick fix. Liposuction will not work for this deep layer of fat.
Hopefully you have landed on this post because you’re menopausal or post menopause and you’ve decided you want to enjoy your later years with the best health you can have.
Maybe you’ve started to notice a bit of inflammation in your joints, your digestion isn’t what it was, your skin is not looking good or perhaps the doctor has suggested you need to lower your cholesterol or lose some weight.
First things first.
FINALLY LOSE YOUR STUBBORN BELLY FAT
AND FEEL 10 YEARS YOUNGER
SICK OF TRYING WEIGHT LOSS PROGRAMS THAT DON'T WORK?
Get your free checklist and:
Get to the bottom of your reasons.
Find your big WHY
This is absolutely key to weight loss success at this time in your life.
Want to look good on the beach in your bikini or fit that little black dress in the back of your wardrobe for an event you have coming up. Not really top notch reasons for long term weight loss and you could find yourself seeking out quick fixes.
Want to go hiking around the world, bike riding in Portugal or play chase with your grandkids. Now we’re on to something that will give you the incentive to lose the weight and get fit and healthy.
This is what I call your Big Why. The reason that you come back to when you’re feeling low or you’re considering giving up.
There is another part to this. Let’s be honest how many of us tell ourselves, oh well I don’t eat that much sugar, or I eat healthy food and drink plenty of water so why do I need to lose weight?
Hands up who’s scoffed 5 chocolates then run on the spot for a few minutes to try and offset the calories?
Who thinks they’re drinking all the water but when you actually work it out it’s more like half of what you need to drink.
What about your exercise? Are you finding excuses for why you don’t want to do it today? Did you not sleep well last night? You have a sore foot. You think it might rain. Whatever. Do the exercise consistently and enjoy a day off from time to time. You will feel so much better and really enjoy the time you take as a break.
STOP telling yourself you’ve tried everything. There is always a reason why the weight isn’t shifting, you just haven’t found it yet.
I work full time.
How can I find the time to cook healthy meals and exercise?
Do you go to the doctor regularly for check-ups? Get your teeth checked?
Eating healthy and exercising should be part of your daily habits just as you brush your teeth and hair everyday.
Clean teeth? Check!
Healthy body? Check!
Eating healthy and exercising even just a little each day will increase your life expectancy and decrease your risk of health issues such as coronary heart disease, dementia, alzeihmers, arthritis, inflammation, poor skin condition and so much more.
Back in my 20’s I was always looking for that quick fix. Something that would make the weight just fall off me. Little did I know back then how much I was damaging my health. Weight loss should be done at a slow steady pace.
So think of it as just one more thing you HAVE to fit into your day, like dropping the kids at school. Work out a way you can eat healthy 99% of the time and exercise nearly every day.
Try to only have healthy food in the house.
Once you are in the habit you will find that you actually don’t want to fall off the wagon so-to-speak because you know how good you feel when you do exercise and when you do eat healthy.
Do you ever see those fit sporty looking women having fun with their grandchildren?
I used to see them when I was younger and think “When I’m that age I want to be trendy and fit like that?”
How nice that you will be fit and healthy enough to be there for your grandchildren. I had two grandmothers who were part of my life until I was 18 and 30 and although at various times we were on opposite sides of various seas and oceans I value the input they had into my life. I absolutely treasure what they passed on to me.
Get your sleep
I can’t stress this enough.
GET YOUR SLEEP.
Not enough sleep disrupts so many processes in the body, making weight loss almost impossible.
I know, I know.
There are times when good sleep seems impossible to come by. But keep trying.
Start your night time routine early. You’ll find that you get less anxious about getting to sleep in time.
Go to bed and get up at the same time everyday. Routine is a powerful ally for the body and mind. They will prepare for sleep at the same time and wake you up at the same time.
I allow an extra half hour one day a week as a treat but I often find I’m awake anyway and spend that time just lolling about in bed.
At night before bed try some or all of these activities to help you and your mind wind down.
- Write a list of things you need to get done the next day
- Wind down yoga routine
- Practice gratitude. Write down 3 things you were grateful for that day.
Actions I took to actually lose the weight
It’s hard in midlife
If you're in perimenopause or menopause you have so many more factors working against you than when you easily lost weight in your 20’s and 30’s.
11 small habit changes I made to help lose weight
1. I cut out most processed foods. You know the ones that you convince yourself are not bad you.
- My morning glass of fruit juice
- Shop bought muesli that was full of sugar and dried fruit.
