What Losing Weight After 50 Isn’t About
I want to say this. Losing weight isn’t going to solve your problems or make your life wonderful. But the process of losing weight can teach you a lot!
Being comfortable in your body is way more than your size. Diets don’t work–because even if you lose weight, you still have to deal with everything else in your life.
I’ve been at a size I like for five years–and I still have to love the reasons that I eat like I do! Since it is not a diet, there is no end.
Losing weight after 50 isn’t about hating your body. You may not even really need to lose weight. However, what we all need is more love for our amazing bodies, no matter what our size is.
Even though pretty much everything you read says you need to lose weight to be healthy, that is not true. Being healthy is based on many things and in many cases, your weight simply IS NOT one of them.
Getting thin with deprivation is NOT healthy.
Also, our bodies are much more than just a size or weight. Our true health and vitality comes from eating the best foods for our needs, in the right quantities, and at the right time.
These tips will give you some ideas about what you can do. Your body may work a little different than mine and that’s fine. Keep in mind that this isn’t a diet and it never is going to end. The plan is to find something that you can do forever.
These will help you understand how your body can find a weight that feels good and will help minimize the psychological cravings too. I recommend that you try these and not worry about losing weight at first.
This is your time to learn to love your body and learn to truly feed it, maybe for the first time in your life.
Why These Tips to Lose Weight After 50 Work
These weight loss tips are based on science and research. Losing weight after 50 can be a challenge and it is not because you are lazy, unmotivated, or even that you eat too much.
Many women are confused about what to do but they know they need to being doing something.
The other day, I saw on social media, a guy, who was about 30, telling everyone what they need to do to lose weight. In my mind, I called BS.
Anytime someone tells you, that WHAT you eat doesn’t matter, they really don’t understand how our bodies work and what is best for us long-term.
And what works for a 30-something male, is probably not what you need!
As a certified weight loss and life coach for women over 50, I’m at expert at helping you use your MIND to get the results you want in your body and in your life!
BS Diet Advice
Anytime someone says some version of the message, Eat less and exercise more, they also don’t understand how POWERFUL our brains are and how powerful our fat is.
Body fat has a mind of its own and it is way more powerful and stubborn than people give it credit for. Body fat is not bad either. Our body fat is an essential part of our body!
Anyway, what works for a 30-year old dude, is not necessarily the advice you want to follow!
And as you’ve probably figured out, what worked for 30-year old you, probably doesn’t work now either.
When clients come to work with me, they already are trying to eat healthy and look good. The problem is that the traditional methods and advice do not work for them anymore.
In addition, we’ve been taught that it is almost impossible to lose weight after 50 because of changes to our hormones and aging in general.
But I want to give you HOPE that it is possible and that YOU can become the best version of yourself.
As a companion post to this, How to Succeed at Weight Loss After 50 can give you more help and information.
One thing about eating this way, is that you will begin to look better. Even before you lose weight, people will see it in your face and start asking what you are doing. Your skin and face will love eating like this!
June 2021 Update
It’s hard to believe that it’s been over 2 years since I first wrote this post. I wanted to let you know that this stuff works and it can work for long-term. At 59, I look and feel my best ever.
But read on to get these tips now!
It is NOT impossible to lose weight after 50 and it really is up to you to understand why what you’ve been doing doesn’t work and what you can do instead.
How to Lose Weight After 50
I’ve been learning more about the mindset behind losing weight and have been writing more on that.
For me losing the weight and keeping it off requires the right balance of eating the right food and thinking the right kind of thoughts to keep me on track.
If gaining weight each decade has become your new normal, you can stop that now!
Most women accept that being heavier or fatter when they are older is simply normal.
However, it doesn’t have to be your normal!
Is it Harder to Lose Weight After 50?
In some ways, yes BUT not because it is harder. You already know that what worked 20 years ago does not work now.
Every time you eat, your food affects your body in more ways than simply going through your digestive system and providing nutrition.
The food you eat, affects many different hormones. The master hormone is insulin, and it is responsible for fat storage and for regulating the hormones that tell you that you are hungry and when you are full.
Over time, your body simply cannot effectively handle the high amount of sugar-like foods (bread, pasta, grains, sugar) you eat and the around the clock eating most people do.
