How I Lost the Last 20 Pounds After I Turned 40 Years Old

I struggled with 20 to 30 pounds of extra weight all my life. It wasn’t until after I turned 40 years old that I finally lost that last 20 pounds – and here’s how I did it.

Most women gain weight as they reach age 40, and they also gain weight after getting married. The opposite is happening to me, I’m happy to report!

I lost weight when I got married at 35 years old, and am at my thinnest yet, at 41. I’m not skinny, but I’m fit and my tummy is flat enough.

One of the most popular weight loss books on Amazon is The 17 Day Diet: Your Guide to Healthy Weight Loss with Rapid Results. If you’re struggling to lose those last 20 pounds, it’s worth a read.

And here are my weight loss tips for women 40 and over…

How I Finally Lost the Last 20 Pounds – After I Turned 40

The number one reason I lost the last few pounds is because of my husband. He’s lean, and he almost never overeats. His healthy eating habits are so good it’s boring – but they’ve definitely worn off on me. Now I eat until I’m satisfied, not stuffed.

So I guess my first tip for losing that last 20 pounds – whether you’re 40 years old or not – is to marry a guy who has a healthy relationship with food!

Adopted a dog

The best way to lose those last 20 pounds is to get a dog! I take mine on morning, lunch, pre-dinner, and post-dinner walks. Granted, not everyone works from home and can walk every four hours — but most people can go for morning and evening walks.

Play with the dog, cat, or husband every time I want to snack

When I feel like snacking or overeating, I bury my face in my dog’s tummy! I tickle her, wrestle her to the ground, and chase her around the house. If my husband is around, I consider pinning him – but I usually go for the dog instead.

One of the best ways to lose weight after turning 40 is to find active activities that make you want to stay away from food. I never eat when I’m play fighting with Georgie Girl – ewww dog spit can make the most gourmet chocolate gross.

Let myself get hungry – it’s how I finally lost those last 20 pounds

Sure, weight loss experts say you shouldn’t let yourself to get too hungry because then you’ll overeat. But my problem was that I never let myself get hungry. I was always either full or mostly full – until after I turned 40, when I learned that it’s okay to let myself get hungry.

Figured out what I’m really hungry for

I’m definitely an emotional eater, and I’m learning how to figure out how my moods affect my eating habits. For instance, I’m working on sample chapters for a book proposal, and all I want to do is stuff my face with Cheetos and chocolate kisses. Why? Because I’m scared and anxious. Because I really want to be a published author. Because I’m tired of being rejected by agents and publishers.

So not only have I put those Cheetos and chocolates out of sight (because out of sight is out of mind – sometimes), I’ve also learned how to read my moods.

“Don’t get sucked into the ‘see food diet’ mentality that makes you want to eat the candy simply because you see it and not because you are hungry,” says Brian Wansink, author of Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think. “We eat more of visible foods because it causes us to think about it more…”

Chewed lots of sugarless gum

Instead of munching on those mini chocolate bars or bags of potato chips, chew gum. I’m chewing a wad of Bubblemint Extra right now – and it definitely satisfies both my sweet tooth and my urge to eat fattening foods. This is one of the best ways to lose weight — especially for people like me, who are prone to mindless eating when they’re anxious, stressed, or scared.

Bought snacks that don’t tempt me to eat and eat and eat

Ugh – dill pickle potato chips, pork rinds, and sunflower seeds do not turn me on. So I buy boxes of them – because I’m not worried about stuffing my face with them. If those mini chocolate treats are your weakness, then don’t buy them. Leave the bags of red licorice and potato chips that could tempt you in the store; instead, make yourself healthy snack packs. Raisins, nuts, and dark chocolate chips will stabilize your blood sugars and fill you up, which will help you eat less at meal times.

I started counting the empty wrappers

This is another diet trick from Brian Wansink: keep the empty wrappers right in front of you, so you’ll be reminded of how many treats you ate, which will encourage you to stop eating sooner than you would if you weren’t keeping track. It’s easy to keep mindlessly munching the mini chocolate bars and bags of potato chips, and lose track of how quickly the calories are adding up.

One thing I forgot to mention – I do 20 minutes of yoga or Pilates almost every day. Read the Best Yoga DVDs, Plus Tips for Choosing a Yoga DVD.

For more weight loss tips, read What is More Important When You Want to Lose Weight – Exercise or Diet?

Are you ready to lose 20 pounds – whether or not you’re 40 years old?

Before You Go...

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Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen
I'm a full-time freelance writer and blogger in Vancouver, BC. I created the "Quips and Tips" blog series; my degrees are in Education, Psychology, and Social Work. I welcome your comments below, but I don't give advice. I can offer you a prayer and a blessing, though! You'd be surprised how helpful a prayer can be....

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4 Responses

  1. Thanks for your comment, Grady. I think men have an easier time losing weight – in fact, I KNOW they do! I wrote an article about it :-)

    My husband can eat whatever he wants and not gain an ounce. I’ve always wished I was one of those people…

  2. Grady Pruitt says:

    Usually, when I’m eating fruits and vegetables, I can only eat so much before I’m feeling full anyway.

    Playing with pets (children too, for that matter) is a great way to get some exercise.

    Thanks for sharing!

  3. Thanks for your comment, Jan! And congrats on losing weight after you turned 50 years old — that’s quite the accomplishment. It’s an uphill battle to lose weight: the older we get the harder it is.

    It is sorta sad that you can overeat even the healthiest foods…I LOVE fresh fruit, but even that has to be limited.

    I’m interested in your “stress and weight gain” article! Will take a peek at your blog…

  4. jan says:

    I didn’t lose 26 pounds until I turned 50! Decided that I better do something about it and joined Weight Watchers. For me it was portion control that was the main problem, I had a very healthy diet – just way too much of it. I still haven’t worked out how to control the emotional eating though and don’t know if I ever will. I put on a lot of weight when I met my partner, cheese and biscuits with wine before every meal, so you have done very well to lose weight after marriage as it is usually the other way around, well done! I love keeping the wrappers idea it is a very visual way of “seeing” what you have eaten. Another great way is to write down everything you eat, sometimes you can shock yourself. Also if you have to write it down sometimes it is enough to stop you.

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