Why Is Weight Loss So Tricky After Forty?


In my role as a Holistic Nutritionist I like to emphasize vibrant health, well being and the cornucopia of delicious and nutritious foods available for us to prepare inner kitchens. I usually shy away from discussing weight loss as it is something I have struggled with myself over the years. But let’s use this post to dive right in. Gulp!

A few weeks ago I shared in my Facebook Group that I was on a mission to reset my diet and tackle the task of losing some of the stubborn pounds that I still carry.

This is a hugely frustrating issue for me as I really walk the walk with eating healthily, I have boosted my energy so that I can go go go all day (no crash and nap for me anymore!), balanced my hormones (I have the regular cycle of a teen girl and rarely experience symptoms of PMS or menopause)….but still I have this excess poundage!

Well I have worked at eating super healthily for four weeks with special attention to eliminating gluten and sugar (okay, I am going to exclude the week of my birthday!) and also taking supplements to heal my digestive tract.
FINALLY! I am seeing some movement towards my weight loss goal. Boy do I have clingy weight! Clingy and stubborn!

This is weight that I gained not after I got married and settled or whilst carrying my babies but in the two month run up to my move with three toddlers in tow from small town UK to Phoenix, Arizona. It is Carb Loading Fear Fat! and I have left it until the most challenging time in life…my 40’s…to try and get this weight off!

Weight loss can be tough for women during our forties.

Can I just share this graph with you?


Yep! This is your monthly hormonal cycle, over 180 days, as you would have experienced it all of your life aaaaand exactly what it would look like as you enter peri-menopause at some point after age 35. You are right! It looks like a shit show! (please pardon my French!)

As our hormones become more disregulated we start to notice the symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats, more sudden urges to pee, greater exasperation with our nearest and dearest, crying jags and the blues, difficulty sleeping and the urge to throw the dinner you carefully cooked for the family at the wall due to their blatant ingratitude. (Why did Mother Nature think it was a good idea to put teens and menopausal women in such close proximity?)

Imbalance in your hormonal also means that it is harder to lose weight especially if estrogen (our juicy hormone) levels start to decline and the stress hormone cortisol becomes dominant.

Peri-menopause can be an anxious time if cortisol becomes dominant causing you to lose sleep and your body to cling to the pounds that you carry while ‘protecting’ you by gathering more weight…. particularly your muffin top around the middle. Never fear! Your body got your back if you ever get into a famine!

Excess weight in your forties is a big risk factor for insulin resistance…the first step towards diabetes, heart disease and stroke as we age. It is a risk factor for Alzheimers disease and is hard on aging joints. Tackling this issue head on during your forties is always a good idea if you want to continue enjoying a healthy and active life as you age.
Unfortunately, belly fat also has the unique ability to generate it’s own hormones including more of stressy cortisol and can disrupt the hormones that regulate your appetite so that you feel hungry more of the time.

For myself and my clients who talk o me about weight loss, I recommend removing sugar and alcohol from the diet (sorry ladies!) as well as reducing caffeine which can spike the stress hormone cortisol and also creates a flight or flight glucose surge which, when not burned off, lays down as fat around the belly compounding your problem! I also suggest some level of support to digestion and gut health to eliminate blowing and weight gain from digestive stress.

I would advise that you load your diet with fibre from nuts and seeds and vegetables, which grabs the cholesterol tail of excess hormone and carries it from the body. Green smoothie anyone?

I also recommend lifestyle changes such as really watching your sleep hygiene to get more zzzz’s at night. Practicing yoga and meditation to bring down cortisol levels in the body and moving from intense cardio workouts to lifting weights and other muscle building activities such as ballet barre. Building muscle is important during peri-menopause as
1.muscle burns more calories
2.muscle tension and usage  increases bone density
3.muscle integrity begins to waste naturally with age

Taking time to build muscle during your forties can help you to avoid back pain, that super back stoop and loss of mobility with age. God forbid that I will not be opening my own jar of pickles when I am eighty!

But, cut to the chase. This is me four weeks on from my new regime.


Still a ways to go but feeling slimmer especially my upper arms, back and bum and much less bloaty around the face and belly. I have to accept that my stubborn body is clinging to the weight around my middle but for the first time in a long time I feel optimistic that the weight is coming off!

I am also thrilled with the ‘side effects’ of focussing on gut health…..my nails are long and strong, my skin feels just fabulous and my body feels full of energy and vibrant from better absorbing all the lovely nutrition in my food.

I am offering one and one coaching and I would love to talk to you if you want to finally lose the baby/midlife weight, if you want to feel more energy on a daily basis or you know your digestion needs help as you are feeling gassy and bloat after eating certain foods (often wheat and dairy!)
Working together we can find your optimal vibrant health! Contact me here!

I am also booking a limited number of Free Master Your Hormone Assessments. This is a 1/2 hour telephone or Skype assessment to get to the root cause of your peri-menpopausal hormonal imbalance. I have a series of questions to assess your hormonal landscape based on the symptoms you are feeling right now. I can then offer you advice and tips to help you feel more energy, shift weight or resolve your menopausal heath issue. Drop me an email and I will hook you up with my online scheduler so that you can book at a time that is convenient for you. xx

Legal Disclaimer: The information on this website is not intended to replace medical advice or diagnosis from your family practitioner, specialist or medical doctor. The recipes advice and articles consist of nutritional and lifestyle advice as the sharing of information to support a healthier body.

Louise Innes

Author: Louise Innes

Louise Innes is a holistic nutritionist who resides in Calgary, Alberta. Her balanced take on nutrition brings a refreshing perspective to the world of food.

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