How to Lose Weight QUICKLY after 40

by Gabi Anderson Courtney

Most of us have been there. Eat and drink whatever you like, not even thinking about it, and then suddenly the weight creeps up, and before you know it, you are F-A-T. 

The horror.

I know, I have been skinny as, till about 40, then overnight, I couldn't even take a breath without putting weight on. And I didn't even realize it until it was too late. 

So here comes the diet industry to lend a helping hand.

Trust me, I have tried everything, the shakes (they don't work, packed with sugar and they keep you hungry), the meal plan (my skin never looked so bad due to all the added sugar and preservatives), the prescription pills (you put the weight back on as soon as you stop), and the diet that was so complex that I generally spent all my weekends preparing meals.

The only thing I haven't tried is surgery, and the only reason I did not go down that path is because of the cost. You see, I was fat, but not obese, therefore I did not qualify for it.

So I started thinking about why I failed with all these diets, and I realized that I can name every single reason. I was hungry all the time, they all cost too much on the long run, I hated the artificial ingredients and the amount of time I had to spend preparing the meals, loathed interacting with the diet industry "professional", and most of all, I hated the "you can do it" pep-talk. Don't patronize me, Susan.

So, I made my own diet. I knew exactly what I wanted;

Not to cost and arm and a leg (I prefer to take my money to Chanel, thank you very much)

Real food (you know, stuff you actually recognize)

Easy to prepare (I have a job, and it's not being a chef)

Not to feel hungry (dah)

So, you want the weight to drop super quickly? Here's how:

1. Write down everything that you enjoy eating.  A lot of diets fail because you are eating stuff you don't like, and doing that will not make you feel full. Include basic ingredients only, not meals. Write down things like potatoes (not chips), pasta (not spaghetti bolognese) or apples (not apple pie).

2. Now, cross out everything that has carbs, sugar or has anything artificial (this is unlikely, if you only wrote basic ingredients, as mentioned above.) Ouch, right? Hopefully you still have a fair bit of things on your list (unless you have been eating fast food for years, in which case, seek professional help.)

3. Divide these ingredients into four columns - breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks, depending on when are you most likely to eat them. There is no right and wrong. Different cultures eat different things for meals. I love savoury things for breakfast and quite happy to include a fresh jalapeno. There are no rules here, and certain foods can be added to all columns.

4. Google for ideas! There are many websites that help you with ideas on what to make if you simply list the ingredients you have. Get creative. You can add spices and herbs to any meal, and remember, plant based fats are fine (like avocados).

5. Set up your meal plan. I'm happy to eat the same thing every week, but if you need more variety, you can set a 2 or 3 weekly plan. The less complicated the recipe is, the better it is for you.

6. Portion control. Come on, I don't need to tell you how much to eat, you know that already. Forget the dinner plate, use a dessert plate for all meals and don't stack it as high as the Eiffel tower.

7. Consider your drinks. I have tried diets that clearly stated that you cannot consume any alcohol during the plan. I have set myself up to fail, big time. I generally don't drink during or after a meal, but boy oh boy, I like a glass of crisp dry white wine while I'm cooking. If you drink wine (red or white), keep it to two glasses and have them before you sit down for dinner. If you can do without wine, but would like to have a drink, vodka or tequila are a good choices - I like to add just a splash to my soda water. Don't drink beer or mixed drinks (like bourbon and Coke), they are full of carbs.

8. Learn to love water. I can't say that I was a huge fan either, but I learnt to love it. Sparkling water is fine too. I love drinking it out of a big wine glass with a slice of lemon. You can also make infused waters - add whatever fruit you fancy to a big jug of water, keep it in the fridge, and drink with ice cubes. Aim for at least 3 liters a day. At least.

9. Take vitamins. Choose the ones that your body needs. I generally take a multivitamin, iron and collagen pills. It might be a good idea to check with your doctor and let him do a blood test to see if your body is missing anything.

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