Weight Loss Strategies for Women Over 40

by | Jan 5, 2024

Today is all about action. I made a post on my personal Facebook profile that lists all of the different types of strategies that I would use for my weight loss, if you would like to reference that. It must have been prior to Thanksgiving, so maybe November 21 or 22. It is a long post but I’m going to go through it with a little bit more depth and finesse here so that you can walk away with actionable strategies. 

Weight loss strategies for women over 40. 

If you’re a woman, and you’re 39 to 59, you are in the right place. As much as my coaches and I delve into every aspect of weight loss inside of Self Made, and as much as I am personally in full belief that;

  • Whatever we think about ourselves, 
  • What we think about food, or different foods or food groups, 
  • What we think about the scale, 
  • What it should say, 
  • What it should do, 
  • What we think about different diets, 
  • What we think about our body, 
  • What we think about other people and other people’s thoughts and behaviors or thoughts about us. 

I do think that is where the real work is. 

It’s very easy to use thought work as a way to escape actually doing and there are hundreds, if not 1000s of different strategies or actions that you could consider and execute. Which is great because weight loss is not just one way. It’s 100% about finding the ways that work for you. 

If you need a filter to decide what strategies to incorporate into your own personal protocol, here are some simple questions that I always ask myself and I would ask my clients. When considering a strategy, ask yourself;

  • Is it easy to do? 
  • Or at least easy enough? 
  • Is it sustainable? 
  • Is it enjoyable? 
  • Are you willing to give it time? 
  • Are you willing to pivot without quitting? 

I recommend to my clients to use Sundays as a day to evaluate and revisit their protocol. That’s what I would do. It’s a great way to assess the whole week, to get excited about possibilities and next steps. 

It can be very overwhelming to think, a new strategy, a new way to lose weight, it’s got to be something big, it’s going to be something really restrictive, it has to have a lot of structure, it has to be hard, or it’s probably not going to work. I just want to offer that small tweaks can go a long way. You don’t have to be extreme, or change everything to get results. 

I’m going to include some of the strategies. I would suggest that if you’re also evaluating or reevaluating what is next for you, take what is useful and leave what is not. 

1) Intermittent Fasting. Part 1.

You would have to be living under a rock if you had not heard of, or even tried, intermittent fasting. I broke this down. 

An eating window or intermittent fasting with a 16 hour fasting window is not my favorite for women. And I do see it backfire all the time. Many of the studies on intermittent fasting and the benefits of intermittent fasting are done with men who have a 16 hour fasting window. 

For those of you who are not math inclined, if you’re talking about intermittent fasting and a fasting window or an eating window to be fasting for 16 hours would leave an eight hour window for you to eat. That is not a huge window. I don’t know how you would get more than two meals, maybe two meals and a snack or three small meals. Our schedules just are not conducive to an eight hour window. We’re working or running around or dropping the kids off or have business travel, it’s hard to do just an eight hour window and to actually get enough calories. 

So what do I suggest instead? If someone wants to play with intermittent fasting, and I do have clients who I help with intermittent fasting, I bring it down to more of a 10 hour window as the smallest window to consider. If you’ve never done intermittent fasting, start with a 12 hour window. Which means basically 12 hours a day you can consume calories in other 12 hours, you are not. Out of the 12 hours you are not consuming, seven or eight of those hours, you’re probably asleep. A 10 hour window with two, three or four meals usually works really well. A 10 hour window is pretty aggressive to start with. 

2) Intermittent Fasting, Part 2.

Intermittent fasting works because you are reducing calories. You’re taking in less because you have a shorter window and I think a lot of people want that shorter window because they feel like that’s the limiter. The problem is hormonal, when I am pushing my meals off and I am getting hungry and hungrier. Being hungry. isn’t a problem except when you go a long time without eating, you’re going to have different fluctuations in your blood sugar. Which in turn are going to affect your cortisol. 

