Unfortunately, it does get harder to lose weight the older we get. What once seemed so easy – just eat less junk and go for a walk – now seems near impossible.
Thankfully losing weight beyond your 40s is definitely doable. You just need to know a few biochemistry basics to level the playing field. It’s not ridiculously complicated, it’s all about the simple things.
1. What being 'busy' is doing to your waistline
When I talk about ‘stress’, I don’t mean you’re not handling everything that life throws at you. I’m referring to the stress that the constant busyness and demands for your mental and physical energy puts on you internally. Whether you feel it doesn’t stress you out at all, or the weight of the world looms over you from the minute you wake – busyness still puts a major strain on your nervous system.
For thousands of years, our only long-term stress was a food shortage (flood, drought, crop failure, war). So when our body senses we’ve been constantly stressed, it drops our metabolism to keep us alive. Our relentless busyness nowadays is rarely related to famine, but our body still responds in the same way.
Short of winning lottery and quitting your job, there is still a lot you can do to reduce your body’s perception of stress.
Practice deep breathing. This feeds in to your nervous system to switch off the ‘fight or flight’ response. Try to do this multiple times throughout the day. This is incredibly powerful so please don’t dismiss it!
Taking regular time out. Maybe its 10 minutes to yourself of a morning, at lunch or after work. Perhaps every second weekend dedicate some time to something that calms you and makes you feel rested. Book it in your calendar!
Stop taking on more responsibilities. Saying no doesn’t make you a bad person. You have to prioritise self-care because no one else can do that for you. Think of how much better you can care for your loved ones when you’re relaxed rather than frazzled. When you show up fully, rather than at 20% capacity.
2. We naturally lose muscle mass
As we age, we naturally lose muscle mass due to hormonal changes and changes in the type and frequency of activities we do.
More muscle = higher metabolism = easier to maintain or lose weight
More muscle = more storage sites for glucose (sugar) = less sugar being stored as fat
You don’t need to channel Arnold Schwarzenegger or smash it out at the gym. Any activity will help preserve and build muscle. Low impact activity is perfect, especially if you have injuries or a lower level of fitness, as it puts less strain on your body. Yoga, pilates, walking or cycling (like with the HYPOXI treadmill and bike) are all great options. These activities also use energy and reduce your stress levels so they work in 3 different ways to help with weight loss.
3. the cumulative effect of dieting
Every time we cut calories to a level that isn’t sustainable, our metabolism drops in case we’re in a famine. Once we can’t keep up the diet and go back to our previous eating, we put on what we lost plus 10% in case of another food shortage in the future. The more yo-yoing you’ve done, the more your metabolism slows and the less your body wants to shed its fat stores – it’s just trying to keep you alive! This is why we’ll never recommend a strict diet at HYPOXI.
The good news is, the sooner you stop dieting and start eating for health, the sooner your metabolism will even out. Focus on sustainable eating and crowding out the less healthy foods with fresh, minimally processed foods instead. Pack in your colourful veggies and make sure your portions are sensible rather than counting calories and following fads.
4. Make friends with your liver
Your liver is responsible for hundreds of processes within your body. Two of these are detoxification and breaking down fats to use for energy. Your body will always prioritise getting rid of toxins (to prevent internal damage) over weight loss.
So, if you’re giving your liver too many things to process – you’re inhibiting its ability to burn fat!
Some of the main liver loaders are:
- Processed foods (soft drinks, fried foods, artificial additives, etc.)
- Environmental chemicals
- Chemicals in personal care products
- Medications (if your doctor has prescribed you medications, you definitely need to stay on them! But, it also means you need to make sure you care for your liver by reducing the other substances it has to process)
Alcohol can inhibit fat burning for up to 24 hours afterwards! So, if you’re having alcohol multiple nights a week…. Well, I think you get what I’m saying here. Balance is key. You can still enjoy a glass of wine. But it’s really important to get real with ourselves about our habits and how they’re impacting on our ability to reach our goals.
Ideally sticking to one cup of coffee daily is best. Not only does it impact on your liver, it also drives up your stress response internally.
If I’m now your least favourite person for coming between you, wine and coffee – just know that I’m actually not that bad! You don’t NEED these substances as much as you may think you do. I really encourage you to cut them back for two weeks and see how you feel.
1. Reduce your busyness; breathe deeply a few times daily; take regular time out; reduce your number of responsibilities; prioritise self-care
2. Stay active; low impact activities are fine; try to aim for at least 30 minutes, 3 times a week
3. Eat for long-term health, no short-term diets; crowd out the less healthy foods with healthier alternatives; pack in your colourful vegetables; keep an eye on your portions
4. Reduce the load on your liver; increase your alcohol free nights; reduce coffee consumption; reduce processed foods in your diet
With all of these 4 points – consistency is key! It’s not a sexy new concept, but it is what sets apart those who see results, and those who throw in the towel.
If you’re looking for a new way to reach your weight loss goals – HYPOXI may be the answer. HYPOXI combines low-impact, easy exercise with gentle vacuum technology to improve circulation and target your problem areas. 30 minute sessions, 2-3 times a week in our private studio environment combined with diet and lifestyle support will keep you on track, even when life gets busy.
If you’d like to find out more about HYPOXI, you’re welcome to register for a free trial below.