Weight Loss Programs That Work for Women Over 40: Why Dieting Alone is Not the Answer

You’ve probably experimented with dieting. In fact, a recent survey from Self magazine (conducted in partnership with the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill) tells us that 67 percent of American women are actively trying to lose weight right now, and 75 percent of the 4,000+ women reported unhealthy eating behaviors or thoughts about eating that would be classified as unhealthy.

The survey also reported that:
• 37 percent of the women surveyed regularly skipped meals (in attempts to lose weight)
• 13 percent turned to smoking to try to curb their appetites and lose weight
• 16 percent tried to eat fewer than 1,000 calories per day when trying to lose weight
• 31 percent reported purging or using laxatives in attempts to lose weight

Obviously, American women are going to extreme lengths to try to lose weight, and many of the methods used are harmful to overall health.

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The Problem With Dieting
While you might be overweight because you ate too much of the wrong things, dieting is not necessarily the right solution. Why?

Dieting doesn’t work for most women because:
• We need to eat enough to fuel our bodies and keep our metabolism cranking at a healthy pace
• Women’s bodies need calories – and in particular, protein – to function properly
• If you don’t eat enough calories, your body will think you are starving, so your body will hold onto fat
• If you don’t eat enough, you will feel emotionally off and will end up resorting to unhealthy practices to survive (smoking, drinking, pills, binging)

What Are Healthy Weight Loss Programs for Women?
It’s important to evaluate the methods you’ve tried to use to lose weight and to be sure to choose weight loss programs for women that are:
• Scientifically sound
• Proven to work for women
• Designed to keep you full and satisfied

Some key components of healthy weight loss programs for women are:
• The program allows you to eat often (five small meals a day is optimal) and feel full
• The meal plan includes eating a lot of protein, fruit and vegetables, all of which are necessities for healthy living
• The meal plan does not eliminate a food group entirely or limit you to a small range of meal options
• The program includes daily exercise in a way that is doable and enjoyable
• The weight loss plan includes a combination of lifting weights, cardio exercise and eating right

Why So Many Weight Loss Programs for Women Trip Us Up So many of us are afraid to eat that we go on extreme diets or limit ourselves too much. Then, when the plan fails, we overeat and feel terribly guilty, so we stop trying to lose weight for a while. Then, while trying on clothes for a special event, we are filled with self-loathing because we don’t like how we look, and we jump into another quick-fix diet.

Instead of trying radical diets and ignoring exercise, tackle the daily habits that will result in long term weight loss. To make this work, you will need to focus on the fact that:
• What you do every day matters much more than what you do once a week, or for a week or two each year. In others words, those small habits you do every day (cream or no cream in your coffee, walk or no walk today) matter much more than the big efforts (going on a fast or a cleanse for a week).
• By changing little habits (eating breakfast and a midmorning snack instead of a huge lunch, munching on carrot sticks instead of chips when watching TV), you will see real results without experiencing unbearable or unsustainable discomfort.
• You need to tackle habit changes in small enough increments that you can handle it, but also in big enough increments that see motivating changes happening. Striking that balance can be difficult.

You will want to check out my ebook( coming in January 2014) on habit changes that result in long term weight loss. It includes a practical plan that will help you meet your weight loss goals this year.

The key is this: a healthy change in what you eat, how often you eat, and what you do to exercise your body, combined with a rock solid source of long term motivation. If you get these principles down, you’ll be following a healthy weight loss plan for women that really works (and it won’t even feel all that hard!)

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