3 Quick Tips to Kickstart Weight Loss for Over 40 Women

3 Quick Tips to Kickstart Weight Loss for Over 40 Women | Not Dressed As Lamb

This is a sneak peek of the main post I’ll be writing about how I finally managed to shift the pounds this year. Weight loss over 40 is HARD.

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Recently I’ve mentioned that I’ve been able to fit into old clothes I couldn’t fit into a year ago – or even earlier this year, plus I FEEL so much better. It’s amazing the effect that getting fit has on both your physical and your mental health. I’ve still a little way to go, but for now, I feel healthier, happier and less stressed than I have done in a long time.

Getting fit again after a long period of not being fit and healthy is a challenge at any age, but the older you get, the harder it becomes. Anyone over the age of 40 – and especially those women who are peri, post or menopausal – would agree that it’s even harder once the M-word hits.

So I did promise a post before Christmas about all the things I did this year to shift the weight that I’ve been “trying” to shift for the past three years or so – but really, who’s going to take any notice of a post about fitness in November or December?

Instead, I thought I’d write a quick post about the three things that I think you can EASILY do in the run-up to Christmas that will get you into good habits. They won’t seem like you’re sacrificing anything at all (or even trying to lose weight). The main post about how I did it will be published in January, when I know people are more willing to read that sort of thing.

These tips are SO simple, but getting your head in the right place is the biggest hurdle to getting your fitness back. Do that and you’ll be on the right track in no time. It means that once the Christmas festivities are over, you’re already in the right frame of mind to get your weight loss programme started properly.

Please note: these things worked for me. They may not work for everyone, and I’m not a weight loss or fitness expert (always seek your doctor’s advice)! However, none of these tips are drastic – they’re just common sense – so I’m pretty confident that doing them will most likely help you like they helped me…

 

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The 3 W’s

I’m calling these three tips The 3 W’s as that makes them easier to remember! In fact, there are only two that you have to do on a regular basis, and they’re not difficult AT ALL. The third is a one-off thing to do before Christmas, and you’ll only have to revisit it once January rolls around.

(I just want to say that I don’t necessarily believe in the “I’ll start in January” thing. I firmly believe that if you can start any sort of regime RIGHT NOW, then that’s actually the best time to start. Procrastination is your worst enemy when it comes to shifting the pounds. But I’m also realistic, and I know that this time of year is difficult with the number of mince pies, Christmas drinks and pigs in blankets that are on offer! If you find the willpower to do The 3 W’s – or more – from today, you’ll be onto a winner even sooner.)

 

1. Walking

This will absolutely, always, forevermore be my no. 1 tip when it comes to fitness. Even if you do nothing else, WALK. Apart from shoes comfortable enough to do the job, it costs nothing. The longer you can walk for, and the faster you can go, the more your fitness levels will go up, and stay up. I find that even if I don’t do any other exercise, walking keeps my weight steady.

Cold weather preppy outfit for the coast: Brown Barbour jacket \ cream bobble hat and roll neck \ red tartan scarf \ black skinnies and riding boots | Not Dressed As Lamb, over 40 style blog

On the detox and fitness retreats that I go to, we do a vigorous two-hour group walk every morning, and we’re expected to do more walking in the afternoon (I regularly managed 25k – 30k steps a day). I know that’s an unrealistic amount to fit into a normal day at home, but it proves how much walking works (I’ve lost between 6 and 10lb a week on the retreats each time).

Try and fit walking into any sort of routine you have every single day, even if you can only fit in 15 minutes. Go as fast as you can for those 15 minutes.

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Walking is excellent for so many reasons, not just fitness:

  • It’ll save you money if you can ditch the car/bus/tube/train (even just part the way) and walk instead
  • It’ll get you out the house/office and give your eyes a break from staring at a screen
  • It’ll give you time to think and – if you’re lucky enough to live near any sort of green space – enjoy the sights and sounds of nature

I know people poo-poo and make fun of those of us that wear Fitbits – anyone would think that we’re obsessed [=ahem= guilty]! – but if you REALLY need to force yourself to move your arse and get walking, I can thoroughly recommend one.

