The Mindset You Need to Lose Weight in Your 40s (or During/Post Menopause)

The Mindset You Need to Lose Weight in Your 40s (or Menopause) Not Dressed As Lamb

This post has been a long time coming… just like losing weight can be.

[Reading time: 14 mins]

At the end of last year I wrote a “preview” post to this one entitled 3 Quick Tips to Kickstart Weight Loss for Over 40 Women. In it, I described three things that would set you on a journey to get fit and lose weight and I promised the longer, more in-depth post would follow. In fact, it ended up being SO long I’ve divided the follow-up post into two. It is, if you like, my Kill Bill Volume 1 of my “how I lost weight in my 40s” story.

I’ll tell you the end of Volume 2 first: I lost 22lbs (10 kg) in 4 months. That’s on average 1.5lbs/0.6kg a week… a very healthy, steady rate to lose it. No one was more surprised than me. I’d been trying to shift what I’d gained for YEARS.

What I’ve written here is not a drastic lose-a-stone-in-two-weeks quick-fix. (If that’s what you’re looking for I’d suggest you look elsewhere; even better, stop thinking that that’s a great way to do it altogether. I promise you it isn’t.) I’m writing something that’ll hopefully change your mindset, help you rethink the way you look at weight loss and aim to give you the tools and show you the way to finding the same mentality that I’ve gained over the last nine months or so.

Losing weight – or, I should say, getting fit – at this age (me: nearly 48) is very different to doing it at 22. Your body is working against you because that’s where, unfortunately, age comes into it. That’s why I found it so hard to shift the pounds I’d slowly gained over the course of several years, mostly following my “leg injury” and the operation I had to sort it out at the beginning of 2018.

I still have a LONG way to go before I’m at the fitness level I want to be at. But hey, talking about it – and admitting you need to do something about it – is the first step. Even if it’s you discussing it with yourself in your own head, or it’s you discussing it with your other half, or it’s you writing it all in a blog post to make yourself accountable (that’d be me, then).

Refusing to bury your head in yet another cream cake the sand is a start. Promising to give your body the healthy, fit life it deserves is the next step.


How I gained weight and how far I have to go

It sounds like a long time to gain it, and it WAS gradual, but I gained exactly 3 stone (42lbs / 19kg) in four years. I was, however, very underweight at my lightest. My final weight – before I started to find an effective routine that had results – was the heaviest I’d ever been in my life by a VERY long way. The main image is what the difference of 3 stone looks like…

I’ll post it here again to save you scrolling.

The Mindset You Need to Lose Weight in Your 40s (or Menopause) Not Dressed As Lamb

Left, above: 2013 / Right: April 2019

Both photos scare me. Both scream “ill health” to me. (That’s not something I expect anyone to see by looking at a picture – though I am pretty gaunt in the first one. Everyone has their own story and health issues that shouldn’t be judged by physical size or a photograph. The photos represent what I know about the state of my health at the time.)

The one on the left shows me at a time when I was in a very unhappy place. Amongst other things, I was deeply unhappy in my job, and just a couple of months after the photo was taken I took voluntary redundancy and began blogging full time. It took a while, but eventually, happiness followed, and so did the extra pounds.

The one on the right shows me at my heaviest weight (ever). Being that size took a severe toll on my physical and mental health. I am small-boned, was a naturally bony, skinny child, and I’ve not had children. The weight I gained was all down to a very, very unhealthy lifestyle. It was down to no sleep (a poorly Riley needed to go out several times in the night and one or the other of us slept downstairs with him for several months), being too tired to exercise AT ALL, and eating a lot of take-out, comfort food or skipping meals.

I had regular headaches. My periods were much more crampy than usual. I ached all over. I had extreme lethargy all the time. My skin wasn’t great. And because I couldn’t fit into ANY of my clothes it affected me mentally, making me very despondent every time I went to try my regular clothes on and one item after the other not fitting me or being WAY too tight to wear comfortably.

What helped me break the cycle was a week-long wake-up call, otherwise known as the Slimmeria fitness and detox retreat. The first time I went I came back supercharged; however, I slowly started to pile the weight back on again (Riley being unwell and a Christmas break was a lot to do with it). However, the second time I went, something switched in my brain.

I’m not saying you need to go on a detox retreat (you might want to – in which case I say GO FOR IT). I’m saying that you need to have a good chat with yourself. Find that wake-up call. Face up to some home truths. Your OWN home truths. Hopefully what I’ve written here will help you get you in the right mindset and set you on the path that I eventually took.

This time the path actually led me somewhere… no more “Go Back, Wrong Way” signs for me.


What I’m going to talk about here…

Firstly, I want to make it clear that this post won’t be dictating to you about what you “should” be doing if your fitness levels or waistlines aren’t what they should be to keep you healthy and happy for life. This is not a “one size fits all” read. I’ll merely be talking about what I did to break the cycle of not losing weight and what I started to do differently, and some of these processes may help you work out how to break your own cycle. Please do not expect a “Eat these foods, do these exercises” kind of post.

(I will list the exercises I did and what I ate/eat in a part 2 post. But I’ll also talk about how to find your OWN lifestyle, diet and exercise routine.)

