40-Somethings - Weight loss in the 40s---actually easier?

12-10-2011, 05:09 PM
I've heard so many times that I should expect weight loss to be so much harder now that I'm in my 40s than when I was in my 20s and 30s. Honestly, though, I can't tell any difference in difficulty or speed of weight loss. I started calorie counting and moving more in June, and by mid-October or so, I had already lost about 40 lbs. In fact, it seems that out of all the weight loss attempts I've made in my life, this time has seemed the most effortless. (Maybe it's because I chose to focus on changing my behaviors & not on the scale? I didn't even weigh myself until a few weeks ago).

Has anyone found that weight loss in the 40s is not much harder than it was in prior decades---despite what the common wisdom is?

12-10-2011, 05:53 PM
I'm in my 50s and thought it would be very difficult but I've lost 50 pounds in 5 months. So either we're exceptional people (and I'm sure we are) or the conventional wisdom is wrong.

12-10-2011, 07:23 PM
I think it depends on how you define harder/easier.

Psychologically, it's a lot "easier," but not because of my age, but because I've redefined success (I also found the birth control and food plan - lower carb - that controls the "rabid" hunger I experienced most of my life).

Physically, the weight loss is much more difficult. The calories it takes just to maintain my weight is a calorie level I once lost several pounds per week on (and not just the first week, but reliably and consistently for months and months). My body isn't as resilient as it was when I was younger, and drastic changes tend to cause problems - so I have to be much more patient with myself and with the process.

On one hand, I HAD to learn patience, because the alternative was giving up entirely and I started in such poor health that I couldn't do that if I wanted any life at all, so I had to learn to diet "backwards."

I decided to make healthy changes and commit to them forever, whether or not weight loss resulted. I only made changes that I could see myself doing forever. I eliminated making any changes that knew I couldn't or wasn't willing to do forever. So the 500 calorie diet was no longer an option.

In essence, I stopped focusing on the number, and started focusing on eating healthier and being more active. In fact, when I started the only concession I made to the scale at all, was deciding to make "not gaining" an important goal. Just "not-gaining" not "losing x amount by y date."

Since the number on the scale is such a low priority - I don't get discouraged as I did in the past. In fact, I no longer get discouraged - really ever, because when I suspect that I can't lose even another ounce, that thought doesn't worry or disturb me, because that's not my main point for changing my diet and exercise anyway - it's to improve the quality and quantity of my life.

Weight loss is just one of the rewards for the healthy behaviors (and it's not even the most important one).

I think by making it all about the number, and the health and social benefits being seen as only "side benefits" rather than the main point - it's no wonder that the weight loss success statistics are so lousy - we're making it all about something that has no intrinsic value.

I'm older and I'm wiser, but I'm also luckier. If I hadn't found low-carb eating and birth control that controls the hormonal hunger, and had continued to make it about a quest for a specific number, I think I would still be on the failure train.

12-10-2011, 10:08 PM
Another one who found age to be a benefit. I started this weight loss at age 49 and managed to take off the 100 lbs I'd been carrying around for 20 years. My metabolism may have slowed slightly but my self knowledge and patience with myself more than made up for it.

12-11-2011, 08:10 AM
I really can't say for sure. Last time I lost weight, I was in my 30s and I was able to lose around 4 pounds a month, which is average. I did it without exercise. I feel like this time is more difficult, but I'm paying super close attention to calories and the scale. The first two diets I did was with a nutritionist and then with LA Weightloss, so while I followed the plans given to me, I wasn't really watching like I am now.

My previous two diets were in my 20s and the in my 30s, and I seem to remember losing much faster, but without records or remembering proximate start and end dates, I can't say for sure. I know I lost roughly a pound a week during my second dieting experience, and I didn't exercise at all. This time it's less than a pound a week on average, and I'm exercising while counting calories. I can't say if it's my metabolism or my diet that has slowed the loss... Maybe if I went to one of these weight loss places or did LA Weightloss again, I'd do better. I don't know.