In fact, research shows that it is sugar and foods that act like sugar (refined carbohydrates) are the foods that cause weight gain and related diseases!
At that point, it may feel like everything you eat is turning into fat–even though you may not even be overeating.
Even a piece of bread or cookie a day can affect your weight.
These effects can be difficult to reverse. That’s why it can seem more difficult to lose weight after 50.
What happens is that the hormones that deal with your hunger, how you store and use fat, and how your body handles blood sugar all go haywire.
Your hormones quit working the way they were designed to work. You eat more than you need. You don’t feel full even after you’ve eaten plenty. You feel hungry too soon and too often. Your body stores fat like crazy.
Weight Loss for Women Over 50
What we’ve all been taught is mostly wrong. Using bad information, we try to make work, what never worked in the first place.
Low-fat diets, I’m looking at you!
In addition, diet culture promotes weight loss at any cost. That cost is usually being hungry, not enough food, and not enough nutrients. When women are successful with these diets, they often are thinner but look worse.
You’ve also been sold a lot of fat-producing ideas. The grocery store is filled with food that is designed to override your body’s natural signals and that is making you gain weight like crazy.
Even so-called healthy foods are just more expensive crave-producing products!
Why We Get Fat
We get fat, when we eat when we aren’t hungry. We eat way too much and too often. And it’s not because we are bad people! Our bodies and brains are a little haywire around food.
This is because the food, that most people eat, screws up our body, our metabolism, and our health.
The good news is that being a healthy weight, looking great and feeling good is not impossible after 50 and I’ve got 7 tips to lose weight after 50 to get your started.
Is it too late to lose weight after 50?
These tips aren’t that difficult, but they may challenge your thinking. I used to think I couldn’t lose weight after 40! I was so wrong. Losing weight in my fifties changed my life.
Since then, I have grown so much more confident and my life has expanded in amazing ways. I used to think my best years were behind me. Again, I was SO wrong!
If you have given up, thinking you have seen your best days in the past, that will not help you a bit.
At 58, I really feel my best and I definitely look my best. I don’t look back at me at any age and think I looked better.
Okay, that might not be true for all of you. But still—I love that I can be over 50 and think it’s my best time ever.
The key to that sentence is that I think it’s my best time ever—I feel I look my best right now at this age.
I don’t have any assessment to tell me that. However, because how I feel about myself is reflected in my energy, in my eyes, in my attitude—other people seem to think so too!
And the other good news is that you don’t have to try and match any artificial expectations. You don’t have to be skinny.
You just need to be a weight and size that you feel good at. I don’t feel comfortable in a bikini, or really ANY bathing suit. But I can find lots of other clothing that makes me feel great.
If you feel overweight, even losing a size or two can boost your confidence.
Tips to Lose Weight After 50
So here the ways to lose weight after 50 that I have used myself.
Sometimes people will say life isn’t worth living if you have to give up this or that.
That’s silly talk. Life is worth living when you love the body you have, it feels great, and you can do all the things you love to do.
Remember, you can’t do the same things you’ve always been doing and expect results you like better.
You have to change things up!
Set the intention to lose weight
Right on the heels of believing it is possible to lose weight, you have to set the intent.
You can’t do the same thing you’ve been doing and expect to lose weight. Trust me, I try this all the time.
I hate diets and dieting, so I am a huge fan of not dieting but instead making changes that help me manage my weight.
I’m not skinny and I wasn’t built for skinny. But I do like being active and feeling comfortable in how my body looks.
Not many people can eat anything they want, anytime they want and keep their weight in a healthy-for-them range.
A year ago, my weight began creeping up because, I wasn’t doing anything conscious to keep it where I like it. I was traveling a lot and not worrying about it too much.
In addition, I was nibbling on candy and snacks. I was eating the bread at restaurants. I was drinking coffee in the morning that was the nutritional equivalent of a milkshake.
I was eating late at night. I was only exercising sporadically and not doing the things I know work.
You name it. I was breaking every rule I had!
However, from the moment I set the intent to lose this extra weight, I began making better decisions and within a few days, I felt better, and my body felt better.
My decisions to help lose weight after 50 were:
- To not eat bread, candy, or other insulin-raising foods and snacks.
