How I Finally Lost 20 Pounds After I Turned 40

I struggled with 20 to 30 pounds of extra weight all my life. It wasn’t until after I turned 40 years old that I finally lost that last 20 pounds – and here’s how I did it.

Most women gain weight as they reach age 40, and they also gain weight after getting married. The opposite is happening to me: the older I get and the longer I’ve been married, the more weight I lose. This may be because I’ve figured out what to do when I feel ugly (because I tend to binge eat when I don’t feel good about myself).

I lost weight when I got married at 35 years old, and am at my thinnest yet, at 46. I feel fitter and healthier than I’ve ever felt, and I’m happy to share my weight loss tips and tricks…


My biggest “trick” is to eat less. It’s the saddest thing in the world, I have to admit, but it’s the best way to lose weight. I should write an article about my daily diet and work schedule, since I seem to have found what works for my body.

And that’s the other big weight loss secret! Find what works for you. I have to cut out the snacks, even though I read that snacking is a good way to lose weight. Not for this 40 year old woman. No way.

How I Finally Lost the Last 20 Pounds – After I Turned 40

The number one reason I lost the last few pounds is because of my husband. He’s lean, and he almost never overeats. His healthy eating habits are so good it’s boring – but they’ve definitely worn off on me. Now I eat until I’m satisfied, not stuffed.

So I guess my first tip for losing that last 20 pounds – whether you’re 40, 50, or 80 years old – is to marry a guy who has a healthy relationship with food. That, and learn which exercises burn the most calories for permanent weight loss.

I adopted a dog when I turned 42

The best way to lose those last 20 pounds is to get a dog! I take mine on morning, lunch, pre-dinner, and post-dinner walks. Granted, not everyone works from home and can walk every four hours — but most people can go for morning and evening walks.

I go find my dog, cat, or husband every time I want to snack

When I feel like snacking or overeating, I bury my face in my dog’s tummy! I tickle her, wrestle her to the ground, and chase her around the house. If my husband is around, I consider pinning him – but I usually go for the dog instead.

One of the best ways to lose weight after turning 40 is to find active activities that make you want to stay away from food. I never eat when I’m play fighting with Georgie Girl – ewww dog spit can make the most gourmet chocolate gross.

I often let myself get hungry – but I don’t overeat

Sure, weight loss experts say you shouldn’t let yourself to get too hungry because then you’ll overeat. But my problem was that I never let myself get hungry. I was always either full or mostly full – until after I turned 40, when I learned that it’s okay to let myself get hungry.

I figured out what I’m really hungry for

I’m definitely an emotional eater, and I’m learning how to figure out how my moods affect my eating habits. For instance, I’m working on sample chapters for a book proposal, and all I want to do is stuff my face with Cheetos and chocolate kisses. Why? Because I’m scared and anxious. Because I really want to be a published author. Because I’m tired of being rejected by agents and publishers.

how I lost 20 pounds age 40

Me, eating a plum in Israel

So not only have I put those Cheetos and chocolates out of sight (because out of sight is out of mind – sometimes), I’ve also learned how to read my moods.

“Don’t get sucked into the ‘see food diet’ mentality that makes you want to eat the candy simply because you see it and not because you are hungry,” says Brian Wansink, author of Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think. “We eat more of visible foods because it causes us to think about it more…”

I chew a ton of sugarless gum

Instead of munching on those mini chocolate bars or bags of potato chips, chew gum. I’m chewing a wad of Bubblemint Extra right now – and it definitely satisfies both my sweet tooth and my urge to eat fattening foods. This is one of the best ways to lose weight — especially for people like me, who are prone to mindless eating when they’re anxious, stressed, or scared.

I buy snacks that don’t tempt me to eat and eat and eat

Ugh – dill pickle potato chips, pork rinds, and sunflower seeds do not turn me on. So I buy boxes of them – because I’m not worried about stuffing my face with them. If those mini chocolate treats are your weakness, then don’t buy them. Leave the bags of red licorice and potato chips that could tempt you in the store; instead, make yourself healthy snack packs. Raisins, nuts, and dark chocolate chips will stabilize your blood sugars and fill you up, which will help you eat less at meal times.

I started counting the empty wrappers

This is another diet trick from Brian Wansink: keep the empty wrappers right in front of you, so you’ll be reminded of how many treats you ate, which will encourage you to stop eating sooner than you would if you weren’t keeping track. It’s easy to keep mindlessly munching the mini chocolate bars and bags of potato chips, and lose track of how quickly the calories are adding up.

One thing I forgot to mention – I do 20 minutes of yoga or Pilates almost every day. Read the Best Yoga DVDs, Plus Tips for Choosing a Yoga DVD.

What do you think of my weight loss tips? That’s all I did to lose that last 20 pounds after I turned 40. What’s holding you back from losing the weight you hate?


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4 thoughts on “How I Finally Lost 20 Pounds After I Turned 40”

  1. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Thanks for your comment, Grady. I think men have an easier time losing weight – in fact, I KNOW they do! I wrote an article about it :-)

    My husband can eat whatever he wants and not gain an ounce. I’ve always wished I was one of those people…

  2. Usually, when I’m eating fruits and vegetables, I can only eat so much before I’m feeling full anyway.

    Playing with pets (children too, for that matter) is a great way to get some exercise.

    Thanks for sharing!

  3. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Thanks for your comment, Jan! And congrats on losing weight after you turned 50 years old — that’s quite the accomplishment. It’s an uphill battle to lose weight: the older we get the harder it is.

    It is sorta sad that you can overeat even the healthiest foods…I LOVE fresh fruit, but even that has to be limited.

    I’m interested in your “stress and weight gain” article! Will take a peek at your blog…

  4. I didn’t lose 26 pounds until I turned 50! Decided that I better do something about it and joined Weight Watchers. For me it was portion control that was the main problem, I had a very healthy diet – just way too much of it. I still haven’t worked out how to control the emotional eating though and don’t know if I ever will. I put on a lot of weight when I met my partner, cheese and biscuits with wine before every meal, so you have done very well to lose weight after marriage as it is usually the other way around, well done! I love keeping the wrappers idea it is a very visual way of “seeing” what you have eaten. Another great way is to write down everything you eat, sometimes you can shock yourself. Also if you have to write it down sometimes it is enough to stop you.