Where I see this eating window go kind of crazy is that then we feel like we’re going to push off the eating, and we’re going to eat between like 12 and eight, we’re gonna eat between one and nine, and we’re pushing off to later in the day. This is affecting our cortisol curve, our ability to think, and our ability to sleep. I don’t see it as a long term play. Do we have days where we naturally eat less, or we get tired and we go to bed without eating dinner? Yes, all the time. 

If you are interested in intermittent fasting, think about it. You don’t have to be drastic, because if you are drastic, it will not be sustainable or enjoyable. You’re not going to be able to go a long time with this, and you’ll probably quit. I feel like every single woman I spoke to inside Self Made who had gained and lost the same 20, 30, 40 pounds, had done some combination of intermittent fasting and keto. 

3) Macro Tracker.

Self Made is not a macro tracking program. Do I have a lot of clients who do use a macro tracker? Yes. At some point though, if you want your weight loss to be permanent, to stop obsessing over food, food groups, amounts of food weighing and measuring your food not being able to weigh and measure your food, you’re probably going to want to let go of macro tracking. Unless you and I are going to be eighty five years old, sitting around eating tea and crumpets, whipping out our phone and getting out our macro tracking app. That is something that I no longer want to do. 

If you have never done it, or have not tracked macros in a while, or feel like you aren’t really sure how much food you’re taking in. Especially if you don’t know total calories, how much protein, how many carbs or fat you are taking in. If you don’t really know, it’s not a bad idea to use a macro tracker. However, I would commit to using it religiously. 

What does that really mean? If you’re going to use it, use it. It can be very useful for data. It will show you the exact breakdown of carbs, fat protein, and it works great, but you do have to be committed to tracking everything. 

If macro tracking was the magic, then everyone would already be at their ideal weight or in their desired body. Macro tracking is essentially calorie data. If your primary issue is stress eating or mindless eating or eating beyond hunger or being too restrictive, or shit talking yourself, macro tracking is really inconsequential. It’s not going to solve the wrong problem. 

If you’re going to use a macro track are you doing it right?

  • How honest are you? 
  • Are you really using it? 
  • Or are you kind of using it? 

If you’re going to use it, use it if you’re not going to use it, don’t use it. Otherwise we’re just using it as a tool to buffer. Oh, I’m tracking macros. No you’re not not if you’re not weighing and measuring everything. 

None of this is about you’re doing it wrong. I’m really trying to help you find something that works for you. 

4) Track one habit at a time. 

We get into this, I’m doing all the things. I have to do all the things. I have a big checklist. I have a habit tracker. I need to do these 10 things in order to lose weight. And that is simply not true. 

Sometimes it is just solving one problem at a time. I would track water or your steps. Maybe it is your sleep. But just pick one thing to focus on and make rules around it for yourself. It is tempting to try and do it all. Often that leads us to do nothing at all. 

All or nothing thinking that is that shotgun approach to doing all the things. I want to do it all. Then we actually don’t know what works and what doesn’t work. You don’t need to do it all to get results. You do have to pick something and follow through. 

5) Meal Delivery Service.

Have you ever thought about trying out a meal delivery service? Many women, like you and I, are busy. Not busy scrolling Instagram and saying how busy we are but we’re actually busy. We work full time, maybe you;

  • Have your own business, 
  • Have a long commute, 
  • Do business travel, 
  • Have kids playing sports, 
  • Are running a business, 
  • Are running a household, 

You are doing all the things. Then we feel bad about not spending time on meal prep, not being able to feel successful because we don’t have all of these beautiful, curated Pinterest worthy meals stacked up in our refrigerator. 

Meal delivery services help you because they require zero decision making. Once you’ve made the decision to order the meals, some of them are fresh, some of them are frozen or partly frozen. Think about how much time, energy and money a meal delivery service would actually save you. If I’m thinking about driving to the store, parking, walking to the store, shopping, checking out, loading the bags into the car, driving home, unloading the bags, unpacking the bags, start prepping  meals. That means I have to wash, shop, and cook. I have to wait for the meals to cook. I have to portion out the meals. I have to clean the kitchen. I have to clean out the containers after the meal is eaten. 

