It is an unforgivable truth for most women that as they get progressively older their metabolism begins to slow down, thus, leading to weight gain. You may not notice it in the very beginning, but one day you look in the mirror and you might be surprised to see another person staring back at you. From then on, it is an endless cycle of diets and exercise programs that may show a small amount of success but nothing that can turn back the hands of time.
Part of the problem has to do with the fact that these programs treat everyone in exactly the same way. This means that they are assuming that all women have exactly the same problem and will yield exactly the same results. This is far from the truth, however; the fact is that with most women over 40 there are many underlying causes that have contributed to the weight gain. As pointed out in Shape Magazine,
While the usual culprits – too much food, too little exercise – do account for most excess poundage, there are some surprisingly common medical conditions and widely used prescriptions that can add anywhere from a little to a lot – a whole lot – of excess weight.
For those who are over 40 and having trouble losing weight, gaining a little insight into how your body works will help you to choose a program that will best benefit you in your weight loss efforts.
You Need More Than Exercise
People will often tell you that if you move, you’ll lose weight. But for women over 40, exercise may not be enough. If you are regularly working out and still unable to shed a few pounds it may mean that you need to pay more attention to what you’re eating.
You don’t necessarily need to be a nutritionist but you do need to be smart about the foods you take into your body. But even before you take that step you have to determine your metabolic type. Some bodies may have to consume more protein while other bodies may need more carbs to get the job done. Once you know your metabolic type then you will be able to adjust your diet and nutrition to something that will be much more effective in helping you to lose weight.
You also have to be realistic in your expectations. You won’t be able to lose weight as easily or as fast as you did when you were in your 20s. Your body has changed now and those things that may be still working aren’t working as fast as they used to be. Be happy with small accomplishments; this will keep you from becoming discouraged when you don’t see those huge numbers begin to drop.
This will also help you to avoid taking on those quick fad diets that promise you amazing results in a short amount of time with little effort. When you are realistic in your expectations your chances of a long-term success are much greater and you’ll be able to take the weight off and keep it off, too.
It May be Your Hormones
Sometimes weight gain may not be a result of a poor diet or of a sedentary lifestyle. In fact, you may be extremely active and a nutrition aficionado to boot and still not be able to see results. This may be because of a hormonal imbalance in your system. According to Women to Women magazine,
Because hormones are extremely agile and adaptive, they don’t just stop working, they often find other ways of working and your body will try to compensate for these shifts – and you may start to experience symptoms which you’ve never had before.
One of those shifts is the natural weight gain that many women experience as they get older. The good news is that with the help of your medical professional you can get those hormones back into balance and start shedding those excess pounds.
The Power of Water
It is important to understand that extra pounds do not necessarily equate to extra fat. Sometimes, it is simply water retention. If you’re retaining a lot of fluids it is strongly advised that you go to see your doctor as soon as possible. This could have underlying causes that could be serious. Excess fluid retention could be caused by heart or kidney failure, or any number of other medical conditions.
How can you tell if you are experiencing fluid retention and not a real weight gain? The test is very simple. Take the tip of your index finger and push it into your skin. When you release your finger you skin should immediately bounce back. If it leaves an indentation, however, it is a strong indication that you have fluid retention. Other indicators could be shortness of breath, decreased urine, and loss of appetite.
Make Small Changes
If you find that your weight gain is not a result of a more serious medical condition then you need to focus your attention on taking small steps in reaching your goals. Taking baby steps will help you to feel as if you’re more in control and you’ll be more likely to stay with your program no matter how long it will take. Try not to make a major dietary change but instead make small adjustments in what you have been doing. As pointed out in Mind Body Green,
Take control of your food environment, by removing unnecessarily tempting food from your line of sight. Focus on being more mindful when you’re eating, so you eat slower, really enjoy your food, and connect with what your body wants.
No matter what approach you take to shed those excess pounds it is important that you are persistent in your approach to a better, healthier you. Don’t get stressed out due to a time limit and set realistic goals that are achievable. There will always be setbacks and disappointments but as long as you remain focused on your end goal you will find the way to a smaller, happier you.