Life in your 50s: losing weight is difficult, but not impossible

“Eat fewer non-vegetarian foods at this age.”
“Do you still need strength training at this age?”

Here are some common suggestions given to middle-aged people. As a result, some people either begin to eliminate nutritious food groups of their daily diet without consulting a nutritionist or don’t bother at all and eat whatever they want without evaluating the health outcomes. Life in your 50s can be tough. These challenges are exacerbated for post-menopause women due to hormonal changes.

After age 50, many people find it difficult to maintain a healthy weight. Aging makes it harder to lose excess body fat. Sedentary lifestyles, metabolic changes, and poor diet are some of the factors that contribute to weight gain. In order to maintain a healthy body weight, many people eliminate a number of food groups from their diet, which unfortunately leads to nutritional deficiencies, muscle loss, sleep disturbances, fatigue and weakness.

This column explores six simple ways to promote a healthy weight and tips for staying fit at any age, even in your 50s.

Know your numbers: Body Mass Index (BMI) may not be an ideal method of determining whether you are overweight or obese when you are in your 50s. the National Institutes of Health recommends that older adults keep their BMI between 25 and 27, rather than below 25. The NIH recommends keeping a BMI above 25 to prevent bone thinning. Keep track of your body weight with a digital scale to avoid excessive weight gain. Your waistline is another important indicator of your health. Both men and women accumulate belly fat when they reach middle age. Excess abdominal fat increases the risk of non-communicable diseases such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. In your 50s, you should have an annual or semi-annual checkup to stay informed about your overall health.

Combine workouts: Regular physical activity is recommended for everyone. In his fifties, strength training is more important for preventing sarcopenia, a process in which your muscle mass decreases. It is estimated that your muscular mass declines about 1-2% per year after age 50, while your muscle strength declines about 1.5-5% per year. Adding strength training to your daily exercise routine is crucial for reducing the risk of sarcopenia as you age. Plus, it helps reduce body fat and increases metabolism to keep you fitter. Cardio exercises such as brisk walking, jogging can also help increase your endurance.

Focus on what you eat and how much: Use nutrient rich foods. Weight loss often requires a calorie deficit, but not all calories are the same, so what you eat is more important than how much. In your 50s, nutritional needs change due to reduced calorie intake, medications, chronic health conditions, muscle loss, and more.

It is important to have a rich diet (Source: Pexels)

Fill your plate with whole foods that will keep you full longer: Nuts, seeds, lean proteins, whole grains, legumes, probiotics, green vegetables, leafy vegetables, low sugar fruit, etc Increase protein intake to prevent age-related muscle loss and promote healthy weight loss. In one study 2018, to help older adults maintain muscle mass, resistance training and high-protein diets have been recommended. Significant improvements were seen in muscle strength, muscle endurance, aerobic capacity, balance and functional ability markers, and several health markers in all groups. Researchers found that older women who participated in a resistance-based exercise program with a high-protein diet tended to lose more weight than those who followed a high-carb diet.

Avoid carbohydrate-rich meals, refined sugar, and sugary drinks, as they provide empty calories and minimal nutrition. A diet high in calories and carbohydrates in old age increases the risk of multiple diet-related non-communicable diseases, including type 2 diabetes, hypertension, obesity, etc.

Move more: ‘Sitting is the new smoking.’ Find ways to increase your thermogenesis without physical activity or NEAT. Physical movements that are not planned exercises or sports (or sleeping, breathing, and eating) are considered NEAT. Sometimes it is called physical activity without exercise or NEPA. NEAT can be achieved while cooking, running errands, dusting, walking the dog, walking while talking on call, taking a stretch break every hour, etc. These activities add to the total daily activity and help increase your metabolism.

Sleep soundly: Research shows that lack of quality sleep is one of the biggest obstacles to your weight loss efforts. In fact, long-term sleep deprivation can lead to obesity also. Try to ensure 7-9 hours of quality sleep per night by avoiding gadgets or electronic devices before bed, minimizing light in your bedroom, and avoiding very spicy meals or caffeine just before bed.

In a word – As we age, we need to focus on our lifestyle, changing one habit at a time. Aging is inevitable, but how we age and maintain our high productivity is up to us. It may seem like eating well, sleeping well and exercising are regular occurrences, but they are factors in good health and peak performance.

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