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June 28, 2021

The top 10 weight loss myths for people over 40

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Today we discuss the top 10 weight loss myths for people over 40. I've broken these into 3 categories/focus areas: Exercise, Nutrition, and Mindset.


Say Hello

Hello and welcome to the 40+ Fitness Podcast. Rachel and I weren't able to get together to do our normal talk around with the show this week, she's traveling back from her ultramarathon. She did complete that. So it's going to be really cool to talk to her next week about how that went and how her recovery is going. So I'm really looking forward to that.

And then my wife was traveling back to the States for a friend's wedding and to see some family. So that kind of left me alone to manage the reconstruction work we're doing on her bed and breakfast. And it's a full time job. I'm not kidding, man. There's just so much going on with all the workers coming in, getting everybody everything they need and getting everything done. Dust everywhere. It's a real mess. Anyway, we're close to being done. I think another week or two and we should have all of the construction work done and we'll be one step closer to my wife having her bed and breakfast, Lula's bed and breakfast here in beautiful Bocas del Toro.

I hope sometime in the future you can come check her out there. It's a beautiful place in a wonderful location in the world and so really excited for her. Now, today, I'm going to be sharing the top 10 weight loss myths for people over 40. And hopefully I'll be shining a light on some of the things that might be holding you back. Mindset, nutrition and exercise, all play roles in weight loss. Unfortunately, most of us will emphasize one of these things and kind of deemphasize the other or not pay attention to the other.

And that usually is our undoing because a lot of times we're actually focused on the one thing that isn't the most effective of those three. So hopefully today I'll get you some information and get you started on doing something great. But I don't want you to stop there. If you're someone who has been stop and start dieting on your weight loss, you lose some weight, you gain some weight. You're on this roller coaster. I want you to ask yourself one question.

Haven't I done this before? It didn't work last time, so why will it work now? So if we keep doing the same things, we're going to get the same results. If you repeat old mistakes, you're not going to get a different result. You're going to get the same result you got last time, ninety-nine point nine percent of the time. I don't want you to do that. It's time to make the changes that will stick. These 10 weight loss myths for people over 40 will give you some guidance, but don't stop there.

If you're serious about weight loss, it's time to do something different, something more. It's time to hire a coach. I'd like to see if the 40+ Fitness 12-week gas program is for you. E-mail me at 40plusfitnesspodcast.com. We can set up a call so I can understand where you are and then we can put together a plan that will work for you. Don't let another day, week, month or year pass with you getting the same

You've always got get off the roller coaster. Email me at allan@40plusfitnesspodcast.com and get the guidance, accountability and support you need to lose the weight for good.


The top 10 weight loss myths for people over 40. As I went down and I was preparing for today's talk, I went through and I kind of cataloged the different myths into three basic categories, three focus areas, if you will. Exercise, nutrition and mindset. And as I go through each of these focus areas, I'm going to talk a little bit about their effectiveness in helping you with weight loss and why they're important.

And the reality of it is all three are important. If you're missing out on one of these three, you're going to slow your weight loss efforts. So let's get into it. The first category I'm gonna talk about is exercise. Now, that tends to be the one area where most people will put their effort in with regards to weight loss. You asked them why they gained the weight. And nine times out of ten, the answer is, well, I stopped exercising.

And while that probably played a little role in it, it wasn't the only reason why you're putting on weight. The lack of exercise is not a weight gain model. It's not necessary that you're going to have to put on body weight because you stopped exercising. But yes, exercise can be a helper. One of the side effects of exercising is that it can help you lose weight. It won't make you lose weight, but it can help. So exercise does play a role in weight loss. It's just not necessarily the role that a lot of us think.

1 – X is the best exercise for weight loss

The first myth associated with weight loss for exercise and when the exercise category is X is the best exercise for weight loss. And this usually comes out in the form of a question where someone will ask in a forum or they're asking you directly as a trainer, what's the best exercise I can do to lose weight? I hear that question practically every day. What exercise can I do for weight loss?

And the reality is you shouldn't be doing exercise for weight loss. You should be doing exercise to be fit for the things you like to do. If you like running, by all means, run. But if you've listened to the episode I had was with Sal DeStefano, you know that running and in that type of exercise isn't necessarily going to give you the body that you want. Yes, you probably will lose some weight running, but it's not going to give you the things you need.

