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How to lose weight after 50, 60 ...?

Why losing weight after 50 is harder and the 13 best ways to lose weight after 50.

Unhealthy habits, mainly sedentary lifestyle, unhealthy diet, stress, metabolic and hormonal changes can contribute to weight gain after the age of 50.


Losing weight after 50 is indeed more difficult than in your 30s or 40s.

But that doesn’t mean you have to accept weight gain as an inevitable part of the ageing.


In this article, we’ll look at how you can safely lose weight and keep it within healthy limits after reaching 50 and beyond.


Why is it harder to lose weight after 50?

Blame lifestyle factors such as sedentary lifestyle, unhealthy eating habits and physiological factors such as arthritis and other diseases that can affect strength, mobility and balance, stress, sleep problems, loss of muscle mass and a drop in the sex hormones oestrogen and testosterone.

Here are the main factors that make it difficult to lose weight after 50:

  1. Metabolic changes. The metabolism tends to slow down with age, which means that the body burns fewer calories at rest, but the main reason for the slowing metabolism is the loss of muscle mass (as we tend to become more sedentary with age and – if muscles are not engaged – they disappear). This results in a reduction in calorie expenditure, which in turn can make it more difficult to create a calorie deficit and lose weight.
  2. Hormonal changes, especially in menopausal women (and in some sources also in men during the so-called ‘andropause‘), can make weight management more difficult. For example, the decrease in oestrogen levels in menopausal women is associated with changes in fat distribution and fat gain in the abdominal area. Similarly, a decrease in androgen levels in men can lead to a decrease in muscle mass and an increase in body fat.
  3. Increased stress levels can lead to emotional eating or overeating. Chronic stress can also cause hormonal changes that can contribute to weight gain, especially fat gain in the abdominal area.
  4. Insufficient sleep affects the regulation of appetite hormones such as ghrelin (which stimulates appetite) and leptin (which suppresses appetite) and can lead to increased feelings of hunger.
  5. As people age, they may experience physical limitations or chronic health conditions that reduce their ability (and desire) to exercise. Lack of physical activity makes weight reduction/control even more difficult.

In other words, most people move less as they get older (energy expenditure/calories decrease), hormonal changes cause the body to function differently, but eating habits (calorie intake) do not change significantly.

Where do the unused calories go?

Of course, they are “put aside” in reserve.


In addition, weight gain (due to fluid retention) can also be caused by:

  • Heart failure.
  • Kidney disease.
  • Liver disorders.

Some medications can also contribute to weight gain or make it more difficult to maintain a healthy weight (because they affect appetite), such as:

  • Diphenhydramine-containing antihistamines.
  • Antidepressants such as phenelzine (Nardil) and paroxetine (Paxil).
  • Antipsychotics such as olanzapine (Zyprexa) and clozapine (Clozaril).
  • Beta-blockers such as metoprolol (Lopressor) and atenolol (Tenormin).
  • Sleeping aids containing diphenhydramine.

How to lose weight after 50?

The short answer is to keep up the pace (move like you did when you were younger) and pay more attention to what you put in your mouth.

Although body weight can fluctuate in middle age, experts agree that maintaining a healthy weight is important for overall well-being and reducing the risk of illness and injury.

A healthy weight is particularly important for bone health, and can also help prevent the development of diabetes and cardiovascular diseases such as high blood pressure.


The good news is that by making a few simple adjustments to your lifestyle and eating habits, you can lose weight at any age – regardless of your physical abilities or medical diagnoses.

Here are the 13 best ways to lose weight after the age of 50:


1 Move

We can come up with a million reasons why we are not physically active.


Physical activity is what keeps us alive – around 3.2 million people die each year due to physical inactivity.

That’s why.

Regular physical activity is essential, especially for older people.

One of the best ways to lose weight is cardio workouts, such as walking at a moderate or brisk pace.

Get a fitness watch and set yourself a goal of walking 10,000 steps or more every day (studies show that using a pedometer can increase your activity level and, thus, contribute to weight loss).


Strength training is also particularly important for older people, as muscle mass decreases as we age. After the age of 50, muscle mass decreases by about 1-2% per year, while muscle strength decreases by 1.5-5% per year. This loss of muscle mass slows metabolism and can lead to weight gain.

Strength training, such as exercises with your body weight, can significantly improve muscle strength and increase muscle size and performance.


2 Control your calorie intake

Our body’s energy needs can decrease over the years. Sometimes very significantly.


To avoid taking in unnecessary calories that your body will inevitably turn into fat – you need to keep track of how many calories you need at a given age, depending on your weight and physical activity.

You can calculate your calorie needs for weight loss or weight maintenance HERE.


3 Sleep well

Many studies have shown a link between lack of adequate sleep and obesity.

In other words, there is a correlation between short sleep duration, poor quality sleep and an increased risk of becoming overweight or obese.

