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Turned 40, gained 10 pounds

SirGrotius

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Hey Gents.

I know you are all lithe, rich, sophisticated forumites, so I thought I'd come here for inspiration. I recently turned 40 and like a clock have been inching up in the waist, and realized this morning that I've gained 10 pounds. This is 10 pounds of pure lard around the waist, so is so classic, so bad, and frankly uncomfortable with all my SF-esque clothing.

Any insider tips would be useful to shed back to my baseline. There's such a cacophony of information online that I'd rather just lean in with like-minded individuals.

Thanks!
 

FlyingMonkey

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I am not a doctor or qualified in this area, but I have had experience of losing weight successfully and spent a lot of time reading everything there is about it out there. Here's what I think (and it's only that).

The good news is that you've still got a few years before it gets really difficult to lose weight. The bad news is that it's still hard to lose it and keep it off. But not at all impossible.

The basic thing is eating fewer calories. You can't avoid this, and any diet 'gurus' who saying otherwise are bullshitting you. You also can't rely on exercise alone. Exercise doesn't actually use as many calories as people tend to assume. However, developing habits of exercise is good for making sure the weight stays off in the longer term.

The basic formula is: cut the crap. Cut out sugar, sweets, cakes and over-processed foods (white bread, white rice etc.). It does help to watch your fat intake a bit, but it's not as important as people used to think. Much more important is eating lots of vegetables, especially green vegetables, good quality proteins (whether it's from meat, fish, nuts or pulses), whole grains (and whole grain products). Dairy is okay but not too much. Drink water. Reduce alcohol, cut out beer completely if you can, but feel free to have the occasional glass of wine. I would say don't go to extremes like paleo / keto because it's very disruptive and therefore hard for most people living relatively normal lives to maintain in the long term (and personally, I am not convinced by the pseudo-historic rationales for these diets). Above all, make sure you enjoy the food you eat, and eat well. If you treat this as deprivation, you will end up cheating... but it will still be hard initially to give up sugar and sugary things, and harder the more you regularly eat now. Sugar, after all, acts in a quasi-drug-like way on the body.

Combine this with regular exercise - weights are particularly good for assisting in weight loss, as is cross-fit type of intense workouts, speed work (whether running or cycling) and interval training. In the longer term, gradually develop a more balanced fitness program that fits your life and abilities - one that you enjoy or find rewarding - I think that's the key to staying fit - and staying fit will help you maintain your weight, having lost the pounds.
 
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imatlas

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^ the only thing I could possibly add to this excellent advice is that it’s basically what I’ve done, and after a couple of years of working out regularly and eating healthy (but not obsessing over it) I’m down 20 pounds from my peak and overall am in the best shape of my adult life at 51.
 

Piobaire

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Putting on weight is the easiest way to keep fat off. Adding lean body weight, i.e. "muscle," raises one's basal metabolism.

Also, not drinking 30 or 40 ounces of whisky a week helps. Ask me how I know.

198# at 52 down from 272# at 42.
 

SirGrotius

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This is fantastic advice above! Love how condensed, passes the gut test, and avoids too many drops in the pan.
 

Peter1

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It gets exponentially harder once you pass a certain point. I lost 15 pounds this year at age 51 (started from 5'11" 172, so not fat but the weight had crept up over the past 5 years) through a combination:
--early morning exercise at a gym. I do spinning classes 2-3x a week or ride outside when I can, plus medium intensity weight training to keep muscle mass. So, a total of about 4-5 exercise sessions a week, but no more than 45 minutes each, except for long bike rides on weekday mornings. I'm under no illusions that exercise can replace calorie reduction, but there is some evidence that slamming a cup of coffee at 645 then hitting the gym can boost your metabolism. So long as you resist the temptation to offset that with a huge postworkout breakfast.
--no snacking between lunch and dinner (this is really hard to stick to if I have an early lunch)
--no seconds at dinner. Surprisingly I've been able to do this through willpower alone. It's a hard and fast rule.
--cutting back on alcohol. I try to have no more than a total of 4-5 glasses of wine/beer/etc for a week. Generally that means a glass of wine when it pairs well with food rather than having a glass of wine or a beer to "unwind."
--finally, going vegetarian 4-5 nights a week. I don't think it necessarily means fewer calories but I think that the accoutrements that go with mean or chicken are often high in calories, like sauces or mashed potatoes.

Bottom line: it's really, really hard. For me it's not really going to happen on diet alone -- I need to exercise, too. But YMMV. Just cutting back on calories without considering how you eat and what triggers it is not a great strategy.

Unless you're clinically obese, you probably shouldn't do any crash diets. I'd estimate that I've cut back about 500 weekly calories, but I didn't really see any results until about 4-5 months into my "program." Then all of a sudden the weight started coming off, around a pound a week. I've been able to maintain between 155 and 160, which feels right for me. When I hit 155 I basically started getting intense cravings for fatty foods, which said to me that I was probably at my bottom line.

Downside is I've got a bunch of expensive SWD pants that are now too loose. Happily that's coincided with a general loosening of men's silhouettes...
 

