The New Rules for Weight Loss for Women Over 40

by | Sep 22, 2023

We’re talking all about the new rules of weight loss. I think weight loss feels like the Wild West. 

You’ve probably seen the meme where somebody is batting away things that are flying at them. You’re seeing so much Optavia, Ozempic, fasting, keto, continuous glucose monitor, all of these ads that flash before your eyes on Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn. It’s just one thing after the next and it can make you feel like oh my god, here we go again, I need to do this or what about this, or I’m doing it wrong. I don’t know what I’m doing. How do I lose weight? I’m so lost.  And we end up right back to where we started. 

Most of you are like me. You’re busy. You’re go go go. You’re doing a million things. You’re telling everybody else what to do. Sometimes we want to be told what to do. It’s kind of like showing up for the exercise class, the group fitness class, the boot camp, it’s like thank God just tell me what to do. I don’t want to go to the gym and figure it out myself. I understand that completely.

I’m very used to telling 1000s of women;

  • what to do, 
  • when to do it, 
  • what to eat, 
  • what not to eat, 

how to do all those things. 

I’m going to share with you my own rules, not because you have to do them, but because they work for me. And if I think it’s useful, I want to share it. If you think it’s useful, take it as your own,  make it your own protocol or standard.

I love to tell people what to do. I think sometimes we do need that coach, that help, to sort through things. And you know, I’m really good at that. I’m really good at telling people what to do. Ask my husband or my kids. I tell them what to do, how to do it, when to do it all the time. And I bet you do too. 

We’re busy managing our own household, people at work, big projects, and sometimes we forget to manage ourselves. The new rules of weight loss aren’t about, here’s 10 million more things you have to do to lose weight. My goal for this is to put you back in the driver’s seat. That is it. 

I anoint you the queen of the weight loss rules.

I’m putting a crown on your head and I’m going to help propel you forward while just kind of filling in the gaps behind you.

You’re going to want to lose weight and keep it off, because who would want to lose weight only to just regain it? I think our brain sometimes plays a little trick on us and says, Oh, yeah, sure, I would love to lose weight fast. Even if it’s just for two months. I’ll deal with that later. I’ll figure that out later, and then later never comes and then we’re constantly regaining the lost weight. 

I know for a fact, you’ve probably been like me and want instant gratification. I need to lose weight fast. I don’t care what the consequences are, I just need it now. I’ll figure it out later. Then we never figure it out. And then here we are again.

I know you want to lose the weight, you want less friction, more ease in your life and in your weight loss. Making losing weight and keeping it off just a part of your life. That’s what we have to do if we’re going to be the maker of our own rules. That does mean we have to show up in our life, with that in mind. 

We’re always thinking about; 

  • What is best for me?
  • Does this work for me? 
  • How is this going to serve me? 
  • Is this part of my own standard or protocol for how I live my life? 

That is taking 100% ownership of weight loss. I’m in charge of what foods get included and what foods do not get included.

If I had to write out what are my rules, or how do I live my life in terms of somebody who wants to lose weight and keep it off. I talk about wanting to lose weight and keeping it off all the time, whether I really want to lose weight or maintain weight. I think it’s just that delicate balance. We never get to a weight and stay there. We’re always 4, 5, 6, 7 pounds up or down, floating around. 

I personally don’t own a scale. When I talk about wanting to lose weight and keep it off, I’m talking about wanting to fit into my clothes. I want to look in the mirror and see what I want to see. That is it. I’ve been doing this a long time. Prior to the last five years when I really embraced this idea of flexible eating, when I was really more about dieting. That became something that really overtook my life. I was never satisfied, I was always feeling sorry for myself and I was always feeling like I would never get to where I wanted. 

I live my life as somebody who has lost weight and is working on keeping it off. Sometimes my brain offers me that I have to lose weight, or I should lose weight. Then I have a little talk with my brain. But I do have rules. Sometimes I have to remind myself of my own rules. Sometimes I’m in flow and I am just following the rules. I am just in action that has become part of my identity. 