You’re hopefully here because you value the quality of life you’ll have as you go onwards into your later years. I mean that in a positive way; I’m merely breaking up our lives into two halves. Pre and post-menopause, if you like (I’ll come onto the M-word in a bit).

Before I discovered the processes that finally had some effect, my health was a bit like a game of football:

The game of football analogy

At the beginning of last year, I felt like the halftime whistle had gone and the team I was managing was losing 3-0. That’s despite me putting out the same great team I’d had for years. I’d started with my best, most experienced strikers right from the outset and a solid defence that was always dependable and got results. However, this time it felt like a lost cause. The team’s performance was totally uninspiring and they were letting in goal after goal.

I realised I could either carry on with the same team, playing in the same way, and not get any results with the same team formation. Or, I could bring on my subs, change things around and take some risks.

It was time to be Gareth Southgate managing England and bring out an all-new team in the 2018 World Cup, not Fabio Capello playing the same old they’re-just-not-working squad yet again (and getting thrashed 4-1 by Germany) in 2010.

(I know it’s an English football analogy with people that not everyone will be familiar with, but I’m sure you understand what I’m getting at.)

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It was time to be Gareth, not Fabio.

If YOU feel like you’re at half time and you’re getting thrashed by the other team, then you’ll want to read on. In this post I’ll talk about getting your head in the right place. Because if you don’t do that first, then no amount of fitness or diet tips will help you.

First, get to grips with these ideas…


1. Be honest with yourself.

Not being honest with yourself is the BIGGEST hurdle to overcome when wanting to get fit and lose weight. Your reasons for doing it have to be the right ones. Wanting to fit into that dress for your holiday in July? Not really a long term goal, and you’ll probably look for quick fixes that won’t last. Want to be able to run around after your children/grandchildren and be as immune as you can be from health problems, aches and pain as you grow old? Now that is what will get you results because it’s a long term goal.

You’ve got to be doing it for your health and to increase your life expectancy and quality of life, not for a bikini. I won’t deny that looking good in a bikini when you’re fitter is a bonus – but it’s exactly that: a bonus. It’s not the end goal. Healthy, fit and happy is your end goal.

Another part of being honest with yourself is to admit when you’re always kidding yourself about how healthy you already are. “It doesn’t matter how healthily I eat/how many meals I skip, I still can’t shift the weight!” Sound familiar? It’s what I kept telling myself when I continued to pile weight on. But I’m so healthy! I eat all the right foods! I drink lots of water!”

If I’d been REALLY honest with myself, I’d have realised that it was the extra, “hidden” calories I was consuming that caused so much weight gain, and too little exercise.

“One pizza a week won’t hurt. I had so much veg for lunch!
These two beers will be fine, it’s a one-off.
I know I just ate a whole packet of Jaffa Cakes, but I’ll walk more on Monday.”

And then in theory I was drinking lots of water (I LIKE drinking water), but so often I just wasn’t actually doing it.

In terms of not being honest where my fitness was concerned: You know questionnaires (any type) where you’re asked how many times a week do you exercise? I’d always tick 3-4 times a week. Again – IN THEORY I would be exercising that much. I would be doing that much in an ideal world. In reality, I was doing nothing. Maybe two morning walks a week. Then four weeks without anything at all.

So BE HONEST WITH YOURSELF. Don’t say you’ve tried everything and nothing works. If nothing’s shifting despite you “trying everything”, then something else entirely needs to change.


2. Realise you need a routine you can stick to

Something I often hear people say is that they have no time to exercise or prep good food. Think of this: do you have time to brush your teeth? Brushing your teeth and going to the dentist are vital if we want to keep our own teeth past the age of 50. Do we skip brushing and flossing because we don’t have time? No. In the same way, good diet and exercise are VITAL to our health and well being.

It’s actually part of being honest with yourself.

Do you WANT to live a long life and do whatever you can to stay as fit and healthy as you can be with each decade that passes?

Do you WANT to decrease your risk of various cancers, a stroke or heart disease?

Do you WANT to avoid aching bones, arthritis, reduced brain function, dehydrated and dull, wrinkled skin?

If you do, then making time and establishing a routine for a good diet and some exercise is ESSENTIAL.

I know it sounds like I’m being a right old bore/dictator here, but I wish I’d had similar truths pointed out to me back when I was gaining weight. So many things I read were just “eat this, eat that, do this exercise, do that exercise”. There’s no motivation to do any of it. Or sometimes you start and because you don’t see results like, NOW, you give up because the bigger picture of lifelong health and happiness wasn’t your goal in the first place.

So, second only to the right reasons for setting out on this journey, routine is key. Think about when you’re going to make time to eat well and exercise. Make changes to your current routine to accommodate it. We all have to earn a living, we all have others to look after, we all have to get to work/do the grocery shopping/do the laundry/get the kids off to school/tidy the house/visit our friends and family. It’s all got to be fitted in somehow. Making time for your own well being and “future-proofness” – so that when you’re old you can still do all those other things without it hurting too much(!) – should be right up there at the top of your daily To-Do list.

