Losing weight after 50 years and keeping the pounds off involves much more than just restricting calories. Despite this, many people resort to restrictive diets in an effort to lose weight.
While this may be effective in the short term, food deprivation is not a long-term strategy. Worse, restrictive eating can leave you in a hopeless cycle of yo-yo dieting and a burnt-out metabolism.
The good news is that through a whole-body approach, you can achieve and maintain a healthy body weight.
Lose weight after 50 – 8 simple tips
Here are 8 simple strategies that can help you reach your weight goals after 50.
1. Change the way you think about food
Limiting foods may seem like the logical way to lose weight, but this strategy can backfire. Denying your body the nutrients it needs can be a sacrifice to your health. Plus, it can slow down your metabolism.
When you restrict calories, your body goes into survival mode. This hibernation-like state makes your body more efficient at storing fat. Instead of seeing food as the enemy, think of food as food, medicine, and energy.
Think of eating nutritious, whole foods as a way of life versus a temporary diet.
2. Integrate mindfulness
Integrate mindfulness into everything you do, especially while eating. Rushing while you eat can lead to mindless eating. This is a distracted state in which you are disconnected from experiencing food and your body.
The following tips can help you slow down and enjoy your food. When you eat, make sure you are seated at a table. It’s hard to enjoy food when you’re standing or driving.
Limit distraction: turn off the television and put your mobile phone away. Pay attention to every bite of food – note the textures and flavors. Put your fork down between bites and chew your food completely before swallowing.
Learn to listen for signs of hunger and fullness. If you find that you are no longer hungry, it is okay to save some of your food for later.
3. Focus on Whole Foods
Focus on feeding your body whole foods versus processed foods. Whole foods are unprocessed (or minimally processed) foods that stay as close to their state in nature as possible.
Examples include whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, meat, chicken, eggs, and some dairy products.
The benefits of a complete diet are twofold. By avoiding processed foods, chemicals, unhealthy additives and preservatives are kept to a minimum. And when you choose whole foods, your body gets the right nutrition it needs to stay healthy and maintain a healthy weight.
4. Eat more vegetables
Vegetables are packed with important nutrients, including fiber, that can help keep you full and maintain a healthy digestive system. And because they’re low in calories, they can help you maintain a healthy weight.
Try adding a vegetable to every meal and snack. Keep your fridge stocked with raw vegetables that you can snack on instead of processed snacks.
Including carrots, sugar snap peas, jicama, cherry tomatoes, broccoli florets and cucumbers. Fill half of your plate with vegetables during meals.
5. Increase Protein Intake
Increasing protein intake is important as you age for several reasons. Protein is an important nutrient for muscle and bone health. Sufficient quality protein can help protect against the age-related loss of muscle mass and strength.
Dietary protein is also an important nutrient for weight management. Adding protein-rich foods to every meal and snack can help fight hunger cravings and keep you feeling full for longer.
The power of protein to keep you full can lead to a decrease in the number of calories you consume (1).
6. Stay Hydrated
Drinking water can help you manage your weight in several ways. Your body is made up of about 60% water, so the more hydrated you are, the more efficiently your body will work. When all systems work smoothly, especially the digestive and metabolic systems, it is much easier to maintain weight.
Drinking water can also help control your appetite. For example, there are times when you may mistake thirst for hunger. And you consume food when your body really needs a glass of water.
Plain water is best for hydration, but it’s not the only drink that can keep you hydrated. Unsweetened alternatives include lemon water, unsweetened iced tea, and sparkling water.
7. Train regularly
To counteract aging and the natural loss of muscle mass, daily exercise is a must – for at least 30 minutes. By exercising you increase your metabolism, build muscle and increase the number of calories you burn per day.
Make sure to choose activities that you enjoy. So that you look forward to the daily exercise. If you like the outdoors, try a 30-60 minute walk, hike, or bike ride.
If you like water, go for a swim. If you’re short on time, try a 20-minute walk in the morning and a 20-minute walk in the evening. Even yard work and gardening can help you stay fit. Just keep your body moving.
8. Get a good night’s sleep
Getting enough sleep offers many health benefits. Sleep is deeply involved in several hormonal and metabolic processes in the body (2). Multiple studies have linked sleep deprivation to the risk of obesity (3).
To get a good night’s sleep, make sure your bedroom is cool, dark, and quiet and cell phones are turned off.
Weight loss after 50 years can be challenging due to age-related declines in metabolism and muscle mass. But certain changes to your diet and lifestyle can help you counteract the effects of aging. While dieting is often the best solution for weight loss, this strategy usually backfires.
Instead, choose to see healthy living as a way of life. Choose to feed your body with nutritious, whole foods.
Make sure to stay hydrated, exercise daily, and get a good night’s sleep. When you shift your focus from weight to wellness, you will see results.
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