Beyoncé's Weight Loss has Lessons for Women Over 40

06/03/2012 21:59 GMT | Updated 06/05/2012 10:12 BST

Beyoncé is well on her way to losing 30 pounds of weight she gained after having her baby. That's great for her, but what interests me more is how it affects others trying to lose weight.

No matter how much we say that we are not influenced by others (especially celebrities) most people are in fact hopelessly affected by stories of rapid weight loss. If we know that someone else has lost 30 pounds in six-eight weeks, it suddenly moves the goal posts for everyone else.

Beyoncé is younger than most of the clients I see, so I'll take the example of a 48-year-old woman who decides to lose weight. If this hypothetical woman loses weight in a sensible way, making small changes that she knows she can stick with, how much is a good amount of weight loss? How do you gauge her results?

For instance, if she loses four pounds in a month, is that good progress?

Actually, I would say that for a woman in her late 40s, four pounds of weight loss is very, very good progress. For a woman in her late 50s, this is even more impressive.

And yet, when we compare it to Beyoncé's weight loss, four pounds looks like a failure.

Many women who achieve reasonable amounts of weight loss in a month will give up, because they don't feel they are losing weight fast enough. They question their approach. They might even blame themselves, their metabolism or their genes. But it's got nothing to do with those things. They have done nothing wrong. It's just that when you are doing things sensibly, that's how long it takes.

So if four pounds a month is an acceptable rate of weight loss, how does this explain Beyoncé's results? One report suggested that her personal trainer had actually moved in to her house and she was doing up to four hours of exercise a day. As well as this, she was living on a diet of "protein shakes, egg-white omelettes, pineapple chunks and lots of ice-cold water".

This is not a regular diet or exercise regime. And most women would not be able to sustain this. I cannot imagine the kinds of pressure someone like Beyoncé is under to get back into shape as soon as possible, but I do know that this is not a desirable or realistic strategy for most women.

And also, remember, Beyonce is only 30. It's much easier to lose weight quickly when you're 30 than when you're 50.

Instead of clearing out the spare room for your personal trainer, it's better to take things slowly and gradually. Banish the thought of any celebrity weight loss and focus your mind on achieving a result that is realistic and sustainable for you.

If you take things slowly and gently and make small changes that you know you can stick to, then you will find the whole experience much more enjoyable and therefore sustainable.

Remember, that even four pounds of weight loss a month, adds up to almost two stone (24 pounds) after six months. And realistically, in one year's time, are you going to remember if you lost the weight in three months or six months?

The only way you can fail at losing weight is to give up. And you lessen your chances of giving up when you reset your expectations. For most women, steady weight loss over time is the best way to go.