  • How many hours is that for you? 
  • What ways can you make it easier? 
  • What if you just bought three salads at your local pizza place to carry you over for a day?

I’m not against cooking or learning to cook. I do think that is a basic skill we need in order to survive. The issue is that our thoughts make it way too complicated. The idea that meal prep has to be a certain way and look a certain way. I have to do it in a certain way. It’s got to be pretty and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. And my kids are picky. And this one and that one. 

You know what? Let your kids eat whatever they want. What is it that you need to eat? It is entirely okay that you eat something different. If you’re stuck on that, just remember, that is a mindset issue not a weight loss issue. It’s just a thought or a belief that you have.

6) Plan your meals one day in advance. 

Yep. That’s the whole strategy, and it’s so simple that most of us will dismiss it. I talk about this a lot. Just knowing what you’re going to eat for the day you were in you. 

Let’s say you wake up at 6:30-7 in the morning. You do your morning things in whatever order. For me, I go get coffee, some people might shower first and then get coffee, maybe you don’t drink coffee, maybe you have tea, maybe you have water, does not matter. You probably have 5 or 10 minutes as you’re sitting down to eat or drink or whatever. Get organized to write down what you’re eating for the day. 

You will probably know by your calendar. 

  • Are you driving to work? 
  • Are you picking up your kids? 
  • Do you have a meeting? 
  • What are you doing today? 
  • Where will you be? 
  • What do you have in the refrigerator?
  • What can you get on the way home? 
  • What are you taking to work with you for lunch? 
  • Am I looking for a sandwich? 
  • Am I looking for not a sandwich? 
  • What am I going to eat? 

It can be generic as long as you start with whatever protein and whatever vegetable as a base. If you don’t eat animal protein, how are you going to get your protein satisfied? Are you eating protein bars or you have tofu? You get the idea. 

You can plan a lot. Most of us, if we’re really honest, we eat a lot of the same things over and over and over again. I think our brain thinks,  if I plan ahead, then I can’t be spontaneous. We’re really not that smart genius, we like probably a selection of things. We rotate in and out for a couple of weeks, the salad with chicken or the salad was steak tips or the steak tips and rice or the steak tips, broccoli and rice, or the steak tips in a potato or turkey chips and be like it, we don’t do that many different things. That’s the reality. 

7) Meal Plans.

If you have been in my free group, or in my friend circle, I have given away countless meal plans. I do this thing called the Four Day Fix, the Five Day Fix, I have another Free Five Day Fat Loss Fix coming up next week. In fact, I give away so many different meal plans and you probably have ones even not for me. 

Here’s the deal. If I sent you a meal plan, or you have one, have you followed it? Why not just follow it? Don’t overthink it. Just make your days sort of plug and play. Notice if your brain is offering you reasons why it won’t work and decide to think something different.

Many of us get into this place where we think;

  • It can’t be that easy. 
  • It has to be more complicated. 
  • It’ll never work. 
  • I tried that already. 
  • That’ll be boring. 
  • I did that one. 

That’s the thing, when we really think about long term weight loss, a lot of the things that we’re going to do to lose weight and keep it off are going to be repetitive actions. 

If you want to have clean teeth that don’t make your dentist cry, you’re going to brush your teeth multiple times a day and floss every single day. If you want to go to work and get a paycheck, what you’re going to do is drive to work on time, every single day. If you really look around at most of our basic life, the things that we do on autopilot, on repeat. It is the same stuff over and over and over and over to get the result that we want. Our brains, however, make a big deal about eating food. It won’t be exciting. I need it to be different. It has to be something else. It’s time to call bullshit on all of that. 

If we want to take action. What drives action? Ultimately, it’s your thoughts that are going to drive the action. If you’re not in action, or any of these strategies feel like they’re off for you, figure out why. 

Again, you only need one thing. There only has to be one thing I say today, that seems like Oh, I could do that. Don’t look for the hard one. Don’t make yourself do something you don’t want to do. Find the one that’s like, Oh, I could do that and then don’t dismiss it. It’s very easy to dismiss something that doesn’t seem that complicated. 