1) Move every day. 

There’s very rarely a day that I don’t do something. My favorite things to do are either going for a walk outside or using my Bellicon Rebounder. It’s been very hot and rainy this summer here in Massachusetts so a lot of my outdoor walk time turned into indoor rebounder time. I think I’ve spoken about my rebounder. It’s really the best fitness investment I’ve ever made. My husband uses it. My kids use it to play on. I love it. If you ever want to talk about a rebounder, hit me up in the DMS. I don’t sell them, but I think they’re great. Moving every day, that is my own rule. If I don’t move, something has gone wrong. I don’t feel well, I’m sick, something has happened. 

One of the things that has helped in the last couple of years is having an iWatch. I know a lot of people have the Apple Watch, Fitbit, Garmin. That is a great external motivator. II want to satisfy the three rings on my watch. Prior to that it was something I just did every single day, like brushing my teeth, or changing my clothes. Eventually, I went for a walk. 

I’m either walking, or I’m rebounding and strength training. Right now I am really staying consistent on hitting the gym twice a week, sometimes three. That’s where I’m at. In the past, especially when I competed, I’d be in the gym five and six times a week. Then, over time, I really had to scale back a lot of my activity. Sometimes I have to be very creative. I don’t have a big block of time, I might fit in pieces of the workout.

2) Meal and Exercise Timing

One of the things that works really well for me and I’ve sort of played it out because I am somebody who has been using a continuous glucose monitor is I do see the benefit of getting in my walk or rebounder or strength training. Actually after I eat it really does help with my own blood sugar issue. So that could be very helpful for you. 

A lot of times you hear about doing fasted cardio, or fasted strength training, and that might not be your best bet. Think about can I place my exercise after I eat? Especially if you can do a 20 minute walk after dinner and that’s your last meal. You’ll find that maybe weight loss is the result that you get from that. 

3) Kitchen closed.

Speaking of after dinner, a rule that works for me and I’ve talked about it, is the kitchen closed time. First of all, nothing good really happens after 6pm in my house except my kids snacking all night. I will usually work till seven, sometimes eight if I have a coaching call, but I know once I hit that threshold seven eight o’clock at night, I’m tired. My brain is not doing anything really efficient. I’m going to probably mindlessly eat. What really helped is me setting that kitchen close time. 

Obviously, for me 6pm works for my schedule. I work from home. I don’t work outside of the house. I don’t travel that much. If I’m on vacation or something is out of schedule, I would change that time. I think that is a helpful tip. If it is helpful for you, great. If it is not, leave it. One of my beliefs is take what is useful and leave the rest. 

4)  Eat three times a day.

For me, my own rule is to eat three times a day.  There were times over the last couple years where I ate twice a day. You would think that eating twice a day means you’re going to eat less. And yeah, you eat less. I think for me, it was too little food. I couldn’t get enough calories, enough nutrition, where my body was going to respond with fat loss. So for me, it’s three times a day.

I have a lot of clients that eat three or four times a day. It depends on your schedule and what time you wake up. It depends on what your workout schedule is like. That is for me.

5) Supplements. 

I’ve been taking supplements since probably 2004. A lot of that obviously started just because I competed and I was going to be working out more and harder and dieting more and harder. I needed more nutrition. I’ve been taking supplements pretty much ever since and they change all the time. 

Obviously, if I’m having an issue where my shoulder is bothering me more then my supplement routine will include more things for joint pain. If I find that I really want to focus on getting my blood sugar down, I might include more Berberine. But I always have basic supplements on board. A multivitamin, magnesium,  fish oil, probiotics. I take supplements. I commit to taking supplements. I’m not perfect. If I mess up. If I miss something one day, it is not a big deal. 

One thing that actually helps me stay current on supplements is I have them out on a counter. I can see them. Then if I’m not taking something I know. I throw away anything that’s been open and it’s old. If I’m rotating things in and out, I’ll just keep them on a shelf nearby. I keep them in front of me so I am reminded 

6) Go to bed.