And yes, lifting weights can make your body burn more calories at rest because you're carrying more muscle. We're over 40, though, so the ability for us to put on a ton of muscle isn't there. We can't put on some muscle and that will help, but it won't make you lose weight. So the best thing I can advise you is find exercises that you enjoy, find exercise that gives you the look and the feel and the ability to do the things you want to do. And do those exercises do them consistently. And yes, one of the side effects of most exercise is it helps in your weight loss journey.

2 – burning more calories will lead to weight loss

The second myth, burning more calories will lead to weight loss. And so this is sort of a corollary to the other myth we just said. Burning calories is great, but our bodies are very, very smart. They're set to balance. And so if we start trying to burn a bunch of extra calories, one of two things is going to happen.

One, we're going to get really, really hungry. Our body is going to say, hey, we need more calories. So it's going to amp up our hunger hormones. And that's not good if you're trying to lose weight. The other thing that can happen is if you're not eating. So maybe you yeah, you are hungry, but you're not eating more, your body will start shutting down systems that you're not using. So your reproductive system, your immune system, those things are going to function poorly.

You're going to notice it, and so burning more calories is not necessarily the answer for weight loss. If you're active, yes you are burning more calories. And a side effect of that can be that you're going to lose some weight, but you shouldn't be working to burn more calories so you can eat more food. That's not the model we want to go with. We want to go with the exercises that give our body what they need.

And we'll talk in nutrition later about how you should be approaching your metabolism and the amount of food you're eating and those types of things. But do exercises that give you the results you want, not weight loss. That'll just be a happy side effect.

3 – X is the best exercise for toning your butt, stomach, arms, etc.

The third one in this also tends to come in the form of a question, but is X is the best exercise for toning a certain part of your body. And so we'll hear someone will say, what is the best exercise I can do to make my waist smaller or my butt toned or my arms more toned?

First off, a toned or toned toning is a marketing term. It actually had no real meaning in the world. Now, most of us will believe what it means is that we do an exercise that means that our muscles are more fit and our arms are smaller, but is smaller. But the reality of it is to get smaller, you have to lose body fat and exercising is not going to do that. Now, if you get your body fat down below a certain threshold, you will begin to be able to see the muscle underneath.

So if you wanted a six pack abs, you're going to have to get your body fat down below 10 percent, which is not easy when we're over 40. When you do that, then, yes, it might make sense for you to do some abdominal exercises for the sake of building a little extra muscle there so that you can see it. You know, you can appreciate the what you've got there and you can make it look better, more full rounded, whatever you're trying to accomplish.

I mean, you know, with the butt it's a perfect example is people will do exercises to enhance their butt, but they're also already at a very low body fat percentage. And that makes it easier for those muscles to show. So there is no best exercise for toning a part of your body. You can't spot reduce. So it's best to just try to overall do your weight loss and try to lose body fat, do your exercises so you look and feel the way you want to.

Once you've lost the weight, then you can modify your resistance training, your running or other things to build the body. Look that you want the esthetic that you want, but you can't do an exercise to make that happen.


This episode of the 40+ Fitness Podcast is sponsored by Reel Paper.

A little over two years ago, my wife and I moved to Bocas del Toro, Panama. It has opened our eyes to many things that you don't get exposed to in the United States. One is how much waste we humans create, and another is how impoverished people often live in unsanitary conditions. Reel Paper is a company that's working on both of these issues. Reel Paper sells toilet paper and paper towels made from 100% bamboo, which grows faster, requires less water, creates more oxygen, a.k.a. less greenhouse gases, and doesn't require replanting after harvesting.

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4 – Sweat is fat leaving the body

The fourth myth, and this is also in the weight loss category is sweat is fat leaving the body. I used to believe this one. This was one that was real to me. I would do my cardio and I would take pictures of the sweat on the floor underneath the elliptical machine. And while I got really good at doing the elliptical machine and I would sweat, I wasn't really losing weight.

