We need to have an honest conversation about why sticking to a diet is so hard after we hit 40. Yes, menopause changes our bodies, but this makes it harder, not impossible to lose weight. The truth is we ignore the biggest weight loss barriers because we’re too ashamed. Ashamed we can’t control our eating habits, that we have no willpower and no motivation.
Yet for all the secrecy, the same scenarios are playing out in the homes of middle-aged women day after day. Have you ever found yourself standing in front of an open fridge full of food unable to decide what to make for dinner, then ordering a takeaway instead? Do you eat tiny breakfasts and lunches before caving in to 3pm cravings and eating non-stop until bedtime? Have you ever tried to keep unhealthy food out of the house (so you don’t eat it) but relent because the family won’t compromise on their favourites?
Welcome to the secret world of habits and social pressures that ruin our attempts to stick to a healthy diet. I know all about this, because I do exactly the same. I struggled with cravings for most of my adult life, which went off the scale when I hit perimenopause. Unable to find answers to why I felt like this, I became a personal trainer during Covid, hoping to find the answer myself.
It didn’t take long before I attracted a full client base of 40-something-women who also wanted to lose weight. Despite their desperation to shed unwanted pounds, they couldn’t stick to the diets I gave them either. The same barriers came up repeatedly and I started to notice a pattern emerging. My mind was blown. I’d imagined I was the only one experiencing these challenges, but the reality was most of my clients felt the same.
I realised we needed to be having a different conversation. My clients didn’t need more advice on what they should or shouldn’t be doing, they needed someone to take the shame and guilt away from how they were eating and to help them break the patterns that were keeping them stuck.
Mid-life is tough. Menopause hits us at the same time our kids become teenagers, our parents become a worry, and work becomes a battleground to prove we’ve still got what it takes.
We’ve spent years with our heads down, building careers, families and communities, then one day we look at ourselves in the mirror and don’t recognize what we see This isn’t just about vanity. Our heath is the most important thing we have, and we want to make changes to our lifestyle to improve our health and well-being. We know what we should be doing – but we just can’t manage it. What’s going on?
This refreshingly honest book dives head-first into the barriers women face when it comes to prioritizing their health, and themselves. Easy to read, it cuts straight through the confusion of nutrition advice and shines a light on the effect demanding lifestyles have on our well-being and waistlines.
Part one explains the real reasons sticking to a diet becomes impossible in our 40s. They are self-neglect, stress, an unhealthy relationship with food, sabotage and the influence of marketing. The changes menopause brings about is also covered, both the physiological changes and the way it indirectly influences eating habits.
Losing weight isn’t the only reason to adopt a healthier lifestyle, in fact most of Gabrielle’s clients said more energy would be the real gamechanger. The book focuses on giving readers clear advice on the best course of action to lose weight, not only from a diet and exercise perspective, but also from improving sleep and stress management.
The approach unlocks energy first by small, powerful changes that busy women can easily fit into their life. Because falling off the wagon is inevitable, the book provides advice on how to get back on track quickly and avoid the all or nothing yo-yo diet mentality.
Journaling guides to help the reader learn more about her personal relationship with food, encouraging her to set own boundaries about what she does and doesn’t want to eat, and discover what meals work best for her, because we are all unique. A set of easy-to-follow recipes are included, plus a beginners strength training workout with links to exercise videos which explain correct technique.
Receiving five-star reviews, Amazon readers say:
“It was as if this book was written for me! It discusses all the barriers of weight loss for a 40 something women, which are spot on, but makes you understand that only you can make the change by prioritising yourself and your health. I have been in a rut for a long time, and I’m hoping that this is the motivation I need to make a change.” – Elizabeth B
“Well written and refreshing look at midlife weight gain and loss. So much resonated with me, such as stress, sleep, kids, menopause etc and how they impact metabolism, motivation and our difficulties with weight. Not a diet book but a different approach with suggestions and ideas for achievable, lasting change.” – Dr A Myerscough
Published by Michael Terence Publishing, Why Women Over 40 Can’t Lose Weight is available in paperback (£8.99) and Kindle format (£3.99 or free via Kindle Unlimited) on Amazon at https://amzn.to/3sZPOvu and https://amzn.to/3FJskCc
About the author:
A month before lockdown began, Gabrielle was fired from a demanding, stressful job the same day she asked her manager for support because her beloved father had been diagnosed with terminal cancer. At 48, with no job, and feeling like her life was being pulled from under her, she decided to fulfil a decade-long ambition and retrain as a personal trainer. Over the years she’d struggled with her weight and powerful food cravings, and as she got into her 40s, suffered from regular injuries that prevented her from making progress with her fitness. She hoped becoming a PT would give her the answers she’d been looking for.
When lockdown ended and gyms finally reopened, she was inundated with clients who were in a similar position, struggling with their weight, yet unable to stick to a diet. In the privacy of her garden gym, they shared their experiences with her. They didn’t want killer physiques, they just wanted to regain control of their bodies and feel confident in their skin, but they struggled to change their eating habits. Before long, she noticed a pattern emerging, the same blockers were getting in the way of all her clients, and the concept for the book was born.
Gabrielle’s own motivation comes from her goal to stay active and strong so she can embark on adventures with her partner when her daughter grows up. Now 51, diet, sleep, exercise and stress management have become non-negotiable priorities to give her constant, stable energy and the ability concentrate and think clearly. She continues to train clients in her garden gym, and coaches women online who need accountability to improve their lifestyle. At weekends she takes off to camp in a rooftop tent in her partners van, looking for paddleboard and cycling adventures.