You DESERVE to be fit and healthy. YOUR LOVED ONES deserve to have you fit and healthy now and going forward. Plus, what better way than to inspire your children and grandchildren than by being an active, fit and healthy 80 year old? I never had grandparents, but I can only imagine having had a sprightly grandmother. She would have inspired me beyond belief.

Take a long, hard look at your daily routine and find time. Even if it’s only 15 minutes a day to exercise and 15 minutes extra each day for prepping food, it’s half an hour more than you’re already doing. Make those change of routine goals REALISTIC to start with or you’ll fail at the first hurdle.


3. Get your sleep pattern in order

Some people are great at getting to bed early. I am not one of them. I’m unfortunately a night owl and feel my most productive then. I’m also a freelancer and my job means my work is never, ever finished… there’s ALWAYS “one more thing” I could get done. Therefore I find it very easy to work late, thus affecting my sleep pattern. If you’re like this and go to bed at inconsistent times every night, often very late, then all I can say is SORT IT OUT. Your health depends on sleep soooooooo much, and I’m sure I don’t need to tell you all the ways in which you’re risking your health when you don’t sleep.

Akkkk I’ll tell you anyway, as I need to tell myself this regularly. As the NHS website states, long term poor sleep “makes you prone to serious medical conditions, such as obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes”. Notice they put obesity first. If you’re not getting enough quality sleep, you’ll never shift the weight or be as fit as you can be.

For me, a good night’s sleep has a knock-on effect with EVERYTHING in my day. If I go to bed late, I find it hard to get up in the morning. I’m too tired to function and make excuses not to get up and go for my early morning walk. I then don’t come back to the next part of my routine: doing my strength (weight) training. I don’t eat my proper breakfast. I’ll start my work too late, and the whole day gets shifted on several hours, and my work output is slow and poor. I then try and make up for lost time in the evening by doing more work then, and I end up going to bed late… hence, the vicious cycle.

GET TO BED. Turn your phone off an hour before bed. Read up about sleep techniques (and why sleep is so important) if you have trouble sleeping. Even if you only initially change one thing about your routine to get healthy, make sleep the no.1 priority. Everything else will follow.

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4. Accept that midlife is working against you – it’s about health, not physical size

This, unfortunately, is where I get to be a bit of a Debbie Downer. Like it or not, advancing years ARE working against you. That’s not to say it’s too late to do anything about your health and fitness (far from it!), but you have to realise that your metabolism is not, and never will be, what it was when you were 22.

For AGES I kept saying “But I never used to put on weight! I was always naturally slim! I was a skinny child!” – blah blah, blahdy BLAH. But one day I woke up and realised that menopause is around the corner. I am NOT 22. I am approaching 50. A different approach – and attitude – was needed.

This is why I suggested being a Gareth… sometimes you have to throw all your old techniques, routines and dusty exercise DVDs out of the window and do something totally different.

(If it’s exercise VIDEOS you still have, then OMG you need to try something new!)

If you’re perimenopausal or menopausal, then unfortunately you will most likely be more prone to weight gain. Your metabolism slows down as you age. Whereas when you were younger you could still burn calories even when sitting, that’s not the case anymore. So a combination of prolonged periods of sitting and too many calorific foods (you know the ones…) will inevitably lead to extra pounds. We lose muscle mass as we get older, so that has to be addressed. Our estrogen going nuts can lead to increased fat storage, so that has to be addressed. Difficulty sleeping is common in perimenopause or menopause (my increasingly-more-common night sweats can be horrific!), so that has to be addressed.

All this stuff is working against us. I honestly thought I was ready to give up because of all these factors working against me – I was just about ready to accept a life of constant lethargy and weight gain. Thank goodness that switch in my brain went off.


✷ A quick summary of the changes I made that got results ✷

~ I stopped having those things that are considered ‘healthy’ foods

You know the ones – they seem to have an air of goodness about them but they’re actually calorie-laden. If you’re seen eating them people will say, “Ooh that’s healthy!”

  • Large glasses of orange or other fruit juice
  • Fruit salad (especially tropical fruits)
  • Granola or sweetened muesli
  • Dried fruit
  • Oversized portions of nuts (especially my weakness, cashews #drool)
  • Flavoured yoghurt
  • Diet drinks (don’t touch them: the artificial sweeteners cause a spike in insulin, which can turn into stored fat so they’re anything but “diet”)
  • Cereal bars
  • Shop-bought smoothies
  • Shop-bought houmous

All of the above will, unless eaten in small portions and in moderation, pile on the pounds. The processed foods are often packed with excess sugar and salt. For me, I stopped making huge smoothies every day. The ingredients themselves were healthy (avocado, almond milk, protein whey powder, raspberries, lime juice, yoghurt), but the quantity that I was making and consuming meant that my “healthy” breakfast was incredibly calorific.

Take a long hard look at exactly what you’re consuming. Don’t try to convince yourself that, or justify why, diet drinks or that whole tub of houmous “won’t hurt because it’s healthy”.


~ I realised that cardio alone won’t burn fat

This was a big one: I made a commitment to strength training every day, even if I didn’t do any cardio. Once I started doing some simple routines with weights  I saw results very quickly.