12-11-2011, 08:10 AM
I wish I could say the same, but not so much here. I'm 43, and have been working on my weight loss since sept 22 of this year. I've lost about 16 pounds at present, which sounds good.. but I lost 12 of them the first month. The other 4 have limped along over 2 months. It's been frustrating the last while.. I'm not sure if I'm actually on a plateau and that's why it's been so slow... do they happen so soon into weight loss??? No idea.. but my other 2 big weight losses in my life (once on ww in my early 20's and once on Atkins in my early 30's) provided MUCH faster results and much less frustration. This time I'm calorie counting, and while I definitely can't say I've been perfect over the past month and a half that my weight loss has slowed down to a crawl.. I've been fairly good. This morning for example, I typed my full day yesterday into livestrong, just to check in and be accountable. I don't log everything every day (maybe need to start again?? Who knows...) but I try to keep a running tally. Yesterday (with a glass of white wine and a slice of pizza for dinner... I have 3 kids and my hubby is away on a business trip so I'm having to make some easier foods for my own sanity to cope..) I came in at just over 1700 calories. And I knew that was not a great day. So my cals have definitely been in a good range for losing. I feel like if I'd done this exact same thing in my 20's, I'd have had quicker results.

And exercise has been better than what I did in my 20's and 30's... I'm consistently exercising 1/2 hour of pretty hard core cardio and weights 3-4x a week.

So I SO wish I could agree... my real hope is that I've been on a bit of a plateau and I'll see some better results SOON.

I'm happy for all of you guys though! :hug:

12-11-2011, 08:33 AM
In essence, I stopped focusing on the number, and started focusing on eating healthier and being more active

This is what I did, too. I'm wondering if that is why it has seemed so easy this time around.

But, then again, I don't think the change is just mental. I can't get past the fact that I must have been losing at least 1.5 lbs. a week this time for me to lose as much as I did within the time period that I did. In my last attempt at losing in my mid 30's, I remember losing 1 lb. a week (at that time, I weighed myself every two weeks).

Maybe what made the difference is my activity level. In my younger years, I would do my "formal" exercise and little else. This time, I have made a conscious effort to move more in general. I seem to always be doing some cleaning or some other task. Also, my homemade tread-desk has made exercise seem effortless because I'm getting some work done while I exercise. In addition to the walking I do on that, I have also started taking some fitness classes at the gym. So, overall, I think I'm getting more activity on a day-to-day basis than I did in my younger years, and perhaps that has made the difference.

12-12-2011, 03:34 PM
The major difference for me losing weight at 42 compared to when I was in my 20's and 30's is that I have more realistic expectations of my loss. Losing 4 pounds a month is good for me but it seems slow to others. When I was younger, if I did not lose 2lbs a week I would give up. Through all the ups and downs, good days and bad, I have remained committed to losing the weight and not giving up.
Has it been easy NO but it has been worth it.

12-12-2011, 07:33 PM
This time has been "easier" for me. It's been easy to say no to the sweets. It's been easy to say no to the beer/alcohol. It's been easier to say no to second helpings. All of this because I want to change more than I want the food. I think it takes a maturity I didn't have before this. Is the weight coming off faster? I don't think so, but in the long run it's easier because I'm fully comitted, regardless of outside influences. I feel very lucky and blessed!

12-18-2011, 02:00 AM
It was MUCH easier for me in my early 30s to lose weight than it is now. I lost 80+ lbs then (and unfortunately, I gained it back ... and they brought friends) and the weight flew off 3-5 lbs a week w/o exercising.

Now, I do hard-core 45 min sessions 7 days a week on the eliptical (6+ miles each time - I'm drenched when I'm done), and eat right and I've *only* lost 32lbs in 16 wks.

Yes, it's 2 lbs a week ... but I'm not an itsy bitsy thing - trust me, a couple of weeks of 5+ losses wouldn't kill me. (Or my thighs) :wink:

But that's okay ,.. my goals are a little bit different this time around. I don't have a goal weight - I just want to be healthy.

12-19-2011, 09:37 AM
I have found it easier in my 40s only because of my maturity level and ability to stay focused. I'm much more tired and achier. I just don't bounce back physically like I used to, but find that I make smarter decisions and am able to put off instant gratification more easily.

