Diane Keaton in Something's Gotta Give. She was in her late 50s when they made this movie.

How to Lose Weight (for women of a certain age)

Welcome to Say Tomato!

This website, for women over 40, has been set up as a social enterprise to support you, free of charge, in your aims to get healthy.  In particular it offers trusted scientifically based advice about losing weight.  Some people say you’ll never lose weight.  Others that you’ll simply put the weight back on.  But while many try and fail, many others succeed.  Those who succeed get help and support from reliable sources.  Please make use of the resources you’ll find here.

About the Author
I am a qualified clinical nutritionist specialising in women over 40 and a scientific writer.  You can find my own nutrition consultancy website here WENDYSHILLAM.CO.UK.  Covid 19 has hit us far too much in the UK.  People are beginning to notice that countries with high Covid 19, have higher levels of obesity.  It is perhaps no coincidence that obesity is higher in the UK than any other country in Europe.  (And in the US obesity is higher still).

Obesity isn’t linked to greed or lack of self-control.  It is linked to lack of knowledge and to the poor diet that many of us have, until now, perceived as normal.  During the pandemic I have been formulating a weight loss programme, that was originally to be sold.  But too many people need this now.  I recognise that few of us have the money to spend on consultants, nor the wish to meet face to face.  So, for now this programme is free to everyone.  I’m still very happy to discuss with anyone their own weight loss issues, either by email through this site, or via my twitter handle @rooftpovegplot.

Losing weight isn’t as important as remaining healthy at the moment. But if you are overweight or obese, even a little weight loss can reduce metabolic diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure. Look at the webpage here about Covid19 and nutrition, NUTRITION CAN HELP YOU RETAIN RESILIENCE  The critical factor is to retain muscle mass as you lose fat safely. I would advise any woman over 40 who is watching her weight at the moment, to purchase good quality body composition scales. There is a review page here. In fact stop watching your weight and instead watch your muscle mass and body fat!  Read the linked articles about healthy eating here  THE GOOD LIFE. Make sure that your home diet (and exercise) means you are losing fat, especially visceral fat which accumulates at tummy level around your organs.  Muscle and bone mass should remain as high as possible – though this is difficult to achieve. Your muscle mass is a store against fever and disease, releasing energy and vital proteins if you need them.  If you are ill, when you eat protein your body will divert the valuable amino acids that protein contains into making immunity cells and fighting whatever disease you have.  Don’t deplete your muscle store on any account.  A sick person won’t replenish muscle daily, as happens normally. Before you get ill make sure your muscles are strong, by eating healthily and exercising well.  This advice is important for women over 40 because muscle mass becomes increasingly more difficult to regain during and after menopause, when monthly periods cease.

Wendy Shillam ANutr RSPH MA MSc  17th March 2020

Losing weight is different when a woman reaches that certain age. But weight management can actually be far easier than when we were younger.  Here are five good starting points:

Convivial eating. Hipp hipp hurra. Painting by Peder Severin Krøyer
Convivial eating can transform our enjoyment of the simplest meal.

Make a list of what is really important to you

Examine your motivation.  As we experience more of life, we realise that enjoyment of cuisine is one of life’s great social, gastronomic and cultural pleasures.  But it isn't just about the quantity of food we eat, or even its quality. Healthy eating is more than simply what’s on the plate, it is the location and the company too.  It is how you are feeling before, during and after the meal.  A good diet should help you regain your appetite for life, as well as good food.  So, make a list of what is important in your life and look for the anchors that will help you stick to your dieting resolve.

When we are young we tend to choose the first food that catches our eye. As we become more sensible, we think about the nutitional value of the food and the consequences of making the wrong decision.
Which way is your head turned?

Let experience be your guide

Mature brains are not as impulsive as young brains. Older is wiser. Until we reach our thirties the decision-making part of the brain remains unfinished.  Experience teaches us that food that looks good sometimes doesn't taste good.  Use your wisdom to make healthy food choices.

