Ep. 295: Are You Too Old to Lose Weight?

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Weight loss has gotten so much harder in your 50s (and beyond), hasn’t it? You’ve started thinking that maybe you’re just too old to lose weight. But in this episode of the Get Your GOAL podcast, we’re kicking that thought to the curb and exploring both the science and the mindset of losing weight at any age.

You, my friend, are NOT too old to lose weight. Regardless of your age, your gender, or your life circumstances, weight loss is driven by two essential factors: believing that you can, and eating in a slight caloric deficit.

For the belief piece, I like to rely on science and “stack” my belief in myself on top. Meaning, you can believe that you personally are capable of losing weight because you are a biological specimen that always responds to certain principles.

So, why does it feel so much harder to lose weight than it used to?

Because when you were younger, you could get away with drastic calorie restriction, but now you need to be more strategic and efficient in your behaviors. Eating in a *slight* caloric deficit is key, instead of the extreme measures you’re used to.

No matter your age, it’s time to rewrite the narrative and approach weight loss with confidence, knowing that science (and the Get Your GOAL podcast!) is on your side.


Hello, hello, GOALfriend. Welcome to episode number 295, where I am answering a question that I get very, very frequently about whether or not you are too old to lose weight. You guys, I get this question very frequently via email when I send you via email The 5-0 Method, because when you sign up for it on getyourgoal.com, the first thing they do is send you an email so that you can, you know, confirm and download the PDF. And so I get a lot of people who respond to that email asking me questions about calories or sleep or am I too old to lose weight and all kinds of things like that. And I want you to know, I don't answer questions individually via email because that would be a full time job in and of itself. But I love to answer questions like this on the podcast. And today, we are going to dive in and I am super excited to answer this question. Just unequivocally 100% the answer is no, you are not too old to lose weight. And or depending on how you want to ask me that question. Yes, you can lose weight at any age. I actually really like the way that one sounds better because it's that positive answer instead of the no. Yes, you can lose weight, at any age. You guys, at every single age and at every single gender and at every single circumstance in your life. Weight loss is driven by two things, number one, believing that you can and number two, eating in a slight caloric deficit. And for this question, really specifically, I love how intertwined these two things are. One of the ways that I really like to approach my belief work is by falling back on something that I already believe in. And for me personally, I believe in science, I believe in biology. And fair warning. Everything I tell you is based on science, is based on known principles of biology. So this might be really good for you to know that. If you don't believe in science, if you don't believe in biology, then I'm going to say all but maybe not all… No, you know what? All. Really everything I talk about, even belief work itself, is based on neuroscience. It's all science, none of it is airy-fairy, woowoo, maybe this is how it works, kind of thing. I'm always telling you things that we not necessarily me personally, I'm not a scientist, but that we collectively, we scientists here on Earth, that we know to be true. So if that doesn't actually fall in line with your beliefs, that is really good for you to know that what I'm offering you might sound unbelievable because of that. And that's really good information. For me, I offer you science so that you can do something that I call stacking your beliefs, which is to say, you can start with the science. And if you believe in the science, and you believe that you are a biological specimen, then you know that what I'm saying about science applies to you. Personally, when you have that, that foothold into believing that the science works in general, it means that you can apply it to you, personally. So here's where we will start. If you believe in science, you can believe that you at any age, can lose weight. I'm about to tell you how and why this will work for you very specifically. And even more importantly than that, I'm going to tell you why you asked me this question. Because here's why you asked me the question. You have what you think of as evidence for how hard it is to lose weight at the age that you are now. And you also – I mean, to be fair, this could just be a very simple question. And sometimes I'm sure it is. Where it's like, “Pahla, you use the number 50 when you are talking about this particular weight loss program, and I happen to be 60 or 70 or 40 or 30.” I do get emails from people who are young also. “Will