WEIGHT LOSS AFTER 50 – PART TWO

If you’re just tuning in, we’re taking another look at losing weight after the age of 50. Does dropping a few pounds seem harder than it used to be? Or do you have to drop significant weight that has accumulated from years of yo-yo dieting? Well it is harder than it used to be and it isn’t your imagination! Last issue we looked at the nutrition side of the weight loss after 50 equation. This time, we’re taking a look at the fitness half of the winning formula. Check it out!


YOU’RE RIGHT: YOUR METABOLISM IS TO BLAME

Yes – it’s true that losing weight becomes more difficult as we age. It also becomes more difficult after each time we diet. Why? Because dieting typically re-sets your metabolism by lowering it.


MOST DIETS ARE CALORIE RESTRICTIVE AND PEOPLE EAT TOO LITTLE.

To boost weight loss later in life, make sure you eat three meals per day and three snacks per day, each of which is about 300 calories. Your body needs this much to fuel your body while keeping you satisfied. If you go too low, it delivers a double whammy to your metabolism. You should be eating twice in the morning, twice in the afternoon and twice in the evening. Think of grazing rather than dining.

The lower limit intake for most women is at least 1,200-1,300 calories or the body will slow its metabolism and begin breaking down muscle tissue for energy. We want to burn fat for energy – not muscle!

As we said before, your weight loss depends about 80% on what you eat (or don’t eat) and 20% on what you do in terms of activity and weight training. Here is the activity that can help you re-set your metabolism and lose weight after 50.

ACTIVITY TIPS FOR WEIGHT LOSS
  • Strength training. The first thing to do is start re-building muscles mass that you may have lost. After a strength training session, your body continues to stay in the “revved up” mode for hours and your metabolism is raised. It is important to rest one day between strength training days so your muscles can repair themselves. Two days per week is plenty if you’re working hard. Fewer repetitions with more weight are preferred to many repetitions at a lower weight. A good guideline is to set the weights so that the first 10 reps feel easy, the next 10 are hard and the last 10 are really hard. Either weight machines or hand weights work. By strength-training just twice per week, you’ll reverse 50% of the seemingly inevitable metabolism slow-down that comes with age. Strength training 30-40 minutes twice per week for four months can increase your resting metabolism by 100 calories a day.
  • Interval training. Whether you are running, walking, using the elliptical machine or biking, these same principles apply. Exercise for 5 minutes at your normal speed to warm up. For a runner this could be 3.5 miles per hour. When ready, increase your speed to 4 miles per hour for 60 seconds and go back down to 3.5 mph for 90 seconds. Repeat this sequence five times during each aerobic day. Repeat the interval training three times per week.
  • 10,000 steps every day. Rain or shine. Strength day and aerobic day. There are fitness trackers for less than $100. You could also count steps for a half mile or other distance, and then use that number of steps as a multiplier.
  • Vary your workouts. Make sure you get your aerobic activity from more than one source. This will not only balance your use of muscles, but it will be more enjoyable as well. If you always run, try swimming one day per week. If you always use the elliptical, hop on a bike. Or find a Zumba group!

FINAL WEIGHT LOSS TIPS FOR BABY BOOMERS
  • Omega-3 fatty acids. If you take supplements, go for 1,000-2,000 milligrams per day. Flaxseed oil, walnuts, eggs fortified with omega-3s and fish are also good for omega-3s.
  • Eat breakfast. According to the National Weight Control Registry, those who lost 66 pounds (on average) and kept it off for five years, ate breakfast every day. When you eat breakfast, you are literally waking up your metabolism.
  • Eat protein. Your body digests protein more slowly than fat or carbs, so you feel full longer. In addition, because you’re using about 10% of your calories for the digestion process itself, you’ll burn more calories simply by eating protein.

Remember that September is Healthy Aging Month, so you may want to check out additional tips to stay active and be healthy. Good luck!


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