Weight loss after 50 can be a real challenge, especially given the lifestyle and hormonal changes that often occur at this time in your life. Another reason it’s difficult to lose weight after 50 is due to decreasing muscle mass. After age 20, muscle mass can decrease by 1 to 2 percent each year.
Muscle provides much more metabolic activity than fat, so the more lean muscle you have, the higher your metabolism will be. Of course, with a higher metabolism, the easier it will be to lose weight. As you lose muscle, your metabolism naturally declines, making it harder to shed those unwanted pounds. Fortunately, there are things you can do to counteract the effects of aging on your weight loss efforts.
6 Ways to Help You Lose Weight as You Age
These tips can help you lose weight, even as you age. A low metabolism can certainly be a problem, but you can give your metabolism a boost while working to build more lean muscle.
1. Weight Training – In order to prevent muscle loss and the resultant decline in metabolism, strive to maintain muscle through exercise. Weight training and resistance training are both excellent for building muscle. Of course, your objective doesn’t have to be bulking up. Exercises like yoga, Pilates, and push-ups can help you keep muscles engaged in order to prevent loss.
2. Get Sufficient Calories – You might think that cutting calories will help you prevent weight gain; however, it doesn’t work this way. If you regularly under eat, your body won’t have the calories or energy it needs in order to maintain necessary functions. When this happens, your body goes into survival mode. It views the chronic calorie restriction as starvation, and will get the energy it needs by breaking down lean muscle mass. This slows your metabolism and makes it even harder to lose weight.
3. Don’t Skip Meals – Just like you don’t want to restrict calories for too long, it’s important to make sure that your body is getting fueled regularly. Many experts recommend several small meals throughout the day, rather than 3 larger meals.
4. Get Enough Protein – You should be aiming for approximately 1 to 1.3 grams of protein per kilo (2.2 pounds) of body weight. Eating enough protein is an essential part of helping to maintain muscle mass as well as to ensure your metabolism remains high. Stick to high quality protein sources, such as fish, lean meats, and beans.
5. Drink Plenty of Water – It’s important to stay hydrated. Drink water regularly throughout the day. Research has shown that you burn fewer calories if you’re dehydrated. If you’re thirsty, you’re already dehydrated. Keep water close at hand, and take sips frequently.
Weight loss after 50 can be tricky, but it’s not impossible. Follow these tips and you’ll be able to shed those extra pounds while maintaining a healthy lifestyle.