Some of the questions we hear most often are what is the best diet for weight loss over 50? What is the best way to lose weight for a woman over 40? How can we lose the pudgy middle that seems to have crept on us in our late 40’s early 50’s? Then on the other side, we hear from folks that just assume they will gain weight and almost expect to gain 5 to 10 pounds each year.
Every person is unique, so are their needs. What may work for one person may not work for another just as some people love low carb diets others feel unwell when they eat a high protein diet. There are many reasons why we gain weight at any age including as we get older. These reasons are inactivity, improper eating and diet, stress, and change in metabolism. So what can we do about it? Actually quite a lot. I’m with you on this venture too as I’m also battling weight in my midsection. So let’s break it down.
- Inactivity. This is probably one of the biggest contributors to weight gain. Unfortunately for many of us for one reason or another, we exercise less and find ourselves in an inactive lifestyle. Just going back a few years when we were in our 30’s and possibly raising children, we seemed to be running nonstop from morning until night. As our kids get older and leave the home, we find ourselves at a slower pace of life. This may be good for stress but it’s not good for us as our bodies need exercise and activity. At the end of the day if you are exercising less than you used to do BUT eating the way you used to when you were exercising, you will gain weight. Stop and write down what you eat along with how much exercise you get each day. This may be an eye opener for you but will be the starting point to help get back on track.
- Improper eating and diet. This is a tough one to be honest. What we used to be able to get away with in our 20’s and 30’s doesn’t work in our 40’s, 50’s and beyond. In addition, many of us were used to cooking for a family and find that it’s too much trouble to cook for one or 2 so snack instead. I am not a nutritionist so you need to research and determine what will work for you. I do know from working with clients AND myself is that most of do not eat enough during the day. I am so guilty of this because I will get wrapped up in writing or other work and next thing I know I haven’t eaten since breakfast. The best way to look at this would be the same as you would a wood stove or furnace. If you want to keep the house warm, you must feed the furnace wood. Same thing with our bodies. If you want to keep your energy and metabolism revved up you must give your body fuel. BUT not just any “fuel”. If you put leaves and twigs into your furnace, it will not give you the heat you need to keep your house warm. Take the time to sit down and eat 4 to 5 balanced meals throughout the day and make sure each one includes protein. If you are consuming 1800 calories per day, strive to get 300 – 400 calories in each meal. To make sure you are eating enough, journal your food. In addition to eating enough of the RIGHT foods, it’s important to watch your portions. We all think we know how much rice should be on our plates but you might just be surprised when you actually measure out the portion. This is the exact reason I personally use and recommend the 21 Day Fix Program – it has gotten me, along with many clients, back on track.
- Stress. You would think once the kids are out on their own that we would be able to relax a little right? Nope! We are just as stressed now as we were when we were trying to keep all the balls in the air with work, raising kids, taking care of the house, extracurricular activities, and more. In addition, many of us are taking care of our parents as they age. Stress can cause so much trouble and is a leading contributor to spare tire around our middles. The reason is that when we are stressed, our bodies product cortisol which we used to use for fight or flight. If you couldn’t beat whatever was attacking you, you sure better be able to get away from it quickly. Stress today causes the same response first with a burst of adrenaline then with cortisol to replace the adrenaline that was used. The BEST thing you can do when you have a stressful day is to get up and get moving. Exercise will help alleviate some of the stress and use the adrenaline that your body produced to get you ready to do battle. Also consider taking some quiet time for prayer and meditation to help manage stress.
For some of us, it will not be easy to shed a few pounds. It’s harder for me than it has ever been BUT I am able to keep in mind that I also have never felt as great as I do now. Don’t focus on the 10 pounds you feel you need to lose. Life is too short to be miserable about our weight. Yes we should try to maintain our weight as best we can. The best way to do that is to get up and enjoy every moment of every day we have been gifted.
To your health,
Denise Sanger is a high energy business owner with over 30 years experience in the marketing area. She has transitioned her love of fitness and marketing into helping others succeed in getting fit and running their own businesses. She founded How To Stay Fit Over 50 to provide hope and support to others by motivating them to take the first step in their fitness journey no matter what age. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com