That's not weight. That's water. And yes, there's water weight. But as soon as I drink a glass of water after I was done, I put that weight right back on. So it really wasn't fat leaving the body. It was me burning extra calories. Fine. But that wasn't fat leaving the body. That was me getting my stamina up, which was helpful, but it was not fat loss. And it's funny because, you know, they used to sell these vinyl suits that the sweat suits that you'd run around into sweat off the weight.

And they have these wraps that you wrap around your waist. And I thought those things were relics of the past, that the Smith maybe had disappeared into the into the ether. But here in Panama the other day, I saw a guy running down the street in one of those vinyl suits, now it's 85 degrees and it's 85 percent humidity. He's already sweating. And now he's got this vinyl suit on and he's running. And I'm thinking to myself, there's, you know, this is not good.

But I didn't stop and tell him he wasn't a client. And I'm not that guy. You know, it's going to come in and tell people how to live their lives. But he looked young and fit. And so I wasn't so worried he was going to have a heat stroke or keel over for another reason. But, you know, it was not a safe way. He was dehydrating his body. He was not really helping his fat loss goals.

That comes from other things. So no sweat is not fat leaving the body. It's just a way that your body cools itself by getting rid of water, put it in the water on the surface of the skin as it then evaporates, it gives a cooling effect. But you're also losing a lot of electrolytes during that period of time and you're dehydrating yourself. So it's not beneficial to sweat more. Don't think that's a win for you. It's good to sweat every day.

It's good to get out and do some things and get yourself moving and work up a sweat. But that's not a weight loss thing. It's just you enjoy getting out, moving around, doing those things. And yeah, you happen to sweat, to cool your body off. So that's the four top myths that I have related to weight loss in the exercise category.

5 – You have to cut carbs to lose weight

We'll move into the nutrition category now. So the fifth myth for weight loss for people over 40 is you have to cut out carbs to lose weight. This is a myth. Do not. Now, I know I probably should pause here and let you catch your breath. What, Allan? You believe in Keto, you follow Keto and it works for you. Yes, absolutely. So you must go low carb. You must think carbs make you fat. And the reality is, no, not all carbs. And I think that's where we lose the discussion because we want to simplify the rule.

And the reality is it's not all carbs. Fiber does not get you fat. Vegetables do not get you fat. In fact, I have never seen anyone who was fat because they ate vegetables. We get fat because we eat sugar. And refined carbs, and it's the refined carbs that are the problem. So if you can move to a more wholefood diet. So if it comes in a box, a bag, a jar or a can avoid it as much as possible. Look on the labels, the primary ingredients for anything you are eating should be food.

You know, if you buy a can of sauce, tomato sauce, the number one ingredient should be tomatoes. They don't need to add sugar. They don't need to add anything else. Just can the sugars. I mean, can the tomatoes and let that be it and you're fine. So, you know, some things in bags like you go to the frozen section and there's some vegetables that have been quick, free, frozen. There's fruits that have been quick frozen.

Those are awesome. Those are great. But sometimes you just look and for one reason or another, they had to add something else. And it's those processed, the highly processed we find carbs that are causing the weight gain. And yes, if you cut refined carbs and sugar, you will lose weight. Almost always. Everyone I've ever worked with, they cut the sugar, they cut the refined carbs, they lose weight. So, no, you don't have to cut carbs to lose weight.

You have to cut refined carbs. You have to start eating whole food. OK, so not all carbs are the same.

6 – Fat makes you fat

The second myth in the nutrition category and our sixth myth overall is fat makes you fat. Now, this comes from the camp of people who are calories in, calories out. And the reason they like to say this is a gram of fat has nine calories, a gram of carbs and an anagram of protein each have four calories.

So basically they're looking at fat and saying the easiest way to cut calories is to cut the fat out of food. Now, there's just one fundamental problem when they cut fat out of food, it tastes horrible. So they add sugar. Yeah, they add sugar and when they add you're going to make it taste better. And when they do that, what do they do? They make you fat. So the low fat stuff that you see, the low fat yogurts, walking through yogurt section, all of them are low fat.

