7 Tips for Successful Weight Loss After 50

7 Tips for Successful Weight Loss After 50
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7 Tips for Successful Weight Loss After 50

I have often been asked, “Can I lose weight after a certain age? It seems so much harder as we get older!”. I will answer that question right away, and then use the rest of this article to explain why it is possible. Weight loss is possible at any age, and it can be a realistic goal for older adults with the right strategies. The reason why it might become more challenging as we age, all comes down to metabolism. However, overcoming these challenges and achieving a healthy weight with the right approach is possible. This article will discuss seven tips for successful weight loss after 50.

In case you missed it, in the article I wrote called “What is Metabolism?” We talked about metabolism and its role in the body. I reference this article a lot since metabolism is one of the key components affecting weight loss. The article emphasizes the importance of understanding one’s metabolism to achieve weight loss goals effectively. If you have not read it, I highly recommend it because it provides some foundation for understanding the basic science behind weight loss.

To save you time, here is a summary of the concepts explained in depth in that article. Your metabolism is the sum of all the calories burned in a day. We call this your Total Daily Energy Expenditure, or TDEE for short. Metabolism = TDEE, and you may see those terms used interchangeably.

Your TDEE makes up a few things.

  1. BMR, or basal metabolic rate, is the number of calories the body needs to perform essential functions at rest. These are all the calories that your organs use to keep you alive. This makes up 60% of your TDEE.
  2. NEAT, or non-exercise activity thermogenesis, refers to the calories burned through everyday activities such as walking, fidgeting, and standing. This makes up 20% of your TDEE.
  3. TEF, or the thermic effect of food, is the number of calories the body burns during the digestion and processing of food. This makes up 10% of your TDEE.
  4. EA, or exercise activity, refers to the calories burned during exercise or planned physical activity. This makes up 10% of your TDEE; if you are not exercising, your TDEE will be at least 10% lower than someone who exercises. This is why metabolic calculators ask about your exercise and daily activity levels to estimate your NEAT score.
Figure 1

Understanding these terms is vital for weight loss and overall health because they all contribute to the body’s energy balance. By adjusting diet and exercise habits to optimize these different components of metabolism, we can improve our overall energy balance and support weight loss goals. 7 Tips for Successful Weight Loss After 50

As we age, our metabolism changes slightly based on our lifestyle. It isn’t like your body has a birthday, and all of a sudden, things slow down. Your metabolism is constantly adapting to your lifestyle. If you are doing something that prompts it to slow down, then it will slow down. This is especially important to consider as we age. 7 Tips for Successful Weight Loss After 50

If we have been living a lifestyle for many years that has caused our metabolism to adapt and slow down, then it will be much slower as we age. However, if we’ve been living a lifestyle that promotes it to increase, or even if we start making those changes after age 50, we can prompt our metabolism to speed up and adapt to the lifestyle changes. 7 Tips for Successful Weight Loss After 50

Changes we experience with age

As we age, we may notice a decrease in muscle mass and an increase in body fat percentage, even if our weight stays the same. This can be attributed to various factors, including hormonal changes, decreased physical activity, and other changes in our lifestyle. Some of this is inevitable, and a lot is lifestyle-based. Observe the examples of the two different women in Figure 2. One leads a richly active lifestyle, and the other is sedentary. At 60, they both will look and feel very different. 7 Tips for Successful Weight Loss After 50

Figure 2

With decreased muscle mass, our bodies require fewer calories to maintain essential functions at rest. As a result, your BMR will be lower; therefore, your TDEE will be lower. See Figure 3 to understand how much of our BMR comes from our muscle mass. This means that as we age, our metabolism slows down, making it harder to lose fat and easier to gain it. Additionally, as our body fat percentage increases, we may become more susceptible to health problems like heart disease, diabetes, and arthritis. It’s important to incorporate regular strength training exercises to help build and maintain muscle mass and to maintain a healthy diet that supports muscle growth and repair. 7 Tips for Successful Weight Loss After 50

Figure 3

In order to combat these effects of aging and support weight loss efforts, it’s important to focus on a few key things. 1. Building and maintaining muscle mass through resistance training. 2. Eating a diet that improves your overall health. 3. Adjusting caloric intake to account for changes in metabolism. 4. Prioritizing sleep. 7 Tips for Successful Weight Loss After 50

1. Resistance Training

Building muscle isn’t just for athletes and bodybuilders. Resistance training, also known as strength training, is essential to any weight loss program. As we age, we naturally lose muscle mass, slowing our metabolism and making weight loss more difficult. Resistance training helps to build and maintain muscle mass, which can help to counteract the effects of aging on metabolism. This type of exercise also has numerous other health benefits, such as improving bone density and reducing the risk of chronic diseases.

