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Women Over 40: Four New Ways to Approach Weight Loss

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What's the best way for a woman over 40 to lose weight? The most common advice is to go on some kind of diet.

As a weight loss doctor, I spend my working life helping women over 40 lose weight, and what I most frequently hear from them is that diets that used to work when they were in their 20s and 30s stop working as they get older.

If you are over 40 and want to lose weight (and most importantly, keep it off), it's clear that it's time to look at weight loss in a different way.

One thing I have found is that most women who come to see me, especially those who have been through lots of diets, have developed much healthier expectations about weight loss. In most cases, rather than looking for what works the quickest (which is what might have been important to them previously), they are more concerned with what works for the long term.

If you are thinking "I don't want to have to do this again," then you already ahead of the pack. You have the attitude toward losing weight that will enable you to get lasting results.

So let's look at four better ways to approach weight loss:

1. Give up on diets or anything that resembles a diet.

How do you define a diet? I think of a diet as any weight loss program that is unlikely to last. This can actually include a lot of things that you wouldn't normally think of as a diet. And of course, this can vary between people. One person might have no problem eating boiled vegetables for dinner every night, while for others it might be their idea of purgatory. Whichever way you choose to lose weight, you should always feel that it is something that you are willing to do for the rest of your life. Many people start doing things and, if they're being honest with themselves, are unlikely to continue in that manner for longer than a few weeks. This is not the way to lose weight for good.

2. Change your habits.

You don't want to be a person who has to rely on "diets" to lose weight. You want to be someone who is able to maintain their weight naturally. How do you maintain your weight naturally? Well, if your habits have changed to ones that help you maintain your weight, then your job is much easier, isn't it? You change your habits by repeating behaviors over and over again. And the behaviors that you are more likely to repeat are ones that are relatively easy and fit seamlessly into your life.

3. Abandon "overhauls" and "detoxes."

I'll admit it. It often feels like you're being good when you go on a "health kick." Overhauling your entire diet or going on a detox can feel mighty virtuous. But these kinds of drastic changes are not designed to last. A better approach is to make small changes in different areas of your eating that you hardly notice. But over a surprisingly short time, these small changes can add up to large weight loss.

4. The double Ps.

A lack of persistence is one of the biggest causes of disappointment in weight loss. Especially as you get older, your rate of weight loss slows. People often trip themselves up by expecting to lose weight as quickly in their 50s as they did in their 20s.

The point here is that you need to be patient and persistent (the double Ps). As I tell my clients: The only way you can fail is by giving up. And if you're making small changes that you barely notice and are happy doing for the rest of your life, what's the reason to give up?

The Approach Makes All the Difference

Diets don't work, especially for women over 40. It's time to abandon them as a solution for weight loss. Instead change your perspective to doing things that you know will last. This is the true path to long-term weight loss.

For more about a behavioral approach click here.

For more by Dr. Khandee Ahnaimugan, click here.

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