I like to go to bed. I like to go to sleep. Even if I’m not going to be asleep at 9pm I like to have a nighttime routine for my rules. Things that have served me well. If there’s one thing I feel like I can control is when I say Okay, that’s it and I’m going upstairs. Even if I’m going to spend time washing my face, taking my supplements, reading a book, watching Blue Bloods, mindlessly scrolling, whatever. 

I’m not in the kitchen. I’m not roaming around. I’m not looking in the cabinet. I’m starting to wind down. I’m letting my brain relax. I’m getting ready for bed. And I’m more likely to go to sleep at 10-10:30 than if I tried to stay up and try to have my me time downstairs. I like to have my me time upstairs. 

7) Mental Playlist.

I create what I would call maybe a mental playlist. The beliefs that I want to lean into. Just like my supplement, I rotate these depending on the season I am in my life. Going back to supplements. I take supplements to help me fall asleep and stay asleep.I tweak those depending on what’s going on in my life. How stressed I am. How tired I’ve been. Whatever is happening seasonally. I find that things change and I need more of something or less of something. The same thing with my mindset. 

Sometimes the mental playlist is more about;

  • My habits around exercise. 
  • Feeling calm. 
  • Food.
  • Business and running a team. 

I’ll give you some examples of what a mental playlist could be.

I trust myself, I trust my body, I trust myself around food. There is no food that is off limits. I’m in full control of what I eat, or I don’t eat. It is okay to say no. Those kinds of things. It might sound kind of hokey, but I think it’s helpful. I think it’s helpful to have them, write them down, revisit them to remind yourself, and then change them. You know, they might have to be more aspirational. They might have to be more specific about certain things. 

I can feel any feeling. It sounds very basic, but to remind yourself that feelings will come and go. I can figure out my weight loss. I don’t have to be in a hurry for my weight loss. That is what I have a mental playlist.

1) You are the master of your own rules. Those are my own rules and because I like telling people what to do, I would tell you to do those things. You get to pick what is useful to you. 

Moving back to your new rules of weight loss, I talked about you being the master of your own domain. You are you’ve always been the master. I want to remind you just to get back in that driver’s seat

2) Sustainable vs Doable. I mentioned sustainability. In 2023, sustainable is a buzzword. It’s kind of like how transparent was a word from the COVID. Everything was about being transparent. Now everything is about being sustainable.

Sustainable means different things to different people, What is sustainable for me may not be sustainable for you. I do mean that, like I can sustain a lot of things that I shouldn’t sustain. It is kind of like what does restricted mean to one person? What does dieting mean? What does clean eating mean? Ask 10 People get 10 answers. Sustainable is kind of vague, but I’m going to break it down for you if you want to lose weight and keep it off like I know you do. 

What is doable for you right now? That’s the question: what is doable for you right now and waking up in the morning and asking yourself, okay, what is doable today? Based on my schedule, how I slept, or what is coming up, what is doable for me right now. Then build your foundation around that. In six weeks or six months, we might change things. You might get a new job. You might move to a new town. You might get a new friend, or friends. What things are going to change? You’re going to change, you might be ready for that next level. 

Sometimes the next level or the next part of your weight loss isn’t necessarily about doing more, going harder, taking out whole food groups or eating less and moving more. All that stuff like that. 

The next level might just be figuring things out. It might be;

  • doing less, 
  • less working out, 
  • increasing your calories,
  • adding back in certain foods that you did take out right. 

Sustainable, is kind of inconsequential. 

What is doable for you right now? Do that if you want to lose weight and keep it off. That’s where I would go. 

3) Facts over feelings. Facts, always reminding myself about facts. I need to look at the data, my own personal data. Then actual science. What does science say about weight loss? 

Sometimes you have to look a little bit harder. 

  • Who did the study? 
  • Is this a randomized trial? 
  • What is the study about? 
  • Was the study sponsored by somebody? 
  • Who’s trying to sell you something? 