In part two I’ll discuss what exercises I did, how I came up with them, and why YOU must find a routine that works (and will get results) for YOU, not just copy what I did.

This is a BIG one. It might be the most important change I made. That’s why I want to talk about it separately, once all this “get your head in the right place” stuff has sunk in.


~ I got myself a timed water bottle

Simple, but effective. I featured this bottle in my 9 completely brilliant things I bought recently post, and it’s a lifesaver. So often I just forget to drink water (even though I have every intention of doing so), but with this it makes me keep on top of my water intake.


~ I didn’t deny myself anything and didn’t “diet”

Others may find it easy, but, for me, if I’m banned from having something then I crave it even more. You know how certain foods are absolutely banned if you go on a particular diet? Well, I’m one of those people who just can’t follow a faddy diet because I’m always thinking about the things I can’t have.

That said, I stopped stocking the kitchen cupboards with sweet treats and avoided buying them in the supermarket by switching to online deliveries only. (We used to do a big online shop every one or two weeks and then pop in several times in between to get extras, but that made me buy naughty treats every time.)

The times I practised “everything in moderation” was when, for example, we’d have dinner at my parents’ house and mum would present about four puddings for us to eat (meaning at least ONE would be my absolute favourite). Sure, I had a portion of trifle, but I put it in a very small bowl – without extra cream poured on top – and ate it slowly. Over last summer it went down VERY nicely with an occasional G&T, too.

I didn’t follow any particular “diet”. I stopped skipping meals (because I’d been grazing most of the day) and structuring my days to three good meals with two snacks in between. I just had to become very, very conscious of portion sizes, the calorie content of foods and whether I was eating out of boredom or necessity.


Finally: a caveat

One thing I have to mention… I started to see results in my weight loss about two months in, but this actually coincided with the loss of our beloved dog Riley in June. Stress and/or grief can play a HUGE part in weight loss – or weight gain.

I certainly didn’t stop eating (as can be the case when you’ve gone through something traumatic), but stress and sadness alone can affect your metabolism. So do keep this in mind. I’ll never know how much this contributed to my weight loss, but in a way I needed something to focus on and help me get over the loss, so it’s six of one and half a dozen of the other.

I will admit I’ve found it harder to keep the pounds off since we adopted Suki in September. Then Christmas came, and of course the combination of being a lot happier, less stressed and having to find a routine around our new girl made the pounds start to creep back on again. But since last month I’ve been back on the game – and I’m determined to become even fitter and stronger than ever this year.

I’ve not taken any sort of official “after” photos yet as I’m still on this journey, but here’s a photo of me working out at the Slimmeria retreat at the end of last year, looking and feeling much stronger. Next to the other two photos, the difference is striking.

The Mindset You Need to Lose Weight in Your 40s (or Menopause) Not Dressed As Lamb

Part two will basically be a more in-depth version of the 3 W’s post (Water, Walking and Weights) I wrote last year. I felt that breaking this into two and talking about the stuff that affects our ability to lose weight first – the stuff that goes round in our head and the stuff that we’re subconsciously doing, or not doing at all but should be – was really important. I hope it’ll set you on the path towards a happy, healthy you.

Everyone deserves to have a body that’ll stand the test of time and hopefully see them out for a long, active and illness-free life. Thoughts…?


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The Mindset You Need to Lose Weight in Your 40s (or During Menopause) | Not Dressed As Lamb, Blog for Over 40 Women


  1. 5 April 2020 / 6:08 pm

    Hi Catherine. Finally getting round to catching up with reading blog posts. I’ve always been an average build, but I’ve been super-skinny twice in my life: one, after I got back from a three-month trip to India when I was 23, two, when I started doing lots of really fast yoga. And looking back I could’ve gained half a stone on both occasions. I broke my collarbone a few years ago and it wrecked my yoga practice for a year. The bone didn’t heal naturally on its own and so I had to wait for surgery. Then of course I needed to let it heal after that – and of course, the ‘m’ word! Luckily I’ve managed to shed the excess and I do plenty of exercise.

    I couldn’t agree more about the idea of an overall aim. I’m far more interested in being flexible, active and healthy in my autumn years, though I felt wretched when I couldn’t get into some of my frocks. Self-confidence is a huge thing for all of us however. But even though being able to wear them again is a lovely bi-product of my healthy living, it’s not the whole reason.

    I’m also lucky that I can cycle to my work at a library along the canal here in Glasgow three times a week – no main roads, a wonderful fifteen-mile round trip! And I make sure I stay standing at the counter and sit down all but rarely. I’m writing this during the lockdown. Luckily at this moment we’re still permitted to exercise outside so can go cycling (let’s hope the numpties all gathering don’t ruin it for all of us though!).

