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The Mistakes Women Make With Weight Loss

In today’s post I want to talk specifically to the ladies over the age of thirty who simply aren’t happy with how their body looks. This is for all the women who’ve slowly lost the shape of their youth and just want to know how to get it back!

I’m going to paint you a picture and walk you down a road that I see so many women unfortunately go down. It’s a road that’s cluttered with misinformation, faulty belief systems, and half-truths about weight loss that only result in negative feelings of frustration, low self esteem and thoughts of failure.

Emily’s story

See if you can relate to my story of “Emily”. I’m obviously just making up a name for the purpose of this discussion, but I think you’ll find this to be an eye opening illustration.

I’ve heard this same basic storyline from countless “Emily’s” over the years as a weight loss consultant. It goes something like this…

Emily in her twenties…

When Emily was in her 20’s she could have things like potato chips and a diet coke for breakfast, eat a couple meals a day at most, and still maintain a pretty nice figure.

She really didn’t watch what she would eat all that much and rarely exercised. Never-the-less, she had a good shape and would certainly turn a few heads in her bikini back in the day.

She had self-confidence and rarely hesitated to wear an outfit because of how it might reveal her body. When Emily wanted to lose a few pounds for a wedding or some other event, she would simply diet for about a week or so and it typically did the job. Emily checked out a few different diet reviews and is going to try something new.

Emily in her thirties….

Then Emily hit her 30’s, started having children, and watched as the figure of her youth began to fade fast. Tight fitting blue jeans, mini-skirts and summer dresses were being replaced with outfits that would “cover up” and make certain features of her body less noticeable.

She didn’t gain a lot of weight all at once, except maybe during her pregnancies. In fact it was only about on average three to five pounds a year. But by the time she was thirty-five though, she had managed to add an extra 15 pounds that wasn’t there in her twenties.

The on-going transformation of Emily’s body…

Her body started to look significantly different in a lot of ways…it wasn’t just the obvious weight gain. She just didn’t have the same “shape” or figure of her youth. There wasn’t the tightness and tone in her arms and legs like before.

In all reality, Emily was somewhat baffled with the weight gain as her diet hadn’t changed all that much over the years.

In fact, if anything her diet was better than before as she stopped downing the same amount of diet cokes, potato chips, and other junk food like she did when she was younger.

Emily thinks to herself….”How could I change up my diet to be so much “healthier,” not eat excessive calories, and still gain weight?”

Emily tried fad diet after fad diet over the years. And while some worked for a little while, many didn’t work at all and inevitably all the weight came back on….often with a few more pounds to boot.

It must be the exercise right???

Confused and frustrated, Emily comes to the conclusion that it must be EXERCISE and is convinced that burning more calories with cardio will be her solution.

She tells herself that it can’t be her diet since she’s eating healthier and is certainly not eating more calories than she used to.

So she joins a gym and signs up for three aerobics classes a week and decides to do 45 minutes a day on the treadmill. Low and behold, this doesn’t work either!

The long list of what didn’t work for Emily…

Somewhere between this point in her life and the time she started into her forties, Emily had started and stopped countless more diets, started and stopped exercise several more times, bought infomercial products off late night TV, tried a few over the counter weight loss pills, and a handful of other so called “solutions” that didn’t pan out.

The self-confidence of her youth is now something she tries to find in self improvement books at Barnes & Nobles.

She’s pretty much at a lost and dreads even thinking about starting another diet or working out again. In her mind, what’s the use? It won’t work anyways.

Into her forties thoughts of failure and hopelessness have set in…

Regardless of exactly when it was, at some point in time during her journey, Emily only reaffirmed in her mind three common faulty belief systems.

1. That eating healthy and exercising won’t work…

2. That weight gain and loss of shape and firmness  in her body are simply part of getting older and having children.

3. That there’s not much outside of cosmetic surgery she can really do about it.

These are all three LIES!

NOTE: Now before I go any further…even if Emily didn’t have children, she would likely be in a very similar position because of her belief systems and lifestyle choices.

I want to be very clear about that as I see pregnancy being used far too often as an excuse for long-term weight gain. Will you gain weight during pregnancy, of course, but how much weight you gain and whether or not you’re able to lose it post-pregnancy will come down to the same factors most every time.

Alright back to storyline…let’s recap and do a quick summary.

Emily’s journey…the road many women go down.

Emily could pretty much eat whatever, junk food included, in her twenties and rarely exercised but still maintained her weight and a nice figure.

