After age 50, weight loss can feel like a lost cause. Your metabolism slows due to reduced muscle mass, and your daily physical activities—particularly the time spent in exercise—declines. If these biological changes are not met with a corresponding reduction in dietary calories, you will experience a slow and steady increase in your body weight. That said, it’s possible to lose weight after you hit 50.
Old age isn’t the only culprit for weight gain at this stage of life — changes like decreases in metabolism and muscle mass that come with age can hamper your efforts to lose weight. It might be time to see a nutritionist so she or he can create a diet plan that takes these new challenges into account.
5 Best Ways To Lose Weight After 50
Here are five proven strategies you can use to lose weight after 50. These tips can help you become more active and exercise to shed extra pounds, so your metabolism doesn’t slow down and so the pounds don’t pile back on.
1) Changing your diet
It’s important to be aware of the calories you consume to lose weight after 50 as your metabolism slows. To feel full and satisfied, choose nutritious foods with fewer calories per bite.
Instead of cutting back on everything, you should swap out high-calorie foods like fried foods, fatty meats, cookies, cakes, candies and chips for low-calorie nutritious foods like vegetables, fruits, salads and bean dishes. These foods are both high in water and fiber, which makes them extra filling without all the calories.
2) Food Diary
If you’re not counting calories, it’s easy to eat more than you think. If you’re eating oversized portions, grabbing bites while prepping family meals, or nibbling as a new work-from-home norm, all that nibbling adds up. Tracking your food intake can help you lose weight after 50.
If you’re overwhelmed by the idea of tracking your food intake, remember that research participants only spent 15 minutes a day on average doing it—the amount of time you might spend scrolling through Facebook or Instagram.
3) Daily workout
As we age, it’s essential to incorporate a “movement portfolio” into our daily lives. The portfolio should include activities of daily living (like walking and using the stairs), active fitness activities (like bike riding and using an elliptical machine) and resistance-training exercises.
To help you stay active and lose weight after 50, set an alarm for every hour and take a stretch or standing break. Plan to exercise, then get started on your plan. For example, if you plan to go for a power walk at breakfast, get up earlier and put on your walking clothes.
4) Stress Management
When you reach midlife and the stresses of life begin to mount, your body responds by releasing cortisol. If your stress diminishes, your hormone levels return to normal, but if you continue to face ongoing stress, cortisol levels will remain high. This can lead to an increased appetite and a propensity to store fat in your belly.
Deep breathing can help you relax, lower your cortisol levels and even relieve stress. To practice deep breathing, set aside five minutes several times throughout the day.
5) Practicing good sleep habits
If you are wondering, ‘how can sleep help you lose weight?’ then read on to know more.
When you don’t get enough sleep, your hunger-controlling hormones get thrown out of whack and you crave high-calorie foods. Studies also suggest that when you’re sleep-deprived, it alters the way you think about food—you have stronger cravings for sweets and other less healthy eats.
To help you sleep better, try getting regular exercise and practicing good stress management techniques. Going to bed at the same time each night and allowing 30 minutes to unwind before bed is also important. Eating a mostly whole foods diet that’s low in added sugar can help, too.
Sometimes losing weight is easier said than done. We are the ones who need to put aside excuses and get moving if we want different results. We should always give ourselves a break (and food isn’t the enemy, it’s our best friend—though knowing how to use it properly is key).
By incorporating some of these tips and tricks into your lifestyle, you not only help yourself but also lift others around you up as well—by being more active, eating better and letting go of any negative self-talk.