How Women Age 40+ Can Eat Fat For Weight Loss And Health

Updated: Jun 24



For biological reasons, women are predisposed to gaining more weight than men. Moreover, as women age beyond 40, many hormone levels decline and this plays a role in weight gain. It may seem counterintuitive, but especially after 40, you need fat in your diet not only for weight loss, but for overall health.


It does matter where your fat is stored. Visceral fat in the abdominal cavity is less healthy than subcutaneous fat on your butt and thighs. Visceral fat tends to accumulate around organs, get inflamed, and tends to affect insulin signaling.

People often use exercise to help with weight loss, but you can't exercise your way out of a bad diet.

Your body composition and how you look depends more on what you eat than how much you exercise. This means that with your limited time, you'll get a much bigger return on your investment if you focus on food shopping, planning, and preparing healthy meals.

One aspect of nutrition that women have trouble embracing is that fat - the right kind of fat- is important for health and weight loss.

Yes butter, quality meat and cheese belong in a healthy diet.


This may be hard for you to wrap your head around. For so many years we were told to eat a low-fat diet.


I too followed the low-fat diet that the USDA used to recommend for so long and I did have resistance to the new mindset at first. It’s really hard to change the mindset that fat is bad and not healthy. Fats, especially saturated fat have gotten a bad rap, mostly from bad science.

STEP ONE - RECOGNIZE YOUR THOUGHTS


The first step is to understand your thoughts about eating fat. Write down exactly what comes to mind when you think of including more fat in your diet. Free flow your thoughts. For example, you may have thoughts like:

  • This is crazy.

  • There’s no way saturated fat can be good for me.

  • If I eat fat, I’ll get fat.


Get all your thoughts down on paper. I’m suggesting this because, to create change, you first need to look at your thoughts. You can’t create change if your thoughts don’t support the change you seek.


I needed to do research, and lots of it so that I could create thoughts that supported adding more fat to my diet. I recommend reading THE BIG FAT SURPRISE by NINA TEICHOLZ. It discusses the flawed science of saturated versus polyunsaturated fats.

Understanding the benefits of fat may help you change your thoughts:

We need fat because fat:

  • Provides energy

  • Makes up our cell membranes

  • insulates neuron cells

  • makes up 60% of our brain

  • is needed to absorb some vitamins, like A, D, K, and E

  • is the precursor for hormones

  • is a very important regulating signal. Fat secretes and regulates hormones like leptin which is a hormone that controls satiety.

  • RELEASES HORMONES THAT THE REST OF THE BODY REALLY DEPENDS ON

When you eat the right fights you'll:

  • feel satiated

  • won’t have sugar urges

  • burn fat

  • keep performing at your best.

STEP 2 - EAT THE RIGHT FATS


There are several types of fatty acids.


1. Saturated fat

As our society moved away from saturated fat, we adopted more vegetable oils into our diet. When unsaturated fats are heated they oxidize and in this form can be very unhealthy.


Another consequence in our shift away from saturated fats is that we replaced them with refined carbohydrates, like pasta, cereal, bread, and grains. This has lead to the rise in obesity and diabetes.


Some good sources of saturated fat to add to your diet include grass-fed butter, ghee, coconut oil, palm oil, and grass-fed meats.


2. Unsaturated fat

Some examples of good unsaturated fats include olive oil and avocado.


3.Polyunsaturated fat

Some examples include omega 3 and 6 fats. Omega 3 fat is found in abundance in seafood and some nuts while omega 6 fat is found in nuts, seeds, and many oils.


Omega 6 fats are healthy in moderation, but North Americans eat way too much omega 6. Research supports an ideal omega 6 to 3 ratio to be 4: 1. In the United States, the ratio is more like 25:1. Omega 6 fat in excess promotes inflammation which leads to health issues while omega 3 fat is anti-inflammatory.


4.Trans fat

This type of fat is found in margarine and fake butter products. It's linked to cardiovascular disease cancer and diabetes and must absolutely be avoided.


HOW MUCH FAT SHOULD YOU EAT?


First, you want to understand how much fat you're currently eating. It may be you are already eating enough. There are many apps you can use that will calculate the number of grams you're eating.


Once you know what you're currently eating, determine if you should be eating more or less of the different kinds of fats.


In his blog, Dave Asprey, recommends eating 50% of your diet in healthy fat. The limit that the FDA recommends is no more than 35% fat and no more than 10% of that amount from saturated fat.


There is a discrepancy between current research and the FDA recommendations. It is up to you to determine your comfort level and how much you want to include in your diet. The point I want to convey is that there is a lot of research demonstrating health gains associated with eating more saturated, unsaturated, and poly-unsaturated fats. It's wise to understand how much fat you currently eat, and to experiment to see how you feel when you eat more.


Always remember to focus on the quality of the fat. If the animal has been fed grains then the fat you eat from that animal will not be as healthy as the fat from grass-fed and grass-finished animals.


HOW TO INCORPORATE THEM INTO YOUR DAY.

1.Eat fat at breakfast.

For example, have avocado with an egg cooked in grass-fed butter or ghee.


2. Eat fat at lunch like wild-caught salmon with vegetables.


3.Eat fat at dinner, like grass-fed meat, wild fish along with complex carbohydrates like yams, and squash.


To promote health, make sure you're getting enough quality fat in your diet. As we age, hormones decline, for example testosterone and human growth hormone. You need fat to secrete and regulate hormones involved in metabolism and weight management. Strength training and HIIT exercise are also strategies to increase hormones that influence weight loss. You can read more on that here:


https://www.maureenkemeny.com/post/most-effective-weight-loss-cardio-exercise-for-women-40


https://www.maureenkemeny.com/post/the-most-effective-fat-burning-workout-for-women-40-work-out-less-and-get-more-muscle-for-women-40



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