12-20-2011, 06:52 AM
Not sure if it was easier because of my age, but like others have said my desire and determination to succeed were fuelled by a need to "DO THIS ONCE AND FOR ALL!" I could not face the thought of carrying the extra 145lbs around for the rest of my life. I wish I had succeeded 20 years ago, but won't look back - only forwards :)

12-27-2011, 08:20 PM
Great post and great responses.

I've never really been successful with weightloss. I haven't yet succeeded this time around. But, I do keep trying.

I am very appreciative of finding threads like this one to keep me going.

Best wishes to us all.

12-28-2011, 11:30 AM
I am finding weight loss is as easy now as it was in my early 30s as far as the mechanics of it go. But it is easier mentally as I've learned so much about myself and learned to accept myself more as I've matured. Plus, I'm at a point in my life I can concentrate more on myself than when I had babies.

Plus, I am more at ease with imperfections now than at 20 or 30 and I think it's that by now- women in their 40s, so fe have perfect bodies any more, so my best seems more acceptable.

12-28-2011, 02:35 PM
Plus, I am more at ease with imperfections now than at 20 or 30 and I think it's that by now- women in their 40s, so fe have perfect bodies any more, so my best seems more acceptable.

I am so with you on this. I am no longer seeking perfection. I remember in my 20's when I would lose down to a healthy weight, I would still be quite critical of my body. Now, though, I'm really proud of my body and what I can do with it (e.g., walk up the stairs without losing my breath)! I always joke around with my sister about how I have very low standards now :).

Kara, you make a great point about income. Although the little extras aren't needed to lose weight, they do make the process easier / more fun. For example, I really am enjoying the fitness classes offered by my gym, and I'm grateful that I can afford to join a gym.

12-28-2011, 03:16 PM
My husband and I are going to Hawaii in May and we are starting a diet together to lose weight before our trip. That is great, but I am going through menopause and I have a tougher time losing weight. I can lose about 15 lbs. or so and then I just come to a standstill. It is very discouraging. No matter what I do, I cannot lose weight after that initial loss. Please help! If anyone has any tricks that will help I am looking forward to trying them out! I have quite a bit to lose. I want to eventually lose about 120 lbs. but I want to lose as much as I can before I go to Hawaii. Thanks!

01-05-2012, 12:54 PM
I find that it is much harder to lose weight in my 40's rather than when I was in my 20's and 30's. My metabolism isn't they way it use to be at the resting rate. I could eat more then without gaining as much weight. Also, now I have to exercise twice as hard and twice as long to get the same results as I did in my 20's and 30's.

01-05-2012, 01:35 PM
I find the responses fascinating. I'm not sure I've really tried to lose weight since I've turned 40. I've done some fits and starts with exercise programs without really trying to control what I eat. I just wanted to get in better shape. I've been reading a lot this fall/winter about weight loss, healthy lifestyles and I came across an ebook a few months ago called "Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle". The author claims that our metabolism slows down about 10% on average per decade in general. Of course, everyone is different.

This doesn't surprise me, or really affect my motivation at all, it's just information. Success at weight loss/fitness/healthy living is a subjective measure based on the individual. I know that I have become infinitely wiser over the years, and with that comes a new perspective on life in general. In my 20's I expected things to happen quickly and they didn't, at least not quickly in the terms of a 20 year old. In my 30's I expected fewer things, but still expected them to come quicker than they often did. Now in my 40's I expect only the outcome that I put effort into, and only at the pace to which I put forth that effort. It took me 12 years to put on this weight, but a lifetime of poor eating habits, poor workout habits, and false expectations led me to put it on.

It's still simple to lose weight, but it's not easy. I don't think it was ever easy, but with more focus, more money, and more understanding, it does seem like it would be easier. I'll let you know when I've lost some.

01-05-2012, 02:04 PM
I find I can lose quite a bit in a week compared to what I could in my 20's. But I think that has to do with the fact that I am 100 pound heavier and have so much to lose. I suspect once I get down to my 20's weight I will find it difficult.