When I look at weight loss it is very easy for myself and my clients to get really swept away with our feelings. I don’t feel motivated. I don’t feel like this is working. I feel frustrated. I feel XYZ. I’m impatient. Those things can derail us and then keep us spinning around looking for the quick fix. Looking for that next magic supplement or whatever. 

Remember, facts over feelings. 

Figure out what kind of data you have.

  • Do you have a food journal? 
  • Do you have a calendar of your workouts? 
  • How many steps did you average this week? 
  • Are you somebody who is tracking calories? Or points or macros? 
  • Are you sort of tracking that stuff? 

I’m not saying your weight loss is not dependent on all of that. 

When we get to a point where we do feel like;

  • nothing’s working, 
  • I need to change things up, 
  • I need something else, 
  • I need that prescription, 

I need all these things. 

We really want to take a look. What is the fact? What is the feeling our brain is giving us. It’s a crafty little thing that is going to create lots of stories and oftentimes bring us back to the past. What did work and what didn’t work. It is a lot easier to stick to an old story than it is to rewrite a new one. It absolutely is. 

If you want to lose weight, I would urge you to really sit with yourself and make sure you’re looking at the real facts before you give into the feelings. It’s okay, you’re human, you’re going to be impatient or not feel  motivated, but you can do it anyway. 

Ultimately, when we look at weight loss, it comes down to the science of calorie deficit. That is why I always come back to all diets work. Whether you want to be keto or vegan or low calorie, or even do something like Optavia. It’s a very low calorie diet, it’s a calorie deficit. When you are 40, 45, 50 or older, being calorie deficit and or calorie deficits from eating less and moving more aren’t necessarily going to be hormone friendly for your fat loss. 

4) Practice, practice, practice. You have to practice the beliefs. You have to practice the actions. Your weight loss routine, health routine, muscle building routine. You have to be practicing it to the point that it is not something that you easily quit or just fall off of with one bad day. 

That’s sometimes what happens. 

  • We’re trying to do something that is very hard.
  • We’ve created something that is not sustainable. 
  • We want to be able to practice that mental playlist. 
  • We want to practice planning our food.
  • We want to practice eating till we’ve had enough but not overeating. 

We practice all of that stuff. 

That’s what it’s all about. It’s not about having one bad day failing and quitting. It’s about saying, what went well today? what didn’t go so well? What would I do differently? 

Have you ever learned to play an instrument or you did a sport? It’s more about practicing than actual performing. If you look at a sport, my kids do ninja. The practice is like 90% of the time. They practice twice a week for two hours to go compete twice, at most. It’s mostly practicing. Whether that is soccer, softball, baseball, football, hockey, basketball, ballet, ice skating, gymnastics, you name it, it’s practicing.

As adults we think, I should be better at this. I should already know how to do this. I shouldn’t need any help. I should be further along. Why? Why should you be further along if you never practice? If you just keep quitting? If you won’t stick to it? Why should you be further along? 

It’s normal to feel that way but if we can just remind ourselves about the new rules of weight loss, practice is a big part of that. I’m not saying you should practice dieting. I think we want to practice living. Living our lives in the way that aligns with the goals that we have, the reason we want those goals, the vision we have. 

  • What is my? 
  • What does my weight loss look like? 
  • What does it feel like? 
  • Why do I want to be here with the weight loss, right? 

Then I practice eating three times a day or eating for my true hunger. I practice not giving into every urge. I practice planning my meals in advance. I may not always be successful. Just like you’re gonna go to play your piano with your piano teacher and you’re gonna hit a wrong note. You’re gonna hit the wrong key over and over and over until you don’t until you can play that song blindfolded. That’s what this is about.

We all want the Amazon.com body. we want it overnight. we’re not willing to mess up. We’re not willing to stumble. We aren’t willing for it to be unsuccessful. I’m just here to urge you to look at it from a different lens. 

