Let’s face it — losing weight when you’re older is tough.
And because of unhealthy habits, like a sedentary lifestyle or poor dietary choices, weight gain is a harsh reality for many people as they get older.
But it doesn’t have to be.
While the first thing that comes to mind might be high-intensity workouts and crazy diets when we talk about weight loss and fitness, there’s more than one way to get in shape.
As in, you don’t have to be a crossfit champ or hardcore stickler for every calorie that enters your body.
With a few simple adjustments, you can start improving your health and slimming down. But first, we recommend testing how fit you actually are and then diving into our tips.
Today, we’ll explain why it’s so hard to lose weight after 50 and also cover the six best ways to shed those pounds.
Sound good? Great, let’s dive in.
Why Is It So Hard to Lose Weight After 50?
Consider this scenario: You’re past your 50s and can’t lose weight or burn fat. You might have tried it all, from juice diets to cutting out sugar entirely or even following a strict regimen of 1,500 calories daily.
But nothing seems to work.
If this sounds familiar, these reasons may be the culprit as to why it’s so hard (as pointed by some experts) to lose weight after 50:
- Decreased metabolism — the resting metabolic rate significantly decreases with age which essentially makes you burn fewer calories
- Muscle loss — the average adult loses 3–8% of muscle mass during each decade after 30
- Increased sedentary lifestyle — over 25% of Americans aged 50–65 don’t engage in physical activity and for people over 75, this increases to over a third
- Nutritional needs change — our nutritional needs change with age as do nutrition guidelines for older adults and many don’t make the necessary adjustments
Now that we’ve covered the why, let’s move on to the how and set you up for weight loss success.
How to Lose Weight After 50 — 6 Best Ways
#1 Start Your Day Right
Breakfast plays an important role when it comes to weight loss making it the most important meal of the day. It can help keep your blood sugar levels stable, provide energy to get through the morning, and it also gives a jumpstart for your metabolism.
Nearly a quarter of Americans skip breakfast daily.
If you’re one to skip breakfast, too, consider this analogy:
Think of every day like a trip and where your body is the car. Would you start off the trip by putting gas in your car or drive until you run out?
I’m guessing you’d start with a good amount of fuel. A healthy breakfast is like filling up your gas tank.
We recommend including unprocessed foods from each of the five food groups: fruits, veggies, grains, protein foods, and dairy in your breakfast. And avoiding these 7 foods completely.
So eat your way through the day with a healthy, hearty breakfast and start your morning on the right foot.
#2 Join the Resistance
Many people believe that weight loss after 50 is only achieved through a low-calorie diet and intense cardio. That’s not necessarily the case.
(Even though cardio is great for weight loss)
One of the best ways to lose weight when you’re older is through resistance or strength training. Strength and resistance trainings build both muscle mass and strength, which in turn, help burn fat.
In fact, a recent study examined how consistent training helps jumpstart your metabolism after 50. While resistance training is effective and has a myriad of benefits on its own, older adults reaped most results when they combined it with a healthy diet.
Bottom line: put on your sneakers and hit the weight machines at your local gym or YMCA.
#3 Find a Weight Loss Buddy
If you’re struggling with a constant weight battle, look to a like-minded friend for accountability. It’s a surefire way for you to overcome many hurdles that prevent you from engaging in physical activity. Plus, it makes it easier to find the motivation that will help you reach your goals and stay committed.
Alternatively, these days you can use apps to hold you accountable for your weight loss goals and incorporate various strategies. For instance, Lasta Fasting is a great app that conveniently provides motivation, plus an intermittent fasting feature and a customized weight loss strategy with meal planning.
Apps aside, though – what makes a good weight loss buddy? Find someone who wants to commit and keep you accountable. Being accountable for each other can make all of the difference in sticking to your diet and exercise plan so that both of you are successful.
Social support is crucial for weight loss and it may be the difference between achieving or giving up on your fitness goals.
#4 Incorporate More Lean Protein
If you didn’t catch protein at breakfast, include it in your next meals or snacks.
Protein will help curb your appetite and keep you feeling fuller longer so you are less likely to overeat because of hunger cravings. Not only does protein induce weight loss, but it also helps you keep the weight off.
Protein-rich diets are more effective for long-term weight management than other types of dieting since it’s not really dieting at all.
Lean proteins include:
- Lean beef
- Low-fat milk
- Low-fat cheese
The next time you are at the grocery store, it might be worth picking up some lean protein.
#5 Drink More Water
On top of the many health benefits of drinking water, you can also lose weight by drinking water. If you think it sounds too simple to be true, think again.
Drinking water is associated with weight loss — a study revealed that people who increased their daily intake of water over the course of a year lost an extra 2 kg (4.4 lbs).
If that doesn’t seem significant, you can also cut the caloric intake of every meal by 13% if you drink half a liter of water beforehand.
Pretty sweet, right?
Sadly, most people don’t drink enough fluids throughout the day and when they do drink, they often choose beverages that aren’t healthy like soda or juice with added sugars.
In fact, three-quarters of Americans are chronically dehydrated and don’t even know it.
So don’t fall into that majority stat, and drink more water.
It’s an easy way to curb your appetite, increase your metabolism, and even lower your risk of weight gain.
#6 Improve Sleep Quality
We all know that sleep is an essential component of physical and mental health. But did you know that lack of sleep can lead to weight gain?
Studies show that people who get less than six hours of sleep are more likely to be obese or overweight because they have higher levels of ghrelin in their body. Ghrelin is the hormone responsible for hunger; so it’s no wonder we crave unhealthy food when we don’t get enough shut-eye (but it’s not the only hormone responsible for weight gain).
Sleep deprivation can put you at a higher risk for obesity and diabetes.
Check out these 11 sleep tips that will help you get an uninterrupted good night’s rest.
Take It One Micro-Step at a Time
Weight loss after 50 isn’t a given, but it’s a conscious choice.
To recap the 6 best ways to lose weight after 50:
- #1 Start your day right with a nutrient-rich breakfast
- #2 Resistance training (consistently)
- #3 Get a weight loss buddy
- #4 Eat more lean protein
- 55 Drink more water, hydration is huge
- #6 Improve your sleep quality
The best way to lose weight is by making small, sustainable changes. Like anything worthwhile, there aren’t any quick fixes, so if you want long-term results it will take time and patience.
Start by incorporating these six habits into your daily routine and see how much of a difference it can make for you. Take it one micro-step at a time, get into the mindset of successful change, and don’t give up.
The secret sauce? Consistency.
You got this.
For more insights on nutrition for older adults, check out our comprehensive guide.