Being overweight takes a toll on every aspect of your health and wellness, increasing your risks of chronic diseases, like hypertension and diabetes, and affecting your emotional wellness, as well. The bad news: While losing excess pounds is always challenging, it tends to become even more difficult as you get older.
In fact, data show about 40% of older adults are overweight, and about a quarter are obese. Considering older age also increases the risk of chronic health problems, when you add extra weight to the mix, the likelihood of developing serious complications is understandably magnified.
At Norwood Medical Associates, Savitha Gowda, MD, Suruchi Kaul, MD, and Stephanie A. Gill, APRN, FNP-BC, offer custom health solutions for adults 50 and older. In this post, our team offers eight simple things you can do to manage your weight successfully once you reach age 50 and up.
As we get older, our bodies tend to need fewer calories, especially if we’re not as active as we once were. Yet many of us never bother adjusting our portion sizes — and that means we wind up taking in more calories than we need regularly.
To keep track of the calories you’re consuming, consider using a calorie-tracking app. Practicing mindful eating helps you stop eating food once you start to feel full.
Muscle tissue tends to burn calories more efficiently than fatty tissue, which means that by building muscle, you naturally increase your body’s ability to burn fat and keep extra pounds at bay.
Unfortunately, as we age, we lose some of our muscle mass — and that means incorporating strength training into our daily routines is even more important. Ideally, aim for 2-3 weight-training sessions per week, and start slowly to avoid strain or other injuries.
Strength training is important for maintaining a healthy weight over age 50, and so is aerobic activity. Taking a daily walk, riding a bike, swimming, and even dancing are all great aerobic activities. Aim for a half-hour of moderate-intensity aerobic activity at least five days per week for maximum benefits.
Cutting back on sugary snacks and sweetened beverages might seem like a no-brainer, but once you hit age 50, it’s not just extra pounds you need to worry about. As hormone levels decline (in both women and men), excess sugar is stored more easily as belly fat, a source of hormones that make weight loss harder.
When belly fat builds, your risk of insulin resistance also increases, and losing weight becomes even more challenging.
Eating food late at night means your body doesn’t burn off those calories as efficiently as it does during the day when you’re more active. Plus, late-night eating interferes with your hunger hormones and causes you to store more fat, too.
Since you need fewer calories as you age, it makes sense to do all you can to make every calorie count. Be sure to include plenty of nutrient-dense foods in your diet, like whole grains, lean protein, and lots of colorful fruits and vegetables.
Not only can these choices help you manage your weight more effectively, but they can also help reduce inflammation and lower your risk of chronic diseases. Skip processed foods and prepackaged foods that tend to be high in sodium and unhealthy fats, and be sure to read food labels.
One of the simplest ways to manage what you’re eating is to prepare your meals ahead of time — and divide them into correct portion sizes. With meals at the ready, you’re less likely to make unhealthy eating choices, and you’re also able to maximize your nutrition.
One of the best ways to manage your weight is to have an annual physical. During your exam, we can look for medical issues that could be contributing to weight gain or interfering with weight loss. We’ll also offer lifestyle guidance tailored to your specific needs and help you stay motivated to keep your weight in check.