Losing Weight Past Age 50
Losing weight is a topic that all adults, no matter their age, think about at least a few times. It’s hard not to, with advertisements surrounding us that promise results, movie stars and models getting thinner by the year, and popular culture constantly promoting the ideal appearance as part of a healthy life.
It can get a bit overwhelming, but never more so than after the age of 50. Around that time, the wear and tear on the body begins to make itself known through arthritis and other ailments. This is usually the time that women experience the early stages of menopause, and hormones begin changing in men’s bodies as well. Combined, these challenges can make losing weight even harder, but it’s not hopeless. There are many ways to continue with a healthy weight loss regimen even into the senior years.
After the age of 50, our bodies slow production of certain hormones, particularly estrogen and testosterone. At this age, we are no longer considered viable by evolution for procreating, and those hormones are largely in place for that purpose. So it makes sense that our production would slow. That can have a serious effect on your metabolism, ability to sleep, energy levels, and overall health.
Some seniors may choose to go through hormone replacement therapy, taking pills or getting shots of the hormones that their bodies no longer produce. This can help raise energy levels and get the metabolism pumping again. For others, a simple shift in diet can help. Eating fewer calories than you used to is one way to stop the onset of the “menopause belly” that so many women report developing.
Speaking of diet, it’s essential that anyone trying to lose weight pay attention to what and how much they are eating. We now know from decades of scientific research that what we put into our bodies is at least 75% responsible for how much we weigh. In other words, you can’t outrun your fork.
There are many diets out there that work for people of all walks of life. Some diets claim to be better for seniors because they reduce inflammation and indigestion, two problems that many seniors report experiencing. No matter what diet you choose, the key tactics are to eat plenty of real foods (not processed), and to stop eating when you are full. Counting calories can be one way to re-learn the limits your body should be comfortable with.
Weight Training vs. Cardio
Just because eating is the biggest thing you can change to lose weight doesn’t mean you should avoid working out. In addition to losing weight, exercise can help make your body less fragile, meaning less chance of breaking a bone or injuring yourself in any other way.
Many people who have never worked out before, or who haven’t been active in many years, start with cardio. They pick up running, or use a stationary bike, or join a swimming class. And while these activities are good for your heart, they aren’t the most likely to help you lose weight. Instead, consider giving weight lifting a try.
Weight lifting shouldn’t be a scary activity; women are often under the misguided understanding that weight lifting will make them look masculine and bulky. Weight lifting works to strengthen muscles, repair weak tendons and ligaments, and burn through fat. This is in opposition to cardio, which largely works to improve respiratory and circulatory health, and has little to do with how much fat your body is burning. Working with physical therapists or trainers can help you learn how to utilize weights for fat loss.
Taken together, these lifestyle changes can help you lose and maintain a healthy weight, past 50 and beyond.