8) Close your kitchen.

Decide on a time every night that your kitchen is closed. I’m not saying don’t eat dinner, deprive yourself, under-eat, starve yourself, lock the kitchen from your family, don’t let your kids eat snacks, tell your kids they’ll get fat. No, no, no, no. 

However, when we find ourselves feeling out of control or undisciplined or out of our regular routine. Pants are getting a little tight. A lot of what’s happening is that we’re just mindlessly eating after dinner. Where from the time we walk in or the time we start making dinner for our family and being part of the cleanup or whoever goes in your house, we’re just constantly eating. 

What is very helpful, it has worked well for me and a lot of other people, is just decide if I eat dinner at 5:30 or 6, what time we close the kitchen and just stick to it. It’s just not that hard. That way your cabinets, the pantry, and the fridge are closed. Make it non negotiable. 

If your brain freaks out about closing the kitchen for yourself at a certain time. This is your work. Figure out why this is a problem. 

9) Don’t drink your calories. 

Are you filling your shakes or smoothies with extra calories? 900 calories of nut butter? Nuts, nut butter, those things will add up. Are you free pouring oils when you’re cooking with olive oil or coconut oil or whatever? Are you drinking juice? Are you drinking alcohol? Are you drinking non-diet soda? Where can you save some calories? 

Think about it. If you just saved 100 calories a day, from whatever you’re currently doing. 100 calories a day is like half a glass of juice. Half a can of real soda a day, one small glass of wine that you’re not drinking. Over the course of a week that’s 700 calories saved. 700 calories over the course of a week. That for you could be just without making major changes. One pound a month without doing an extra peloton ride, without restricting anything. 

10) Carb cycling.

Have you heard of carb cycling? This is something I do. Most of us have been brainwashed to think about carbs in a negative way. Let’s be honest, we think carbs make us fat. That is simply not true. In fact, I do see many women, many of my clients, start to incorporate carbs. They feel better, have more energy and also lose more body fat.

What is carb cycling? If you need help with carb cycling, you should direct message me. Carbs are a lot of things; fruit, vegetables, starchy carbs, like rice or quinoa or beans. I am not saying

Oreos are carbs, although they are carbs and fat. I’m not talking about necessarily incorporating your favorite doughnuts. We’re really talking about incorporating higher carb content. Maybe it’s bread or cereal or oatmeal or something like that. You can carb cycle with macro tracking or a meal plan. 

Basically, it’s picking out certain days of the week that you’ll have higher carbs. For most women, I usually start with two or three days of higher carbs and pair that with strength training sessions. Usually, the higher carb days will also be lower in fat, but not always. If I’m doing something custom for a client we’ll start there and see where it goes. 

Carb cycling works really well. I like that. 

11) Walk. 

Yep. Walk outside daily, if you can. This is a great way to feel better without stressing your body. 

Sometimes we’re doing too much cardio. 

  • We’re jogging. 
  • We’re running. 
  • We’re sprinting. 
  • We’re on the peloton.
  • We’re trying to break a sweat. 
  • We’re trying to get our Apple iWatch to give us the rings.

Sometimes we’re going to notice that we’re just overly hungry from all the cardio. 

If you’re that jogger, the runner, the sprinter, that person, trade it in for walking. Give it a month and see what happens. Spoiler alert, every single client I have ever had over the course of 25 plus years, every single client that I have convinced to trade in their jogging, or their running. Every single client who traded that in for walking lost weight. And by way I mean body fat. 

12. Keep a food journal. 

If you’re somebody who might be resisting planning your day in advance, I understand. Just record everything you eat. I really think this will be eye opening and may even help you address the mindless bites, licks and tastes. If you’re going to do it and you have to record four m&ms. No one really wants four m&ms. I want 400 m&ms, so I’d rather have zero because I don’t want to write it down. And I certainly wouldn’t ever want to put it in a macro tracker. Personally. 

13) Anchor meals with protein.

