At 45, I'm leaner than I was at 25
Do I have at 6-pack? Nope. But as much as I'm not typically a bathroom selfie person, I'm proud to post this image on my 45th birthday.
I don't work out like a crazy person. Only about 20 to 30 minutes a day of either yoga or high-intensity circuits (something any busy person could fit in) and lots of long walks. I mostly workout at home, in my bedroom (because I'm lazy like that), but I get it done. I allow myself treats (hello vino!), I don't obsess about food, but I do practice daily habits that have kept me within 3 lbs of my current weight for the last 4 years (with the exception of my fitness competition weight which was short and fleeting).
Sure, I’d love to see rippling abs in my midsection and delts for days, but I'm actually really happy with the body I have, and the level of health and fitness I've attained. Not just "for a 45 year old" but for me in general. I assure you, I would NOT have posted a picture like this when I was 21!
So how do you get lean and stay that way, even when you’re in your 40’s?
Starting with the right amount of calories and macros is a great first step for many people, but let’s face it, it can be hard to maintain that level of accuracy every day. Even more effective is the process of developing certain behaviors that minimize mindless eating and maximize living comfortably with food in any given situation.
A few simple, but extremely effective fat loss habits I encourage clients to focus on are:
- Taking a fish oil and multivitamin every day
- Getting enough protein and healthy fats in at every meal
- Mastering meal satiety to overcome snacking habits
- Actually chewing your food and taking at least 15 to 20 minutes to finish a meal (I bet you would be surprised to see how fast you consume food)
- Reducing (or better yet eliminating) process carbs, or at least employing a timing strategy so you can enjoy your treats without gaining weight
- Finding a minimal effective dose of exercise and maintaining a consistent (but doable) fitness routine
- Managing appetite & cravings through macro balancing
- Eating foods that are as minimally processed as you can manage (yes, there are ways to eat healthy even for the super busy road warrior)
This is not an exhaustive list, but it’s the foundation of a well-structured diet that will help you lose weight and keep it off indefinitely.
And if you think this approach is overly simplistic, go ahead and try it. You might be pleasantly surprised at your results.
It has taken me YEARS to get to a point where I understand what works for my body (and what doesn’t). With the knowledge I've gained around the fundamentals of exercise and nutrition (aka no magic bullets) and even more importantly, understanding human behavior, I've been able to create an autopilot approach to my health and fitness and now I'm doing the same for others.
Seriously, I couldn’t ask for a better way to make my mark on the world.
Related: How to cultivate well-being after 40.
Precision Nutrition Coaching
On that, I’m excited to tell you guys I’m preparing to take my exams for my Precision Nutrition Coaching Certification. After that, I’m off to Toronto for a well-deserved vacation! When I get back, I’ll be opening some time slots for one-on-one coaching. I don’t do long term contracts, nor I don’t do cookie cutter workout and nutrition plans, and I generally focus on women who don’t have a ton of time (or interest) in spending hours at a gym. The focus of our coaching relationship is finding a balance of nutrition and workouts that work for you and your lifestyle. At the end of the day, that’s the only way to enjoy a lean body (at any age) that you can manage on autopilot - so you can worry about more important things like enjoying your life.
Caren is a certified yoga teacher, fitness instructor and ADHD Coach. As the founder of The Fit Habit, she shares ADHD-friendly self-care, food & fitness inspiration, along with practical ways to foster mind + body wellness.
My thoughts keep coming back to this post. Re-creating a new positive relationship with food isn't easy.
Oh Jill, I know!! But I have found that focusing on behaviors rather than calories and macros has made a huge difference. I've been laser focused on not snacking lately, but rather eating my meals 3 times a day. Moving into that habit is crazy hard after years of being trained to "eat 6 times a day" and snacking constantly as a kid.
That said, the practice has shown me how much I eat mindlessly. It's amazing what a little behavior change can do!