The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) have some recommended guidelines (Figure 4) that state the bare minimum recommended physical activity standards to help prevent disease in adults aged 18-65 years are:

  • Cardio – participate in moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity for a minimum of 30 minutes five days per week or vigorous-intensity aerobic activity for a minimum of 20 minutes three days per week.
  • Strength training – perform activities that maintain or increase muscular strength and endurance for at least two days per week.
Figure 4

2. High Protein Diet

Along with exercise, especially resistance training, a high-protein diet is essential to support muscle growth and repair: Consuming a high-protein diet is another effective strategy for maintaining muscle mass and supporting weight loss efforts as we age. (Note that this is one of the key things we teach our clients at the clinic, with the high protein MD Diet)  Protein is essential for muscle growth and repair, and it helps keep us full and satisfied after meals, which can reduce overall calorie intake. Our bodies may require more protein to support muscle maintenance and repair as we age. This includes sources of lean protein such as chicken, fish, beans, and nuts which can help to support muscle growth and repair while also providing a range of other important nutrients. 7 Tips for Successful Weight Loss After 50

Not only should you focus on a high-protein diet, but you should also include plenty of vegetables and water if you want to optimize your metabolism best. Generally, it is recommended that adults aim to drink at least 8 cups (64 ounces) of water per day. However, some experts suggest drinking half of your body weight in ounces of water daily. For example, a person who weighs 150 pounds should drink at least 75 ounces of water daily.

3. Caloric Intake

Adjusting caloric intake to account for changes in metabolism is another crucial strategy for successful weight loss in aging adults. As we age, our metabolism naturally slows down a bit (even if we are doing everything right), which means we require fewer calories to maintain our weight. Therefore, reducing overall caloric intake can create a calorie deficit necessary for weight loss. However, it’s important to be mindful of nutrient intake and ensure that we still get adequate amounts of essential vitamins and minerals. 7 Tips for Successful Weight Loss After 50

4. Sleep

Adequate sleep is another critical component of successful weight loss efforts, especially as we age. Research has shown that lack of sleep can disrupt hormones that regulate appetite and metabolism, leading to weight gain and difficulty losing weight. Additionally, inadequate sleep can make it more difficult to stick to healthy eating and exercise habits, which can further impede weight loss efforts. Prioritizing sleep and establishing a regular sleep routine can help to support weight loss by regulating hormones and promoting overall health and well-being.

Hormones and aging

Speaking of hormones, why don’t we take a minute to talk about them? Since they play a massive role in health as we age. Hormonal changes occur as we age, which can affect our weight loss efforts. This is especially true if you are living under chronic stress. 

As we age, there is a natural decline of estrogen and progesterone in women, and a decline of testosterone in men can lead to a decrease in muscle mass and an increase in body fat percentage. Additionally, hormones like cortisol can increase with age, increasing fat storage around the midsection. If you are doing everything right with your diet and exercise but are still struggling to lose weight, your hormones might be to blame. We recommend seeing a medical provider like the ones at our clinic to have your hormones looked at. 7 Tips for Successful Weight Loss After 50

To balance hormones naturally, it’s important to manage stress levels. Chronic stress can lead to increased cortisol production, which can negatively impact weight loss efforts. Strategies like mindfulness meditation, yoga, and regular exercise can help reduce stress levels. Click HERE for a full article on how to lose the fat we gain from stress. 7 Tips for Successful Weight Loss After 50

Figure 5

Eating a balanced diet with plenty of fiber, healthy fats, and protein is also important for balancing hormones. Fiber helps to regulate blood sugar levels and improve insulin sensitivity. See Figures 5 and 6 to understand the relationship between blood sugar and weight loss. while healthy fats like omega-3s can help reduce inflammation in the body. Of course, there are certain weight loss pills that help with blood sugar regulation as well. 7 Tips for Successful Weight Loss After 50

Figure 6

Finally, avoiding processed and high-sugar foods is key for balancing hormones naturally. These foods can disrupt insulin and blood sugar levels and lead to increased inflammation in the body, negatively impacting hormone balance.

7 Tips for weight loss in aging adults

So far, in this article, we have taken some important key elements of weight loss. We discussed metabolism and hormones and how they work with weight loss as we age. If the first half of this article was the scientific explanation for what is going on, then this next half is the neatly packaged takeaway tips you can start implementing today, even if you don’t quite understand some of the science.

Tip 1 Focus on whole, nutrient-dense foods:

For maintaining weight and keeping your metabolism high. You should eat whole, nutrient-dense foods that can help you feel full and satisfied while providing your body with the nutrients it needs to function at its best. Foods like vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats should comprise the bulk of your diet. Limit processed and high-sugar foods, which can be low in nutrients and contribute to weight gain.

