Losing weight when you’re older

By Rhonda Campbell

I remember a former colleague having a midlife crisis when she turned 30.  Yes – 30. Looking back, I wonder if she knew that everything was starting to change, that she wouldn’t be able to turn the clock back regardless of how hard she tried.

Losing weight really does get harder as you age

For years, I’d heard people exclaim that losing weight gets harder after you get older. “Starts after you hit your mid-30s,” some would say. Being a dedicated long distance runner in high school, I waved the talk off as nonsense. I don’t do that anymore.

Losing weight after you are a decade or more away from your roaring 20s is not easy. It’s not like it was when you could eat donuts, cheeseburgers, pizza and down soda only to wake the following morning sleek and toned. Losing weight when you’re older becomes easier the sooner you realize that your body is changing and start eating different foods.

Can’t say it enough – the sooner you realize what’s happening and start making the right changes, the better. That’s definitely tip #1.

Get eight to nine hours of sleep a night. Don’t think one matters? Test yourself. Sleep five to six hours a night for four days, then sleep eight to nine hours. Eat, drink and exercise the same on each of the days. Which days did you wake up weighing less? The days you slept less, or the days you slept more?

More ways to lose weight as you age

Start pumping iron. Your body loses muscle as it ages. Offset this by lifting weights. You can also do resistance exercises to build muscle, and speed up the weight loss process.

Add more protein and foods that are rich in fiber to your diet. Yes. That means fewer donuts and potato chips, but it’s a win that your knees, hips and thighs will thank you for. Black beans, lentils, broccoli, split peas, legumes, lima beans and blackberries are high in fiber. Fish, chicken, yogurt, eggs, cottage cheese, salmon, sardines and peanut butter are rich in protein.

Reduce the amount of sugar in your diet. Hormonal changes already cause blood sugar to spike as you age. Curbing your sugar intake could help you to lose weight. It could also help you to steer clear of diseases like diabetes.

Exercise in the morning and again after you eat your largest meal later in the day. An exercise fitness watch might motivate you to improve your exercise regime. It will definitely take the guessing out of your workouts.

Calories still count

Eat 500 fewer calories a day. A slower metabolism may still cause the weight to come down slower, but you will eventually lose weight if you don’t quit.

Perform 20 to 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise three days a week. You could do this by jogging, climbing stairs or dancing. The importance is to train at a rapid pace to raise your heart rate. Interval training is another good cardiovascular exercise.

Change your workouts and diet as needed. If you reach a plateau and stop losing weight, cut back on calories further or lengthen your exercise training sessions. You could also increase your strength or weight training.

Regardless of the exercise and lifestyle dietary changes that you make, ensure that you are fit enough to take on a challenging exercise and dietary change. Also, get out and absolutely enjoy and savor life! As you find more ways to feel joyous, peaceful, rested and happy, your desire to reach for food to fill perceived gaps or losses in your life may reduce, possibly going away entirely.

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