You’ve heard me say this a bazillion times, but I’m gonna say it again. This is the one thing that you can pay attention to. Anchor every meal with protein, even if it’s just a few ounces. The smallest portion I’d be thinking about is a four ounce portion of chicken or steak or fish. That’s a pretty small portion, if you’ve never weighed it out. If you’re new or newer to paying attention to protein, work up to it. Maybe it’s two or three ounces. If I’m looking at a minimum of 75 grams of protein a day, I’m probably going to need a little bit more protein. It will help keep your blood sugar stable, and you will find that you stay satiated longer. 

14. Big ass salads. 

I love myself a big ass salad. I tried to do one as often as possible. A lot of people don’t necessarily have time for lunch, but definitely for dinner . It can be that kind of relaxing time especially if you feel like you need more volume in your meals. It’s very satisfying, sometimes that fork to mouth action. It can be very filling. 

You can put all different kinds of things in a salad. Sometimes we hear salad and we think of a big bowl of lettuce. It can even have starchy carbs. A lot of people have rice and a salad or quinoa salad or beans and corn and a salad. But you also have protein. You can get a lot of different kinds of vegetables and leafy greens. It doesn’t have to just be a bowl of iceberg unless you love iceberg. 

Honestly, you never have to eat salads to lose weight but they can be very satisfying and a great way to get a variety of nutrients. 

15. Make time for eating meals. 

If you want to lose weight, and you want to keep it off, and you want to have balanced hormones, and you want to not be hangry or hateful, you have to make time to eat. J

You wouldn’t make your dog or cat or child go 10 hours without eating. You just wouldn’t do it. You have to make time, rather than just grabbing whatever’s in front of you. Grabbing snacks, or a piece of fruit, crackers here and there. It’s just not ideal. Obviously, it is okay in an emergency, but for day to day weight loss results it won’t work. Your blood sugar and your insulin is on a roller coaster and your body will not be tapping into fat stores. 

16. Eat more. 

I know this seems completely wrong or opposite of what you have ever been told, but if you’re used to restricting, restricting, restricting only to find yourself overeating, you are on that ultimate merry go round. That will always keep you stuck. You don’t have to create a huge deficit in calories every day to lose weight. Plus, you don’t want to lose muscle mass. I know we’ve all been fed this idea of eating less and moving more. You don’t want to get to the point where you’re eating so little that you’re constantly starving, and then only overeating. 

17. Stop letting the scale dictate your protocol and your whole freakin life. 

This is a game. You’re chasing a number, which will fluctuate daily and even hourly. If for example, every Monday morning for three weeks in a row, your weight is up a pound each week, then something might be up. But using the scale as the guide instead of your own self or your plan, or your decision making abilities, you’re just going to stay in a struggle. You’re giving away all of your power to an inanimate object. 

I do think this scale could be helpful to see trends, just like a macro tracking app. It is just data. But when we’re chasing a number, and doing everything in our power to make the number go down, only to probably over eat. At some other point, we’re just playing a game that you can never win. It’s a never winning game. 

18. Rotate your proteins. 

I do believe I see this. Sometimes our body can become sensitive to what we give it all the time. This is probably more about our gut microbiome. Something might not be great there because our bodies can perceive that food is a foreign substance when we have some intestinal permeability. You might also have heard of leaky gut. You could do a couple things just to test it. 

If you eat chicken all the time, take it out for a week. Maybe substitute in some turkey burgers or bison or steak or fish. Do something different for the week. Give chicken a rest and just see what happens and if you feel better. 

How would you know if you had a food sensitivity? If you feel bloated or constipated. You almost have an aversion to eating it. You might even have something like breakouts, rashes, that kind of stuff. It’s hard to explain because it’s different for different people. 

I would just pay attention to how your foods make you feel. Trade out whatever you eat all the time for something else. Even for just a week and then reintroduce that food. I know for a lot of women it’s all about a chicken with salad. I’m sorry, a salad with chicken. It’s salad and chicken salad and chicken salad and chicken go everywhere in the world and order that just try to take it out for a week. 

