This is the story of how I lost weight after 40. I struggled with food cravings my whole life, but I made most of what I ate from scratch, mostly avoided inflammatory foods, and stayed active. This way, I did manage to avoid gaining too much weight in my thirties (I gained about 15 lbs). However, when I turned 40, I started gaining weight at an alarming rate, even though I didn’t change anything to my lifestyle. I gained another 15 lbs in only one year! That’s when I knew I had to reclaim control over my body! This is the story of how I lost weight after 40. I lost 30 lbs and somehow returned to my pre-pregnancy weight (even though that wasn’t my goal).
How I Lost Weight After 40: My Success Story
I have been health-conscious for over 20 years. After my first baby, I noticed my allergies were worsening. I was suffering from frequent headaches and general fatigue. That’s how I embarked on a health journey that took me through all the extremes of eating. Whether it’s vegan, raw vegan, paleo, autoimmune paleo, the WHALS protocol, keto, GAPS protocol, or anything in between, I tried it.
“Healthy” But Still a Slave to Food
Overall, I managed to remain reasonably healthy throughout my thirties. I controlled my allergies, headaches, and fatigue using various healing protocols and supplementation. I didn’t gain much weight even though I craved sweets a lot. I would make date balls, paleo cookies, and other treats whenever I wanted something sweet. I often wanted to eat again after a meal to satisfy my sweet tooth. My meal plans were elaborate, and I spent an enormous amount of time in the kitchen. It was expensive and time-consuming! Moreover, it felt like the more I avoided foods that triggered my symptoms, the more this “food to avoid” group expanded. I had gained some weight (about 15 lbs) and couldn’t shed it even after “trying” intermittent fasting, calorie counting, juice cleanses, detoxes, and the keto diet.
So, yes, I was “healthy” but very much a slave to food.
How I Broke the Cycle and Gained Food Freedom
Many of us, myself included, “try” a bunch of things without really sticking to anything. We don’t commit long enough to anything for it to impact our lifestyle enough to make a difference. There are two main reasons for this:
- We have unrealistic expectations, and we give up when those expectations are not met.
- We rely on willpower.
No More Relying on Willpower
For me, the most significant element of change was the ability to no longer rely on willpower alone. I discovered that when you become “fat-adapted,” you become free from food cravings, and your appetite naturally decreases. Furthermore, you feel more energetic and focused. However, this may take some time, so it still takes a certain level of commitment. I will explain how to become fat-adapted further, so keep reading. As for me, the combination of “having had enough” (after gaining another 15 lbs in a year) and feeling good even when hungry was what it took to continue my fasting protocol.
How Long It Took to Lose 30 lbs After 40
After deciding I had had enough, I went on a 5-day modified fast twice a month apart (have you heard about the Fasting Mimicking Diet?). I remember feeling hungry the second time but thinking this isn’t so bad! I was sure something had changed in my body, so I purchased a ketone monitor to determine if I had become fat-adapted. It turns out that I was. I haven’t done a full-modified since (that was 2020), but I lost 30 lbs within 2 years as I experimented with intermittent fasting to find my optimal weight loss eating window, which was about 4 hours 5 days a week. That was the story of how I lost weight after 40.
How I Lost Weight After 40: Before-After Pictures
Everyone loves some good ol’ before-after pictures. Anyway, I do! So, here we go:
My first coaching client, who lost 15 lbs in 3 months
Why Is It So Hard to Lose Weight After 40
Most women will attest that losing weight after 40 is hard! but why is it so hard? A few factors may come into play, but it’s not simple: hormones, muscle mass, activity level, and insulin resistance.
Your Hormones and Your Metabolism
During your forties, your body produces less estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. Any hormone imbalance can lead to weight gain. For example, too high or too low estrogen levels can both be responsible for weight gain. Moreover, your hormones affect your sleep, which is essential for metabolic health.
A Word About Sleep
A good night’s sleep reduces food cravings and supports proper metabolic function. Hormone imbalances affect your sleep, which also slows down your metabolism as well..
Your Muscle Mass and Your Metabolism
Your muscle mass decreases between 3 and 8 percent per year after age 30. The decline rate increases even further after the age of 60. Maintaining your muscle mass is crucial to avoid gaining weight after 40.
Insulin Resistance and Your Metabolism
Another important factor often overlooked for weight training after 40 is decreased insulin sensitivity or resistance. As you age, your body becomes less and less responsive to insulin. That’s because we never give it a break. Many don’t know what true hunger feels like because we rarely go for more than 3 hours without putting something in our mouth during daylight hours. This decrease in insulin sensitivity contributes to our food cravings and insatiable appetite. It’s a vicious cycle!
How to Jumpstart Weight Loss After 40
Fortunately, there is a better way! I lost weight after 40 and helped my clients do the same. It consists of four foundational steps:
- Becoming fat-adapted. You must teach your body to stop relying on glucose as a primary energy source. That is how you avoid feeling weak or unwell whenever you go without food for more than 3 hours.
- Pick your fasting method. Then, you will train your body to switch back and forth from glucose to ketones with your optimal intermittent fasting window. Some biohacking is involved as you learn to use a ketone monitor to find your optimal weight loss fasting window.
- Define your waist. Everyone wants to get rid of belly fat! You cannot spot reduce fat with exercise, but you can define your waist. Get toned, strong, and confident using bodyweight workouts that don’t require jumping around or dumbbells.
- Implement Maintenance Mode. After reaching your goal weight, you will settle on a fasting method and exercise routine that will empower you to maintain your results, feel amazing, and learn to live in tune with your body.