Let’s get it straight––age is pretty much just a number. What’s truly important is everything else; how you feel, your family, your friends, and your health and happiness levels. That said, it is, most unfortunately, true that the date in your passport does have a little something to do with the number you see on the scale. The good news is there is something you can do about it. This is how to lose weight after 50.
The big 5-0 – why is losing weight so difficult?
After a certain age, most people say they’ve started to pile on the pounds, even while eating the exact same amount. The age this begins to happen is different for everyone, so whether it starts the day after your 50th birthday or on your 42nd, it’s one of nature’s not so pleasant facts.
So, why does it occur and why does age play such a huge role?
The primary reason behind the correlation in the pound-age relationship is that as you age your metabolism slows down. Specifically, at an average of 2-3% each decade.
That combined with a more sedentary lifestyle, decrease activity levels, and reduced muscle tone, from physiological and environmental factors, only adds to the increase in the number you see on the scales.
But, all is not lost, there are a number of things you can do to stay happy and healthy after 50.
Our top 5 tips to help lose weight after 50
We know that losing weight after 50 for men and women alike can be a challenge, these are our tips to set you on the right track.
1. Get to know your health status
We’ll let you in on a secret - that number on the scale, on its own, is just that, a number. It’s only when you combine it with other factors such as body mass index (BMI) and waist size that you can get a fuller understanding of what it truly means.
BMI indicates the amount of ‘fatness’ in a body, of course, it has its critics and is not particularly accurate for bodybuilders or sportsmen, but it can provide a good indicator of if you are at risk of any weight-related illnesses. Both men and women should aim for a BMI of between 18-25 to ensure they are in tip-top shape.
Waist size can be an indicator of underlying health conditions such as diabetes or even cancer. Keep a watch on your measuring tape; if it rises above 37 inches for men or 31.5inches for women, it’s definitely time to do something about it.
While waist size and BMI are indicators of your health status, at 50, it may be time to undertake a medical, just to check how you’re doing health-wise and see what kind of weight-loss program will work best for you, once you’ve done that you’ll be in a much better place to make a plan.
2. Make a plan that works for you
The next stage in your battle for a better body is to create a game plan. Just like in your career and family, the best weight loss plan for over 50 is the one that works for you.
Explore exercises you might like to try - running, cycling, the gym, a class - and try them out! It’s time to do what you like, after all, you’ll never stick to an exercise program you don’t enjoy.
Another factor is timing. You’ve heard the benefits of a morning run, but if you’re not a morning lark, hitting the pavement at 5 am is simply not going to work for you. Chose a time to add your exercise regime in that works with your schedule.
The same goes for food, of course, plan healthy, but eating foods you detest isn’t sustainable. So, make your daily health and exercise plan based on realistic factors including time, likes and dislikes, and realistic expectations.
3. Watch your diet
On that note, food plays a key factor in your health from here on out. Sadly, for the most part, you’ll have to forget those oily takeaways (though one every so often won’t hurt) and focus on keeping your diet healthy.
In particular, you may want to consider adding proteins, including beans, eggs, and lean meats to your diet to protect your muscles, fiber to support your digestion system, and healthy fats, such as avocado, for ligament and muscle health.
Consider taking an evening cooking class to discover new recipes, adapt dietary best practices, and meet some new people along the way - life begins after 50.
For help losing weight after 50, an absolute must is exercise. Sedentary lifestyles, even if you now tire more easily, do nothing for your health. That’s why it’s time to take action.
Cardiovascular activity will aid you in keeping your heart healthy, add to weight loss by burning fat, and boost your endorphin levels. Depending on your starting fitness level, you may choose to begin with walking or even gentle running, after time you can even consider hill walking or hiking - just imagine the sense of success you’ll feel and the views.
While cardio is an excellent way to lose the pounds, be sure to include some strength training to your routine to rebuild and retrain your muscles, keeping them stronger for longer.
Added muscle tone, not only helps you look better, but also improves your balance and overall health. Chose a style that works for you, this can be gentle weight lifting, heavy weight lifting or some sessions in the gym, and set it in your schedule.
5. Wellness mindset
Whether you’re seeking weight loss for women over 50 or how to lose weight over 50 as a male, the one factor you absolutely need to keep in your head is a wellness mindset.
As we’ve said before, age is just a number, the real focus here shouldn’t be on the digits, but instead focus on your overall health and well-being. If you’ve tried everything and the numbers on the scale aren’t shifting look to how you are feeling, your muscle tone, and your ability to participate in an active life as indicators to your health.
Yoga and meditation can also be helpful in keeping you in the right mindset while adding to your fitness regime. Take the time to breathe and bring yourself back to what’s truly important - you.