That is very hard to find full fat yogurt these days because everybody wants to lose fat, they want to cut fat. And fat is so important for your body. Your brain is 60 percent fat. And I don't mean that in a bad way. I mean, it is constructed of fat. Your cells, every cell in your body is manufactured using some fat. So you need fat in your diet. In fact, there are some fats that are called essential fats, essential oils.

These essential fats are fats your body cannot make and you need to have them. So avoiding fat can actually be a problem because you're not giving your body the nutrition it needs to build itself, which kind of takes me to my next thought. OK, our food is our body. Our food is our energy. Our food is everything. If you're eating low quality food, you're making your body out of low quality stuff. And that's not how you want to go through life, if you're wondering why your joints are hurting, you're wondering why you're putting on weight.

It's the food. It's almost always the food. Go for nutritionally dense food, and that's going to be meat, eggs, fish and plants. And that's why I have no problem bringing on vegans and vegetarians, because one of the things that makes their way of eating good or great is it typically involves a lot of whole foods. And the better the quality of your diet, the better the quality of food you're eating, the more nutritionally dense it is, the better it is.

So that doesn't make you fat, fat in combination with refined carbs, makes you fat. So, yes, the fat in the pizza, combined with the refined carbs, makes you overeat the pizza. You're getting too many calories in a short period of time. And it's not nutritionally dense if it has vegetables on it at all, if it has meat on it at all. Those are processed meats. They're very little vegetables. In fact, you almost have to eat an entire pizza to get a serving of vegetables.

And that's not the way to go through life. Yes, occasionally have a piece of pizza, but recognize that it is should not be the staple, it should not be the go to source for nutrition. It's just not there and so it is fat in combination with refined carbs, that's the problem.

7 – Fat burners can help you lose weight

The third nutrition myth, and this will be our seventh overall weight loss myth for people over 40. Is these fat burners. And these ranged from benign to ridiculous to dangerous.

I was talking to a potential client the other day and she said, you know, she had gone low carb and it worked pretty well, but she plateaued. So now she was going to take this product. And I go look at the product. It's a multilevel marketing scheme where people are showing how much weight they've lost with this thing. But here's the trick. All the people photographed are in the multilevel marketing thing. They're all selling this stuff.

So, of course, they want to testimony the great people that are doing this, these people are trying to sell this stuff to. Now, did that product help them lose the weight? I don't know. But they definitely had a before and after picture that they could show you and they could show you that product. I have a before and after picture to show you, too.

Coach Allan - Before and After

You can also find it on the website. I didn't take any fat burners for that weight loss. I ate wholefood, I got nutritionally dense foods, I had gone paleo, I started lowering the carbs, I started pulling out the refined carbs and I got down to a point where I was eating meats and vegetables. And I lost that weight, I didn't need a fat burner to raise my metabolism, and in fact, many of these things have been found to be dangerous.

They can harm your heart. They can do a lot of those things. They get pulled, you know, the things that were approved by the FDA for weight loss, they later on find out cause problems and they get pulled off the market. There's a bunch of cases of different things over the years that have done that. And so rather than trying to ramp up your metabolism by either exercising yourself like crazy or taking one of these crazy fat burners, focus on getting nutritionally dense food, and by nature, you will eat fewer calories because your body's getting the nutrition it needs at a lower calorie level.

And then that's when exercise is beneficial because it kind of pushes this a little faster. So it really is it really does come down to the nutrition being the primary lever that's going to help you lose weight and all these fat burners and all these other things. I even, you know, at one time took that stuff that pulls the fat out of your food and leaves a nice little orange ring in the toilet. Yeah, I did that for a while, not for when I figured it out.

But during all those years when I was doing things wrong and starting and stopping, I was like, oh, well, I'll take this product here. I can buy it in a Wal-Mart. And I take it. And now, yeah, I'm leaving little orange rings in my toilet every time I go to the bathroom. Whereas all I really needed to do was focus on the quality of my food, eat whole food, stay away from the junk and you'll lose the weight.

8 – I'm genetically destined to be fat

So that kind of wraps up nutrition and now we'll jump into the mindset category. Now, this is the area within weight loss that almost always gets neglected, people will jump in and they will immediately say, OK, I'm going to go on this strict diet and I'm going to start exercising every day. And that usually lasts about three weeks. And then they quit. OK. And sometimes it's only because of the stories that they're telling themselves, their actual mindset.

