Help! I’m over 40 and can’t shift this weight – is it my age?

It’s definitely not your age – that’s one thing I will say...

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Are you over 40 and you’ve got stubborn fat that just won’t remove itself, you just can’t shed it? It’s definitely not your age – that’s one thing I will say. Of course, our metabolism slows down as we get older, but getting older is not an excuse to gain weight and keep weight, and then relax into the fact that it’s just a natural part of ageing.

Your metabolism plays a part, but I think for most people over 40 who struggle to lose this weight, it’s the result of our increasingly sedentary lifestyles. What I’ve observed is the convergent pressures of work and home when you get to that sort of age and you’ve got dependents who are older than you perhaps, dependents who are younger than you. Maybe you’ve got pets, maybe you’re reasonably senior or busy in a job, and the time that you’ve had to spend on your health and fitness has just been squeezed out.

With the increased sedentariness with the busyness of life, yet we have labour-saving devices and cars that take us everywhere, combined with the lack of time – your choices are getting squeezed a little bit. You’d like to buy healthier, but the family like something else. Whatever it might be, it tends to erupt in this perfect storm of weight gain – and what we call stubborn weight gain.

There are lots of things you can do, but I think to keep this short and to the point, my top tip would be to go back to basics and look at what works for you, in terms of your diet. Build in more exercise as well and movement around this. But really if you’re talking about weight loss, you’re talking about reducing the calories. It’s a simple calorie in/calorie out expenditure in a lot of respects, but prioritising nutrients as well.

But first of all, have a think about personal diet. If you can do a bit of testing, find out what you’re sensitive to, find out what you’re tolerant to, and start to build a diet that’s really built around you and your unique DNA. And if you do that, you’ll be able to make some very quick choices. I for example know that I’m carbohydrate sensitive, I’m lactose intolerant. So those are two massive things that I used to change my diet – and as a result, I have much more stable energy.

You could also do an elimination diet – cut foods out of your diet, find out how you feel afterwards. The majority of people who have that weight gain, it’s simply that you’re not eating a personalised diet. And combine that with a lack of movement as well, and convergent pressures that I talk about squeezing out the time you’ve got to really pay attention to yourself – could often result in feeling a little bit heavier, a bit more sluggish, a little less energised than you’d really like to be or perhaps you used to be.

However you get there, eat a personalised diet that’s really around you and your current activity levels, and you’ll find that the weight will probably come off. But, if you’ve got any questions, let me know. Sometimes this is a really complicated topic. Email me at: [email protected]

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Leanne Spencer is an entrepreneur, coach, TEDx Speaker, author of Remove the Guesswork, and founder of Bodyshot Performance Limited. Bodyshot is a health and fitness consultancy that helps busy professionals get more energy by removing the guesswork around their health, fitness and nutrition. Visit or email [email protected] to register your interest in our services and connect with us on FacebookInstagram, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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