Losing weight is tough no matter what age you are when you try to do it. However, if you’re a woman over 50, you may find that losing weight is a little more challenging. Scientific research shows that women over 50 usually experience a natural increase in belly fat and a decrease in skeletal muscle mass between the ages of 42 and 52. Because of that, it can be really tough to lose belly fat, no matter what strategies you try.
With a decrease in muscle tone over the age of 50, you inherently have a slower metabolism, which means you burn fewer calories than you used to. However, despite the change in metabolism, most of the reasons it feels tough to lose weight as we get older are the effects of your behavioral choices—and the great thing about behavior is that it is in your control.
Here are my best tips on losing weight once you’re over 50. By keeping in mind some of these tips as you try to maintain a healthy lifestyle and get down to the body size you’re comfortable with, you may find that you can live a fun, free, and confident life without feeling the need to deprive yourself or suffer to do it.
Be Consistent With Your Meals And Eat The Same Foods Frequently
Sometimes people focus completely on cutting calories when trying to lose weight. However, when a body senses a lack of calories, it will often cause the metabolism to slow down and hang onto all the body fat it can—rather than burn the body fat off quickly. So, rather than focus on cutting out calories, take care to know about the calories you are consuming.
The more energy dense the food, the more dopamine is released and the more reinforcing it is: meaning you can easily gorge yourself on many delicious peanut butter cups without feeling full, and experience the opposite when you eat a medium sized apple.
Medium sized apple154 gram80 calories0.5 calorie/gram 7 peanut butter cups147 grams735 calories5 calories per gram Why Do We eat Peanut butter cups & sodas over fruit and vegetables?
- Our brains value foods that signal energy density
- Calorie shortage is a threat to our ancestral survival
- Some food properties that signal energy density:
- Fat (texture)
- Sweetness (carbohydrate)
- Meaty flavor (protein)
These qualities are so valuable, we are motivated to access more.Dopamine-reinforced sensory cues override our willpower and this contributes to weight gain.
Fact:• People eat more calories when there is a large variety of foods in a meal, and interestingly, fullness only applies to foods with similar properties to ones we just ate; This is known as the “buffet effect”: we overeat when given large variety of foods (Guyenet, The Hungry Brain, 2017)
If you are serious about losing weight, conduct a 7 day experiment of only consuming 2 or 3 foods with similar properties per sitting and track your results. Think bland whole foods, without all the bells and whistles – It’s only 7 days and you will be pleasantly surprised with your results! Ultimately, people who are consistent with their meals, and eat the same things frequently, tend to lose weight faster and have more success keeping the weight off.
Do High-Intensity Interval Training
It is natural for people to up the amount of cardio they do when trying to burn fat from their bodies and lose weight. However, the reality is that endless amounts of cardio don’t do much for weight loss.
Cardio can strengthen your heart and respiratory system, but it’s not the most effective weight loss solution. Instead, try high-intensity interval training (HIIT). A recent study shows that people who focused on HIIT consistently lost more body fat than participants who did steady-state endurance training. So swap out some of your cardio days for days where you do interval training.
A HIIT workout consists of short periods of intense exercise lasting anywhere from 20 to 60 seconds, followed by a period of active recovery (moving your body gently and not stopping to sit down and have a rest) of the same length or longer. Giving yourself breaks to recover in between intense periods of workouts means that you can work harder for longer and burn more fat from your body.
Sleep Enough and Don’t Overschedule
It might sound like it has absolutely nothing to do with weight loss, but if you want your weight loss efforts to succeed after age 50, you’ll need to sleep enough and make sure your lifestyle isn’t overly hectic.
Research has shown that not getting enough sleep puts your body in a stress state. When your body feels stressed, it over-produces inflammatory chemicals that cause all sorts of damage within your body and make it nearly impossible to lose pounds.
Don’t Workout Too Much or Too Hard
Even if you feel like you want to do a ton of workouts because you can burn more calories and get more fat off your body, the reality is that too many workouts (and workouts that are too hard) put too much stress on your body. Increased stress on your body increases the amount of cortisol, a stress hormone that will circulate through your system, resulting in inflammation and hormonal disregulation.
As we get older it is advisable to listen to your body…Always! You need to take a rest day between strenuous workouts, avoid training the same body part on consecutive days to allow for muscle recovery, and mix it up with cardio, walking and dancing to keep your workouts fun and doable. Proper recovery not only ensures that cortisol levels stay low in your body but also helps you avoid injury (and injuries can stop you from being able to work out entirely!)
Switch Up Your Workouts Regularly
There is a principle called SAID that applies to every woman over 50 trying to lose weight. SAID stands for “Specific Adaptation to Imposed Demands,” and it basically means that even if something challenging is working to change your body at first, your body will adapt to it and it will no longer challenge your body enough to change it. For that reason, make sure you change up the kind of workouts you’re doing and the schedule of your exercise routine every 8 to 12 weeks.
By not letting your body get used to the efforts you’re putting in to create weight loss, you can ensure that your body doesn’t get efficient at your efforts and burn fewer calories. Keep your calorie burn as high as you can! The most perfect solution is to start with a fabulous50s 14 day challenge. They are fun, doable and give instant results!
EAT YOUR PROTEIN FIRST
Eat your protein first!
Make sure you are eating enough quality protein because high protein diets result in a spontaneous reduction in calorie intake and body weight. And here’s the good part…Protein makes you feel full – it’s a magic trick that actually works for successful weight loss.
Try this ** Set a challenge for 7 days to eat the entire protein portion of your meals before you eat anything else. Then go ahead to track your hunger and amount you ate over that period. For example, eat all this chicken on your plate without mixing it with bread or vegetables or pasta etc: Then stop eating, have a few minutes break and then go back to eating.
What you will notice is that you may not feel very hungry, and quite content with eating less than what is on your plate.
It’s worth a try, I promise!
More Info on Weight Loss for Women Over 50 on Fabulous50s
At the end of the day, weight loss uses science—but it is also kind of an art that you have to figure out for your own body since every person’s makeup is different. By doing your research and learning about different techniques—and getting to know your own body—you’ll be able to figure out the weight loss techniques that are going to work best.
Not sure where to get started when it comes to losing weight over 50? Our site is full of inspiration, tips, motivation, and more. For some exercise ideas, check out our 30 Minute Weight Loss Walking Workout for Women Over 50 or an even quicker 10 Minute Chair Workout for Weight Loss. For more information on how to lose belly fat specifically, read our guide to losing belly fat once you’re over 50.
Want some concrete motivation? Check out my FREE 14-Day Workout Challenge that can help you both build muscle and lose weight simultaneously.
Have you had results incorporating lifestyle, diet, ad exercise changes into your life in a way that you’ve been able to lose weight after turning 50? I’d love to hear about your experience! xx
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I’m so excited to share the Fabulous50s 30-day Mindfulness Challenge!!
Over the next month, you will be engaging in one activity every day designed to bring you back to a state of positivity and mindfulness.
To begin our 30-day challenge, we’re going to tap in to our subtle body so that we can be present in the now. This technique helps to take us away from the past and the wild, meandering thoughts that may distract us and into the present.
To sign up for the challenge now, click here!
Excellent blog Schellea
Thank you, so much useful information, going to take it in and give it ago .
Schellea, I have COPD…a lung disease…I wear oxygen 24/7…I’m so thankful for Fab 50s videos….I can do them in my home with oxygen on…thank you so much
YOU are amazing Barbara! And take a moment to thank yourself for all the hard work you are putting in (in more ways than one)🙌 Keep up the fabulous work! 💪🌸