Tip 2 Eat protein with every meal:

Protein is an essential nutrient that helps support muscle growth and repair. As we age, our bodies may become less efficient at utilizing protein, so ensuring we’re getting enough is important. Aim to include a source of protein in every meal, such as lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, and legumes.

Tip 3 Stay hydrated with water:

Staying hydrated is important for overall health and supports weight loss efforts. Drinking water can help you feel full, reduce cravings for sugary drinks, and boost your metabolism. Aim to drink at least 8 cups of water daily, and more if you’re physically active or in a hot climate. 7 Tips for Successful Weight Loss After 50

Tip 4 Limit alcohol intake:

Alcohol can be high in calories and contribute to weight gain, especially as we age and our bodies become less efficient at processing it. Limiting alcohol intake can be an effective way to support weight loss efforts. If you choose to drink, limit it to one or two drinks per week. 7 Tips for Successful Weight Loss After 50

Tip 5 Incorporate resistance training:

Resistance training, such as weight lifting or bodyweight exercises, can help build muscle mass and boost metabolism. This is important because as we age, we may lose muscle mass, making it harder to lose weight. Therefore, aim to include resistance training exercises at least two to three times per week.

Tip 6 Prioritize sleep:

Getting enough sleep is important for overall health and supports weight loss efforts. Sleep deprivation can increase cravings for unhealthy foods, slow metabolism, and decrease energy levels. Aim to get at least 7-9 hours of sleep per night. 7 Tips for Successful Weight Loss After 50

Tip 7 Reduce stress levels:

Chronic stress can affect hormones that regulate appetite and metabolism, making it harder to lose weight. Finding ways to reduce stress levels, such as through meditation, yoga, or spending time in nature, can effectively support weight loss efforts. 7 Tips for Successful Weight Loss After 50

Longevity and healthy aging

It’s essential to consider all the lifestyle factors that add up to support longevity and healthy aging. Regular exercise, social connections, brain health activities, and staying up to date on preventive care are crucial for overall health and well-being. 7 Tips for Successful Weight Loss After 50

Regular exercise and a healthy diet are crucial for maintaining a healthy weight and promoting overall health. Exercise can help improve cardiovascular health, increase muscle mass, and improve bone density, all of which become more important as we age. It can also help reduce stress and improve mood, making it an essential aspect of a healthy lifestyle. I know I am beating a dead horse here, but I really want to emphasize how important exercise is to weight loss and longevity. 7 Tips for Successful Weight Loss After 50

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Social connections are also essential for overall health and well-being, particularly for older adults. Maintaining social connections can help reduce feelings of isolation and loneliness, which can have negative effects on both physical and mental health. It can also provide a sense of purpose and belonging and help individuals stay engaged in their communities. 7 Tips for Successful Weight Loss After 50

Engaging in brain health activities, such as reading, puzzles, games, projects, and volunteering, can help support cognitive function and mental health as we age. These activities keep the brain active and can help prevent cognitive decline. 7 Tips for Successful Weight Loss After 50

Staying up to date on preventive care, such as regular check-ups and screenings, is also important for maintaining overall health and identifying potential health issues early on. 7 Tips for Successful Weight Loss After 50

There is hope

As I said in the opening sentence of this article, weight loss is possible at any age, and the key to success is adopting healthy lifestyle habits. Prioritizing resistance training, a high-protein diet, and sleep can help support weight loss efforts while managing stress levels. Eating a balanced diet and avoiding processed foods can help balance hormones naturally. By following the seven tips for weight loss I provided, and prioritizing overall health and well-being, anyone can achieve successful weight loss and healthy aging. 7 Tips for Successful Weight Loss After 50

To sum it up

  1. Yes, we can lose weight as we age
  2. Your metabolism and your hormones are two key components to weight loss as we age
  3. As we age, our metabolism and hormones can slow us down. It is important to see a medical provider regularly to discuss hormones and implement lifestyle changes to keep our metabolism high.
  4. As we age, several keys to weight management include a whole-food, high-protein diet; water; and limited alcohol intake.
  5. We also want to make sure we are prioritizing stress management, sleep, and incorporating resistance training into our routine.
  6. Not only are diet and exercise tips important to healthy aging. We should also focus on our social connections and brain health activities for health and longevity.
  7. There is hope to lose weight as we age. Weight loss is always possible as long as we are willing to make the lifestyle changes necessary for a healthy metabolism and take care of our hormones.

If ever in doubt or seeking guidance, know that we stand by your side, ready to assist. With over four decades of expertise, we’ve proudly been a cornerstone in countless health and wellness journeys. We warmly invite you to embark on your transformative journey with us as your trusted partner.

Salt Lake clinic: 801-758-2130