- Dried fruit
- Frozen fruits like cherries
- All those gorgeous summer fruits (except the berries)
- A small handful of chips here and there that I convinced myself weren’t hurting me
- Muesli bars.
- Diet bars
- “Healthy bread"
2. I discoverd that hard cardio could actually do more damage than good so I added resistance training into my weekly exercise schedule
Pushing the hard workout to extreme can stress the body triggering a rise in cortisol which will cause the body to hold onto fat.
Light cardio is good. A walk up a hill, a bike ride, swimming, dancing.
Certainly get your heart rate up, after all that’s the goal but let’s leave the extreme stuff to others.
3. I knew strength training was what was going to make the difference and build muscle that would burn more fat.
I committed to starting with small weights and building from there.
It needs to feel difficult, like you couldn’t lift that weight one more time. Once it becomes easy up the size of the weights and build from there.
Doing 10 reps of the same exercise three times was my sweet spot. I felt fit, strong and now have muscles in my arms which is nice. It feels good to be flexible and strong.
4. There was no hard and fast diet.
I didn't let myself thing that this was a diet that had a start and end date with a goal to reach. I settled in for the long haul to slowly make lasting, healthy changes.
5. Portion sizes are important.
I found that if I cut down the size of my portions I still felt satisfied at the end of the meal.
My mum taught us that we had to eat everything on the plate, so put it in front of me and I eat it.
The solution. DON’T PUT IT ON THE PLATE!
6. I eat mainly plant based foods
We, as a family stopped having meat at every meal and now only have it 2 or 3 times a week. I have a tiny bit of dairy in the form of natural greek yoghurt on my homemade muesli every morning.
I have been a meat eater at nearly every meal all my life. I like how not having it makes me feel. Something that seemed like it might be difficult in the end was very easy.
7. I didn't deny myself the odd treat
I even have an occasional dessert now. No guilt, just enjoyment, knowing that it’s not going to ‘break the bank’ given that I eat healthy the rest of the time.
8. I discovered intermittent fasting
This is how I have managed to maintain my weight. 5 days a week I stop eating after our 7.30pm meal and don’t eat again to around 10.30 am the next day.
Don't jump from 9 to 14 hours between meals in one go. If this is something you want to try stretch the time an hour a week and see how you go.
I'm certain this helps me keep my energy up and allows me to be fairly free and easy with what I eat.
If you want to know more about intermittent fasting go to this post:
9. Strict diets that are based on deprivation of one or more foods don’t work
You might last a little while on them but generally they are difficult to maintain and don’t do your metabolism any favours.
The secret is to have a healthy eating and exercise plan that you like and will stick to.
Love your muesli in the morning? Make your own with no added sugar and full of the nuts and seeds you love.
Can’t do without that sweet treat after dinner? Try a small square of dark chocolate instead.
Enjoy your soda and aren’t sure what can fill the gap? Try kombucha or sparkling water.
Not sure how you are going to exercise everyday. Start with a walk 4 days a week and build from there. 4 days then 5 days, then longer walks and so on. Also vary the route to include some hills.
Never lifted a weight in your life? Start small. I had 3kg weights and thought they were the heaviest things and how the heck would I do 30 shoulder lifts with them. But I got there and now I am contemplating moving up from my current 5kg weights.
10. Make goals but not weight goals
Don’t set a weight goal. Instead commit to changing habits.Try eating completely out of the house (no takeaways) for a month.
Make it a goal to see how many empty calorie snacks you can cut out of your week.
11. Don’t try to make all the changes at once
I feel like I say this a lot but I’ll say it again. Start small and build from there.
The good thing about this it that studies have shown that even small changes can bring about big benefits.
Make healthy food swaps.
ULTIMATE FOOD SWAPS FREEBIE
start seeing the scales move in the right direction!
Cut out the foods you know aren’t helping you. Maybe that teaspoon of sugar in your coffee.
It takes time to change the way you think about and approach changes to your diet and lifestyle. But stick with it, do the work, make the changes.
In the end when you feel energetic, healthy, strong and fit it is so worth it. You can't predict when your time is up on this earth but you can sure as hell do your best to make it later rather than sooner. And you can make sure to feel amazing while you're living your fabulous life.
So for goodnes sake find the right mindset for losing the weight today.