7 Ways to Shrink Your Waistline After 50, Dietitians Say – Eat This Not That
Trying to lose weight is never easy. And it’s notoriously difficult the older you are. For people 50 and older, this can present unique challenges compared to younger people trying to lose weight.
“Losing weight after 50 becomes more difficult because as we age, the metabolic rate slows down due to muscle loss,” explains Lori Chong, RDN, LD, a registered dietitian at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. “Having more muscle increases metabolic rate; less muscle mass decreases metabolic rate.” She notes that for women, losing weight after 50 can also be difficult due to hormonal changes that occur before and after menopause.
“Also, it’s a time in life where we can be very busy with families, work and aging parents,” she says. “All of these things combined can lead to stress and poor sleep, which can lead to higher insulin levels (promoting fat storage) and cravings for quick energy sources (i.e. foods high in fat and sugar).
It also snowballs into more unhealthy habits, as these time demands often mean that people over 50 are pressed for time, which means exercise habits can also slip, as well as more Restaurant meals, which are often higher in calories than home-cooked meals. If you’re struggling to lose weight after 50, here are seven tips that will help you shed a few pounds and shrink your waistline. Read on and for more on how to eat healthy, don’t miss eating habits to lose belly fat as you age, dietitians say.
“You can do strength training with bodyweight exercises, resistance bands, or weights,” says Chong. “It helps minimize muscle loss and therefore minimizes that metabolic drop.” According to the American Heart Association, adults should exercise at least twice a week.
“Water helps everything from your skin to helping food navigate your system smoothly,” says Bonnie Taub-Dix, RDN, registered dietitian nutritionist and author of Read It Before You Eat – Taking You From Etiquette to Table. “Although it says you need 8 glasses of water a day, each of us has different needs and your fluid needs may also depend on the weather (we need more in hot weather) and your activity level (if you sweat a lot you need more water). Liquid foods like soup, fruits and vegetables also help you feel full with very few calories.”
With that in mind, according to the Mayo Clinic, men should drink about 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) of fluids per day, and women should drink about 11.5 cups per day.
Doing cardiovascular exercise doesn’t just keep your heart in shape, it can also help keep your metabolism going as you age. “Cardiovascular exercise improves metabolism for a while after your exercise session,” says Chong. “The duration of this increase can vary from a few hours to a few days, but generally the time is longer for more intense workouts.” According to the American Heart Association, adults should do 150 minutes of cardio training per week.
Eating sweets too often can make you fat because “the added sugar gives you extra calories, but not nutrients,” says Chong. “Most of us enjoy a sweet indulgence, but it’s all too easy to overdo it. A good daily limit of added sugar is 25 grams per day for 2,000 calories.”
“Paying attention to your hunger and fullness signals could not only help you with your weight, but more importantly, it could help you become more aware of your physical and emotional need for food, and in the long run, it could help you help maintain weight. you lost,” Taub-Dix said. “Eating more mindfully also helps you enjoy meals with guilt as a side dish.” Additionally, listening to your hunger cues has been researched to be an important tool in helping people lose weight.
“In our quest to limit added sugar, avoiding sugar-based drinks is a good place to start,” says Chong. “Sugar in liquid form is rapidly absorbed, causing a large spike in insulin to keep blood sugar levels stable. When insulin is high, our bodies store fat rather than use it for energy.”
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Eating more satiating foods can help us feel full longer, which can prevent overeating in unhealthy, high-calorie foods. “Fiber comes from whole, unprocessed plant foods: beans, lentils, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and seeds. A fiber-rich food will keep us full longer than a fiber-free food,” says Chong. “Chewing these whole plant foods takes longer than eating processed foods. This extra time allows our brains to recognize feelings of fullness before we’ve eaten too much.”