Human metabolism. Menopause changes the balance in our systems and must be reflected by new eating ias we lose weight.
Brunk et al., "Recon3D enables a three-dimensional view of gene variation in human metabolism, Nature Biotechnology (2018); doi:10.1038/nbt.4072

Don't fight your metabolism

Human metabolism is the complex play of nutrients that power our energy centres, that build and maintain our bodies and manufacture signalling hormones. Hormones influence our thinking as well as our body.

Just look at the image above - this is just a small part of a diagram that shows how nutrients influence processes in every cell in the body.  The menopause (change of life) dramatically alters hormone production and changes a woman's metabolism.  Don't fight against it. I can show you how you can use the fact of metabolic change to re-balance the diet, making it better tailored to your current needs. If you need to lose a lot of weight, you will have to reduce your eating, but changing the balance of nutrients, rather than actually cutting down, can have excellent effects on appetite and satiety (feeling full).

Iage of colourful sweets - do you know whether they are good for you or not?
One small sweet won't do you any harm. It is a boxful that will.

Get professional support

We all benefit from a bit of support.  Working with a nutritionist makes a big difference.  Research shows that people who consult a qualified nutritionist can expect significantly faster weight loss, and maintain that weight loss over time1.  Losing weight isn't merely a science.  Feelings come into it as well.  The best nutritionists will also be able to help you address emotional issues such as comfort eating or binging.   This website is free and regularly updated.  You can contact me whenever you have a query.

Antique clock face. The clock is ticking. There's no time like the present.

Don't put it off!

It is all too easy to put-off making changes.  But if you are obese or overweight, then resolving to lose weight is the kindest thing you can do for yourself.  It is never too late, but if you are over 40, the clock is ticking.  Let it motivate you into action. Unquestionably, overweight is now linked to diseases such as covid19, cancer, heart disease and diabetes.  Reducing our weight and resolving to follow a heathy diet, is recognised as one of the most important changes we can make in order to increase our life chances, extend our life expectancy and reduce the risk of spending years of infirmity in old age2.  Why wait?

How I can help you?

This website is here to help you begin to eat healthily, to lose weight and maintain a balanced diet.  I post a Nutrition Journal with information about losing weight and healthy diet. 

I work with women just like you, in face-to-face consultations in London and Spain, as well as advising organisations about prevention through diet, giving talks, and writing about my specialisms.   I never work for big food or big pharma.  I love to garden, so my twitter handle is @rooftopvegplot and talks about broader subjects including my organic rooftop vegplot.  My husband and I run a small B&B in our home in Westminster. 122 Great Titchfield Street B&B in Central London Our organic and wholesome breakfasts can be modified to cater for any special nutritional requirements.  

Click here to find out about a consultation. My specialism is helping women over 40 to lose weight and maintain muscle strength.  It is very common for overweight to be linked to diabetes type 2, high blood pressure, sleep apnoea and feelings of weakness or tiredness. This can affect digestion, or food intolerances. 

Sarcopenic obesity

I'm a bit of a nut about protein (no pun intended). That is because many women simply don't realise that they are vulnerable to something called sarcopenic obesity.  That means they may weight just right, but they have too much fat and not enough muscle.  This can be caused by fad diets, over-exercise while dieting, yo-yo diets and ageing.   Losing weight is not always a sign of health in adults. 

Via this website you can make contact, send me a query – I’d love to help - or simply comment on the articles you'll find in the journal section of this site.  Sign in at the footer to subscribe to regular updates.   

Make contact

Ask a question or make suggestions for an article you'd like me to write for the journal.




  1. Teeriniemi, A. M. et al. A randomized clinical trial of the effectiveness of a Web-based health behaviour change support system and group lifestyle counselling on body weight loss in overweight and obese subjects: 2-year outcomes. J. Intern. Med. 284, 534–545 (2018).
  2. Abdelaal, M., le Roux, C. W. & Docherty, N. G. Morbidity and mortality associated with obesity. Ann. Transl. Med. 5, 161–161 (2017).
  3. Metabolic map https://www.vmh.life/#reconmap2
  4. Featured Image: Diane Keaton, in Something's Gotta Give, Columbia Pictures, Warner Brothers, 2003
For the safety of all my clients, I am now only running email and Skype consultations. CONTACT
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