If you are thinking about getting your body back in shape, chances are you’ve at least briefly considered a celeb diet or quick fix option to help you lose weight. Let me just say right now…Save yourself the money and the heartache, and forget about the short-term quick fix and focus on the big picture. Your future…your long, happy and fit future.
Give fad diets the wide berth they deserve. They don’t work…not for long anyway. If you want to shed some excess fat you might get lucky for a week or two using one of those celebrity crash diets. But chances are before too long you’ll have fallen off the wagon. Put your weight back on and maybe even a little extra for good measure.
Because fad/crash diets are unsustainable. Primarily because they are nutrient deficient.
Our bodies can only take crash dieting for a short time. Without proper nutrition, your body will start making you crave extra foods. And unfortunately, most of us don’t tend to crave veggies. Your cravings will drive you straight to the naughty foods. And your ‘diet’ will have failed yet again.
So what’s the solution?
You have to make the choice to commit. Not to any particular program, but to yourself. If you are not 100% committed to yourself you will fail.
I know, these posts are supposed to make you feel good and tell you ‘you can do it‘, and you know what? You can! But only if you take the blindfold off and get real.
I made the decision to change my life after I found myself having to walk with my legs apart to accommodate the thigh fat. I had put on 20kg and didn’t look like stopping there, I could literally rest a cup on my gut when I sat down. It was affecting all aspects of my life, I was short of breath, even when laying in bed; It felt like I was being squashed. Simple tasks were becoming troublesome and my joints ached all the time.
So one day I took a good look in the mirror, something I had avoided for years. And made the choice to get my life back. I also made the choice to do it the right way, for sustainability. I didn’t want to just lose 20kg, I wanted to be fit for life.
My simple weight loss process:
There is nothing magical about my health routine, I just followed two simple principles. I changed my input and I changed my output. I started by making a positive change in what I ate and then I started implementing an exercise routine.
For me, it has been taking a holistic approach to altering my lifestyle. This meant committing to changing how much I ate; when I ate; and the sort of foods I ate. It also meant getting off the couch and committing to going to the gym, doing yoga and swimming, even when I didn’t feel like it.
Lite n Easy:
Changing your diet is absolutely critical to the success of any fitness or weight loss goal. You can work out all you want but if you eat shit, you will look and feel shit. Simple as that.
I chose to use Lite n Easy as a launching pad to alter my eating habits. They have a structured meal plan based on your specific caloric intake requirements. So you don’t have to worry about counting macros or meal prep. It takes the brain strain out of the whole process, leaving you time to focus on other aspects of your lifestyle upgrade.
(I started out on the 1500 Cal plan to really kick start my weight loss then moved up as necessary to the 1800 cal plan. Now I also add extras to bring up the calories to my current daily requirements.)
Once you reach your target weight, you can either continue on your plan or utilise the lessons learned through eating well to go out there and cook up a healthy storm. Personally, I’m not a fan of cooking so I use Lite n Easy now for the convenience.
Of course, there are other options out there that work on the same principles as lite n Easy, so do your research and work out which program works best for you. Perhaps you will get better results with Jenny Craige or Weight Watchers. But the main point is to go with a program that utilises real, whole foods, with structured eating plans that don’t leave you feeling hungry or deprived.
I chose CrossFit for my exercise program as it embodies all the things I felt were important in getting fit: Functional fitness for life. CrossFit develops Cardiovascular and Respiratory endurance, Stamina, Strength, Flexibility, Power, Speed, Coordination, Agility, Balance, and Accuracy. Unlike any other system I have tried, and I have tried many over the years.
All these fitness domains are developed slowly over time in a scalable system that caters to elite athletes and grandparents alike in a fun and very engaging and supportive atmosphere. I have never been to a gym that offers the same level of support, encouragement and inclusivity as I have found at my CrossFit ‘box’.
(I started out going to the gym twice a week because it was all I could handle. Now I go three times a week…check out my progress here. And don’t forget, Recovery takes much longer when you get older so you need to take longer between gym sessions until your fitness improves.)
CrossFit is not for everyone; if the sight of a barbell or the thought of rope climbs makes your stomach churn, then perhaps yoga and pilates is more your style.
Whatever you choose to support your weight loss program just make sure you are working hard and burning those calories.
Yoga & Swimming
I try to do yoga on the days I don’t go to the gym and I like to swim at least 6 days a week. Yoga, in particular, is great for your flexibility and your core strength and keeps you moving to help work out those sore muscles from your gym sessions. So it makes a great complimentary activity to your exercise regime.
Swimming helps with your mobility and your aerobic conditioning, it really keeps you in great shape and in conjunction with yoga helps to get the muscles moving after your hard gym sessions.
Alternative Low-impact exercise options to help you lose weight
I love Crossfit because it works for me and I enjoy that style of exercise. But, it’s not for everyone. And, if you are carrying injuries, or just haven’t exercised for quite a while, it’s better to ease into things with low impact high-intensity activities.
So here is a list of alternative exercise programs that are a bit different but still pack a big punch:
- Pole Fitness – Pole fitness offers a fantastic way to get fit, toned, build lean muscle as well as giving you a fantastic cardio workout, and all this whilst having fun! Pole is for everyone irrespective of age, shape, size or strength.
- TRX – Total-Body Resistance Exercise; created by a Navy SEAL on deployment, recognizing that physical strength is mission critical, and deployment to the most remote locations in the world is possible at any moment. Take classes or get your own set for the home.
- Aerial Yoga – A new type of yoga combining the traditional yoga poses, pilates and dance with the use of a hammock or ribbons. (looks like great fun).
- Aquatic Exercise – Water exercise is an excellent way to build strength ease joint stiffness and relax sore muscles. It reduces pain and improves endurance, so is great for those with knee or shoulder injuries. And is not just for the elderly. I did water aerobics during pregnancy and it was great.
Factors working against older women
One very important factor overlooked when older women start working out is the effects of peri or full menopause. We go about trying to lose weight as though we are still in our 20’s. But our body’s have changed and so too must our mindset.
Most of us recognise we need different skin care as we age so it stands to reason we also need different strategies and mechanisms to regain, or even maintain our fitness as we get older.
What and when we eat becomes increasingly more critical as the years drift by.
Some health experts believe that eating an alkaline diet is key to fighting inflammation and hormonal changes that lead to the negative symptoms of menopause. Research seems to indicate that an alkaline diet not only assists in weight loss, but reduces joint inflammation & pain, lowers cardiovascular disease, and other chronic diseases, as well as minimising magnesium deficiency.
Click the pic below to get a PDF food chart by phmiracleliving.com as a guide to what to eat and what to avoid to improve your diet alkalinity.
This high alkaline diet is referred to as a ketogenic diet and is essentially a low Carb diet. Ketosis is a great way to blast body fat stores and lose weight. However, there are certain people who should seek medical advice before starting a low-carb diet and they are:
- People on medication for diabetes, e.g. insulin? Learn more
- People on medication for high blood pressure? Learn more
- People breastfeeding? Learn more
The bottom line for women over 40 is getting fit and losing weight takes extra effort, extra time and extra care. But, it is totally achievable with patience, good nutrition and of course a good support network.