What makes an experienced woman? Weather. Like a good wine, it is complex. Full of surprises. Life experience has taught her that her chronological age does not define her. If you are an experienced woman, you know that your health is your most precious asset. You know that the best gift you can present to the world is a healthy YOU, physically, mentally and emotionally.
But if you’re over 40, and especially if you’re over 45, you’ve probably realized that staying fit and healthy isn’t the same game you played in your 20s and 30s. You may not be able to lose weight as easily as before. The same workouts do not produce the same results. Every woman over 40 knows that feeling of frustration when she gains a few extra pounds, or when she cannot exercise as intensely as before. Busy lifestyles make healthy eating and exercise even more challenging. While we are not all the same and every woman has different needs and problems related to her personal health, all women should exercise and adopt healthy eating habits. I have identified five of the biggest barriers to staying in shape after age 40 and how you can overcome them. I want you to challenge your beliefs about diet, exercise, and how you look. Learn about your individual “factory settings” and how you can stay fit and healthy naturally and intuitively. Staying in shape is not about feeling bad. It’s about feeling strong.
And have fun, without stressing over every bite of food or every minute on the treadmill. Remember, you become what you believe in! Be the beautiful and seasoned woman that you are – it’s the spice that makes the dish!
Barrier 1: cookie cutter syndrome
Your body has specific factory settings that are unique to you. What you may not know is that your body naturally wants to bring you to its optimal weight (not Jessica Alba or Angelina Jolie) as long as you don’t fight it. You just have to re-familiarize yourself with yourself and stop using cookie-cutter diet and exercise programs that don’t address YOUR special needs! Yes, it may be more difficult to lose or maintain your weight once you hit your forties and fifties, but when you understand how your individual body works, you can get results faster and maintain them more easily.
You will look great and feel even better. Take off your clothes and take a good look in the mirror. Like a lobster discarding its old shell and developing new shells throughout its life, you have the power to shed old images of your body and accept who you are right now, without punishing yourself for it. Start paying attention to your body. Follow your wisdom. You are neither doomed to be overweight nor to a perpetual diet. Once you accept the body you were born with, you can go back to your only normal weight, as nature intended. What I strongly oppose is the never-ending pressure to be SLIM. That is a big part of the problem. Data from some treatment centers show a steady rise in eating disorders in women over 40. We are all different. Some bodies are meant to be smooth and curvy. Others are naturally sharp and angular. That is the beauty of diversity. Accepting and loving the unique beauty of your body will liberate you and give you confidence and power!
Barrier 2: Watch Your Metabolism
Nutrition is essential for metabolism. Everyone is familiar with the word “metabolism”, but not many people know what it means. You probably know someone who can eat whatever they want and not gain weight. Well, if you think that some people are simply born with a robust metabolism … that’s a myth!
The truth is that you are not the victim of your metabolism, you are the creator of your metabolism. There is no mystery. Food is simply energy, your body needs energy to function. Protein, carbohydrate, and fat foods are your main sources of energy (calories). Take in more energy than you need from any of these and your body will store it as fat. So fat loss is all about energy balance. Simple truth? You need to eat smarter, not less. When you restrict calories to below the minimum amount of energy needed to fuel your nervous system, your body thinks you are starving. When this happens, your body not only burns muscle for fuel, but by doing so, your body is actually slowing down your metabolism.
When you lose muscle, you are slowing down your metabolism. Lose your mind: “eat less, weigh less.” Restricting your calories will guarantee a slower metabolism. The act of HEALTHY eating, which is prompting your body to process support foods frequently, ensures a faster metabolism. A faster metabolism means that your body becomes a fat burning machine.
Barrier 3: Diet Addiction Diets don’t work.
The health and fitness industry relies on the fact that you don’t know or believe it. But if you’ve tried to lose weight in the past on some kind of fad diet and have gained weight again and something else, you know what I mean. I know, you’re probably thinking that you have to go on a diet forever to have some kind of permanent weight loss. But nothing could be further from the truth. With rare exceptions, most people were born normal weight. But then we learned to diet instead of intuitively eating. Dieting puts the body into survival mode, that is, starvation. The diet signals your body deprivation and triggers a biological drive to prime the body to maximize food intake and minimize energy burned to save itself. Making the best food decisions is your secret weapon in the search for more than 40 exercises. Eating in solidarity will help you boost your metabolism, burn more fat, and increase your energy dramatically. The goal here is to be FIT, HEALTHY and look great for YOUR body type.
