Diets for women over 40Happy and Healthy Ageing

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 diet and exercise.  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. There is now an online free* weight loss course for women over 40.  It is a nine week programme.


Glorious Summer, Happy and Healthy Ageing – written by our own Wendy Shillam and published by Say Tomato! is out now.
Glorious Summer Cover Image

* While the diet is absolutely free I do recommend that you make use of a body composition analyser – a type of weighing scales that records fat and muscle mass, as well as weight.  Diets that result in loss of muscle mass, instead of fat, can be detrimental to long term health.  The diet recommends a particular model, that I know works well, but neither I, nor, gains any commission from that recommendation.

About the Author

I am a qualified clinical nutritionist specialising in women’s longevity 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).

Being overweight isn’t linked to greed or lack of self-control.  It is linked to lack of knowledge. Often the diet that many of us think of as normal, is in fact bad for us in the long term. 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 personal weight loss issues, face to face, respond to a specific email question through this site (see below), or publically and free via my twitter handle @rooftpovegplot.

If you are overweight or obese, even a little weight loss can reduce metabolic diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure.  But as we get older any-old-diet won’t do. 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. It is very easy to lose muscle mass during a weight loss diet.  The free weight loss programme for women over 40 helps you to watch your fat loss, while preserving and enhancing, your msucle mass.

Your muscle mass is a store against fever and disease, releasing energy and vital proteins if you need them.  If you get ill, your body will divert the valuable amino acids that proteins contain into making immunity cells and fighting whatever disease you have.   A sick person won’t replenish muscle daily, as happens normally. Instead some protein will be diverted to fighting the illness. Be prepared! Make sure your muscles are strong, by eating healthily and exercising well.

Updated Wendy Shillam ANutr RSPH MA MSc  22 May 2024

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. The diets on these pages show you how you can use the fact of metabolic change to re-balance your eating, 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, even if you are finding it difficult to cut down, can have an excellent effect 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 an the diets it contain are 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?  Start your diet today.

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.  

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
4.Featured Image: From Five of the best fashion tips for women over 40

Glorious Summer Happy and Healthy Ageing SAY TOMATO BOOKS