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Losing weight can already be a challenging goal, but it gets even harder as you age. Things like your metabolism, hormones, sleep patterns, and eating habits can undergo some major shifts with each year, making it all the more difficult to stick to your health goals.
For those who have been trying to lose weight after 50 and have found themselves feeling really frustrated with it, we’ve got you covered. We talked with a few expert dietitians about weight loss and aging, and they gave us their best tips for losing weight in your 50s.
After, for more healthy eating tips, check out 30 Essential Spring Superfoods for Weight Loss.
If you’re used to eating muffins, donuts, or other sugar pastries for breakfast, our dietitians warn that you may want to make the switch to something like oatmeal.
“Replacing your morning breakfast with a bowl of oatmeal is a simple way you can help jumpstart your weight loss efforts,” says Trista Best, MPH, RD, LD at Balance One Supplements. “This is especially beneficial if you are eating breakfast pastries or high-fat, sugary breakfasts. Oatmeal is loaded with fiber, which will help keep you feeling full for longer as well as help to prevent glucose spikes. Both of these side effects will help with weight loss by preventing overeating and rapid fat storage.”
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Sugary drinks like soda, fruit juices, and fancy coffee drinks can come with tons of added sugar, which can add up quickly.
“Drinking too much sugar has detrimental effects on your overall health, including developing type 2 diabetes, which leads to serious weight conditions,” says Courtney D’Angelo, MS, RD, author at Go Wellness. “If you eliminate this sugar intake and replace it with water, you’re easily doubling your efforts to reach your new weight loss goals.”
Making sure you have plenty of protein is going to be crucial if you want to lose weight after 50, so make sure you stock up on plenty of protein-heavy snacks.
“As we age, our metabolism changes, and our nutrition needs become different,” says Morgyn Clair, MS, RDN, author at Fit Healthy Momma. “Many older people do not get enough protein in their diet, which can lead to muscle loss. Muscle naturally burns more calories throughout the day, meaning that more muscle mass equals faster metabolism overall.”
While everyone loves a good midnight snack, it’s not always the best when you’re trying to stick to your weight loss goals.
“Studies show time and time again that reducing caloric intake before sleeping can lead to sustained weight loss,” says Clair. “As our metabolism changes with age, this can be even more prominent. Have more balanced meals throughout the day and skip heavy nighttime snacks to help the waistline.”
Along with getting enough protein, adding plenty of fiber to your diet is important for those wanting to shed a few pounds as they age.
“Research shows that adding 14 grams of fiber daily reduces calorie intake by about 10%, with no calorie-counting required! Whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds are rich in the fiber you need,” says Elizabeth Ward, MS, RDN, co-author of The Menopause Diet Plan, A Natural Guide to Hormones, Health, and Happiness.
Experts say that while your nutrition is one of the most important parts of weight loss, exercising on a regular basis can significantly help as well.
“It’s important to begin your focus with the food and drinks you are consuming,” says D’Angelo. “Get that right first, and then you can incorporate daily exercise. There are a number of workouts you can choose from, such as strength training, cardio, HIIT, boxing, etcetera. Or, you can use a fitness app and follow a specific, personalized exercise program designed to help you reach your goals. Take advantage of the technology and have the discipline to stick with your game plan.”
While this method isn’t for everyone, some dietitians find that it can be a helpful tool for wanting to lose weight.
“Tracking macros is actually easier than it sounds,” says D’Angelo. “The first step is to set a weight loss goal and figure out how much protein, carbs, and fats are needed for you each day to hit your macro goals. There are a bunch of ways to track your macros, such as hiring an RD or macro coach, using an app, or using a simple spreadsheet.”
If you’re getting bored with plain old water, throw some lemon in there! It is not only delicious, but it also has great health benefits, too.
“Adding lemon to your water means you actually desire to drink more and achieve your unique hydration needs,” says Best. “Lemon water has also been shown to support weight loss by improving insulin resistance and digestion. Lemon water can improve satiety, which leads to consuming fewer calories with snacking and mindless eating. This is one simple way you can support your weight loss efforts and when combined with other lifestyle changes, these benefits can add up quickly.”
And finally, moving throughout the day, even if it’s for a few minutes during a work break, can help you achieve some of your health goals if you want to lose weight after 50.
“NEAT is Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis, which is the energy you burn doing everything except sleeping, eating, and exercising,” says Ward. “While exercising on a regular basis is recommended, so is sitting less. Every movement burns calories. I suggest getting up every hour and moving around for 5 minutes.”
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