Weight Loss for Women Over 40: 7 Ways to Love & Honor Yourself

Weight Loss for Women Over 40: 7 Ways to Love & Honor Yourself

self reflectionOne of the 3 keys I talk about with my clients that is necessary for losing weight and keeping it off over 40 is having a foundation of love, respect and honor for yourself.

Your WHOLE self.

Body, mind and spirit.

And we are not talking about narcissistic self-absorbed self-love. We are talking about deep, abiding respect and genuine caring for the whole being that you are.

If I ask you if you love or loathe yourself, chances are you will deny that you loathe yourself. Loathing is such a strong word, right?

But how many times have you looked in the mirror and groaned and cursed your excess fat?

How many times have you examined the lines in your face, emerging age-spots or graying hair and deep down felt disgust?

Pivoting  from self-loathing to self-love is absolutely key if you want to feel free and light in your body, mind and spirit.

I help women over 40 lose weight, yes. But not  through the traditional way of dieting.

I help women release the heavy thoughts and beliefs that are weighing them down. Self hatred packs on the pounds mentally, emotionally and physically.

Every moment you spend questioning your worth and criticizing yourself is not only a waste of your precious time in this life, but it’s working against your desire to release excess weight and keep it off.

Today is the day to start loving yourself.

Here are seven ways to love yourself body, mind and spirit:

1.  Accept that you are good enough just the way you are here and now.

Look in the mirror every day before you get in the shower. Take a pause and stand naked. Choose to accept your flaws realizing that you are where you are because of all you’ve been through. Weight loss over 40 begins with acceptance of your body and your life as it is in this present moment. You came to be where you are now because you’ve been through difficulties. Accept that in this moment  you are absolutely more than good enough just the way you are.This inner culture of self acceptance is the spring-board for change.

2. Teach others how to treat you.

You are already teaching other people how to treat you when you allow someone to talk down to you or insult you. When you choose to love, respect and honor yourself, you are choosing to no longer tolerate abuse from others. Women who truly love and honor themselves expect to be treated with respect and honor from others.   They set healthy boundaries and, if these boundaries are crossed they speak up clearly and directly.  When boundaries are repeatedly violated they know when it’s time to walk away.

3.  Believe you CAN overcome your challenges and learn from them.

Women who truly love themselves know that big challenges are how we grow, learn and derive meaning from life.   Learn to find humor in your mistakes and look at the curve-balls life throws at you as learning opportunities.  The discomfort you feel when difficult situations arise provide rich soil for new growth. Believe that you do have the where-with-all to learn and go beyond the challenges you are facing.

4. Take full responsibility for your part of conflict or trouble without beating yourself up.

When there is a conflict, a disagreement, a blow up or some other trouble, it’s important to scan the situation for your contribution and take responsibility. Own it. But don’t grind your teeth and whip yourself with critical words.  Women who truly love themselves are able to quickly recognize where they have erred, admit it openly, apologize sincerely and then let it go – even if the other person is still angry.

5. See your life as school.

Your body, your pain, your joys, your thoughts, your experiences, your relationships… they are all classes in this advanced graduate course called life. To love and honor yourself is to embrace everything about your body and your experiences as rich opportunity to learn. Instead of gnashing your teeth because the numbers on the scale are too high, get CURIOUS. Ask yourself, “What can I learn from this?” Remember that you are a soul, a spirit having a human experience. You are here to learn. Women who love themselves realize this and therefore are gentle with themselves when things go awry.

6. Follow your bliss.

Women who love themselves know that they must find and follow their deepest inner-longings. Spend time listening for the whispers of your heart. You might start by thinking back to what that thing was you most wanted to do and experience when you were young… and find way to DO THAT. When you love yourself, you will know that the inner-longings are important and you will choose to dig in and find way to honor and nurture those desires.

Much of the time the hunger we feel is not physical hunger. Instead of reaching for potato chips or brownies, reach deep within to what it is your spirit hungers for. Feed that and losing weight over the age of 40 becomes much simpler.

7.  Live your life in the present moment.

This moment is the only moment that exists. Eckhart Tolle says, “The past is merely a memory trace. The future is only a vision. All there is is this present moment. Accept the present moment as if you have chosen it.”

Women who truly love and honor themselves feel greater joy in accepting where they are and embracing the present moment. They do not wallow in aching for what used to be. They do not twist about in anxious agony about what MIGHT happen. They return to the present and work with what IS.

Hilary Rubin,  spiritual life coach, taught me an exercise I myself have used and I now use with my clients called “the permission statement.”

