Best weight loss plan for middle aged women
Looking for a diet and fitness plan?
Fall is my favorite time of the year. Crisp weather, crunchy leaves, apples, and pumpkin spiced everything! It’s also the time of year that we think of schedules, planners, and school supplies. Even decades past back to school I still love a new planner in September.
Part of the attraction with fall and routines is the lack of routine all summer, we are creatures of habit after all, and after 3 months of trying to squeeze in every last bit of fun it’s time to have a bit of structure again. It’s not surprising that fall means thinking about your diet and fitness plans and that means taking a good look at our lifestyle habits.
If you’ve been wondering how to lose weight after 45 then the pre-holiday rush to get “back on track” might inspire you to make grand gestures like strict diets or planning two-a-day workouts at the gym. This is where most women fail in their attempt at getting back on track looking at temporary fixes such as trying to diet to a certain weight and then going back to “normal.” Have you ever said to yourself: “I’ll just stop eating XX (sugar, junk food, cookies) until I get to XX pounds” or the sister statement: “I’ll do extra workouts until I reach my goal.”
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but while this may have worked for you at 18 or even 24 years old, it’s not the best weight loss plan for a middle-aged woman. You don’t need a diet and fitness plan. The main reason it’s a bad choice is because it’s a no-win situation. Your metabolism has already slowed down, your hormones are unbalanced, and it’s likely you are already in an inflammatory state. Dieting and excessive exercise make all of those situations worse, setting you up for failure. Instead of a diet plan try getting back to basics.
Back to basics
The basics as they relate to healthy habits are really three concepts: awareness, habits, and action- or what I like to call your “Aha!” moment. When you have those three, everything else will fall into place- weight loss, boosting metabolism, and even balancing hormones. Let’s take a look at the AHA of weight loss for women.
Awareness- in order to know where you are going, you need to know where you are right now. Awareness is built by being present with your food and lifestyle habits. The best tool for increasing awareness is a journal. Keeping track of what you are doing for a period of time will help you to see what might be holding you back from losing weight. (Download your journal.)
Habits- this is where most women need help… it’s tempting to toss all the junk food in your cabinets, max out your grocery budget on healthy food and vow to never touch another chocolate chip for the rest of your life. But let’s be reasonable here, life involves chocolate chips, and date nights with hubby, and book & wine club with the girls. Saying that you are going to give up food that is an integral part of your identity is setting yourself up to fail. How much easier would it be to look at each habit individually and work on making that habit align with your goal?
Action- I’m talking baby steps here! Your action steps are about bridging the gap from where you are right now to where you will be in 10 minutes. It’s tempting to try and rush the process and attempt to bridge right now and your ninety-, sixty-, or thirty-day goals, but rushing ahead too quickly is why you haven’t been successful in the past. Taking action in micro steps creates new habits that last forever. Think of it this way, building habits is like building a bridge. Each habit gets you from where you are over a tough choice to where you want to be. Each habit is a board on the floor of the bridge, every time you do the habit you lay another board. If you try to skip ahead too fast you miss boards and it ends up like building a bridge without any slats in the middle. Sure you can shimmy your way across the rails to get to the other side, but it’s likely you’ll fall or just give up in the face of dangers like a holiday luncheon or a last minute happy hour with your friends. The action step is about building as many tiny habits as you can right next to each other- each supporting the last and making the big habit more solid.
How to get started with your AHA! Moment:
Write it down: writing things down solidifies them in your mind. Keeping a journal of the habit you are trying to build, what it looks like, and how it feels will help you on a subconscious level. An example looks like: Instead of skipping breakfast I had eggs & whole wheat toast with fruit. I felt full until lunch unlike when I usually need a bear claw from the break room at 10. Download this free journal to get started.
Break it down: make the habit as tiny as possible.
Break it down again: if you think it’s small enough make it one step smaller. In the above example skipping fatty foods is the big habit, the 1st habit is to eat balanced meals, then it’s broken down further to a balanced breakfast, you could go even further and work on the habit of having a protein at every breakfast or something similar.
Fitness for weight loss
You can apply AHA to fitness as well. I often tell new students that the hardest part of a workout is getting on the mat, to the gym, or pushing play on the video. First take a look at what you’re doing right now, what you like to do, and what you need to eventually do (awareness). Then based on what your learn you can choose a day and time to begin, what activity makes sense, and formulate a general plan for how you will build up over time.
The reason that women fall out of routine with fitness is usually too much too fast without thinking about what happens on sleepless nights or when you have DOMS (next day muscle soreness) then one missed day becomes a week, and so on until it’s too hard to get back into routine.
When you focus on small habits that have immediate outcomes you are more likely to be consistent. A few habits and outcomes that you might consider are:
Do yoga for recovery in between strength workouts- the outcome is less soreness
Pick an activity that you can do outside- the outcome is the uplifted and energized feeling that comes with both exercise endorphins and the healing effects of nature
Choose a time that is natural to you- the outcome is that you’ll feel productive for accomplishing your workout
You don’t need to find the best diet and fitness plan to reach your goals, simply getting back on track with the basics of nourishing your body, moving to feel good, and making time to prioritize your health goals will get you there faster and more sustainably.
If you want to learn more about why diet plans are a bad idea, check out my masterclass: “Eating less & moving more is bad advice” where I explain what to do instead.