    Well done on your programme. I think you always look great and I’m looking forward to reading about your exercise with weights. x

    • Catherine
      7 April 2020 / 1:33 pm

      Wanting to be “flexible, active and healthy” – that’s a fantastic description of what we should all be aiming for, Emerald! Thank you for the lovely comment, it’s crazy how coronavirus has impacted us… I’m hoping that it’ll make a lot of people really super fit when this is all over! x

  2. Kareema
    22 March 2020 / 9:52 am

    Hi Catherine, thank you for this post. I have just turned 49 and have gained considerable pounds over the last few years. My concern now is to hit 50 next February feeling strong and healthy. I literally nodded my head through this post as I can identify with it so much. Looking forward to part 2.
    Kareema x

    • Catherine
      24 March 2020 / 8:32 pm

      I’m really glad it resonated with you, Kareema – I wanted it to be VERY much from the POV of a 40 or 50+ woman, not that of a 22 year old! I think your goal to reach 50 as a strong, healthy woman is brilliant – I’m only two years away and I thought the same thing for myself. Good luck, you’re already on the right track with the way you’re approaching it x

  3. 17 March 2020 / 5:22 pm

    Thanks for sharing! Especially now that everyone’s normal routines are going to have to change.

    • Catherine
      18 March 2020 / 11:47 pm

      They really are, Mireille! Hopefully everyone will find part two just as useful x

  4. lizzie g
    16 March 2020 / 9:58 am

    hi catherine, the 3 Ws really rang a bell with me, please dont take too long to tell us what exercises you are doing with weights. With so many of us working from home or limited in our movement, thanks to Covid 19, we may at least have a good opportunity to get a bit fitter and healthier. Stay safe and well.

    • 17 March 2020 / 4:38 pm

      I will echo this one, any hints or suggestions welcomed

      • Catherine
        19 March 2020 / 12:37 pm

        Thanks Linda, working on it 😀

    • Catherine
      19 March 2020 / 12:37 pm

      I’m planning on getting the video put together for next week, Lizzie – meantime everyone should try and move as MUCH as possible whilst home, it’s so important! x

      • lizzie g
        23 March 2020 / 9:28 am

        a video. that’s fantastic. looking forward to it. meantime… walking and walking, but also dancing in the kitchen and fixing the garden. plus there are upsides to housebound total control over what and when we eat and drink. your post is great encouragement, thanks so much.

        • Catherine
          24 March 2020 / 8:34 pm

          I hope everyone makes healthier food now rather than getting takeout, Lizzie – my routine really hasn’t changed since the lockdown, yet I’m doing more cooking and baking I guess because I don’t want to “pop to the supermarket to pick up something for dinner” like I used to! x

  5. 15 March 2020 / 7:58 pm

    How brave and honest of you to share this post with us Catherine. I’m full of admiration for you. As a post-menopausal woman I’m struggling with a much slower metabolism than I used to have. Gone are the day of dropping 5lbs easily in time for a special do. I’ve been avoiding the scales of late as I know the truth is not what I want to see …

    I eat well and exercise daily, but I also know that I allow myself more treats because it’s winter/ I’ve had a bad day/ I feel so tired … You know how it goes, I’m sure.

    I’m looking forward to the second installment of this. I have to say how fabulous and healthy you look in that final shot. Well done!

    • Catherine
      19 March 2020 / 12:39 pm

      Oh Anne I know EXACTLY how it goes, lol!! 😀

      You’re a total inspiration with your open water swimming routine… I admire you enormously (not least for the fact that the sea must be SOOOOOOOO cold)! Thank you, part two is on its way x

  6. 15 March 2020 / 7:00 pm

    You’re so inspiring and write so nicely! I’ve just started Couch to 5k (again!) and really want to get healthy in my 50th year. Running and yoga is a start, but I’ll be very interested to hear about the strength training. The irony of the past couple of weeks is that it’s been a big reminder how important good health is.

    • Catherine
      19 March 2020 / 12:42 pm

      Awww Karen that’s so nice of you to say… thank you!! Yes, this past week or so has been a real wake up call for many of us, although I was “back on the wagon” as it were, now more than ever it’s so important to look our physical AND mental health. I’m really going to try and step up my game – and more importantly – KEEP IT GOING. Honestly, the strength training with weights was such an eye-opener for me, it made a huge difference that running never did. Part two is on its way ASAP! x

  7. Lesley
    15 March 2020 / 4:59 pm

    Great post, just when I needed it most. Being honest with myself is key I think. Time to stop making excuses and prioritise my health, especially as I’m just in remission from breast cancer and straight into early menopause. I want to look after myself and get moving – but not get stuck in an unhealthy diet cycle.

    • Catherine
      15 March 2020 / 5:17 pm

      Lesley my best advice is to forget “diets” – nothing will be better for your health than sensible, healthy eating with a few treats (just to keep you sane!) and some exercise. I also firmly believe it’s about the right foods and the right exercise… no gyms were harmed (or even visited) in the course of my weight loss, and a little trifle was definitely consumed 😉

      (I know the picture looks like I’m in a gym, but it was just the small room that acts as the gym at the fitness retreat I went to. I work out at home in my kitchen.)

      I’m sorry to hear you’ve gone through so much health-wise lately… you said it all when you said you “want to look after yourself and get moving”. It’s ALL about health – you sound like you’re absolutely on the right track already, your mind sounds like it’s in the right place and READY (fabulous)! xx

  8. 15 March 2020 / 7:43 am

    Being healthy is more important than anything else. Thank you for this inspirational post. I needed it. I’m trying to incorporate healthy choices into my lifestyle. This time, I’m doing it step by step. Many times before, I was trying to change everything at once, and I got overwhelmed, and I quit. After reading your post, I think that shouldn’ t prioritize cardio and look to weight lifting too. You look fabulous, and more importantly, you look happy.