I’d like to share this with you now because as Hilary taught me, most people are still waiting for someone else to come along and give them permission to do things differently. But, the truth is YOU are the only one who can give yourself permission. Try this on for size today… Write this down on a slip of paper and repeat it out loud 7 times. Say it with feeling. Dig into it. Believe it.

Today, I give myself permission to love myself without condition.  I give myself permission to accept myself – my body, my mind, my spirit – just the way I am, and I choose to live my life with gratitude for all the lessons presented to me.

Keep this article open and available to read again and again. Save this permission statement and repeat it daily.  Take a look at the habits and patterns in your life that serve you and  also those that  are holding you back.  By doing these things, you’ll create an inner culture of self-love.  Through this filter of self-love you will begin to make healthier choices which will lead to natural weight loss.

Career Change Over 40

Career Change Over 40

Today I am featuring my colleague Jessica Sweet, LICSW and Life & Career Coach as my guest blogger. Jess provides coaching services, specializing in helping women over 40 make career changes.

woman looking to futureAre you thinking about a career change at 40?

Whether you’re 40, 45, 50 or even 55… a career change is still possible for you.

If you’re like many women, your 40’s and beyond are liberated years. Years when you’re free from the worries of caring for very young children, freer from worries about what other people think. But all of a sudden you might face a new limitation.

You might hit that magic birthday and suddenly you’re “too old” to make a career change, even if you know that what you’re doing now in your career just isn’t right for you.

Why should it be that just when you felt you’d finally paid all your dues, you’re suddenly trapped into doing a job that you don’t like – hate even, when your heart sings to do something else?

Actually, it doesn’t have to be that way.

Being stuck is an illusion.

“Right!” You laugh. “Tell that to my mortgage payments.”

Well, while it’s true that you probably need an income, it’s not true that you need to make your income the way you’ve been making it.

That’s the part that’s just a tweak of the mindset.

Career Change At 40

Your career change at 40 or beyond can happen. The limitations that you’re worried about can be addressed, one at a time and slayed like the dragons they are. Here’s how:

First off, write down what you’re worried about.

(I’m going to tackle some of the most common worries in just a moment).

Second, get a handle on what you really want to be doing next in your career.

Third, make a plan to move forward – and don’t forget to include lots of support!

The Most Common Worries About Career Change At 40 and Beyond

  1. No one will hire me over younger candidates. There are two reasons that this might be true. First, you’re more expensive to hire because your salary costs more and so does your health insurance. Second, they think you won’t be in the position very long either because you’ll retire or because you’re so overqualified you’ll quit soon. All of these reasons come down to money for the employer. Once you understand this, you have an advantage. If it’s a job you really want, you can do your homework and go the extra mile to convince the employer that you won’t cost as much as they think and/or will be worth every penny due to your passion for the job. After all, you get what you pay for.
  2. I don’t have the energy to start something new.If you’re feeling that way, then it’s not the right thing for you. What I want for you is that you find a career move that has you bouncing out of bed at 5 a.m. (ok 6!) excited – yes excited!! to work on it. If you have to muster the energy it’s not right. If you’re 44 and you’re wondering if something huge, like medical school is the right move, the only way to decide is to dig deep and think about how it feels. Do you want it? Do you want it bad? Because that’s what it’s going to take. The right next move gives you a thrill. It’s out there.
  3. I have no idea what I want to do next, I just know it’s not this! This, my friends, is what I live for.I love helping people figure this out. It is possible to figure out what you want next in your career. Sure you can do all sorts of psychometric tests and mumbo-jumbo (not that I don’t believe in those, I do). But I think that they reduce a person to less than the whole. And when you deal with the whole person and understand who they are and what they want and need in order to thrive, be excited, be fulfilled, and happy you really can make huge breakthroughs. You are meant to do something you love, and you can find it.

These are three really common worries, but of course there are more. What worries do you have?

Career change at 40 and older can feel hard, but you can do it! You can break through to a new career or even a dream business. The limitations that hold you back need to be broken down step-by-step so you can move past working at a job that’s probably not challenging you and transitioning on to something that fulfills more of your potential.

Jessica SweetJessica Sweet, LICSW is a career and life coach who helps people over 40 make a career change to work they love. She also helps creative entrepreneurs take their solo businesses and business ideas from seed to bloom.  Learn more about her services and working with her at Wishingwell Life Coaching, and get her free e-book The Ultimate Guide to Career Change at 40 and Beyond.


Losing Weight Over 40 and Keeping it Off for Good!

Losing Weight Over 40 and Keeping it Off for Good!

woman on the beachLosing weight over 40 is a different ball-game for certain! Many women struggle for years, try different diets, lose weight but then put the weight back on again. It’s a frustrating cycle.

