These Are Failproof Ways to Lose Weight—And Keep It Off—After 40

This is infuriating. I spend hours on the phone, writing articles and trying to educate women that weight loss after 40 DOES NOT NEED TO BE HARDER, and then articles like this come out.

So let’s go through these suggestions, shall we?

  1. Create a list of reasons you want to lose weight: I agree with this. However, their suggestions are missing the mark of this question. The point is to discover the REAL, deep-seated reasons you want to lose weight. Not to use fear or external cues, but to do some soul-searching and find the real reason. For most of my women… it’s about wanting to live out their full potential (which they perceive is a lighter body) and finally eliminating the battle with weight and food
  2. Re-think your nutrients: Really? The person who has been struggling with weight, body image, overeating, binge eating, stress eating, isolation, inferiority complexes, disconnection, trauma, and shame needs to now think about their nutrients?! No. The reason weight loss is perceived as difficult after 40 is because you are different. You are wiser, have more life experience, different priorities and deep down you realize that battling this weight thing for another 40 years is out of the question. And at some level, you may even see that this weight thing is not about “re-thinking your nutrients”.
  3. Remember to keep portion sizes in mind: Hey you know a great way to guarantee you’ll eat more food? Keeping your portion sizes in mind. Why? Because that is how the mind works. Think about eating less all day, guess what you’re still thinking about all day… eating. The mind doesn’t know the difference between thinking about eating and thinking about eating less. So let’s go ahead and use our brains for our benefit, please.
  4. Avoid skipping meals: Just when I thought I finally agreed with one completely, they go ahead and sneak in some total B.S. And I quote, “there’s a wrong and a right way to skip meals”. Seriously?! I can’t make this shit up. Let me be very clear here: Your body doesn’t know the difference between skipping a meal for “health reasons” or “punishment reasons”. Your brain does, for sure. But your body just receives the message, “hungry”. I sort of think of my body as HULK. You know how Hulk talks? “Hulk hungry, hulk want food” and then what does Hulk do? That’s right, he destroys anything that gets in his way. So good luck with that one.
  5. Keep All Carbs in Check: Let me summarize what they are saying, now that you are in your 40’s, not only do you need to worry about your kids, your aging parents, years of battling weight and food, work stress, your own aging, and more disconnection, you also have to worry about carbs. Just add it to the list and deal with it because that’s life after 40. So very wrong. You need to start removing things from your list, not adding to it. That’s a surefire way to increase your stress and your weight.
  6. Eat fewer calories, more frequently: Hey there you go ladies, the answer you’ve been looking for! It’s freakin’ revolutionary! All your years of battling weight and food come down to eating fewer calories more often! Can you believe your YEARS of struggling came down to this? Do you know what’s more important than counting calories? Your freakin’ blessings. I’m not kidding. You’d be more productive counting your blessings than your calories.
  7. Be picky with dessert: I have to admit, there was some good advice in this one. Mindless eating is a surefire way to feel like shit. But life is not meant to be calculated. We are not meant to splurge on dessert within a caloric range. We are meant to simply, splurge on dessert. That means full presence, full pleasure, no restrictions, no rules, just a freakin’ spiritual experience with a piece of chocolate cake. That, my friends, is how you satisfy yourself with dessert.
  8. Watch your alcohol intake: Head into any AA meeting and you’ll quickly find that telling someone to just “drink less” is probably the worst advice you can give someone. That goes for both alcoholics and non-alcoholics. Instead of watching your alcohol intake, start watching your fun intake. Alcohol for most people is a numbing agent and a way to have fun. Instead of focusing on drinking less, focus on efforted fun. Effortless fun would be drinking, tv, phone, or anything that is easy and automatic. Increase your efforted fun and you automatically put your life in balance with your numbing patterns.
  9. Move more: This has quite possibly one of the biggest claims I’ve ever seen. This would make my professors in the Ph.D. program burn my paper and kick me out of their class. You ready for it: “Losing weight through diet alone isn’t possible, especially after 40”. Really? Where’s the study on that one? Do you know why you should move more? Because you desire to. Do you know when you shouldn’t move more? To lose weight. It’s really that simple. When you have excess energy to spend on something other than what you’re currently doing, start thinking about adding movement. If not, start looking at ways to increase energy first. It’s really magical how your desire to move just automatically increases…
  10. Know yourself, and be honest: Parts of this one are awesome. They mention the idea of reframing something from deprivation to choice which I love. They mention that life is going to change, so expect that change, which is so true! But they also suggest using avoidance with foods that feel out-of-control. And the only way to guarantee you get even more out of control with food is to try and avoid it. It’s literally the worst advice to ever give a binge eater. Avoidance doesn’t work. It will never work.

Here’s the truth: Life after 40 is just different. So if you try to approach life after 40 the exact same way as 20, it probably isn’t going to go so well. BUT, life after 40 does not need to be harder. The only reason it feels hard is that people resist the natural progression of life. And that natural progression does not need to include weight gain. But you know how to make weight a problem for you? To follow the conventional advice for how weight loss works.

Am I 40? No. But every single one of my clients for the past 11 years has been. If you’re ready for a better way, let’s chat.

About The Author

Michelle Hastie

Michelle Hastie Thompson is a recovered binge eater who turned her binge eating around and even got featured in Shape Magazine helping a woman lose weight in “My Weight Loss Diaries". She helps women end the battle of binge and overeating, fall in love with movement, and finally lose the weight permanently. A veteran weight loss coach for almost ten years, she is a Ph.D. student in Health Psychology and has three published books, the most recent titled, "Have Your Cake and Be Happy Too: A Joyful Approach to Weight Loss”.