The other things I sometimes rotate for my clients are things like protein powder. I might drop that out and see if I feel better and/or change the protein powder. Same kind of thing with eggs or egg whites sometimes will cause aggravation for people. 

19. Do you need to add protein?

A lot of people do. Think about adding a protein shake powder or even a ready to drink protein shake. Think about adding egg whites. I add egg whites to my protein shakes and people are like what? Right just the liquid egg whites. They’re already pasteurized. 

I’m always looking for ways to sneak in more protein. So can you add in cottage cheese or Greek yogurt? Can you find a protein bar? Can you cook up just more protein and add a couple more ounces to every meal?

20. Calories do matter. 

Keto diets, Paleo, Whole 30, they push certain foods that aren’t always going to give you lots of volume. Because fats are highly caloric like olive oil and coconut oil, you want to pay attention to what you are consuming. You can be very healthy, and eat steak and salmon, and all sorts of real food. But if you’re not paying attention to total calories, you might not lose weight. 

There is a difference, like Whole 30 for example, if you really read the literature, it was never designed for weight loss. It was just a byproduct of being more intentional, more healthy and eliminating processed foods. Maybe the issue is just total calorie intake. You are doing a good job eating real food and eating high quality food. You just want to make a couple changes. It could be that you stop the free pour of oils or you consider eating maybe leaner cuts of protein.

21. Sleep.

If you’re not prioritizing sleep, you are missing a fat loss hack. It is the ultimate fat loss hack. If there is one thing that I would point someone to is working on sleep. I know it seems inconsequential. It seems boring but there are many hormones involved with sleep and fat loss. 

If you’re sleeping on average, less than seven quality hours, you might want to reconsider your sleep schedule and or troubleshoot why you are not falling asleep and staying asleep. I’m always very surprised how many women do not take supplements at all. Sometimes women have tried melatonin and had a bad reaction or just didn’t like it. Sometimes it’s the supplement itself wasn’t a good one. 

I remember taking melatonin that I got from Trader Joe’s and I swear to God, I thought I was having a panic attack. It was a long time ago and I never took that brand again. I don’t remember what the dosage was, maybe it was too much. I don’t know but it did not go well for me and I remember it very vividly. So sometimes it’s just getting a higher quality brand. 

I would start at a very low dose. Start with one two or three milligrams at a time. I would look for the extended release or sustained release so that it’s going to release throughout the night. There are many other supplements on the market that can be very helpful for sleep, L-theanine, 5HTP, GABA, lots of different supplements that will have a variety of different herbs. I’m a fan. Unfortunately right it’s not a one size fits all. 

I definitely think you should be taking magnesium. Magnesium by itself may not help with sleep, but the magnesium L 3 and 8 will. This is something we work with clients on inside of Self Made is sort of helping you nail down what supplements are going to work for you. Sometimes it’s pretty easy to figure out. I sometimes even rotate. I don’t take the same thing day after day after day, month after month and year after year because you know sleep patterns change. Sometimes a time change screws things up or travel or extra stress. I have a whole array of supplements that I will draw from depending on what is going on in my life. 

22) Mark or hide your food.

Lots of women tell me, I prep all this food and then my family eats all of it. So if you have food that you made, or you ordered some pre-made food, solve the problem and decide to stop feeling guilty about it, you’re doing all the prep, then guard it, label it, claim it, hide it. Commit to your food and your food plan. Have a conversation with your family and be like, these three containers here are my lunch for the next three days. Do not take those. Sometimes we just assume everybody in the family should know what to do, what not to do, what to eat, what not to eat, and that was mine. They don’t. 

23) Gut health.

I spoke on this a little bit earlier to focus on your gut health. Focus on your microbiome. Maybe take those probiotics you’ve heard about. You could add fermented foods like sauerkraut or kimchi, which I think make great condiments actually. If you use dairy, look at adding some fat free or low fat Greek yogurt. Green bananas are a resistant starch. If you don’t like green bananas, that is okay. You don’t have to eat them. Cooked potatoes cooled and then reheated. have resistant starch and resistant starch are a great pre biotic food that feeds good bacteria in our gut. There are a lot of different things you can do to have better gut health and there’s a wide variety of probiotics that address different concerns. There are probiotics that do address leaky gut, there’s probiotics that address vaginal health, etc.