    • Catherine
      15 March 2020 / 11:43 am

      Anna I’m so glad you found this inspirational… thank you! You’re absolutely right about the fact that trying to change everything at once inevitably means you’re destined to fail. I’m certain that at an older age endless amounts of cardio is nowhere near as effective as strength training. I hope you’ll be on the right path too very soon! x

  9. 15 March 2020 / 6:26 am

    My husband said his greatest weight loss was the stress of his divorce – prior to me obviously – but he wouldn’t recommend it to anybody.

    I agree with you that deprivation is a good way to fail, and eating “healthy” is often very carby and full of calories.


    • Catherine
      15 March 2020 / 11:48 am

      Nearly everyone I know that’s gone through a very stressful time in their lives has lost a drastic amount of weight without trying, Michelle… the first picture of me underweight shows my unhappiness all over my face.

      As for deprivation – I just can’t do it! Although I do practise restraint in terms of a “I can’t have just one Jaffa Cake, I’ll want the whole packet so I find it easier to not have any” school of thought, I don’t ban whole food groups like carbs or sugar. I just make sure I’m careful of how much and when I consume them. I have to take that one small bowl of trifle as I described and walk away…!! 😉

  10. 14 March 2020 / 3:38 pm

    I’ve lost about 2 stone by doing the Keto diet, but now have high cholesterol! Now am trying to maintain by eating low fat! It’s a hard one to stay at the ‘right’ weight! You look fabulous by the way. Thanks for sharing and hosting. Jacqui

    • Catherine
      15 March 2020 / 11:53 am

      Your transformation has been amazing, Jacqui – you’ve done so well (I’m sure you feel so much better and have so much more energy, too)! I find that maintenance is more about not overeating the naughty stuff and keeping up the exercise… for me, maintaining fitness (strength) is what I absolutely have to do to stay well!

  11. 14 March 2020 / 2:02 pm

    What a refreshing, honest, and helpful post. I felt every word! Thank you for linking to my sleep post; good sleep has so changed my life and definitely explains why weight creeps on if we don’t keep an eye on it. Your photos alone are such an inspiration. You’re glowing with health in the weights one, and look so toned and fit. I’m trying to work lots of walking into my daily routine, now that I’m stuck at a desk all day. At least before and after work I can try to walk for part of my commute. Looking forward to your next post on this subject. xxx

    • Catherine
      15 March 2020 / 5:21 pm

      Thank you Lisa – your sleep post was a definite wake up call for me!! I’ve definitely put a few pounds back on since that gym photo was taken, but Christmas is always a nightmare and I feel I’m back on track at last. At least I now KNOW what works and what doesn’t, so it doesn’t seem to be such an impossible task anymore.

      And yes, walking at either end of your working day will make such a huge difference! Especially In London where you’ll be a social pariah (and probably lynched) if you walk at anything less than breakneck speed, hehe 😉 xx

  12. Sue Dunlop
    14 March 2020 / 12:23 pm

    Hi there – thank you for sharing your journey and thinking. I can see from other comments that so many women can identify with your experiences and thoughts. It’s great that you have managed to change your habits and routines towards healthier patterns – that’s what it’s really about! Your post reminded me of Gretchen Rubin ‘s work around habits as you’ve incorporated many of her strategies from Better Than Before . You might want to give it a look?
    Anyhow, also wanted to share how much I’m enjoying your IG stories and outfit posts. You’re an original – keep it that way!

    • Catherine
      15 March 2020 / 5:23 pm

      Hi Sue – thank you for all those lovely comments! So nice of you <3

      I had a look at the book you mentioned... I've downloaded it to my Kindle so I'll have a read of it asap, it's interesting as I've not heard of GR or the book before?! Thank you for the recommendation! x

  13. Heide V
    14 March 2020 / 11:49 am

    This is absolutely brilliant!! I reached that same “wake up” spot 2 years ago, and have successfully lost weight after age 50…. also agree with the conclusions you’ve drawn. The weight loss IS nice, and to look better IS a bonus, but family and friends like you just the same no matter the size, and you STILL have the thinking to deal with that got you there in the first place…. get to liking who you are and decide you ARE worth looking after

    • Catherine
      15 March 2020 / 5:26 pm

      I think that as we reach this age we see health as a far greater priority than a bikini body than we did at 22, Heide (who really thinks about menopause and what our old age health will be like when we’re in our 20s?!)

      It’s a shame it takes till this age – meaning when we’re older and find it harder to shift weight – for us realise that!!