I bought a FitBit Charge 3 which records steps, your heart rate, workouts, calories burned, etc. It tells the time, it’s a stopwatch, it does timed intervals for you, you can set vibrating reminders (great for waking you up in the morning). It can be set to vibrate every hour to tell you to move if you’ve sat still too long.

Bonus: it also shows you texts and reminders from your smartphone.

In my opinion, regular walking HAS to be part of any health regime if you want to lose weight and get your fitness back. It’s something you can do on the days you don’t feel like a main workout but it’ll still get your heart rate going.

Start walking now, today.

 

2. Water

Boring, I know! But this is the one that everyone knows, but SO few people do it.

If you want any kind of weight loss or fitness programme to work, you HAVE to drink a lot of water. It’s as simple as that. The benefits FAR outweigh the (and let’s face it, it’s not exactly that much of a hardship) ‘difficulty’ in having to drink a lot of water.

3 Quick Tips to Kickstart Weight Loss for Over 40 Women - no.3: Drink Water | Not Dressed As Lamb

If you already drink a lot of water, you’re doing one of the best things you can for your health, and it will – I promise you – make you feel better, help your skin, aid weight loss, stop headaches… the list goes on and on.

However be honest with yourself: are you like me and think, “Yes, I always drink a lot of water!”…? Are you REALLY, though? I’m one of those people that say they drink water (and I’m happy to do so), but quite often a whole day goes by and I realise I haven’t actually drunk any plain water at all. Lots of herbal teas, yes, and I don’t drink anything fizzy, but plain water… hmm, I forgot.

You’ve got to actually DO IT, not just say you’re the sort of person who does.

To help me to just damn well remember to hydrate myself, I got myself a sports motivational water bottle. It has “times to drink” printed on the front so you know how much you should be drinking at what times of the day – I’ve found it’s the absolute best thing to keep me hydrated and drinking enough. Look at the time, check the bottle – oops I’ve not kept up, drink to that line!

There’s no wondering about how much you’ve drunk and whether it was enough, and of course it stops you buying water in plastic bottles when you’re out and about.

I refuse to believe those that say they don’t like water – it’s the lamest excuse in the world to not treat your body with the respect it deserves. If you’re serious about getting fit and losing weight, you NEED water, full stop.

 

3. Weights

Bear with me on this one: I don’t want to put you off so soon! This is the third option that you only need to consider at the moment – and when I say “at the moment”, I mean in November, in the run-up to Christmas.

If I backtrack a few years:

My weight gain happened gradually over the course of 3-4 years, mostly due to the “injury” I suffered in 2015 (which was actually a misdiagnosis) and then the resulting operation I had at the beginning of last year. Each time during those years I got a bit better and was able to exercise, I tried – in vain – to get the weight off by doing lots of cardio.

I mean it when I say: Cardio will only get you so far.

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3 Quick Tips to Kickstart Weight Loss for Over 40 Women: no.3 Weights

Again, it’s one of those things that we know because we read it so often, but resistance training – in other words, using weights – is just as important (if not more so) than cardio.

When I was previously (and unsuccessfully) trying to lose weight, I would do the occasional weights in between lots of cardio during the week. But what actually changed the game for me was when I started doing weights every day (5-6 times a week) this summer. Only then did the weight start to shift. After doing 20-30 minutes of simple exercises at home with weights plus a vigorous walk of 30-60 minutes, I began to see results.

Walking was my main cardio, and I only added about two other cardio routines each week.

YOU DO NOT HAVE TO GO TO THE GYM. I’ve never stepped foot inside one. If you like going to the gym, that’s brilliant – do it! It’s just not for me.

All you have to do at this stage (i.e. before Christmas) is just get yourself some small dumbells. Or, put them on your Christmas wish list. Nothing fancy, just a set of two is enough to start you off. By all means, start exercising with them now – but it’s okay to start after Christmas. Just get them now, or make sure you definitely receive some as a gift.

Unless you’re already exceptionally strong, I’d say start with a 2kg (4.5lb) set – these neoprene dumbells are what I’d recommend. The material is slightly ‘rubbery’ and they have a flat edge so they won’t roll around, plus they’re exceptionally dense so are quite small.