So I have three more myths and they're all going to fall in this mindset category. So myth number eight of the top 10 weight loss myths for people over 40 is I'm genetically destined to be fat. The nice way people will say it is, well, we're a big boned family. You know, what you are is you're used to eating the way the rest of your family eats. And that's why we're all overweight. Family units tend to learn food habits from each other, and those food habits then become a part of our lifestyles.

And we all get fat. And so if your mother and father are fat, yes, you're more likely to be overweight. The reason is not because of genetics. None of us were genetically predisposed to be fat. There are some very rare, very, very rare genetic diseases that do cause people metabolic problems sometimes, yes, your your thyroid isn't functioning the way it needs to or some other things are going on in your body that are causing some of this weight gain.

But overall, the vast majority of people are not genetically flawed to be overweight. What we have, though, is a great system in our body that knows when we have excess of calories, it's good to store that is fat. That's a safety mechanism. So that if we get into a point in time when we don't have access to food, we have this energy store so we can have the energy to keep looking for food, to keep hunting and keep gathering.

So when we were hunters and gatherers, this was a survival mechanism. This was huge. This is really important. In a day where we have abundance of food, we can get it wherever we want. Quite literally, I don't know that I can walk more than 100 feet from where I am right now and not find three or four restaurants that will serve me all the crap I want. I can find three or four grocery stores all within 100 feet of where I'm sitting right now.

And so we have this abundance of food. So we don't ever have to go through those famines unless they're self-induced, so our body doesn't know how to jettison that fat that fast because it's never had to do it. It wants to hold on to it. It genetically wants to hold on to that fat and hormones are going to do what it needs to do to cause our body to stabilize so you can lose some weight and then you're probably going to plateau a bit.

And then it's time to shift and change, to slowly coax your body to understand it's OK to let go of the weight. So you do have to have the mindset that you can do this and that you stick with it, you have the patience to stick with it so that you're giving your body the right signals, the right coaxing to do the right thing. The body is going to fight you because the body needs to hold wants to hold on that fat for safety reasons, just like our blood pressure stays within a given range.

When we're healthy. Our blood stays within a certain range. Our body temperature stays within a certain range. Our body has weight set points that it doesn't want to go below for safety reasons. So we need to coax our body to go ahead and shed some of that fat and we need to stay persistent. And that's all about mindset.

9 – I lack the willpower to keep the weight off

The second one in the mindset cateogry is kind of related to that, so this is the ninth myth, I lacked the willpower to keep the weight off.

And as I mentioned before, you get really excited. You get in there and you do that first three weeks and then something happens to get you off or you plateau or something. And suddenly now it's really, really hard to stick to it. OK, willpower is not the problem. Commitment is the problem. If you didn't really dive deep into your mindset to understand why you're doing this and why it's really important to do it now. Then you're yes, you're never going to have the willpower to say no to the donuts.

I know I didn't. It wasn't till I was sitting there and I said, I have to do this. I don't have another choice. It's now or it's never. And I made the commitment to myself, to my family, to everything that I held dear, that I was going to change. It was a commitment and at that point, willpower didn't matter anymore. Because I had no desire to do anything but what was healthy and good for myself.

And I did. And I got myself where I needed to be. So this is not about willpower. This is about commitment. So I strongly encourage you to just jettison words like willpower, jettison words like resolution or even the word diet, and start looking at more positive ways to view this. I am committed to being different. I'm committed to making a change in my life. And then the other thing is lose some words like can't, I can't do this.

You know, if you can't do it, you won't. But if you're relying on willpower, well, maybe you can't, but if you've got that commitment and you're doing the right things, willpower becomes non-negotiable. It's just there it's not a willpower. My wife even says it to me. She said, I don't believe you have such great willpower. And the reality is, no, I just have a commitment. When I make a commitment, I keep it. And I know you can, too.

10 – I'll be happy when I lose X pounds

The tenth of the top 10 weight loss myths for people over 40 and the final one also in the mindset category is I'll be happy when I lose X pounds. So for some people, it's just five more pounds, not last five pounds. For some people, it's 10, 30, 50, maybe even more than 100. But you're telling yourself you'll be happy when that happens. And the reality is, no, you actually won't be any happier than you are right now.