this work for me?” And here's what I want you to know, that weight loss always works by believing that you can and eating in a slight caloric deficit. Both of those things have been proven scientifically, and therefore it's what I offer you. The thing about eating in a slight caloric deficit, is that most of us, I was gonna say all of us, but really, it's most of us, really only hear the very tail end of that sentence. We really only hear “caloric deficit,” and then we go straight to “I'm gonna slash my calories, I'm gonna exercise harder. And that's how I'm going to lose weight!” We have been told our entire lives that if we simply eat less and move more by getting into that, you know, caloric deficit, that we will lose weight. And it's not that that's wrong, it's that it doesn't work quite that broadly anymore. The word that we're really going to hone in on today is “slight.” Eating in a slight caloric deficit is the key for women over 50 in a way that it really wasn't when we were younger. When we were younger, we had all the efficiency of a young metabolism that could do basically anything. I mean, I don't know what you were like in your 20s. But I know what I was like in my 20s. I had habits, I had behaviors, I enjoyed particular things that I could not even begin to do now that I am older, because of the aging process as much as anything else. When we were younger, we could do lots of things, and your body could recover from it much more quickly, much more efficiently than it does now. And one of the things that we could do was wildly undereat. This was my go to, almost, yeah, no, I'm gonna say every time I tried to lose weight, and it was how I lost weight. Let's be honest, when I was in my 20s. And even in my 30s, “when in doubt, starve it out” was basically my motto. Yeah, it was uncomfortable. And it kind of sucked, and I was hungry, and I was crabby all the time. But you know what, you could drop a few pounds pretty quickly. And if you could hang on for a couple of weeks or a couple months longer than that, you could lose the weight that you wanted to lose. And yeah, it sucked, but you could do it. Now, however, with our less efficient metabolism, not that it's inefficient, not that you don't have a metabolism, not that your metabolism is shot, not that your body cannot make changes, your body will make changes. But now it is slower to make changes. Now you need to behave in a way that kind of makes up for your body's less efficiency. Your behavior needs to be more efficient. Here's what I mean, let me put this into numbers for you in a way that is not meant to be like a definition or like the number like… Please, if you take anything away from this podcast today, don't let it be some information that you have to eat the number of calories that I'm about to offer you. Here's what I'm going to say a woman in her 20s, who weighs, let's say, 180 pounds. Her slight caloric deficit number is about 1800 calories a day. However, a woman in her 20s can eat as little, truly, as little as she wants. She can eat way, way, way under that. And she can even eat a little bit above that 1800 calories, because her really efficient metabolism is like, “Yeah, we're good here. As long as you're eating even remotely under your maintenance calories, we're just going to go ahead and take that as being a caloric deficit, we're going to lose weight.” Boom, weight comes off. When you are in your 30s you still have a pretty big window of being able to eat in a caloric deficit and lose weight. A woman in her 30s who weighs 180 pounds, her slight caloric deficit number is still 1800 calories. But she could eat, let's say down to like 1200 – I think that's where most of us try to go, right? Like that's just that number that's been thrown out your whole life that you're like, “Oh, that's how much we eat when we're losing weight.” Well, because for a long time it worked. And you couldn't quite eat all the way up to maintenance calories and still lose weight, but you could get pretty close. Like your window of caloric deficit was still pretty big in your 30s. In your 40s, when everybody starts complaining about how hard it is to lose weight, it's actually not that you need to be eating any differently. Your slight caloric deficit, if you weigh 180 pounds, your slight caloric deficit calorie target is 1800 per day, but you’ve got to get a little bit closer to that. When you're in your 40s, like you really kind of can't go over the 1800 the way you used to be able to and you really kind of can't go too far under that 1800. Maybe like 1400-1500 calories, but you go under that and all of a sudden, you're not losing weight because you're under eating. Your slightly less efficient metabolism sees that under eating as a problem, and slows down your weight loss. Here in our 50s, or 60s, or 70s, or 80s, we have to be even more efficient with the calorie target. It's truly not that you need to eat “less.” A woman in her 50s and her 60s, and her 70s and her 80s, who weighs 180 pounds, your caloric deficit