Yes, this year I turned the big 50 and no – my body does not act like it used to.
As our years begin to add up, maintaining a healthy weight is more difficult – believe me I know!
I can remember being 140 lbs on my wedding day – that was 20 years ago – and boy, I am nowhere near that now.
Unhealthy habits, having a sedentary job, and metabolic changes (which are beyond our control) can contribute to weight gain after 50.
However, recently, I discussed some adjustments with my family doctor, which I want to share with you, that can help us get back in better health and lose weight.
As I previously mentioned in my post Brain Fitness Starts In the Kitchen, I mentioned how I try to walk 8,000 – 10,000 steps per day, using my Fit Bit to keep track.
During my recent check-up, my doctor told me, after 50, our bodies stop seeing walking as exercise.
What? I was stunned. I have been working diligently on getting in my steps!
She says changes in our metabolism, results in strength training being a necessity.
The National Institute of Health says, “after the age of 50, your muscle mass decreases by about 1 – 2% per year, while your muscle strength declines at a rate of 1.5 – 5% a year (link to post).
Even using your body as a counterweight, such as yoga, can significantly improve muscle strength, muscle size, and function.
Burning calories throughout the day reduces body fat and helps you lose weight.
INCREASE PROTEIN INTAKE
My doctor was happy to hear that I log all the food I eat via my Fit Bit app because I am trying to lose weight.
She said, “after 50, it is important to increase my protein consumption.”
This does NOT mean, eat red meat every day.
Supposedly eating a protein-rich diet can prevent, or even reverse muscle loss.
Older adults need extra protein because muscle loss DECREASES our resting metabolic rate.
Read more about how protein works throughout the body in my post: Basics of Nutrition.
EAT MORE PRODUCE
We have all heard how you should only shop the perimeter of a supermarket if you are trying to lose weight?
This is even more significant after we turn 50.
Usually, the attributes of a supermarket’s produce department is how I size up the store.
Shop those markets who have a large, clean-looking produce department because you should be eating a lot of it!
Vegetables and fruits are packed with nutrients vital to your health, and adding them to your daily diet is a simple, research-proven way to drop excess weight.
Healthy tip: consider eating seasonally.
Seasonal fruits and vegetables retain more nutrients than their counterparts making them the better choice for your health.
Insert seasonal fruit & vegetable pins
MAKE LUNCH YOUR HEAVIEST MEAL OF THE DAY
Unless you are a night owl, like me, you tend to go to bed earlier, as you get older.
On the days you do go to work, try making lunch your heaviest meal.
Just eat a light dinner, or salad, as your evening meal on those days.
It is difficult to eat a heavy lunch, while you still have half the workday to get through. So I suggest trying this plan on a weekend, to see how it feels.
Studies have shown eating fewer calories at night helps you maintain a healthy body weight and lose excess body fat.
In one such study (link here), participants who ate more calories at dinner were significantly more likely to develop metabolic issues, such as high blood sugar and excess body fat.
These types of metabolic issues can lead to heart disease, diabetes, and stroke.
CONSULT WITH YOUR DOCTOR ABOUT SUPPLEMENTS
As we age, our ability to absorb certain nutrients declines, increasing our risk of deficiencies.
The National Institute of Health published research indicating many adults over 50 are commonly deficient in folate and vitamin B12.
Being deficient in these crucial energy-producing vitamins can impact our mood, fatigue, and impede weight loss.
If you are over 50, consult with your doctor about taking a good quality B complex vitamin, to reduce your deficient risk.
AVOID ADDED SUGARS
Do you remember the saying, “a little added sugar makes everything tastes better?”
Well, sugar consumption, especially in America, has led to an obesity health crisis.
According to the diabetics council, in 2017,
Americans consume 11.18 million metric TONS of sugar annually! (highlight)
The United States ranks as having THE HIGHEST AVERAGE DAILY SUGAR consumption per person – IN THE WORLD!
For a healthy adult, they should consume no more than 13 teaspoons of sugar daily (52 grams).
For comparison, 20 oz. Coke contains 16 teaspoons of sugar, in the form of high-fructose corn syrup. (64 grams of sugar)
But what most do not realize, sugar is in almost EVERYTHING we eat.
Make sure you are reading labels and counting the grams of sugar, even in fruit!
According to the Daily Mail, sugar consumption can suppress the immune system.
Just by consuming 100 grams of sugar, it can suppress white blood cells function by 40% for at least 5 hours.
The American Public Journal On Health conducted a study and found sugar actually speeds up the cell aging process.
They also found sugar hinders our liver’s ability to metabolize and absorb nutrients in our bodies.
Consequently, our bodies become void of vital nutrients and lead to deficiencies, which we already talked about.
Therefore, you could be eating healthy fruits and vegetables, but having a couple of sugary soft drinks, prohibits your body from consuming those valuable nutrients.
Reducing sugar intake will help you lose weight.
If over 50 years old, don’t just walk, consider adding strength training to your exercise routine.
Yoga or adding weights while walking
Maintain a whole food nutrition program buy concentrating on the perimeter of the grocery store.
Typically includes produce, dairy and protein sections
Discuss your wellness strategy with your doctor and consider adding daily vitamin supplements.
Personally, I take vitamin D and E daily.
Avoid sugar whenever possible! Refined sugars can lead to immune deficiencies, diabetes, and other serious health complications.
Share some of the changes you have made, as you have gotten older by making a comment.
Easy Oven Baked Salmon
- Full Salmon fillet - I cut in half just prior to serving
- 1/2 stick of butter melted
- 4 garlic cloves minced
- 1 Tablespoon finely chopped parsley
- 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
- 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
- Preheat oven to 375º.
- Place entire salmon fillet in a foil-lined, rimmed baking sheet
- Mix melted butter with all other ingredients.
- Baste butter mixture all over the salmon fillet.
- Bake at 375º for approximately, 15-20 minutes.
- Verify fish is at 145º in the thickest part; remove from oven.
- Spritz with lemon juice.
- Serve with saffron rice and a small salad for a very healthy meal.