Weight Loss

From the effects of the hormone cortisol to the role of genetics in weight loss, this category is packed with everything that you need to know about losing weight the healthy way.

Weight Loss After 50: Diet & Exercise Plan

While achieving the body and metabolism you had at age 20 may seem out of reach, there are simple changes you can make to lose weight after age 50!

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The weight gained more than likely accumulated over a span of time. Before you realized, pants felt a little snugger. And, quite frankly, it occurs in the vast majority of middle-aged men and women.

Gaining weight is often due to hormonal changes, lower activity levels, and a slower metabolism. Metabolism slows down with age mostly due to lower muscle mass, as muscle burns more calories than body fat.

Achieving the body and metabolism you had at 20 may seem far-fetched and out of reach. However, weight management after 50 may be easier than you think!

From tweaking eating habits to adopting an exercise regimen, see what changes you can make to lose weight after age 50!

How to Lose Weight After 50 with Diet

Before jumping into any weight loss plan, talk to a doctor for guidance. This especially serves true if managing a preexisting health condition. They can help offer safe and effective recommendations to meet personal goals and needs.

Besides, the best diet for over 50 females and males can differ based on body composition and dominant hormones. For instance, aging women experience menopause, which often leads to insulin resistance and specific dietary guidelines.

Overall, though, weight loss follows by eating a balanced diet rich in fiber, protein, and healthy fat sources. Adequate hydration is essential as well.

1. Eat Fiber-Rich, Colorful Foods

Being nutrient-rich and packed with fiber, eating more colorful fruits and veggies can increase greater feelings of fullness. This reduces the risk of overeating and controlling overall calorie consumption.

Whole grains, beans, and other legumes are also excellent fiber choices to promote a healthy weight for men and women. These rich fiber sources are known to support digestive and heart health as well.

Men 50 years and older are recommended to consume 30 grams (g) of fiber daily. Women are encouraged to consume 21 g of fiber each day.

When increasing fiber intake do so gradually while ensuring adequate water consumption. Doing so lowers the risk of any digestive distress.

2. Consume Adequate Protein

Protein is important for weight loss, as the macronutrient lends great satiety and regulates hunger hormones. It also curbs blood sugar fluctuation and supplies metabolic-supporting B vitamins.

Protein is also essential in preserving muscle mass and strength. Current protein recommendations suggest adults 19 or older should eat 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight (g/kg).

However, growing research suggests adults aged 65 plus may require between 1.0 and 1.2 g/kg of protein daily. Those with sarcopenia, or muscle loss, may need 1.2 to 1.5 g/kg.

Consult with a healthcare professional to assist in determining protein needs, too. This especially serves true if managing a health condition, such as kidney disease, as protein needs can vary.

Consume lean and plant-based proteins to reduce overall calorie and fat intake fat. Sirloin, chicken, turkey, fish, eggs, beans, lentils, and other legumes are great sources of protein to include in a balanced diet.

3. Balance the Diet with Healthy Fat

In addition to an adequate intake of fiber and protein, the body benefits from dietary fat to support a healthy metabolism. Adding fat to meals also helps control hunger levels, as the macronutrient takes longer to digest than carbohydrates and protein.

When choosing fat sources, aim to include more unsaturated fats, as they can lower inflammation and heart disease risk. Fatty fish, nuts, seeds, avocados, and olive oil are great sources of unsaturated fats.

4. Strategize Fluid Needs

While good hydration is essential throughout the entire lifespan, growing older heightens the risk of dehydration. This is likely related to a decreased thirst mechanism. Thirst often masks itself as hunger as well, which can direct attention to food rather than a glass of water.

Hydration can also be in the form of foods that are naturally rich in water, including watermelon, celery, and cucumber. But try to limit foods and drinks filled with empty calories, including soft drinks, energy drinks, and alcoholic beverages. And if you are to drink, men are advised to limit alcohol consumption to no more than two drinks per day.

Adult men are advised to drink about 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) of fluids per day. Women are encouraged to drink 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) of fluids daily. Ultimately, water should be the targeted hydration source.

At the end of the day, incorporate more wholesome foods in the diet such as whole grains, fresh produce, lean proteins, and healthy fat sources. Limit the consumption of overly processed foods rich in sugar, saturated and trans fats, and sodium.

Exercising for Weight Loss After 50

Ideally, a fitness regimen should consist of aerobic activity and resistance training. Even beyond structured exercise, including physical activity throughout the day is also key for good health.

1. Aerobic Exercise: Also known as cardio, aerobic exercise namely supports a strong cardiovascular system. Cardio also helps burn calories to assist in weight loss.

As a general rule, aim for 150 minutes of cardio weekly. Cardio includes running, brisk walking, swimming, dancing, cycling, and any activity that elevates heart rate.

2. Resistance Training: Resistance training staves against losing muscle mass, thus supporting a healthy metabolism. Protecting muscle also protects strength, in turn encouraging independence.

Include weight and strength training at least twice a week and focus on the major muscle groups. Consider working with a personal trainer to ensure proper lifting techniques.

3. Additional Movement: All-in-all, dismiss a sedentary lifestyle and try to be more active throughout the day. What's more, minor tweaks and short movement bouts can make a significant difference.

Tips to increase activity include taking the steps over the elevator and taking the dog for a walk. Parking further away from entrances and standing while talking on the phone can also be helpful.

Contraindications for Senior Weight Loss

While weight loss can improve health and quality of life, losing weight is not always appropriate. What’s more, it is important for seniors to maintain body weight if experiencing frailty or undergoing treatments for cancer.

First and foremost, consult with a doctor if you notice a loved one is rapidly losing weight. This can indicate a medical problem, malnutrition, or an issue with chewing or swallowing.

General and useful tips to ensure adequate nutrition may include:

1. Focus on nutrient-dense foods, meaning food that contains a large number of micronutrients like vitamins and minerals.

With the aging process, it becomes more difficult for elderly adults to absorb and digest nutrients. So choose foods that provide a variety of nutrients, including those rich in protein, fiber, and healthy fat.

2. Select appropriate food textures as needed.

Related to dental problems or medical conditions, chewing and swallowing can be difficult for seniors.

Softer foods such as pudding, yogurt, or applesauce are helpful for increasing senior nutrition and filling in calorie gaps.

3. Practice food safety, including dishwashing and taking food temperatures.

Food safety is a major concern for seniors, as immune system tends to not be as strong. This increases susceptibility to foodborne illnesses such as salmonella, E. coli, and other common food infections.

A food-related illness can be fatal in the elderly, so ensuring that food is prepared safely is essential.

4. Use a ready-prepared meal delivery service.

Home-delivered meals are a great option to help people stay in their own homes for a longer period of time.

Meals delivered straight to doorsteps are convenient and help ensure nutrient needs are being met. And when spending less time preparing meals, there is more time staying socially engaged and more active on a daily basis.

Taken together, senior nutrition is vital to increase their quality of life and maintain health.

Written By Sydney Lappe, MS, RDN. Published on December 04, 2019. Updated on December 19, 2019.

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