I received the following note from *Jennifer, age 54 of Wilmington, NC:

Dear Lynn,

I am 54 and I have gained 50 pounds over the past ten years. I am in the midst of menopause. My doctor says I am clinically obese. I feel like I have tried everything. I have done Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, Nutrisystem and most recently a paleo diet. The paleo worked the best for me but I still have had trouble maintaining and it all comes down to craving carbs.

I can eat really healthy all day long but when I get to late afternoon and evening, all I want is sweets, breads and pasta! And if I give into the craving, I can’t stop with one bite. I noticte that even after I eat a healthy dinner, I have intense cravings for carbs.

I have a device I wear on my wrist and I make sure I do 10000 steps, daily.  I eat lots of veggies and salads during the day. I blow it every evening though.

Two years ago, I lost 40 pounds on a paleo diet but wasn’t able to maintain in the the life phase and gained 30 lbs back. 

I know the low carb diet is beneficial IF I can stick with it.

Desperate for help,


Jennifer’s story is all too common.

There are several factors at play here. Let’s break it down and address each one by one.

Your body in mid-life:

There are many hormones in the body – and the levels change as we grow older. The hormone leptin has a very important job and that is to regulate your appetite and the speed of your metabolism.

Studies have shown that people who are obese have drastically higher amounts of leptin in their bodies than people who are physically fit. While obese people have a lot of leptin, which is supposed to regulate the appetite, these people’s bodies are resisting that effect. This can cause a person to never feel “full” after eating food, which in turn can cause excessive eating.


The best way to control leptin is through a  very balanced diet, high in colorful, high fiber vegetables, healthy fats, and lean protein, similar to what I offer in my 12 Weeks to Total Transformation program. Read more about leptin resistance here.

In addition not eating enough protein and eating the wrong kinds of carbohydrates, can also contribute to a lack of feeling full.

It’s crucial that you avoid refined flours and sugars because these can cause blood insulin levels to raise and lower quickly and cause more cravings.

Keep in mind, processed foods, and foods high in saturated and trans fats have also been found to cause hormonal disturbances when consumed long term.

Based on my team of experts that I consult for nutritional information, it is recommend  you consume 80 grams of protein and 2 cups of high fiber dark leafy greens (kale, spinach, swiss chard) or cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage) at lunch and dinner.

You also want to be sure you have some healthy fats in your diet. Go read this article I wrote about healthy fats.

Also, the cravings you are having may be for a lot of reasons which I address below. You might read my article about cravings and what to do about them here.

Water intake:

It’s very common for for people to neglect this very important piece to healthy weight loss and maintenance of weight loss. As part of the programs I have developed, getting enough water throughout the day is critically important for keeping the body and (believe it or not) the BRAIN hydrated and working optimally to keep you on track mentally as well as physically.

Check out my article here on the importance of drinking water and how much water to drink.

Your exercise plan:

It is so great that you are getting 1000 steps in each day! Fitness Trainer Lisa Weinert (The Wellness Diva) advises you will likely need to enhance your current exercise regimen.  Incorporating some “resistance training” into your regimen is key, especially over the age of 40. I also highly recommend a very gentle, simple yoga practice to enhance your flexibility and help your brain and body align and learn how to work together. Read my article about the role of exercise after the age of 40.

Your emotions an thoughts:

Since there are so many pieces of this puzzle to losing weight over 40, it’s hard to emphasize any one as more important than another. But the mental and emotional piece is one that is skipped over by most diet and weight loss programs. Getting your mind-set clear and focused along with attending to the emotions that drive us to dive into the cookie jar or the ice cream tub are KEYS to helping you get beyond this evening-carb-gnoshing experience you are having. You can begin by developing a mindfulness practice in relationship to food and eating. Check out this article and video.  In my program 12 Weeks to Total Transformation we do in-depth work at the mental and emotional level through specific journaling techniques, guided relaxations and meditation.

Stress – get a grip on this!

This is one of the top reasons we women over 40 struggle with weight gain. When stressful events happen, our bodies respond with a release of a hormone called cortisol. Cortisol is a necessary hormone when operating at normal times and at normal levels assists the body in being awake and alert to move through the day. With chronic stress, too much cortisol at the wrong times sends the body into a state of emergency. When the body feels it is in emergency, it holds onto excess fat. Cortisol levels that spike in the night interfere with our sleep rhythms robbing us of the necessary sleep we need to repair and rest from the day.

It is KEY to either eliminate sources of unnecessary stress OR learn how to develop a relaxation response instead of a stress response.