If we want to lose weight and keep it off. We’re going to practice. Then we’re going to hone it. Then we’re going to figure out what works for us and our own rules. The rules around what we eat, when we eat, what we include, what we don’t include. We’re not going to blindly just say all carbs are bad and take those all out, when in fact, there are some things that you enjoy eating. There are some things that work for you. That’s what this is all about. 

5) Mindset is inescapable. Mindset is a very big part of anything that you want to be successful at, whether it is weight loss, climbing the corporate ladder, starting your own business, having a relationship, it is keeping your mind in the game. That is going to be a constant.

Whether you get gastric bypass, go on weight loss drugs, take fat burners, all of that stuff, you still have a human brain at the end of the day. You still have to be able to experience life. You’re going to have things that happen, that aren’t fun, that aren’t happy, that are tough, sad and challenging. That is just part of being human. There is no short cutting that anybody who’s ever lost weight, no matter how they did, it still leads a tumultuous life at best. Whether you want to say it’s 50/50. 50% good and 50% less good or however you want to say it, life is going to get lifey. 

Managing your mind has to be part of your own weight loss rules. You cannot bulldoze into weight loss and just do the things, focus on the actions and say f*ck your mindset, f*ck your feelings and f*ck all that. Yeah, we can do that. It just doesn’t work. 

I am the last person to sign up for feelings. Nope, not gonna have any feelings. Zero feelings. Don’t care about your feelings. Put those away. Who’s got time for that? I don’t. I get it. I’ve had to do a lot of work. If I wanted to help other people, beyond just telling you what to eat, if I want to help you get to the other side, to have more emotional bandwidth to have more emotional well being, to feel better in your life and in your body, is not a number on the scale. 

It is sort of saying, this is being a human. You may not have signed up for this, but here we are. It’s the full enchilada. 

6) Fat loss is a hormonal event (but maybe not how you think it is.) If I really look at permanent weight loss, it boils down to fat loss as a hormonal event. Bringing us back to the science of weight loss, it isn’t just one hormone or another hormone. Hormones work with each other, in symphony with one another. They are messengers, they’re all communicating to each other. Very rarely, with someone who’s just one hormone that is out of whack and one hormone that needs to be fixed, it’s just not that way. 

While we can count macros, count calories, and do all the work. Sometimes less is more if we want our hormones to be optimal for fat loss. When we try to stomp on the gas, do all the workouts, eat less things, take all the supplements, and go go go go go. It’s not the right environment necessarily for our hormones, especially if you’re a woman you’re over 40. 

Our bodies are changing. Our hormone status is going to change, and we can still lose weight. In fact, I want to invite you to a free masterclass. The link to sign up will be in the show notes. It is free. It is new. It is all about mastering your weight loss amidst hormone chaos. It is all about the metabolism, the mindset, the perimenopause and menopause that you’re either in or is coming soon. 


Bonnie Lefrak is a Life & Body Transformation Expert and Founder of Self Made, a program designed to help you tackle the physical aspects of health and weight loss as well as the beliefs and thoughts that drive our habits and behaviors. It is her goal to help women create certainty in their own lives, their own results, and their own abilities.

Weight loss is not about the one “right” diet – it is about MUCH more than that. Weight loss is not about the one “right” workout. Weight loss is not about being positive and putting a big smile on.

Weight loss is about FEELINGS. All of them. Not trying to bury them or hide from them but knowing and allowing the full human experience. Weight loss is not about grinding hustling and will powering your way to some end line. Transformation (when done well) is done from the inside out.

By addressing both the physical and mental aspects of dieting and weight loss, she has coached thousands of women ages 30-55+ from all over and helped them ditch the mindsets that are holding them back, achieve permanent weight loss, and get the bangin’ body of their dreams.

Bonnie is an expert at Demystifying weight loss. She helps you u****k your diet brain. She is on a mission to help women love themselves, to find PEACE in the process of losing weight, taking care of themselves, and leveraging the power they do have to become who and want they want right now.

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