Losing Weight After 50
- Don’t Diet. Sounds counter-intuitive? It’s not. If your goal is losing weight after 50, listen up. What you eat not only fuels your body, but also should be a source of enjoyment and satiety. Regimented diet plans and programs often have you committed to a protocol which may have you losing weight after 50 (& exercising your credit card simultaneously) for the short term. Being hungry isn’t fun. No matter what the short-term pay-off. Fine, if you want to fit into that kick-ass outfit for your 30-something high school reunion, but not feasible in the long-term. But then the next day rolls around, and regular life kicks in. Solution? No “magic bullet”. Sorry. To be losing weight after 50, your calorie intake has to be less than your calorie output. Simple math. Not simple to implement. Why? Our weight is WAY more than just a number. It’s often a reflection of how we view ourselves. Losing weight after 50 is HARD. MAINTAINING a healthy weight should be the long-term goal. Commit to eating patterns and portion control that will be sustainable. Deprivation is over-rated and ineffective.
What works for you? (Think significant others and kids are a challenge? Add this one to your list) We all need support and good information for a lifestyle change that will stick and become a SUSTAINABLE healthy habit. Several of my clients are long-term Weight Watchers advocates. Find something that holds your choices accountable but also lets you enjoy life.
Let’s get to this first: Menopause.The gift that keeps on giving, and giving…grief. A member in my Spin class said, “I used to be relatively hot and happy. Now hot only refers to my flashes. It has wrecked my happiness” Menopause. It sucks. Estrogen fluctuations can lead to increased fat storage, and insulin resistance that makes losing weight after 50 more difficult. Take that as a challenge. We have to work harder as we get older for lesser results. We can lament it, or take control and deal with it. These two exercise modes should go hand-in-hand.
- High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) will burn the calories.Short periods of heart-pumping work..It can be total body (jumping jacks, push-ups), upper body (boxing routine jab-cross) or lower (fast squats) You don’t have to go high impact, but you need to get out of your comfort zone. It’s not always pleasant, but it works. Pleasant is sitting home and binge-watching your favorite TV show. If you want to lose weight after 50, there’s work involved.
- Resistance/weight training- Most cardio classes are filled with women. Most weight floors are filled with men. Women may be aerobically fitter, but weights are also key. Resistance training can help preserve muscle mass. Muscle mass requires a more stable base for bones to adhere to. Bones (even later in life) respond to additional stress loads and can become stronger. This is another possibility for staying fitter, longer.
Weight floors can be intimidating when they’re mostly male-dominated, and often by a younger group of people. As an alternative, most gyms offer weight-based group exercise classes. In my experience, the majority of participants are female. Find a class that offers a predominantly resistance/weight-training format. Then please, seek out the instructor if you are new. They should be willing to offer tips on form and/or introduce you to weight training if you’re a novice. A lot of women are. And it’s never too late to begin.
Good instructors or trainers should be able to help you with losing weight after 50, no matter what your experience and fitness level. Don’t be afraid to ask.
- Find A Work Out/Activity Partner
The advantages of this are 2-part:
- You are more likely to be committed and accountable. If you say to someone you’ll show up for a class/buddy training session/walk, then it’s more difficult to make excuses to back out. It’s easy to make excuses to ourselves (we all do) but when another person expects your presence at a certain place and time, your little inner voice saying “I’m too tired” or, “I’m too busy” becomes less convincing. There’s a slight guilt factor involved, too. Who wants to be unreliable or the “Flaky Friend”?
- The “Fun Factor” Shared experiences after a hard work out session or an enjoyable walk can be cathartic- “Great talk, great hike”, or unite you in adversity – “Can you believe we got through that tough session?” You need to WANT to repeat this experience in order to burn off the calories and keep them off. Seek out your friends and significant others. Chances are they share similar goals.
As we age – beginning in our 20’s – we start to lose body water as part of our overall body composition. That can put us at risk of dehydration. That aside, as part of a healthy weight – loss program, water can help us feel fuller, and is essential to maintaining homeostasis when exercising. Water is a simple, mostly cheap (providing you’re not buying high-end bottled H2O) component of our diet that is often overlooked. Carry a re-usable sports bottle with you. Have it near your desk, your night stand, in your bag. Clean it regularly, and refill it with either filtered – if that’s your preference- or tap water. Add ice on hot days. The simple act of having it beside you and taking sips will become a healthy habit. Another benefit for women over 50? It won’t reverse wrinkles, but it will help improve the skin as part of a healthy diet.
Sleep is elusive for most people I know. It becomes more of a problem after 50. Menopausal symptoms (night sweats) are a huge interference. And sleep is crucial to weight loss. If we’re tired, we don’t function well, mentally or physically. Establish a sleep routine. Bed at a similar time every night. Turn your electronic devices to “Do Not Disturb” Resist the urge to check your Twitter/Insta/FB Feed. Shun the TV in the bedroom. We have so little “quiet time”. Make a HABIT of it.
We’re all busy. Always. Be honest and find the time for what works for you. An hour out of your day can lead to significant change. Losing weight requires a change. Maintaining your ideal, healthy weight requires a sustainable lifestyle commitment.