Adequate and good quality sleep can help to reduce this risk and better control weight.

For example, a 2-year study of 245 women showed that women who slept 7 hours or more a night were 33% more likely to lose weight than women who slept less than 7 hours a night.

Read more about how much sleep we need HERE.


4 Don’t skip meals

Skipping meals to reduce calorie intake may seem like a good idea, but in reality – skipping meals can contribute to weight gain.

Studies have shown a link between skipping breakfast and obesity, which means that skipping meals is more likely to cause weight gain than weight loss.

Read more about why skipping meals and fasting do not contribute to weight loss HERE.


5 Drink enough water

Lemonades, juices, sports drinks, smoothies, etc. are usually high in calories.

Drinking sweetened drinks, especially those sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup, is strongly associated with weight gain, obesity, diabetes, heart disease and fatty liver.


Replacing sugary drinks with healthy drinks such as water and herbal tea can help you lose weight and significantly reduce your risk of developing the chronic diseases mentioned above.

Read more about why you should drink water HERE.


6 Focus on body composition, not weight

Although body weight is a good indicator of health, much more important is body composition – the ratio of fat and non-fat mass in your body.

Muscle mass is another important indicator of overall health, especially in older people.

In other words – your goal should be to increase muscle mass (or at least maintain it) and reduce excess fat.

Read about body recomposition and how to assess the amount of fat in your body HERE.


7 Eat your own cooking more often

When eating out, it is often difficult to know how many calories are in a particular dish, as the food served in restaurants, cafés and bistros may contain hidden ingredients (extra fats and sugars).

In contrast.

When you eat the food, you have prepared yourself, you know exactly what it is made of and, therefore, what goes into your body.

Many studies have shown that people who cook and eat at home more often eat healthier and weigh less than those who do not.


If you do eat out, avoid foods that tend to be higher in calories, such as fried or deep-fried foods.

Read more about how to eat healthily outside the home or on the go HERE.


8 Avoid convenience foods

Regular consumption of industrially processed foods (sausages, fast food, chips, crackers, etc.) is associated with weight gain and can hinder your weight loss efforts.

Industrially processed foods are usually high in calories but low in essential nutrients (protein, fibre, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, enzymes, enzymes…).

Reduce the consumption of convenience foods and replace them with wholesome home-cooked meals and snacks based on nutritious, healthful foods.


9 Eat more protein

Research shows that increasing the amount of protein in your diet can help older people lose more fat and keep more muscle.

In addition.

Studies also show that older people have higher protein needs than younger adults.


Read about high-protein foods HERE.

Read about how much protein we need HERE.


10 Eat more fruit and vegetables

Vegetables and fruits are rich in health-boosting nutrients and adding them to your daily diet is a simple and evidence-based way to lose excess weight.

For example, a review of studies published in 2018 found a link between increasing the daily portion of vegetables and a reduction in waist circumference in women.

In another study of 26 340 35-65-year-old men and women, fruit and vegetable intake was associated with lower body weight, reduced waist circumference and lower body fat.


11 Eat a complete diet

One of the easiest ways to provide your body with all the nutrients it needs is – to eat a complete and balanced diet.

Wholesome (unprocessed) foods – vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds, poultry, fish, legumes, grains, etc. – are full of healthy nutrients important for weight maintenance, such as fibre, protein and healthy fats.

Many studies have shown that a nutritious diet – meals made from unprocessed plant and animal products – promotes weight loss.


12 Choose whole grain products

One way to lose extra weight is – to eat more whole-grain products containing more fibre than refined flour products, which are essential for gut health.

Wholegrain products provide stable blood sugar levels, lasting energy and a longer feeling of satiety, compared to refined flour products which can cause rapid fluctuations in blood sugar levels, increased hunger and cravings for snacks.

According to research, eating whole grains can significantly reduce your overall energy intake and, therefore – your body weight.

Read more about whole grain products HERE.


13 Team up

Implementing a healthy eating habit or exercise routine on your own can be difficult.


With a friend, colleague, family member or in a slimming challenge, the chances of success are much higher.

The social aspect of losing and maintaining weight is indeed very important.

Research also shows that those participating in weight loss programmes with friends are significantly more likely to maintain their new weight over the long term.


Key takeaways

Although losing weight becomes increasingly difficult as you get older – diet and lifestyle changes can help you lose weight at any age.

The main barriers to weight loss after 50 are:

  1. Lack of willpower (and also the fact that being overweight after 50 usually worries us less than when we were younger -😊).
  2. Health and mobility problems.
  3. Myths and belief in miracles (that you can lose weight quickly and effortlessly).
  4. Sedentary lifestyle (try to reduce the time you spend sitting, e.g. take a short walk around the office or backyard every hour).

Cook more yourself, eat a balanced diet, move and – stay healthy!

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