If you are over the age of 50, the chances are good that you have followed diet or exercise routines designed to help you lose weight. Some of those efforts may have been successful. It would make sense to repeat what worked in the past. However, what if you can’t find the motivation to get started?
What if what worked in the past is not working now? In this blog post, I share four things you can do today to get your eating, moving, and thinking on track so you can jump start your weight loss.
Jump Start Weight Loss over 50 – Summary
- Natural changes that occur as we age (i.e., loss of muscle mass, menopause, insulin resistance) present challenges that we must overcome to lose weight after 50.
- Exercise: Adding short bursts of higher intensity to enjoyable activities like walking boost your motivation and mood, leaving you with a sense of wanting to do more.
- Eating: Reducing carbohydrates and practicing early Time-Restricted Eating improves insulin sensitivity, making fat loss easier.
- Thinking: Accepting that perfection is the goal, but rarely the reality allows you to keep your head in the game as your body adapts to your new habits.
Jump Start Weight Loss Over 50 [Do This Today] [Video]
In this video, you’ll learn…
- Our relationship with weight loss as we age.
- Four things you can do in order to jump start your weight loss!
- Additional resources for success.
Weight Loss Challenges over 50
When we get into our 50s, natural changes impact how our bodies handle weight loss. For instance, it is normal for muscle mass to decline with age, decreasing the number of calories we burn through our basal metabolism. There are also hormonal changes that take place.
Our cells naturally become less sensitive to insulin as we age, making it easier to gain weight, and menopause can influence how fat is distributed in a woman’s body. While these factors don’t stop our ability to lose weight, they can slow progress and feel frustrating, making it hard to muster up the motivation to get started.
The good news is that small changes in the way you move, eat, and think can quickly shift your perspective and get you headed in the right direction. Let’s start with exercise.
Exercise: Change Up Your Intensity
When I was younger, I found walking boring. Now that I am in my 50’s, it is one of my favorite activities. Walking at a steady pace has many benefits, and when we set out to improve physically, it is a comfortable place to start. However, if you are looking at walking as a way to jump start your weight loss, you’ll get the most significant benefit by adding short bursts of intensity.
For example, have a stopwatch with you the next time you go for a 15-minute walk. Start with a comfortable pace for 2 minutes and then walk fast or jog for the 3rd minute. Repeat that lower to higher intensity until 15 minutes have passed. While the short bursts of higher activity will slightly increase the calories your body burns, the true benefit you’ll get is how it makes you feel.
You’ll be surprised at how the boost in your heart rate and breathing rate boost your motivation and mood. This same concept can be applied to other exercises, including bike riding, swimming, or using exercise equipment at the gym. But regardless of the activity, by changing up your speed and intensity, you will be left with a sense that you want to do more. That is what jump-starting progress is all about.
Eating: Food Choices and Food Timing
Low-Carb Food Choices
I mentioned earlier that our cells become less sensitive to insulin as we age. This resistance causes insulin levels in the blood to increase, which can slow or block fat loss. To work around this issue, you want to eat in a way that naturally keeps insulin levels low.
That is accomplished by reducing your carbohydrate intake, especially refined carbs, because those are the foods that spike insulin.
For example, you can swap out high-carb breakfast foods like cereal and muffins for an omelet, a low carb option. At lunch, you can trade in a sandwich for a salad. At dinner, you can skip the pasta and have meat, chicken, or fish, all of which are low in carbohydrates.
By doing this, you lessen insulin’s workload, so it doesn’t have to show up for work. In other words, when you make low-carb choices, you keep insulin levels low, taking the brakes off of fat loss.
Early Time-Restricted Eating
You can get an even bigger jump start to your weight loss by shifting your eating from an all-day grazer pattern to a time-restricted eating pattern. While we may not think of ourselves in this way, studies have shown that many of us are all-day grazers, consuming unhealthy foods with few breaks from sun up to sundown.
The continual blood sugar and insulin spikes that result from this way of eating encourage weight gain. By practicing time-restricted eating, which is a form of intermittent fasting, we give our bodies a break, allowing insulin levels to lower between meals (1).
Restricting the number of hours in a day that you consume calories is an effective weight loss accelerator for any age. However, for those of us over the age of 50 who are looking for an additional edge, it pays to practice early time-restricted eating. With this method, you consume all of your calories early in the day and then fast until bedtime.
For example, you can start eating at 8 am and finish eating at 4 pm. Studies have found that allowing more time between your last meal and bedtime improves insulin sensitivity, which is something that we are looking to improve as we age (2).
It will also ensure that you are going to bed with a lower insulin level, improving fat loss as you sleep (3).
So far, we’ve gone over unique challenges that we face when we aim to lose weight after 50. Fortunately, we can recapture our edge by tweaking the way we move and eat. Yet, successful weight loss has both a physical and mental component. Because of this, it pays to get your mind on board with some new ways of thinking.
Thinking: How to Stay on Track
When you first move from an unstructured eating pattern to one that is lower in refined carbs and restricted to set hours of the day, it is common to experience cravings. The good news is that, with time, the healthy habits that we’ve discussed in this post will steady your blood sugar, reducing cravings naturally.
However, this leveling out of blood sugar will not happen overnight. Until it does, you’ll need to accept that things will not always go smoothly.
Forgive and Forget
That acceptance is easier said than done. It is frustrating when you want to reach a goal but feel like your body is fighting against you. It feels this way because your body likes routines and will strive to function on whatever we give it. It’s always doing the best it can with the resources it has available.
When you consciously change the way you are moving and feeding your body, your body will initially resist the change, even if it is a shift to better health. Your body will come around, but until that happens, you can expect some moments of imperfection.
If you have an unplanned splurge, the best approach is to forgive and forget. It’s tempting to say, “I blew it today. I’ll start fresh tomorrow.” But that type of thinking will keep you stuck. Goals are not achieved through a series of perfect steps. In fact, failure is often the best teacher.
If a craving gets the best of you, get right back on track with your next meal, not the next day. By doing so, you make less work for yourself in the future and help your body establish the new, healthy routine that you want.
Much of jump-starting weight loss over 50 has to do with just getting ourselves to the start line. By adding short bursts of intensity to an enjoyable activity like walking, you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment that boosts your motivation to do more. You can then start working with your body by tweaking your eating.
By reducing your overall carb intake and shifting your eating to earlier in the day, you improve insulin sensitivity, taking the brakes off of fat loss. To stay in the game, remind yourself that perfection is the goal but rarely the reality. When you have a misstep, forgive and forget by getting right back on track with your next meal.
I hope this video has been helpful. If you’d like more help getting started, I encourage you to download my free 0,1,2,3 strategy. It comes with a 4-part video series that will encourage you and help you get the most out of the strategy.
Thank you for reading and have a wonderful week!
(1) Gill, Shubhroz, and Satchidananda Panda. “A smartphone app reveals erratic diurnal eating patterns in humans that can be modulated for health benefits.” Cell metabolism 22.5 (2015): 789-798.
(2) Sutton, Elizabeth F., et al. “Early time-restricted feeding improves insulin sensitivity, blood pressure, and oxidative stress even without weight loss in men with prediabetes.” Cell metabolism 27.6 (2018): 1212-1221.