Practical Tips:

  1. Planning and preparation are KEY!
  2. Always have plenty of healthy snacks prepared and on hand. Take them with you when you leave home. This way you always have something on hand when you are in a rush and get hungry. If you get too hungry and don’t have something healthy nearby you are likely to make an unhealthy choice. I recommend keeping a few raw almonds and an organic apple with you, in your bag, your car and in your desk at work. Never give yourself an excuse to make an unhealthy choice.  I have found a very high quality grass-fed whey protein product you might use as a stand-by also. Toss a scoop in a shaker-drink-cup and just mix with water, shake and drink later in the day. Click here to learn more about the Real Dose products – specifically this high quality whey protein product.
  3. Measure out 1/2 gallon to 3/4 gallon of purified water each morning and aim to finish the container by 7 pm.
  4. Try hot tea in the evening – specifically I recommend Kava Kava tea which calms the nerves, relaxes the mind and body and helps the belly feel full.
  5. Go to bed earlier. Aim to start your bed time routine wind-down at 9:00 and slip under the sheets and blankets by 10:00. Grab my free Sleep Tight Guide for lots of tips on getting a good night’s sleep and why it’s so important in mid-life.
  6. Learn to relax. It’s not something you an do instantaneously – it takes practice. Sign up for my Yoga & Meditation Over 40 series where you will get access to a wide array of audio guided meditations for relaxation. OR if you should decide to join the 12 Weeks to Total Transformation you will get many of these recordings as downloads you can keep forever.

I hope this helps get you started in a slightly new direction because I am certain these tips and bits of info will yield you the results you are looking for body+mind+spirit!

I would love to work with you one on one! You can learn more about my personalized coaching programs here.

*No actual names of clients or customers are used. While this is an actual letter from a member of the Wonders Wellness community her name has been changed to protect her confidentiality.

Dancing with Life’s Challenges

Dancing with Life’s Challenges

dancing with lifeAs a therapist and a life-redesign coach for women, I often hear clients talk about struggling.

In fact, we women over 40 use this word – struggle – often.

Life presents challenge and we struggle. We struggle with knowing what to do next. We struggle with difficult emotions. We struggle with how to handle situations.

I believe it’s time for a reframe. After all, here we are over 40, facing the second half of life. It’s time to do it all differently.

Ever watched ballroom dancing? I’m no professional dancer, but I can watch and observe the ebb and flow. The give and take. The pauses and then the bursts of energy. The harmony.

Ah…. there’s the difference between struggling and dancing!

When we struggle there is tension, pushing and pulling. Struggling connotes a furrowed brow, a white-knuckled grip.

When we dance there is a harmonious flow, blending and cooperation.

So what would this look like to dance with life’s challenges? How about this 5 step plan…

1. Challenge arises. Be with it. When a challenge arises, first, consider it a puzzle to be solved. A feat to be faced. Rather than bowing up with resistance, try to accept that it is here and simply have a look.With mindfulness practice, we are able to gently observe what is happening without reaction or judgment. Just gentle observation.

2. Feel the Rhythm. Now that you’ve noticed the challenge and are just hanging out with it sans reaction, go inward. Take note of sensations in your physical body. Scan for unnecessary tension. See if you can allow the tension to release and soften. Make a note of emotions that are stirring around and breathe into the feelings, noticing the physical sensations that go along with them. Just notice without acting or reacting. Feel your body in space just as a dancer does. Feel the pulse of life in your body.

3. Survey the dance-floor. Consider your options. What is possible? What is within your control? What is outside of your control? What is in the best interest of all involved? What are the consequences of the various choices?

4. Choreograph your plan. Now that you’ve outlined all your options, measure your steps. Consciously choose which course of action you will take and begin mapping it out.

5. Go with the flow. Allow your plan to be the framework for your dance but allow there to be flow. When the factors of the challenge intensify, you can grow softer and move with that intensity rather than matching it with resistance.  When the factors of the challenge back down and ease up, you might lean in and take the lead with action.

The key to dancing with life’s challenges is harmonizing. Know when to give. When to take. When to move and when to be still. This is the dance.

The next time you hear yourself saying “I’m really struggling…” take pause. Take a breath. Consider shifting that mind-set and even changing the language to reflect a choice to dance with it rather than struggle.


Time for a Life-Redesign?

Time for a Life-Redesign?

woman at lakeAfter years as a licensed professional counselor and yoga/meditation instructor, my work in the world has expanded and morphed. My own life experience enriches my understanding of what others are going through. This past year I launched Wonders Wellness to support women over 40.  I help women in mid-life with the process of life-redesign.

Life-redesign is a process of consciously and mindfully renovating the structure, systems, beliefs and perspectives of your life!