You might be a little bit excited about the fact that you've done it. You'll have more energy because you're carrying around less weight. But that's not what's going to make you happy. I would encourage you to get happy now to do the things that bring you joy, to spend time with the people that bring you joy. So happiness is something you're working on with independent of the weight loss, but you're working on both. So if you're working to make yourself a happier person, you're going to be happy whether you lose that weight or not, because once you lose the weight, you may feel like you've reached some destination.

But the reality is that's not your reward. Weighing 50 pounds less is not a reward. The things you can do are reward. The things that you have in your life that are bringing you joy is the reward. So I would encourage you to focus on happiness, just like you do any other important thing in your life, set some goals, get some rules, go and get some things going. Build some habits that bring more joy into your life and get rid of some things. It can be a social media, you know, reading the news sometimes just get rid of some things that aren't bringing you joy, that aren't serving you, and you'll be happier.

Then when you lose the weight, you'll be a happier person at a lower weight. Not the other way around.


To recap, the top 10 weight loss myths for people over 40. In the exercise category, there are four, so number one is X is the best exercise for weight loss. The second myth, burning more calories will lead to weight loss. The third myth, x is the best exercise for toning some part of your body and four sweat is fat leaving the body.

Exercise should not be a part of your weight loss plan. It should just be an add on where you're building fitness, much like we talked about building happiness earlier, build fitness for the things you want to be able to do. Then the exercise will give you more, a lot more. And yes, as a side effect, most people that are active in exercising do see some benefits in the weight loss area, but it's minor and they have to be eating right to make that happen.

Which leads us to the next category, nutrition, and there are three myths in the nutrition category. Number five, you have to cut carbs to lose weight. Number six, fat makes you fat. And then number seven, fat burners will help you lose the weight, the reality of all this is a good nutrition plan, just where you're eating Whole Foods and staying away from the process crap, avoiding things, most things in a box bag, can or jar, knowing what you're putting in your mouth, getting the most nutritionally dense foods you can is going to help you lose weight.

And that might mean cutting carbs for most people it will because you're cutting out the refined carbs. For some people that might be eating less fat, you know, particularly if the fat you're getting is from those refined, high, processed foods. So you might actually end up cutting fat and you might actually end up cutting carbs. That's fine. You're going to find your calorie spot. You're going to be in that spot. You're going to be nourished because you're eating whole foods, you're eating nutritionally dense foods and you're going to feel better.

So those are the three that fit in the nutrition category. Now, we're going to move into the mindset category. And as I mentioned before, this is an area where most people don't spend much time and they should because it's a very, very important aspect to weight loss and more so to keeping the weight off. So number eight in the top 10, weight loss myths for people over 40. I'm genetically destined to be fat. Number nine, I lacked the willpower to keep off the weight, and then number 10, I'll be happy when I lose X pounds.

OK, the reality is mindset and the way you feel about yourself and all those things are things that you should be working on independent of your weight loss goals. Yes, you should want to lose weight if you need to lose weight, but if you think you can't because you're genetically predisposition for something or you think you can't because you just don't, you lack the willpower, the capacity to do it. You won't do it. You've given yourself too many obstacles.

If you have to beat your own genetics, you're not going to if you have to rely on willpower all the time, you're not going to. Commit to change. Whole Foods avoid the process crap, nutritionally dense foods exercise for the things that you enjoy doing, make exercise enjoyable when you're able to do the things you enjoy doing. You can exercise and now you can do those things. You're going to have more joy in your life. You're going to be a happier, healthier person.

So those are the top 10 weight loss myths for people over 40. I hope you take something valuable out of this. If you have some other myths that maybe I didn't cover that you'd like to discuss or at least share with us, come to the Facebook group at 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/group. It's a wonderful group of people. Share your myths there. I'd love to hear what yours are. If there's some other ones that you'd like to add or you have some questions about these that we talked about today, there'd be a great place for us to dive in a little bit deeper, go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/group and join the 40+ Fitness Group today.


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