I’m 42 - and this is slightly off-topic, but: since you’re on this site, I hope you’re interested in strength training?
I’ve been struggling with weight issues for more than a decade, and just in the past couple of years I have had a LOT of success with strength training. During my first eight-week period of pure lifting, 3-4 times / week, I lost 4" off my waist (that was WITHOUT much modification to my bad eating habits!). Right now I’m doing a great program in San Jose that’s strength 3x/week, with boot camp 2-3x/week, along with a “clean” diet using the hand rules for portion sizing. 3 lean, clean meals a day plus 3 protein pulses.
I’ve tried all kinds of diets and programs, but strength training has really been my savior. I know from experience what your mom is going through; I started out as someone over 40, 5’8" and almost 300 pounds. I’ve lost only about 30 pounds so far, I’m down a couple of dress sizes, and I still have about 80-100 pounds to go… but I also know from differences in body composition that I’ve converted quite a bit of mass into muscle, so I’m not too impatient with the scale. The differences in my energy and the ease of simple things like going up and down stairs has completely changed my life.
Some of this is body type dependent: I know that my body tends to both build muscle easily, and hold onto a layer of fat JUST IN CASE there’s a worldwide famine. But for anyone struggling with weight, I would highly recommend strength training, without calorie counting or deprivation.
Here’s the diet I’m currently working with. 3 lean, clean meals a day plus 3 protein pulses. I try not to go more than 2.5 - 3 hours without having either a meal or a protein shake. On active days, I absolutely NEED that frequent intake.
Each meal consists of:
1 serving of lean protein–size of flat hand
1 serving carbs–size of closed fist or less, depending on how active a day is (post-workout carbs OK)
AND plenty of green veggies! Unlimited, but the 2 cupped hands is a good gauge for cooked veggies (more for salad)
Lean proteins: chicken or turkey breast, egg whites, 99% lean ground turkey, tuna, tilapia, halibut, orange roughy, bison, swordfish, salmon, etc. I mix 12 oz of bison with 1lb 93/7 ground beef for great burgers.
Carbs: high fiber, lower GI - oatmeal, quinoa, short-grain brown rice, boiled yam, sweet potato, baked potato, ezekiel bread. Berries are acceptable, but at the bottom of the list!
Vegetables: (note there are no root veggies here, as they are higher-GI!) Kale, broccoli, asparagus, brussels sprouts and spinach are the BEST. Celery, cucumber, green beans, cauliflower, cabbage, peppers, lettuces are next. At the bottom of the list (consume only in moderation, not as a staple) tomatoes, artichoke, zucchini.
No sugars or processed sauces or dressings. Lemon juice, lime juice, and vinegars (NOT high-sugar super-aged balsamic though!) Herbs and spices are good. Turmeric is GREAT for you, and so is cinnamon (I add cinnamon to every chocolate protein shake).
I highly recommend a zero-sugar “detox” of at least a month–I found that after that, I can get by on 1/8 to 1/4 t in my coffee, along with some stevia. Same for oatmeal. So my “external” sugar intake is less than 1/2 teaspoon a day, which I think is OK.
And I allow myself maybe 2T of healthy fats per day, usually almond butter. I supplement this with Udo’s 3-6-9 so that I’m getting enough omega-3 and omega-6. I cook with very small amounts of extra-virgin olive oil.
On top of that, a LOT of water, and aim for 8 hours of sleep and use de-stressing techniques if you’re under a lot of stress; stress hormones REALLY make the fat want to stay on.
I’m sure lots of people post “I DO THIS AND IT WORKS!!!” - but since it sounds like your mom is in a situation similar to mine, I thought I’d give you my two cents!!!
Best wishes for good health,