24) Stop taking weekends off. 

I don’t mean don’t go on vacation. If you’re making the weekend a free for all, and then dieting all week, you can likely maintain your weight but you will not lose weight. You can still go out to eat. You can still have fun. You can still be social. It doesn’t really matter what other people are doing. If you’re like, but everybody’s drinking and everybody’s eating. That is the problem to solve. If you solve the weekends, see what happens. Make a food plan. Plan for the weekend. 

It doesn’t mean you can’t eat your favorite foods. What I think happens for a lot of us is that we just get caught in the cycle. We eat and overeat all weekend. We go out with friends, we’re running around, we get overly hungry, we grab this, we grab that. It’s kind of like, well, this is a day off so I should be able to do whatever I want. I need to relax. I need to rest. This is my time. Then we wake up Monday feeling a little full and not very good. Then we aren’t that hungry and we don’t eat very much on Monday. We kind of go through our week, restricting and getting back on track. I have to reset. By Friday night we’re headfirst in the Cheez-Its and wine. If you want to not just lose weight, but keep it off, we have to break this pattern. 

25) Clean up your environment.

Your environment is your house, your desk, your refrigerator, your cubicle. Do not buy foods that you love to overeat. It’s really that simple. Stop trying to be moderate with things that you cannot moderate. As much as you can lose weight, and drink wine or eat chocolate chip cookies, if you cannot, or don’t want to be moderate with something, then just get honest about it and stop bringing it into your home. I mean, that’s the reality. 

That’s when I really break it down like I’m buying M&Ms, not because I want to be moderate with them but because I want to mindlessly eat them. I want to buy a family size bag and keep putting my hand in them. I just have to be honest about that. So I make a decision to do it or not do it. Mostly I’m much happier when I stopped doing it. There’s no reason to do it. If there is something else going on, okay. 

I know some of you are like, but I can’t because of my kids and my husband. No, you’re an adult. I’m assuming you’re not 10. You can make decisions about what you bring into the house or what you allow to be left on the counter or what is in the pantry. You can make decisions and then you can start working on it. There are times in my life that I can eat a few M&Ms and there are times in my life that I cannot. It’s just that simple. A lot of it is when I decide that I am purposely for whatever reason allowing myself to overeat. Sometimes I do. Sometimes I allow that but I am very conscious about it and it just takes time. We are not going to fix it. 

Our mindset, we’re not going to fix everything and it just stays fixed. It’s kind of like you don’t water your lawn once or for one week and expect that it’s going to stay green. Many people have the misconception of, I already worked on my mindset, my mindset is already good. Just like building muscle or keeping weight off or continuing to be healthy it’s a constant. It becomes who you are. 

  • I drink the water, 
  • I go for a walk, 
  • I lift the weights, 
  • I eat the protein, 

and I don’t do it once. I don’t do it for one week. I don’t do it for six months and decide it doesn’t work. I just keep on going.

  • I might make some changes, 
  • I might level it up, 
  • I might increase the amount of workouts, 
  • I might increase the amount of protein, 

but I keep going. You can make that decision. 

26) Reminders.

If you’re somebody who responds well to visual things like post-it notes, little affirmations. Use those words. Some statements might be helpful. 

You can try things like;

  • I’m in charge. 
  • I’m not a victim.
  • I only eat when I’m hungry. 
  • Food doesn’t fix feelings. 
  • Will I feel happy after I eat this?
  •  What will this solve for me? 
  • Will eating this solve my problem? 
  • Why am I eating? 
  • What is it that I really need? 
  • Am I hungry? 
  • What am I hungry for? 

Those little reminders, you could put them in your refrigerator, your desk, your mirror, anywhere that you will see them. In your planner. You can write them down. You can find the things that you need to be reminded of. You can put them all over your pantry.