- To do my short high-intensity workouts three times a week.
- To do easier exercise routines the rest of the week.
- To fast after dinner and not eat until my first meal of the next day.
- To add more variety to my meals in terms of vegetables and protein.
Even though I have had a nice weight and body for years, it’s still possible to get off-track. When I really took a look, it was obvious why I was gaining weight.
And it wasn’t because of my age! It was my not having any conscious intention to manage my weight.
Be mindful, conscious, and definitely set the intention.
Move your body
My second tip is to move. And by move, I mean just move. You don’t have to run a marathon, join Cross Fit, or do anything hardcore.
Walk a couple of miles a day. Do a little yoga or Pilates. Dance to your own tune. But move every day. Get your breathing going.
I have found walking to be really effective if I do 3 miles almost daily. In addition to that, I add some strength exercises—nothing major but specific exercises for my legs, arms, and chest that walking doesn’t get.
In addition, I’ve found that higher intensity workouts a couple of times a week really help too.
To be honest, I go for things that make me feel good.
I don’t like pain or too much intensity. But moving on a regular basis feels great. And I truly look better and maintain my weight when I’m exercising on a regular basis.
Even with my moderate exercise, I can hike up mountains for hours and ride a bicycle for 30+ miles. Even better, I can walk pretty much anywhere, and I can play and do fun things with my grandchildren.
Moving doesn’t just help with your weight, it helps with your life!
Here is an excellent resource for FREE exercise videos for women to help you lose weight. I put this together based on how I work out. How to Workout for Weight Loss.
Limit sugar and foods that act like sugar
This is probably the bad news of this whole post.
But I have no idea how you can be a healthy weight if you are still eating lots of sugar and foods that act like sugar.
There are women that get away with eating this stuff when they are young but that doesn’t work for all of us. I am so grateful that I gave up most sugary stuff 20 years ago. My skin and body thanks me every day!
For most of our lives, we treat these foods as treats, but they are hard on our bodies.
They affect our fat-storing and fat-burning hormones . This is really important to understand.
Sugar and foods that act like sugar tell our bodies to do the opposite of what we want them to do.
Instead of burning fat—we store fat.
It seems counter-intuitive to our fat-phobic culture, but fat is not making you fat. What is making you fat is the effect that sugar and foods that act like sugar have on your hormones.
This list of foods is way too long to list. Of course, you know that cake, cookies, candy, and other sweet treat foods are sugar-based foods. But there are a lot of other common foods that act just like sugar in your body.
These kinds of foods can make you gain weight and they keep you hungering for more.
And it doesn’t take all that much to throw your body off. These foods don’t proved any real nutrition beyond what a scientist has added, so you don’t need them at all.
Even a little in your diet each day, can keep you from losing weight. Even if you aren’t overeating, eating foods that raise your blood sugar, will keep the pounds on.
Not only that but they cause overall inflammation that damages your skin and other systems in your body.
That temporary hit of sugar or processed foods is just not worth the long-term damage it causes.
My body can tolerate some treats but not every day. So, do have treats once a week or so. I like to have this option for something really tasty.
Most of us have been told for years to snack or to eat every couple of hours.
There may be certain medical conditions that require this but for most of us—we don’t need to eat every two hours.
In fact, if you eat enough of the right kinds of foods at your meals, you won’t need to snack at all. You won’t even get hungry between meals.
You know what makes you hungry between meals? Snacking on foods that raise your insulin and create additional cravings.
You know what used to leave me hungry? Eating cereal or oatmeal for breakfast.
Now that I eat eggs and vegetables, I don’t get hungry for hours! We’ve been conditioned that we need to eat breakfast foods in the morning.
You can eat whatever you want in the morning. Have some ground turkey seasoned like sausage if you want that breakfast taste. Or just eat leftovers from dinner the night before.
You can even just skip breakfast and have a longer fast.
The key is to eat real food in sufficient quantities with sufficient fat that you won’t get hungry.
Eat more fat
It’s becoming fairly mainstream that eating fat is not what makes you fat.
Yet, people are still loathe to give up the idea that butter, olive oil, and even animal fat is not what is making them fat.
It’s not. And the fact is that by eating more of the right kinds of fat with the right kinds of food, you may even lose weight.