      Well done and congratulations on losing weight, I hope you feel wonderful and have loads more energy, thank you for leaving a lovely comment x

  14. 14 March 2020 / 9:34 am

    I love this, Catherine! So sensible! And especially the part about being healthy for later. My husband goes to the gym religiously (without being buff or muscly, just to keep healthy and fit for the amateur competition sport he takes part in) and I sincerely hate exercise of any form. In our 10 years together, the only things we have hade serious arguments about were my fad diets and lack of exercise. And it’s always because he wants to make sure I am healthy enough to enjoy our retirement. It never clicked internally (though rationally I know he is absolutely right), and that’s why I think I am still on the diet wagon vs true healthy lifestyle. I am still slim enough for my standards and I feel alright (I am 37), but I’m sure later on I will have to make the same mind shift. Thanks for approaching this so candidly and so sensibly. And you are 100% right about portion control, and the hidden baddies in healthy options. I have significantly reduced the fruit in my diet, as well as sugars (no shop-bought sweets, but I will have the occasional home-made desert), and carbs in general. I feel like the weight is staying off, but that, of course, does not truly address the healthy part. So that’s something to continue working on. Looking forward to part 2!

    • Catherine
      15 March 2020 / 5:49 pm

      Oh gosh your husband sounds like a keeper, Alex – I know you said it ended up with arguments but it sounds like he really did know what was best for you (as much as you probably won’t admit it as you said)! A real mind-shift is what we all need when we’re older if we want health and fitness to work in our favour, not going on faddy diets.

      “Get off the diet wagon and throw out the exercise DVDs” is what I should call the part 2 post, lol! 😉

      Fruit is a killer for me. I mean I love all foods anyway, but fruit is like a silent assassin… it looks and tastes healthy so you end up eating loads. Ugh noooo all that sugar! At 37 you’ll probably find that weight loss and peak fitness will happen a lot more easily for you than if you wait 10 years… your brain sounds like it’s switching over already so please do keep thinking the way you’re thinking! Thank you for your very honest comments x

  15. 14 March 2020 / 9:03 am

    Such a brilliant, and inspiring post, Catherine. I have a (peri-menopausal) friend who has been struggling with her weight for a few years now – I’m going to forward this to her. I just know that it will help her find herself.
    Suzy xx

    • Catherine
      15 March 2020 / 5:50 pm

      Suzy that’s brilliant to hear, thank you so much – tell your friend to send me a message my way if she wants to (email/Instagram DM, whatever)! Hope it helps her x

  16. 14 March 2020 / 3:40 am

    Hi, Catherine – Not only was this read entertaining, but it was chock full of inspiration. I, myself, lost the menopausal weight (I never gained weight before that and never had to pay attention to losing any) by using an app to count calories for me. It works for me because I am conscientious about checking ahead on the calorie count and nutrition content. Also, my grown son and I became buddies in improving our health habits month by month for the last few years. That made big gains for both of us. I can’t wait to read your next installment! Thanks for sharing – Angie

    • Carole Furr
      14 March 2020 / 7:40 am

      A very, very inspirational post, Catherine. I started on my get fit journey lasy May, when I was 69 and I turned 70 last December a fitter person but still have a way to go yet! I can now fit into clothes that were too small although I have actually put on weight, presumably muscle. My problem is that I need to cut down on the wine and then I’m sure I will lose some weight. My children bought me a fitbit for my last birthday and that is an eye opener when I see how many steps I can do in a day, especially after keep fit class days. I am really looking forward to your Part 2.

      • Catherine
        19 March 2020 / 1:05 pm

        Putting on muscle is a FANTASTIC result, Carole! I have a Fitbit too – I know a lot of health experts poo-poo them for not being accurate, but of course it certainly give you an idea of whether you’ve done nearer to 2,000 or 12,000 steps a day. Plus I like it tracking my sleep! Seeing how much (or how little!) sleep you’ve had sure is a wake up call (pun not intended).

        Hope you enjoy part two, thank you lovely xx

    • Catherine
      19 March 2020 / 12:54 pm

      Bless you, Angie – thank you!! You’re right about the fact that calorie counting works for you… my next post will be about finding out what works for each individual. Some of us do it better when we measure or just look in the mirror rather than weighing ourselves. For me, I need to see numbers dropping off on the scale in order to motivate me. Everyone is different and everyone needs to find out what motivates them – sounds like you partnering with your son has been great motivation for you! Well done 😀

  17. 13 March 2020 / 11:26 pm

    This is a well timed post for me. Thanks for all the great tips. I’ve struggled with this on again off again ten pounds in my 40’s right now we’re back to on again. ugh. Thanks again and I hope you have a great weekend!

    • Catherine
      19 March 2020 / 12:47 pm

      I’ve struggled in exactly the same way for the past four years or so, Sherry – for me, 10lbs became 40lbs VERY quickly so the sooner you address that gain the better!! Glad you liked the tips, hope part two helps as well x

  18. 13 March 2020 / 8:37 pm

    Such great advice and all of it true. Particularly the “it’s not about size, it’s about health.” And the info about cardio doesn’t do it is something so many of us are confused by. It’s the damn food. 80% of it is what we eat. You look SO healthy in your third photo at the gym. Your skin is glowing and your muscle tone shows!! That’s the part I need to work on now–getting some tone–and keeping my weight down. As you say, I do feel better when at a certain weight. Looking better is just an added bonus. Thanks for sharing your journey and learning.

