At first glance roller derby girl, Punk Rope instructor, and personal trainer Mary of Fit This, Girl! doesn't look like she's ever had to worry about her weight. But six years ago she was 30 pounds heavier and stuck in a corporate 8-5 job. Weight Watchers helped her ditch the extra pounds, and she's since left cube-land to pursue her fitness passion by helping others find theirs. Check out her before-and-after story that arcs from age 3 to present.
No, we’re not telling you that you need a tummy tuck (although that would flatten your belly, we suppose). Rather, there are several common health conditions that can make your belly bulge and until you fix the anatomical issues underneath, nothing else can flatten it out. For instance, many women have a diastisis recti, or separation of the abdominal muscles, after pregnancy. In about 25 percent of these women, the muscles never quite come back together, leading to a permanent protrusion. Similarly, a hernia (congenital or from an injury) can also cause your belly to stick out. Both conditions can be resolved surgically.
Fighting constantly with your S.O.? It’s time to address your issues head-on. "Research has shown that cortisol, the hormone that's released during stressful activity, is linked to fat storage,” says Gina Guddet, couples counselor and co-author of Love Metabolism. “And poor communication between couples is the most common type of stress that you tend to experience."
Testing your limits brings about than just bragging rights. Lifting a heavier weight for fewer reps burns nearly twice as many calories during the two hours after your workout than lifting a lighter weight for more reps, according to research published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. Feel smug in the knowledge you’re still torching calories in that 10am meeting.
“As we age, we are at higher risk for weight gain, due to our metabolism decreasing and hormones changing,” explains Kirsten David, a dietitian with EduPlated. “There are also many mental and social barriers over [the age of] 50 that can prevent us from losing weight, as well. Start making healthy changes now and form new healthy habits to prevent weight gain from happening.”
And while the weight room can be intimidating for women, pumping iron is key to getting a toned and fit physique. Don’t worry, lifting heavy weights won’t make you bulky — you just don’t have the testosterone to build the size of a man. Lifting will improve your posture, make your arms, core and lower body more shapely and boost your metabolism by building muscle. Resistance training also helps you hold onto muscle that you naturally lose as you age.
And that’s not just the junk food sabotaging your diet, or the time suckers keeping you from working out. We’re also talking about the fad diets, fitness trends and questionable studies that have made reaching and maintaining a healthy weight more confusing than ever by promising this superfood or that super intense workout is the quick fix to tip the scale in your favor. (They’ve also spawned a $66 billion weight loss market.)
I can’t tell you how much I needed this today, Brittany. I know each of us has a story, and a unique scenario of why changes have happened to our bodies…but I’m sure yours could strike a cord with many others who can relate to the stress, pain, and struggle of unwanted weight gain. I greatly appreciate your raw honesty (and bravery!) on sharing your story and how your account of weight loss can inspire us all. I, too, was the skinny kid, even underweight most of my life, and even after childbirth, would quickly lose the weight (plus more!) after giving birth. I’ve never taken anxiety medications, but have experienced that stress alone, and the cortisol changes that the stress brings on in our bodies, is enough of a catalyst to cause weight gain. I never really had to worry about weight gain (lucky genes I guess)…but then my Mom died, four years ago this month, and my life was turned upside down. I’m an only child, and my Mom was everything to me…my number one supporter, my confidante, my cheerleader, my best friend, my gift of unconditional love. We talked every day, we shared everything, we knew without a doubt, that we could count on each other for everything. My Mom taught me everything I know about life, except how to live without her. Needless to say, the stress of losing my best friend, has taken a toll on me, and I have gained a significant amount of weight over these rough four years. So, thank you for sharing…and thank you for the inspiration!! I adore you, friend, and I thank you for putting your story out there to motivate me, and others, to take the steps that I need to do to get back to my healthy weight. You look fabulous, Brittany, and I’m so proud of you!! Keeping shining, my friend!!
About: Normally, we’d skip right on over a blog that doesn’t identify the author’s name, but the woman authoring “Frantic at Forty” gave us pause. Why? Because her story is one that so many can relate to — a woman about to enter midlife trying to make sense of things and lose weight. The author started the blog just before she turned 40 as a way to stay accountable while she started out to give herself the only gift she wanted — thin. She’s lost plenty of weight, and, even more importantly, found some happiness in the process. We just hope that turning 40 doesn’t mean an end to her blogging.
“Age does impact weight loss for both women and men, and that’s because metabolism slows down, hormone levels decline, plus there is a loss of muscle mass,” says Amselem. “But that doesn’t mean that losing weight over age [the age of] 50 is mission impossible. Diet and exercise are key; however, the common mistake I see is that people eat and work out in the same exact way [that] they [did] when they were younger and wonder why they don’t see results. Those over [the age of] 50 cannot eat and train in the same way they did when they were 30. You have to shift to get results.”
Over the summer, I began to figure out what "eating healthy" even meant. I spent the summer learning to balance meals with protein, veggies, fruits, and carbs. I learned what kinds of foods were good for me and ate less and less processed foods. Once the healthy foods were a regular part of my routine, I didn't have to think as much about making healthy and smart choices. My self-control was more focused on trying to avoid slipping into old habits. 
Most women will need to eat and drink fewer calories and get the right amount of healthy foods to lose weight. Increasing exercise or physical activity may help with weight loss, but choosing healthy foods (lean protein, whole grains, vegetables, and fruits) is what works best for many people to achieve a healthy weight.1 Combining healthy eating with increased physical activity is best. Talk to your doctor or nurse before starting any weight-loss program. He or she can work with you to find the best way for you to lose weight.
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