Once I got stronger I moved up to a 3kg (6.5lb) set, and to be honest 3kg is heavy enough to give me a really good workout now and in the future. You don’t want them so heavy that you pull a muscle and then give up. Start small!

 

In terms of actual exercises, the dumbells come with a chart to give you lots of ways to create your own home weights workout. When I publish the long post in January about how I lost the weight I’ll include the actual exercises I do every day. Though again, these are catered specifically for me and the areas that I need to work on; I’ll talk about how to cater the exercises for YOU and what YOUR body needs.

I’m sorry if “doing weights” sounds boring – believe me, some days I really don’t fancy it! – but I promise you, doing it makes ALL the difference. I honestly think that this one thing changed the game big time for me. I’d read in the past about how resistance training boosts your metabolism, and I swear it did for me. Even during the summer, when drinking G&Ts, barbeques and summer puddings were happening quite frequently, I still managed to lose weight (much to my surprise).

I honestly attributed it to the weights workout. It’s a game-changer.

 

So, the 3 W’s in summary…

Get the WEIGHTS now. Start WALKING as much as you can. And drink WATER.

If you can get through Christmas with those three things in place, you’ll find that starting a new programme in January won’t be as much of a struggle. Your head should be in a good place. And you’ll be ready and raring to go.

Let me know if you intend to put the 3 W’s into practice – and how you get on – in the comments!

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28 Comments

  1. Kareema
    November 23, 2019 / 11:59 am

    Hi Catherine, I really enjoyed reading this post as I have gained so much weight and feel so demotivated. Your tips are really so easy and simple for us all to incorporate. I am going to get my Fitbit back out of the drawer (hangs head in shame), drink more water….and track it on my fitbit and get my weights out….I do have some sat gathering dust!! Really looking forward to your January post xxx

    • Catherine
      Author
      November 26, 2019 / 6:33 pm

      I know EXACTLY how you feel, Kareema… I’d felt like it for a very, very long time! That’s great that you already have a FitBit AND the weights, you’re on the right track to your fitness falling back into place. Just start chugging the water, charge up your FitBit and have the weights ready and waiting. You’ll get there x

  2. November 23, 2019 / 11:51 am

    Great post Catherine. I’ve been promising myself I was going to get a out there and get walking and I don’t. Boo. Thank you for the much needed encouragemnt.

    • Catherine
      Author
      November 26, 2019 / 6:34 pm

      Pleasure, Chrissy – walking makes SO many things better! Get started right away x

  3. November 22, 2019 / 7:46 pm

    What a great post. Thanks for all of the tips. Thanks for hosting and I hope that you have a wonderful weekend and Thanksgiving.

    • Catherine
      Author
      November 23, 2019 / 11:12 am

      Thanks Patrick! (We don’t have Thanksgiving here so it’ll just be a normal Thursday for us… 😉 )

  4. Mary Katherine
    November 22, 2019 / 7:44 pm

    What a lovely and helpful post, Catherine. These are excellent reminders of the things that we all know, but just don’t DO. I’ve been so happy for you with your weight loss success and your new fur baby after the devastating loss of Riley and your candor about the imposter syndrome episode. We can do a lot of “damage” with no-holds-barred through the holidays, making it all the harder when we “get serious” in January. Once you hit middle-age, you have to get rid of “diet mentality” and embrace healthy LIFESTYLE habits – for the long haul. This is a great inspiration for me that I CAN do these 3 things regardless of parties, houseguests, rehearsals and performances, decorating, gift buying, etc. And I will! Best wishes to you and your family.

    • Catherine
      Author
      November 23, 2019 / 11:15 am

      Thank you Mary Katherine – you’re right about it being for the long haul! I always think if someone does nothing else fitness-wise, they must must MUST walk and drink water at the very least. Christmas is no excuse for not doing those things as you say! x

  5. November 22, 2019 / 7:21 pm

    I’ve definitely got to exercise more. I do walk a little every day and try to drink enough water. I totally agree that the 3 things you outlined make a big difference.

    • Catherine
      Author
      November 23, 2019 / 11:17 am

      They’re very simple, aren’t they Julie… I wanted three dead easy things that anyone can do, Christmas or no Christmas!!