Peter1

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Just to add: my "insider tip" -- what i think really helped lose the weight, is the early morning exercise. Happily, I like spinning classes -- nothing like seeing a sweaty, lycra-clad girl's butt bobbing up and down right in front of you -- but the ones at my local gym start at 730, which means I need to be out the door at 715. I'm home around 830 and starting work at 9, so the timing is perfect. I cannot make time after noon to exercise, not with a family etc.

Key to any workout is making it easy to do and hard to avoid. I basically have zero excuses.
 

SirGrotius

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Funny you mention that. I used to track calories here and there and looked back about 5-6 years to when I was very thin and noticed that I either skipped whole days or weeks of tracking calories or otherwise ate a good amount of food; the differential was that I used to run 4-6 miles a day! It sounds obvious but I gave that up around 38-39 when the pounding was a bit too much for the feet and legs and it's been a slow but steady creep since then.
 

Peter1

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Funny you mention that. I used to track calories here and there and looked back about 5-6 years to when I was very thin and noticed that I either skipped whole days or weeks of tracking calories or otherwise ate a good amount of food; the differential was that I used to run 4-6 miles a day! It sounds obvious but I gave that up around 38-39 when the pounding was a bit too much for the feet and legs and it's been a slow but steady creep since then.
Funny you mention that. I used to track calories here and there and looked back about 5-6 years to when I was very thin and noticed that I either skipped whole days or weeks of tracking calories or otherwise ate a good amount of food; the differential was that I used to run 4-6 miles a day! It sounds obvious but I gave that up around 38-39 when the pounding was a bit too much for the feet and legs and it's been a slow but steady creep since then.
I had to give up running a few years ago after tearing my labrum and needing surgery; before that I'd mix up running and weight training.

What's really interesting is how much less I need to eat now. My 11-year-old daughter eats more than I do and she's pretty slender.

Cycling or indoor spinning is a great low impact way to work out. Swimming, too, but it's very hard to lose weight swimming. Plus it's boring as hell, and I say this as someone who swam competitively for about 10 years when I was young. If I were 15 years younger I'd try a Crossfit regimen -- friends who do it have great results.
 

SirGrotius

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Haha, I hear you about swimming! Too monotonous for me and sort of a hassle. I should check out spinning, as my local gym has classes, lots of ladies and it seems dude-friendly enough; there's always at least a coupe workout-heads there.
 

FlyingMonkey

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Haha, I hear you about swimming! Too monotonous for me and sort of a hassle. I should check out spinning, as my local gym has classes, lots of ladies and it seems dude-friendly enough; there's always at least a coupe workout-heads there.
I hate the idea of swimming but I find that when I start doing it again, I like it. There's something to be said for completely repetitive exercise; it can become like meditation. But only in a 25 metre pool: I like counting lengths and 50m is just too long for that.
 

emptym

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Lots of good advice in this thread. Just thought I'd add a plug for martial arts. There's nothing as motivating, ime, as the possibility that someone may punch or kick you in the head. At 45, I started doing pretty intense kickboxing classes 3-4 times a week and have lost about 8 pounds in three months. I'd say my diet has stayed the same.
 

sam67

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Read 'The Obesity Code', Jason Fung, MD. It makes perfect sense. I altered my eating and lost 17 pounds in 5 weeks, basically without breaking a sweat.
 

mhip

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I'm in the same general age group. I'm 6', 170-ish pounds. I love and drink plenty of beer, but I eat pretty clean.
I've become a bit of a label reader. Besides the obvious things like sugar and bleached flour, I look to stay away from fructose, corn syrup, artificial sweeteners etc. Soy ingredients too. If you buy bottled protein or health drinks, it can be dicey because many add texture and shelf stability ingredients that aren't good.
Other than that, do something that makes you sweaty for 20 minutes a day, and consistency is the most important thing. You don't have to kill yourself, but don't take many days off in a row.
 

Reggs

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Make your goals be the new habits you create that will lead to the weight loss rather than the weight loss itself.

You have to restrict calories, but if this makes you feel hungry there is a good chance it won't become a habit in the end. I think fiber is very important when restricting calories because they always make you feel full. When I started to read labels a lot and compare foods I've always been mindful not just of the calories, but fiber as well. A high fiber breakfast will make you much less hungry by lunch for example.

When I changed my diet it was a combination of getting more fiber, while also cutting calories in small ways here and there such as being more likely to use olive oil than butter, a bit less sugar in my coffee every morning. Higher proportion of vegetables, drinking fiber rich green smoothies instead of juice, snacking on raw almonds rather than less healthy snacks ect. Wholegrain crackers instead of tortillas ect. Depending on what kind of food you like to eat, find ways to make little changes like that.

Alcohol is a big one. If I want to unwind, a big change from my 20s to 30s has been a lot less alcohol and more weed. This might seem counter intuitive since weed can make you hungry, but the trade off is that you go to sleep much sooner. Alcohol makes everything too interesting so you stay up longer and that's several more hours a week you are awake and might eat.

After you set new habits, you won't have to revisit any of this. A weight loss goal is a temporary achievement. There is a finality to it. A new habit will last forever.
 

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