Emily actually “cleaned up” her diet in her thirties and would eat much healthier but still she gained weight. This is even with controlling calories and watching everything she ate.

Steadily the progression continued, year after year, she would gain more weight and lose the tone and shape of her body.

The MISTAKES: take away lessons from Emily’s story

Alright ladies, what I’m about to tell you in the next few paragraphs will either make the light bulb go off in your head or you’ll read through this in complete denial and continue looking for some magic bullet solution.

Whether you could relate to everything in “Emily’s story” or maybe you’re just starting down that road…here’s the TRUTH about what happens.

The first thing you need to understand is how your metabolism is impacted by hormonal balances. Obviously, the higher your metabolism, the easier it will be for you to maintain your weight.

For many women in their twenties they can get away with a poor diet and still not see that much of a change because their hormone levels are naturally high and they haven’t lost any lean muscle yet.

The problem is both (hormone levels and lean muscle) start to steadily decline after about age thirty unless preventive measures are taken. With the decrease in hormone and muscle, metabolism declines as well.

For every pound of lean muscle that is lost, your metabolism gets turned down a few clicks, and fat replaces it. Little by little so the transformation goes.

Low calorie diets only make the problem WORSE by speeding up muscle loss and further wrecking metabolism. With each yo-yo dieting attempt it gets harder and harder.

Then we have the excessive cardio done while on a restrictive calorie diet. This is extremely counterproductive as well. It’s the same problem with hormonal shifts and the impacts of losing muscle.

Burning more calories from doing cardio, when there wasn’t enough energy to support metabolism to begin with, only enhances the catabolic (muscle wasting) effects of the dieting.

You must understand, it all comes down to metabolism, hormonal balances, and lean muscle. Yes of course you need to eat healthy foods to “support” your metabolism and there’s a connection here with everything. The thing is you just have to look at how the human body works.

So here it is….I’m going to put it in big bold letters.


Can diets be used effectively for weight loss? Of course they can, but always short term and always in a way that doesn’t compromise metabolism and lean muscle. The problem is the majority of women don’t eat to support metabolism and muscle, or do weight training for that matter, because of faulty belief systems.

They think weight training is just for the guys and they’re convinced that if you want to weight less, you need to eat less.

These faulty belief systems handed down from generation to generation are largely to blame for the frustration.

Mimick the routines of those women who have the body you desire…

Ladies, here’s the thing. There’s someone you know who’s had the three kids, etc, and still has the body of a twenty something year old. Go and simply investigate what they’re doing. I’m serious, don’t take my word for it, see for yourself! Investigate what they’re doing for exercise and what their diet is really like.

I’ll bet you dollars to donuts that nine times out of ten (with the exception of 5% of the population who have the genetic gift of an ultra fast metabolism) these women are eating several small “supportive nutrition” meals and day and they’re doing some sort of resistance training.

It doesn’t matter if it’s pilates, weight training, boot camp, body pump, whatever….they’re doing something to provide RESISTANCE for their muscles in conjunction with cardiovascular exercise and a healthy, supportive diet.

The bottom line is dieting and avoiding resistance training is a common MISTAKE for women and the end result will always be the same. You simply have to look no further than the TRUTH about how the human body works to find your answers.

Hormonal levels (especially testosterone and growth hormone) decline rapidly after the age of about thirty for women. These are two very powerful hormones that impact metabolism and lean muscle. Resistance training can help to increase those levels naturally.

Low calorie diets done over long periods of time simply result in decreased thyroid production and a slowed metabolism (along with increased muscle loss)

But wait there’s good news in all this!

No matter where you’re at, regardless of your age, you can start reversing the negative impacts of low calorie diets and a loss of lean muscle.

It may take you a little longer than someone else who hasn’t lost as much muscle yet or decreased their metabolism as much…but the factors for transforming your body will ALWAYS be the same. Here are two things you MUST have…

A “supportive nutrition” diet (eating several small meals with a good mix of carbs, proteins, and fats, through out the day to support metabolism and lean muscle)

A concern for muscle (doing resistance training in some way, shape, or form)

So there you have it…the reasons why most women struggle with weight loss and more importantly how to break the cycle for good. It’s never too late to get started with applying the things that really work.

Shane Doll CPT ,CSCS is a certified Charleston personal trainer, fat loss expert, speaker, and founder of Shaping Concepts Personal Training Studios. Learn more how you can receive a FREE no-obligations trial of his Charleston personal training programs and experience the Shaping Concepts difference for yourself.

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Category: Fat Loss.