OK, we hear stuff like this all the time:
• I’m over 40 and can’t lose weight
• My metabolism has slowed right down
• Whatever I eat turns to fat
So, it sounds like a done deal, right?
Middle age = Inevitable weight gain
But here’s the great news:
That’s just plain WRONG!
(Take it from someone who didn’t see his abs for the first time until he was 44)
So, if you’re having difficulty losing weight after 40, listen up.
1. Don’t Blame Your Metabolism
Dad A: “Man, that’s one heck of a spare tire you’re getting…”
Dad B: “Dude, it’s not my fault – since I hit 40, my metabolism’s in the toilet”
Sounds plausible enough, right?
But here’s the reality:
Our metabolism isn’t some genetically-predetermined number that’s outside our control.
And while aging does have an effect on your metabolism, it’s really fricking minor.
Well, according to one of the most widely used equations, each year will see your metabolism slow down by – wait for it…
…around 5 Calories per day.
That’s equivalent to just three Tic Tacs.
And it’s a number that’s dwarfed by the huge amount of influence we have on our metabolism.
Because your metabolism is effectively your body’s fuel consumption.
And, as with your car, how you use it has a HUGE effect on the amount of fuel that ends up getting burned.
The upshot is that all movement counts.
From squatting 315 lbs or cross-country skiing 20 miles…
…to hanging up the laundry or taking out the trash.
Listen, while there are four fundamental keys to metabolism, we can boil it right down to this: metabolism means movement.
So, if you want your metabolism to keep firing on all cylinders, this should be your mantra:
Never walk when you can run,
never stand when you can walk,
never sit when you can stand,
never lie when you can sit
If we’ve got a slow metabolism it’s only because we haven’t done what’s necessary to get it cranking.
Movement is that something.
2. Losing Weight After 40: The Big Four
OK, the reality is that folks in their 40s (and beyond) lose weight the same way everybody else does.
You burn a bit more fat than you store each day, and you keep that going until you hit your goal weight.
Ultimately, this comes down to losing just a few ounces of fat each day…
…but, hey, keep that up for a week, and you’ll have lost over a pound of fat.
Keep it up for a year, and you’ll be down a whopping 56 pounds!
The mechanics of weight loss really are that simple…
…but the psychology is a whole different deal, and that’s ultimately where the battle’s won or lost.
So here are the four things that can end up making it a real problem losing weight after 40.
Do you come home from work, crack a beer and reach for the remote control?
Or do you lace up your running shoes/ play with your kids in the backyard/ head to the gym?
Now, whatever you chose to do, chances are it wasn’t even a conscious decision, it was a habit.
And the more engrained a habit is, the more effort it takes to break it.
So, if you’ve had decades practicing things that keep you out of shape, that’s what you’ll excel at.
After all, practice makes perfect, right?
Of course, that doesn’t mean you can’t turn things around (fortunately, habits can be changed quickly and easily)
But you first need to be aware of them and then you need to make a conscious decision to change.
A key part of that being…
ii. The story we keep telling ourselves
Now, here’s a real-world example from two of my online coaching clients in their 40s:
Sonny: “I used to be into sports, so getting back in shape is way harder for me as I’m so far away from where I used to be…”
Rico: “I’ve always been overweight, so I don’t have the advantage that those former athletes have…”
OK, those aren’t their real names (and bonus points for getting the Miami Vice reference)
But we’ve got two guys, two radically different stories, but both essentially saying the same thing:
It’s EASY for everybody else but HARD for me
And as long as you keep telling yourself that story, you’ll be stuck in learned helplessness forever.
The reality is that you can turn everything around in a heartbeat – this instant – if you make a real commitment and follow through consistently.
Look, getting to the point of making a real decision is the hard part.
But once you’ve made that decision, it’s actually pretty easy.
As long as we’re careful about…
iii. Who we hang out with
OK, we’ve all heard this before, right?
You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with
– Jim Rohn
And we’ll think of things like income, social status and stuff like that.
But it applies to everything else, too: from golf handicaps to waistlines.
Listen, one of the biggest reasons why people here in Japan tend not to be overweight is that…
…being overweight isn’t the norm in this country.
So, what does that mean for you and me?
• Associate with the kind of people we aspire to be, or
• We act as role models for the people we’re spending time with
That might mean joining a club, a group or starting some kind of activity.
Something where we can be inspired by people that are already achieving the things we’re after.
But before we do that, we need to realize that people in their 40s are…
iv. Less inclined to try new things
Expanding your comfort zone is one of the most powerful and rewarding things you can ever do.
We expand by demand
– Gene Tunney (world heavyweight boxing champion 1926-8)
And the reality is that it’s never too late to get started.
Look, I’m an introvert, so putting myself out there is always pretty nerve wracking.
(To be honest, it’s why I’ve yet to publish any video content…)
But in the past two years I’ve made myself enter a swimming competition, a half marathon, a full marathon, and a 20-mile cross-country skiing race.
And get this:
I absolutely suck at running (always have done), and I didn’t learn how to swim properly or cross-country ski until 3-4 weeks before the competition!
So people like my friend, Brendan, have been an inspiration.
As he messaged me:
I always find signing up for things before I know if I will be able to do them forces me to go out and make it happen.
I signed up for my first marathon before I had run a step, my first Ironman not having swum in years, and my first ski marathon without having skied a step.
Often there are moments of regret, but most times you come out the other side glad you did.
I used to be the other way around, in that I wanted to be 100℅ ready before committing to something, which often meant I never ended up doing anything.
A willingness to try things way outside your comfort zone can lead to some amazing discoveries.
BTW, Brendan finished the 20-mile cross-country skiing race in 14th place in a blistering 1 hour 36 minutes…
…while I trailed home 49th out of 50, some 2 hours later.
But Brendan must be a natural athlete and everything’s easy for him, right?
A few years back, he was working in a cubicle somewhere down in Tokyo, overweight and sliding towards middle age.
In his 30s, he maxed out at 220 lbs at a height of 5’10”.
Now in his late 40s, Brendan’s 75 lbs lighter and, as he puts it:
“I’m NEVER going back”
We can all change.
Brendan can do it, I can do it, and you can do it, too.
Losing Weight After 40: Be One of the Few Who Do
Look, nobody is saying that it’s easier to lose weight in your 40s than it is in your 20s.
But here’s the scary part:
However tough it might seem right now, it’s only going to get harder from here on.
So you and I have a decision to make.
Continue as we have been or turn this thing around
And fortunately for us, we don’t have to make this up as we go along.
We can save precious time and effort by role modeling the few who do…
…instead of blindly copying the majority who won’t.
Listen, I’ve lost count of the number of clients I’ve helped get down to body weights they hadn’t seen in decades.
The biggest shift being in their mindset, not fat-blasting workouts or secret fat-burning superfoods.
The reality is there’s still time to achieve your weight-loss goals, whether that means:
- Getting rid of the spare tire, or
- Having a ripped torso that makes 20-something guys (and their girlfriends) double take
Or anything in between.
But the clock’s ticking…
…and there’s a decision to be made.