    xx Darlene

    • Catherine
      19 March 2020 / 1:15 pm

      Thank you Darlene – yes it’s so important to stress that health is the number one goal here. It’s a shame we don’t realise that as much when we’re younger and just want to look good in a bikini… it takes lots of aches and pains and sometimes (unfortunately) a health scare to realise that drastic action is needed! I’m giving myself till the end of the year to get back to absolute peak fitness – it seems with #StayAtHome we may all get a chance to really do that! x

  19. 13 March 2020 / 8:24 pm

    lol I’ve been awaiting this post since your previous post about weight loss. Yes, pre menopause and incredible stress plus shift work led to weight gain. More follwed with even more stress and severe anemia (muscles need iron). I’ve just started going to a gym for the weight machines because it just wasn’t doing it for me, working out at home, and I think it’s because I did have so much muscle loss. But I do prefer to walk outside. A really thoughtful and inspiring post. I too realised that I had to stop “dieting” because it does becoming “getting fatter”

    • Catherine
      19 March 2020 / 1:28 pm

      I’m sorry it took so long, Ratnamurti…!! I knew it would be long, but there was so much I wanted to say I could just never finish it in time for a Thursday/Friday posting!

      Sorry to hear working out at home didn’t do it for you… though you might have to revisit that again now that I presume your gym is closed? #StayAtHome

      I hope part two helps – it won’t just be “do these exercises”, it’ll be a lot more in-depth than that! Thank you lovely x

  20. 13 March 2020 / 7:23 pm

    So inspiring and so refreshing to hear others share their ideal weight and shape too as it’s different for all and important we don’t fear sharing when we want to change our bodies. You look amazing in all and so healthy in the weight lifting pic. I lost too much weight after my thyroid op 18 months ago and looked scarily thin. Roll on this year and I’d like to lose 7 lbs now as I’ve yo-yoed since Christmas- and you’re right about getting into a routine. I walk 7 miles a day with school-runs on foot but exercise alone isn’t enough for me. I know the food I need to limit and I get into lazy eating patterns. I read the most amazing book Diet Myths by dr and scientist Tim Spector recently that was a real eye opener and saw great results in a short time particularly with my health x

    • Catherine
      19 March 2020 / 1:30 pm

      Thanks so much Vicki my lovely! I think the food/exercise thing is different for everyone, and it’s so important that everyone finds out what that ratio is. For me, I found that I could still eat the odd treat AS LONG as I kept up the exercise that kept my metabolism higher – i.e. the strength training. Without that, I could basically run as much as I wanted and nothing would drop off…! 🙁

  21. 13 March 2020 / 7:11 pm

    I love your posts!! I have to say your blog is not the typical blog that I follow – my blog roll is mainly filled with mom blogs and personal finance blogs. I stumbled across your blog months ago and I’m happy I did! 🙂

    • Catherine
      19 March 2020 / 1:30 pm

      Oh Suchot that’s so lovely of you to say… I feel privileged! x

  22. 13 March 2020 / 6:42 pm

    Bravo, Catherine! This is a WONDERFUL post, and I’m sending it on to a friend who needs the inspiration. Do you know I still have Weights, Water & Walking rattling around in my head almost daily from that post of yours? You are spot on with finding what works for you, but doing the all-important prep work beforehand being the most important. You look fabulous, but more importantly, healthy and happy! Thanks for sharing your hard-earned wisdom.

    • Catherine
      13 March 2020 / 6:50 pm

      Mary Katherine THANK YOU! For the lovely compliments and for passing it onto your friend. I hope she finds the motivation (and feels ready for part two when it comes along)! xx

      P.S. Glad the 3 W’s made an impact 😀

  23. 13 March 2020 / 5:30 pm

    Catherine, this was very inspiring and enlightening and motivating! I was doing so well with my healthy journey and then I stopped working outside of my house and went to full time writing and blogging from home which, as you know, is a very sedentary lifestyle. I hate exercise and I don’t make the time for it. Rather I just make excuses to not do it. I was at a very comfortable weight in August when I quit my job and very quickly gained back about 15 pounds. Now I need to get back on track and shift my mindset. Thank you for sharing your journey. And you are so right, it is about being healthy not about looking perfect by some impossible standard. You are looking very healthy and vibrant, by the way!


    • Catherine
      13 March 2020 / 6:29 pm

      Shelbee thank you so much! Having a sedentary lifestyle is a HUGE factor in weight gain – it was a big part for me too. Shifting your mindset is so important to have long term gains (in fitness, not pounds)! 😉

      Thank you also for acknowledging that it’s not about looking perfect!! So important! x

  24. 13 March 2020 / 5:25 pm

    Looking very good in the exercising picture! I lost a stone between Sept and Dec after a visit to Grayshott Spa and a low carb (but high in veg) diet, which meant no calorie counting for the first time since I was 12! Have adapted my diet, weigh every day and take action if a pound goes on. I was always fairly good with exercising but trying to vary it a bit more..

    • Catherine
      13 March 2020 / 6:31 pm

      Gail thank you – the photo is a still from a video, but when I watched it back I saw how much progress I’d made (and was super proud of myself). Well done for going to the spa – I know you were talking about doing one (or going to Slimmeria) so I’m really glad you did as it sounds like YOUR mindset has shifted (for the good)! Well done and keep going x

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