I don’t care if your family likes them or not. I’m kidding. I really don’t actually.

27) Gratitude.

I talked about this around Thanksgiving, making gratitude part of your life. Remind yourself what is good, what is going well, count your blessings, even just for the little things. It is easy for us to find all the things that are wrong. That’s our brains job. Dropping into gratitude is a great way to reframe the shit that our brain loves to dwell on. 

28) Celebrate.

Stop waiting to be happy. We think we’re going to be happy when we lose weight. We’re going to be happy when this happens. We’ll be happy at a later time in the future. But really, we can be happy now. 

We can find the wins every day, and celebrate those. For every step that you take, every walk, every glass of water, every hour of sleep, we can celebrate that. We’re making changes. We’re putting in the time, energy and investment into becoming the person that we want to be, so celebrate it. 

29) Non-food rewards. 

Do you need to give yourself some external motivation along your journey? There’s nothing wrong with it. Not because we’re just trying to celebrate the scale going down, but to give yourself rewards for making a plan, sticking to the plan, doing the workouts. We don’t want to tie every single reward just to the scale. 

You could think about doing things like;

  • That new pair of sneakers for your walks, 
  • The new workout pants or a new journal, 
  • A pedicure,
  • A massage, 
  • Buy yourself a plant or flowers, 
  • Get a new water bottle,
  • Meet a friend for a coffee date,
  • Put a $10 bill in your piggy bank for each week that you follow your own plan. 
  • Donate $5 to your favorite charity for every weekend, you stay on plan, maybe the charity is you. 

You get the idea for these non-food rewards. We can celebrate and find activities that are not all based on getting the cookie or getting the ice cream. Even if you were raised that way. 

30) Schedule things out.

One of the things that has been helpful for my clients is to schedule out something. Many times we’re used to planning. We’re used to going on a diet for a vacation, for the wedding, for summer, for our 50th birthday. There’s nothing wrong with that except if you’re going to extremes.

If you’re using a fad diet, doing something that is unsustainable, trying to lose 30 pounds in 30 days only to regain 35 pounds in 15 days, you’re going to lose a lot of water weight and muscle mass too. You’re also going to lose a lot of steam trying to do it that way. That cycle can repeat over and over and over till it gets harder to lose weight. We’re gaining back more body fat and not regaining the lost muscle, which you’ve heard me say many times. 

Something else you can think about is maybe doing something like planning a photo shoot for yourself or for your family. Pick a date in four weeks or four months and do it up. Just for you. Get the full on hair, makeup, the fun outfits. Allow yourself a day of beauty and glamour, even if the photos are just for you, or maybe include your family. 

If you don’t want a photo shoot, that is okay. Why? I do ask why sometimes. I’ve done a lot of photo shoots for business. For the last five or so years, I’ve had different photo shoots. I did photo shoots when I competed. I found they had a lot of value. It helped me see myself in a different way because I tend to be very critical of myself. I can say a lot of negative things about myself and have a lot of negative thoughts. It was very interesting to go through that process at all the different times. If you don’t want to do a photo shoot, that is okay. If you don’t think that you’d have any use for the photos or you don’t want the photos. I’ve even had clients do boudoir shoots which by the way is not my bag. But if it is your bag, maybe do that. 

You could do something like a day of beauty, a spa day, maybe a personal shopper to pick out some updated outfits, a closet makeover, a weekend away by yourself. The point being that you’re giving yourself something to look forward to, something to focus on. If I know I’m getting my photo taken, I’m paying attention to my food, my exercise, my sleep, my staying on plan, and feeling good. It’s not about needing to go on a crash diet because I’m a Sports Illustrated model. I’m going to be in a bikini on a beach. If you wanted to be in a bikini on a beach, I don’t have a problem with that either. I think you have to make it your own. 

Well, this was a lot. I am all about getting into action. All you need to do is take one action a day, be it drink a glass of water, get extra sleep, get extra steps, lift weights, eat protein. Don’t talk shit about yourself. Write your food down. That’s it. Keep it so simple. 


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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