Could it possibly be easier for a woman to lose weight and keep it off after 40?
On the face of it, that sounds ridiculous. Even some of my most successful clients talk about how much easier it was to lose weight in their 20s.
“When I was 25, I could go on any diet and lose a stone in a week or two”
So how can it possibly be easier to lose weight and keep it off in your 40s?
In my experience, women in their 20s are usually more preoccupied with quick results. They are often concerned about a particular event (like a holiday or a wedding) and want to lose weight for that. They are willing to go to extreme lengths as long as they get the results quickly.
And in your 20s, you can “starve” yourself down to a lower weight (if you can tolerate the deprivation) very quickly. Last week, a woman in her late 20s told me how she was trying a “slower” approach to weight loss. She then said she had lost 4 pounds in a week. This is the kind of weight loss a woman in her 50s can only dream about.
But the problem with this approach is that it is a recipe for yoyo dieting. You can do what it takes to get down to a lower weight, but as soon as you stop the diet, then what? These young women who lose weight quickly often put it back just as quickly.
In contrast, women over 40 have a much better approach to weight loss. In my experience:
1. They are more concerned with lasting results than the speed of their weight loss
2. They are willing to embrace the idea that weight loss doesn’t have to be painful. That you don’t need to starve yourself and be miserable to make progress
3. They understand that small, gradual changes are more effective than “showy” drastic ones
This makes them the ideal clients, because they have the most important prerequisite to losing weight and keeping it off: they have the right attitude.
You might think that attitude is a minor factor in weight loss. But in my experience, a woman who wants quick results no matter what, will generally make the wrong decisions when losing weight. They will go for short term strategies that may get them fast results, but they are so unpleasant that no one in their right mind would ever be able to live that way.
The best example of this is the young woman in her 20s or 30s trying to lose weight for their wedding day. They stop eating all the foods they love, starve themselves and go through hell for the sake of looking good in a wedding dress. Of course, this approach to losing weight is guaranteed to be short term only, because once the wedding is over, they no longer have such strong motivation to tolerate such deprivation so they stop dieting and the weight comes back on.
Contrast this, with someone who makes small changes every week, that they know they can live with for the rest of their life. Over several weeks, they add more small changes. The beauty of this approach, if you have the patience, is that you can lose weight much easier, and it is much easier to maintain.
The ironic result is that while women in their 20s might be able to lose weight easier, it is women in their 40s who are best equipped to lose weight and keep it off.
Dr. Khandee Ahnaimugan is a medical doctor who provides a bespoke behavioural programme for weight loss. To book a comprehensive assessment at his Harley Street Clinic please email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone +44 (0) 20 3130 4770.