I do want to note that things like cake or your typical fast foods are NOT the kind of fat I’m talking about. Bad fat combined with sugar or foods that act like sugar will not just make you fat, they are terrible for your body.
The fat in your body is not your enemy. It actually is an amazing organ that is essential to your survival. But modern diets have it perplexed at times. Yet, for most of us, our body fat is doing its best to keep us alive.
But good fats are good for your body and actually help your body do what it’s supposed to do. In case you aren’t sure of what good fats are, here are some examples:
- Olive oil (I know you all know that one!)
- Butter or ghee
- Fats from animals that are grass-fed or pastured
- Coconut oil and full-fat coconut milk
Here’s how to eat enough food at a meal to not need to snack. Fix yourself your favorite protein and all the vegetables, especially non-starchy ones that you want.
Have a little bit of starch, say a small sweet potato or some winter squash. Then add a tablespoon or two of butter, olive or coconut oil as well as some avocado. Add enough fat that it all tastes delicious.
I can’t tell you how many times I have seen women eating a big salad with their little bit of dressing on the side, dipping their lettuce gingerly into the dressing. Those women are hungry about a minute after they finish eating.
But add some chicken or eggs to your salad, along with a couple of tablespoons or so of good oil, and it will not only taste good it will keep you satiated until you are ready to eat again.
Cheese and dairy also have fat. Some people cannot tolerate dairy and if you are eating a wide variety of vegetables and protein, you aren’t missing out nutritionally if you can’t eat it. If you like it, it’s fine to have some with your meals.
Cook at home
I recently heard that cooking at home is better for your health than any other change you can make.
From my own experience, I know that the more of the food I eat, that I prepare myself, the easier it is to maintain a healthy weight.
When I prepare my own meals, I know exactly what I am eating.
I know my ingredients. I control what goes into my meals. I know that I am eating the best protein I can find and afford as well as eating good-for-me fats.
When you eat out, you will usually eat more food and more of the kinds of food that cause you to gain weight.
Plus, I don’t know about you, but when I go out, my good intentions just disappear. It’s much easier to be satisfied with wholesome food, when I’m at home. However, eating out can be fun and doesn’t have to be avoided.
Tip: I eat out twice a week, and I order what I want. However, I quit eating when I’m full.
Use intermittent fasting or time restricted eating
Despite the fancy name, this simply means not eating a meal. For me, the meal I don’t eat is breakfast most of the time. This is not required to be at a healthy weight. It’s just an option.
I recently read a very helpful tip. Instead of setting an arbitrary number of hours to fast, you instead fast until you get hungry.
Depending on your job and lifestyle this can be super easy, or it can be challenging. I first discovered the power of this several years ago and wrote about it in Can You Lose Weight After 50 ?
I discovered on my own, through my own experience that when I was living alone, I tended to eat an early dinner and not eat until mid-morning. The weight seemed to just melt away.
Yet, it’s more than just my opinion. I’m seeing lots of articles and research about intermittent fasting these days.
Most things I’ve read recommend 12 to 18 hours between your dinner of one day and your breakfast the next day.
How to Get Started With Intermittent Fasting
It’s easier than it sounds. Let’s say you eat at six tonight, then tomorrow you wait to have breakfast at eight. That is very doable! You can have an easy 12-hour fast and not give up a meal.
Some articles I’ve read say that doing just this one thing can help you lose a few pounds without even changing your diet at all.
Most things I’ve read said it’s fine to have plain coffee or tea in the morning and that it won’t break your fast.
Easy Tips to Lose Weight After 50
Being a healthy weight really should not be hard. But in today’s world of fast food, convenience foods, and such, it really can be a challenge.
I encourage you to explore these ideas, experiment with them, and experience how you feel while doing them.
Pick one or two to do consistently for a few weeks. Then add another. Learn to really take care of your body for the rest of your life!
These tips are easy but weight can be hard to budge sometimes. Yet, it is possible and you’ll have to experiment to find the right combination for your own body.
For more on the mindset of losing weight, read How to Succeed at Losing Weight After 50.
Have Fun After 50!
Being over 50 doesn’t mean you can’t look great and have a fun life.
More Recipe Ideas & Resources
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