  6. Lea
    November 22, 2019 / 6:46 pm

    Fabulous post, thank you! I’ve started walking more vigorously now with my dr’s permission ( car accident last March) and today tried the treadmill with 1lb weights. My arms are feeling it a bit but not much… will give another go this afternoon. And I drink a ton of water, it does help with the skin! Love your blog!

    • Catherine
      Author
      November 23, 2019 / 11:22 am

      Oh gosh Lea what an ordeal for you, I do hope you’re okay now…? 🙁
      I found after my operation that I was DESPERATE to walk and just do any hint of exercise. So good to hear you’re getting back into it, good luck with your road back to health!

      (And thank you xx)

  7. November 22, 2019 / 6:04 pm

    Excellent post! I’ve always preferred weight-lifting. Ha!

    Michelle,

    • Catherine
      Author
      November 23, 2019 / 11:28 am

      Good for you, Michelle!!! It helps if you love doing it 😀

  8. November 22, 2019 / 4:46 pm

    Such a great post, C. The three W’s. I like!!! It is making yourself do all these things every day as a habit that makes all the difference. You always look amazing, but ESPECIALLY so lately. xxx

    • Catherine
      Author
      November 26, 2019 / 6:35 pm

      Aww bless you Lisa – thank you!! It’s so hard to go from zero to full fitness and I honestly think these baby steps will help x

  9. November 22, 2019 / 4:18 pm

    Really good tips, and all we need to do is keep it simple, weight loss gets so complicated and it really doesn’t need to.
    Michelle x

    • Catherine
      Author
      November 26, 2019 / 6:36 pm

      You’re absolutely right, Michelle – I agree 100%! That’s why I can’t do “diets”, I can only stick to healthy eating and portion control.

  10. November 22, 2019 / 4:02 pm

    I’ve seen it with my own eyes how the three W’s work. You look amazing xx

    • Catherine
      Author
      November 26, 2019 / 6:36 pm

      Oh Laurie that was so kind of you to say that when I saw you last week! Thank you!! x

  11. November 22, 2019 / 3:13 pm

    Fabulous tips, thanks for sharing your interesting post. I really try with the water, and do three exercise classes plus dancing a week. I could do with losing a few more lbs though. x Jacqui

    • Catherine
      Author
      November 26, 2019 / 6:38 pm

      That sounds like you’re doing really well already, Jacqui – maybe the weights will help you boost your metabolism like they helped mine? Worth a try! x

  12. November 22, 2019 / 3:12 pm

    Such great tips, I definitley need to get better at drinking water! The sports bottle is a great idea!
    Thanks for hosting the linkup!
    Ellibelle’s Corner

    • Catherine
      Author
      November 26, 2019 / 6:38 pm

      Thanks Ellibelle – the water bottle is SO good and definitely gets you into good habits!

  13. November 22, 2019 / 3:12 pm

    Great tips, Catherine. And I am so glad that you found a method that works for you. I drink hot lemon water all day long this time of year. The lemon has wonderful benefits, one being that it boosts your metabolism. And water at room temperature or warmer is so much better for healthy digestion, so I never drink cold water. I have grown so used to warm or hot water that I don’t even like cold water! Ever since I transitioned to working solely from home, I have gained back 10 pounds of the nearly 30 that I lost. I do need to get out and walk more! Thanks for the reminder and the gentle push.

    Shelbee

    • November 22, 2019 / 3:21 pm

      I’m a great believer in the 3 Ws, though haven’t done much walking this year. Hopefully next year – Jan 1 – I will start the Walk 1000 Miles challenge with renewed enthusiasm!

      • Catherine
        Author
        November 26, 2019 / 6:42 pm

        Wow Gail I must look that up – 1,000 miles sounds a challenge!! 😉 Well done you…!

    • Catherine
      Author
      November 26, 2019 / 6:41 pm

      Similarly, I drink hot lemon first thing in the morning, Shelbee (have done for years) – and I can’t drink cold-cold water either, it HAS to be room temperature. On our detox retreat we are given two cups of herbal teas a day but the rest of the time we can only help ourselves to hot water from a machine – I’ve really got used to drinking hot water too!

      And yes to getting out and walking, it’ll make you feel so good (especially good for those of us who work from home)! Good luck, we can get there together x

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