I’ve always been a fan of HGTV shows where people take these outdated, run-down houses and completely redesign, refurbish and remodel, creating a beautiful new home from the old.

It is so inspiring and uplifting to watch people have a vision, work hard to bring that vision to life and then with the reveal of the finished product they are able to stand back with happy tears as they contemplate the transformation of their home.

This is very much like the work I do with women over 40.

When women get to mid-life, it is here they often realize a profound discontent with life as it is.  Mid-life is when a woman’s body begins to age more rapidly. We experience menopause. Our children are leaving the nest.

Mid-life is often the time for a life-redesign.

And the process is not too different than what they go through on those television shows.

I’ve created a map that I use with my coaching clients to help them with life-redesign. There are basically 8 steps to the process. You can use these 8 steps to create your own life-redesign!

  1. Do an initial inventory – Gather data! It is important to observe and assess where your life is right now. Take note of your physical health, the state of your physical body. Look at where you live, what you do day to day, habits you have, people you surround yourself with. Take an inventory and write it all down. Describe it as it is. Note how you feel as you are describing it. Use lots of adjectives.
  2. Make a wish-list: Circle all the things and feelings you’ve written down that you DON’T want anymore. Turn those things around into the things you DO want and the ways you DO want to feel and write the wants down on a separate piece of paper.
  3. Design your dream life: Take all those things you DO want and weave them into a vision of how your life will be when they are all plugged in. You can create a vision board with images and words or a map or just a description of what life will be like when you’re done with your redesign. Post it somewhere you can look at it everyday.
  4. Create a master to-do list: Now, what specific things do you need to do to make this happen? Join a gym? Hire a life-coach? See a doctor? Sell your house? Get your resume together? Re-prioritize your obligations? Start a blog?
  5. Circle the wagons: It’s time to create a dream team of support people. This team might be people you hire to delegate certain tasks to support you on your mission or it might be friends and colleagues who are willing to pitch in and contribute to the project. It might mean you go to therapy, hire a mentor or seek other consultation with experts. This team might include your health care practitioner, coaching support, a massage therapist, a handy-man or a virtual assistant.
  6. Dig in: Get to work! Dedicate yourself mentally to the tasks at hand every day. Remind yourself this redesign is going to take time, persistence and hard work every day. This is most often where people fall off track. Hang in there and keep moving forward.
  7. Be gentle with yourself: Be sure you are balancing all that hard work with meaningful breaks to attend to the care of your body, mind and spirit along the way. Don’t mistake dedication for being hard on yourself! Be proud of your progress. Nurture yourself.
  8. Celebrate!: Once you have realized your dream and your life is looking and feeling so much better, take time to celebrate yourself. Stand back, admire your work and breathe in to this place of realizing that YOU DID IT! Take time to sink into the new life you have created for yourself and frequently take pause to reflect on how far you have come.

If you should decide you’d like some support along the way, contact me directly to set up a free Connection Session so we can talk about where you are now and where you’d like to be!

Healthy Morning Smoothie Recipes

Healthy Morning Smoothie Recipes

smoothieI have come up with some amazingly delicious healthy morning smoothie recipes I am eager to share with you to start you off on the right foot in 2015!

These are quick and easy (literally takes seconds!)

Though I still LOVE juicing green drinks, smoothies are the quicker go-to and they provide your fiber AND your phytonutrients and protein to get you going for the day.

Here are my top three new morning smoothie recipes – just pick your recipe, combine all ingredients in your Vitamix, blend until smooth and enjoy right away for maximum benefit…

Power Berry Smoothie

1/4 cup organic frozen blueberries, 1/4 cup organic frozen strawberries, 1 inch rhubarb, 1 sprig of fresh mint, 1 scoop of Real Meal protein powder (derived from grass-fed cows), 1 cup of organic baby spinach, 2 cups of ice water

Lean Green Morning Machine

1 cup organic romaine lettuce, 2 organic kale leaves, 1/4 cup fresh organic parsley, 1 lemon wedge with rind, 1 small organic apple, 1 scoop of Real Meal protein powder, 2 cups of ice water

Orange You Ready for the Day Smoothie

1 medium size orange peeled and seeded, 1 whole organic carrot, 1/2 inch fresh ginger peeled, 1/2 tsp turmeric, 1 small organic apple, 1 scoop of Real Meal protein powder, 2 cups of ice water

If you don’t have a Vitamix, by now you know this is my blender of choice and I urge you to go order one now. I have tried the other brands – they collect dust in a cabinet because they don’t measure up to my Vitamix.

My Vitamix sits on my kitchen counter and is used daily. Same machine for 14 years! Vitamix has amazing machines and they will last and last and last… best investment ever.


The BEST blender on the market