Weight loss over 40 can seem impossible. Here’s my 5-day journey on the Paleo diet, along with pros and cons, and the truth about over 40 metabolism.
The heat radiating from the walkway up to my house was a welcome sign. After a frigid, snowy winter in the Midwest-warm weather was finally back in all it’s glory.
Digging through my drawers, I rifled for a pair of shorts to slip on for a quick walk around my neighborhood. Found them. The cute pair I’d bought on sale at the end of last summer. There were times during the winter months I thought we’d never see green grass again, but I was about to feel its softness under my feet.
Quickly slipping those shorts over my hips like I’d done months before, I realized something was wrong. They weren’t budging.
Here’s What Happened
An easy task just a short time ago proved impossible today. I looked at the shorts. Had they somehow shrunk? I looked down at myself and had the answer. My clothes were the same size, but I had grown significantly.
After frantically trying on several more summer jeans and shorts, I was in tears. I knew I’d put on a few pounds, for sure, but I hadn’t stepped on the scale for quite awhile. Now it seemed about as inviting as stepping on a land mine.
I use to be one of the skinny girls. Until I turned 30, I could eat whatever I wanted without gaining a pound. Because eating was an afterthought in my active life, I indulged in a large fry or a chocolate sundae whenever it sounded good.
In my thirties, I worked a little harder to clean up my eating. But frankly, those years were a blur of raising kids and family responsibilities. I was lucky to get 15 minutes to myself.
Weight Over 40
If any of this sounds painfully familiar, keep reading for my tips on weight loss over 40.
For most of us, a combination of slowing metabolism, increased stress and a less active lifestyle makes putting on the pounds easier with age. The pounds that use to come off with just a bit of extra effort now don’t want to budge.
…falling estrogen levels during perimenopause and menopause (which can begin in your early 40s) can cause insulin sensitivity, which makes it harder for your body to control the amount of sugar in your blood…Prevention
When we’re honest, most of us realize we need far fewer calories than we use to. Physical aches and pains, desk jobs, and reluctance to change into gym shorts are good excuses to avoid the intense activity we did when we were younger.
But changing tried and true eating patterns can be extremely tough. The staggering choices for weight loss programs don’t help. Each system promises quick change and better nutrition, but many come in a box delivered to our doorstep or purchased at the discount freezer section.
How can food with unpronouncible ingredients make me healthy?
When I Tried Paleo
After the shock of my shrinking wardrobe, I did a quick inventory. Here are the factors that had helped me pack on the pounds.
- A long, cold winter made me want to stay inside and eat comfort foods
- Added family stress upped my cravings even more
- A new job was much less active
- Creaky knees kept me from doing any kind of high-impact movement
Making this mental checklist of factors that led to my weight gain helped me be a little kinder to myself. Pounds stack up a little at a time, and so does weight loss over 40. We are fooling ourselves if we expect to skip a few meals and be skinnier for a weekend party like we did 20 years ago.
Just in time, I stumbled upon Paleo in 28 by Kenzie Swanhart at my local bookstore. I was intrigued by the simplicity of the author’s approach and drawn in by the appealing pictures. Since I’ve developed food intolerances to gluten and dairy as I’ve gotten older, I wondered what more I’d have to sacrifice should I decide to try the Paleo plan.
Joy! Each recipe contained only 5 ingredients, and there was no calorie counting or low-fat substitutes.
The catch: no sugar or sugar substitutes, beans, processed foods or peanuts. The big one for me was sugar. Long ago, I admitted my unhealthy addiction to all things sweet. If I’m going to eat one M&M, there goes the family size bag!
Maybe you have a similar Achilles heel with salt or another forbidden food. The first few two days on the Paleo diet were especially hard, I’m not going to lie. But, since I was only trying Paleo for 5 days, I slugged it out. Any longer and my family and co-workers would’ve begged me to have a Snickers bar, I’m sure.
If you’re not saddled with food intolerances, as I am, the Paleo plan will be even more of a shock to your system. All dairy is a no-no. For me, this meant substituting my yummy coffee creamer for a coconut milk concoction.
Alcohol is also off-limits. Even if you’re only an occasional drinker, you may find yourself drawn to drink in the midst of all the other sacrifices.
Pros and Cons
When all was said and done, I would recommend a 5 day Paleo test drive. My final weight loss was about 3 pounds, but I continued losing even after my challenge ended.
Eliminating processed foods, sugar and diet soda-even for just a few days-made me feel better. I noticed less stomach trouble and increased energy. This isn’t the kind of challenge I would plan around the holiday season or a special birthday, but it felt like a great reset.
Keep in mind, eating Paleo can significantly increase your grocery bill. You’ll quickly learn that processed, sugary foods are also the most affordable. In addition, unusual ingredients like coconut sugar and ghee might send you on a wild goose chase around the grocery store.
If you decide to try Paleo for the long haul, you’ll want to clear out your pantry and spend time building up your stores of alternatives for fats, flours, and sugars.
Back to those shorts-let’s just say I’m getting closer. I’m learning to be gentler with myself and with weight loss over 40. As I continue improving my nutrition and look for new ways to get activity, I am slowly learning to love my body as it is right now.
Disclaimer: I am not acting as a weight loss or health professional by writing this content. Please consult with your health care team before trying this or any other diet information.