Believe it or not, good nutrition is that powerful! And you can change your eating habits (or lack of food) bite by bite. Try at least one healthy option each day and more supportive than the day before. Make 2-3 improvements every week. Making these small nutritional changes quickly will add to amazing results as you gain control over your metabolism.
Barrier 4: Ignore Fab 4
There are 4 essential components of fitness. If you want to get in shape and avoid injury, you will need a few variations of all of them. Many clients complain that they take the time to stretch or simply want to do cardio without weight training or weight training without cardio. You need ALL of them. So here comes the excuse. “My life is pretty chaotic right now! I don’t have time!” Well, you don’t need a lot of time, but you will. And if living a healthy lifestyle is important to you, you will have to compromise. But the more you do it, the more you want to do it. So what are they? Cardiovascular exercise increases your metabolism, so you burn energy at a faster rate than if you weren’t exercising. It reduces your appetite by activating your sympathetic nervous system. This triggers your “fight or flight” response. What does that mean? Try this:
The next time you feel a binge pang, walk briskly or jog. Notice how you feel after exercising. Your hunger will decrease or disappear completely. Cardiovascular exercise, resistance training, and flexibility exercises will help you lose the extra weight that stresses your joints. It will strengthen your joints and lengthen your muscles, reducing the risk of injury in your daily activities.
Barrier 5: leave your goals to chance
As a personal trainer, I see many clients grabbing their weights and putting on their running shoes before knowing exactly what they want to achieve. My advice to them and to you is: don’t leave anything to chance. Research shows that writing down your health and fitness goals makes them 95% more achievable. The more specific you are about what you want, the more likely you will do what it takes to get it. First, check your expectations. Are your goals reasonable? While it would be nice to lose 20 pounds in 7 days, there is no sure way to achieve it. Unrealistic expectations undermine your efforts and make it difficult to follow through. Look beyond the obvious. Set goals that can be measured with something other than a bathroom scale, such as lowering your blood pressure by 10 points or increasing the distance you can walk or jog. When it comes to exercise, the most common excuse cards played are the “insufficient time” queen and the “inconvenient” ace. You will always be busy. And it’s so much easier to sit down with a glass of wine or a bowl of ice cream than it is to run to the corner or do crunches on a stability ball. But the truth is that they are not valid excuses. You don’t have to go to the gym and you can take 30 minutes a day to exercise. For years I worked out first thing in the morning before work or in the evening after the kids went to bed with nothing more than a couple of exercise videos, some hand weights, and an exercise bench that I bought at Goodwill for $ 5.
Start right where you are. If you don’t have time (or can’t) to do this FOR YOU, the problem may not be that you have little time. Perhaps your life has gotten too out of control and the question now becomes priorities. Your health and wellness should be at the top of the list! You can start with minimal equipment and space. It’s easy and inexpensive! The best advice I can give you is to GET STARTED. Start moving. Shake! Have you ever noticed those skinny hummingbird type people? Well, studies show that it is not some mysterious food substance, cell or hormone that causes these people to burn fat like an iron skillet, but movement. Obviously, it is not THAT simple, but it is true that the more you move, in very subtle ways, the more calories your body will burn throughout the day. And that will have more than subtle positive effects!
- Balance and flexibility
- Muscle strength and endurance
- Body composition
- Aerobic capacity
Your body composition changes as you age. Weight gain after 40 and especially after 50 is very common. The most dangerous type is around the midsection due to its proximity to your organs, making it the highest risk for heart disease. The good news is that the combination of cardio, resistance training, and flexibility exercises means that a healthy body composition will take care of itself. We lose an average of 5% of muscle mass every ten years after 35, if we do nothing about it. A side effect of this is weight gain. If you don’t intentionally rebuild your muscles through exercise and are eating the same amount (or more) of food that you ate in your 30s, you will benefit. Muscle gives us the metabolic ability to burn calories EVERY time we move, whether we are active or at rest. Muscles are constantly feeding on calories even when you are lying on the couch with the remote in hand.