target is 1800 calories. That has not changed since ever. It's the window of how close you need to get to that number to lose weight that has changed over time. This is why we all think it's harder to lose weight, why we think it must be impossible to lose weight – we used to be able to starve, we used to be able to have a really big window where sometimes you were starving. And maybe sometimes you were going over that, you could go back and forth between the starving and the “Okay, maybe I'm going to actually eat today,” and your body would lose weight with that. Now, you have to be more – I'm gonna say it. Here comes the word consistent. You have to actually hit a smaller window of your calorie target in order to lose weight. And we have drama about that, don't we? Here's the thing that makes me personally laugh at myself. I'm not laughing at you. I promise. I'm laughing at myself. I actually, when I was losing weight in my 50s, I was really angry that I couldn't just starve myself to the weight that I wanted to be. And that cracks me up. Do you guys hear how funny it is that we want to under eat? I mean, it's maybe not funny haha. It's funny that we all got socialized for that. It's amusing. It's actually a little sad. There's a lot of different reactions we could have. I choose to laugh because I like to laugh. And also, because there's a ridiculousness to it. You know how miserable it is to be hungry. You know how miserable it is to try, day after day, to restrict yourself to under eat. And yet here when I offer you, Hey, by the way, what if you nourish your body and eat more? Y'all argue with me like, No, there's no way I could do that. There's no way it'll work. Maybe it's just impossible to lose weight at my age. It's not. It's just that we have to be more consistent. And we can't do it the hard way anymore. We can't starve ourselves to our goal weight the way we used to be able to. And here's the thing, I actually think this is good news. I think that this is fantastic news. Because when I was in my 20s, and my 30s, not as much in my 40s. Because you know what, in my 40s, my weight was pretty stable for quite some time until… well, until my late 40s when my biology was like, Oh, hey, here comes perimenopause, knocking at your door. And then, and then things changed. But in my 20s, and in my 30s I could really, truly, I'm gonna say hate myself thin. I hated myself when I was thin and when I was heavy. I hated myself a lot, I had a lot of body hatred, just in general. But you can lose weight in a way that is not healthy for you, doesn't feel good, and doesn't require you to really think about nourishing yourself, physically and emotionally. I actually really love this for you, and for me, that at our age, we really truly can't hate ourselves thin anymore. We can't starve ourselves to our goal weight. We have to – have to, this is a requirement, I am requiring this (actually it's your body). Your body requires you to take a look at your habits and A.) be consistent and B.) really nourish yourself. Really love yourself to eat enough. How beautiful is that? Your body, at your age, is making this thing you want a little bit harder, so that you can love it. Your body wants you to love it. So what if, what if we believe in the science? We believe in love? Because I know you believe in love. And we work on consistency and nourishment. That slight caloric deficit is how we lose weight at any age, and what it's going to require of you, now, at this age is a little bit different than it used to be when you were younger. When you think about it that way, the answer is very simple, very clear. No, you are not too old to lose weight. Yes, you can lose weight at any age. And the way to do it is to believe you can and eat in a slight caloric deficit, which requires you to be kind to yourself, to be gentle to yourself, to love yourself, to your goal weight. This really was kind of simple, kind of short today. I hope it was helpful for you. Thank you for listening, my friend. I'll talk to you again soon.

Listen to the full episode here, and be sure to leave a rating and review on Apple Podcasts.

Originally aired July 9, 2023
Weight loss has gotten so much harder in your 50s (and beyond), hasn’t it? You’ve started thinking that maybe you’re just too old to lose weight. But in this episode of the Get Your GOAL podcast, we’re kicking that thought to the curb and exploring both the science and the mindset of losing weight at any age.
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Meet Your Host

Mindset expert and certified life coach Pahla B knows a thing or two about changing your mind to change your weight and your life. She’s the creator of The 5-0 Method, Amazon-best selling author of the book “Mind Over Menopause,” and former yo-yo dieter who has cracked the code on lifelong weight maintenance. Join Pahla B each week for the personal insights, transformative mindset shifts, and science-backed body advice that can help you lose all the weight you want and keep it off forever.