Passing the age of 50 causes us to consider a lot of things, among them things that block weight loss. In this blog post, we’ll run through four outside-the-box things to check if your weight loss has stalled.
Weight Loss Stall Over 50? 4 Unusual Considerations [Video]
In this video, you’ll learn…
- How some medications can have an affect on weight loss
- Blood glucose/Insulin can have a direct impact on weight loss
- Focus and consistancy are key to successfully reaching your goal
The first thing to check is your medications. According to a 2019 Kaiser Family Foundation Health Tracking Poll, nearly nine in ten adults who are 65 years of age or older and three in four 50-64-year-olds report taking prescription drugs.
The reason these statistics are important in a discussion of stalled weight loss is because we see from the University of Rochester Medical Center that many medications can slow down weight loss or even encourage your body to gain weight.
You’ll notice that many of these medications are common, including medicines for diabetes and blood pressure. While not all drugs used to treat these conditions impact your weight, medicine is often overlooked when weight loss stalls.
The mechanisms by which medications cause weight gain will vary. Some will stimulate your appetite, and others may cause water retention or cause your body to burn calories at a slower rate than normal.
You can do the right things with your diet, but not get the scale results. Your best first step is to talk to your doctor about your medications and together look for ways to lessen the side effects.
It can benefit you to read the label of over-the-counter medications and supplements, looking for surprising ingredients. For instance, Emergen-C, which is an immune system support supplement, has sugar and fructose listed as its top two ingredients and contains eight carbs per serving. Added sugar makes the medicine go down, but with too much sugar, weight can go up.
Check Your Blood Sugar
Speaking of sugar, the next thing to check if your weight loss has stalled is your blood sugar. You can monitor your blood sugar or glucose levels from home using either a blood glucose monitor or a CGM, which is short for Continuous Glucose Monitor. There are pros and cons to both.
The nice thing about a blood glucose monitor is that you can pick one up at your local pharmacy or online. The downside is that you need to prick your finger to get the blood sample to test. Those finger pricks can get old and uncomfortable quickly if you closely track your blood sugar.
A CGM, on the other hand, saves your fingertips and gives you a continuous glucose reading. The small monitor painlessly attaches to your arm and stays there for a couple of weeks. The downside is that you’ll need to get a prescription from your doctor to use one. However, that should not be a deterrent. You may find that your doctor is happy that you are interested in monitoring your health in this way.
These devices can reveal a lot of information about how your body handles the foods you eat, allowing you to make adjustments if your weight loss has stalled. For instance, if you find that your blood sugar level skyrockets after a meal, the foods may have contained hidden sugar or carbohydrates. If your blood sugar is high following a meal and remains elevated, it could indicate insulin resistance, a common weight loss barrier as we age.
Insulin is the hormone that brings blood sugar levels back down following a meal. If your cells are not sensitive to insulin, insulin cannot do its job. As a result, blood sugar and insulin levels remain high, which is an internal state that encourages fat storage and blocks fat loss.
While these monitors do not directly measure insulin levels, you can then use your blood sugar readings to make eating decisions that work with your metabolism. For instance, you can use these readings to adjust your carbohydrate intake.
Carbohydrates are the nutrients that cause the most significant spike in blood sugar and insulin. By reducing your overall carbohydrate intake and avoiding refined carbs, you avoid blood sugar spikes. This makes insulin’s job easier, which makes fat loss easier.
After a few days of testing, you’ll see patterns in your blood sugar levels that you can use to refine your diet. And keep in mind that these self-monitoring tests are wonderful tools for monitoring your overall health. Ideal blood sugar levels depend on individual factors, but there are charts like this one from Medical News Today that give you a range to aim for, so you can set health goals and monitor your risk of diabetes.
Knowing this information broadens your focus, providing you with the motivation you need to keep moving forward. This brings us to the next thing to check if your weight loss has stalled, checking your focus.
Check Your Focus
Losing weight is a goal worth working for, but why do you want to achieve it? It’s easy to narrow your focus down to one thing: seeing a smaller number on the bathroom scale. But, you’ll find that a broader focus helps keep you in the game. In other words, the more reasons you have to eat healthily and lose weight, the more motivated you stay and the closer you adhere to your plan.
You can never have too many reasons to achieve a goal. If your weight loss has stalled and you cannot figure out why. I encourage you to grab a piece of paper and a pen and write down as many reasons as you can think of for losing weight.
There is no problem wanting to see that smaller number on the scale. But go beyond that. Maybe you want to keep up with grandkids, have less joint pain, stay out of the doctor’s office, or get off medications.
While I can’t fully explain why it works, having this big picture in your mind changes the way you act. It doesn’t make you perfect, but it does make you more self-forgiving, which leads to less self-sabotage. It also makes it possible to succeed with the final checkpoint.
Check Your Consistency
Perhaps the best tool to overcome a weight-loss stall is consistency. Your body is constantly dealing with energy. It is either storing it or releasing it from storage. There are a few storage closets in your body, but the biggest one is body fat. We may not be fans of fat storage, but our bodies are.
They look at storing fat as a basic survival process. If you want to decrease body fat, you need to coax your body to do something that it would rather not do. The way to do that is with consistent effort.
Think of body fat as credit. If you get a brand new credit card with a $5,000 limit, it is great fun to go on a shopping spree and run up the tab. However, at some point, this asset becomes a liability, and you need to reduce your balance.
To do so, you need to consistently pay down the balance month after month. This will work. But if at some point you decide to buy a new big-screen TV on credit, you’ll go right back to where you started. You’re not forbidden to make the purchase, but it will stall your progress toward a debt-free life.
I know that it seems unfair to have to pass on desserts and treats. But I will say that I’ve never woken up in the morning feeling sad about not eating a candy bar or drinking a soda the day before. These treats provide a few moments of enjoyment but leave me with days or weeks of extra work.
As we age, this adherence to consistent effort is even more important because we may have less calorie-burning muscle mass than we did at a younger age, and we may have developed metabolic issues like insulin resistance that make consistency vital.
Losing weight at any age takes energy and effort. It is important to have a plan and be purposeful. If you need a place to start, my 0,1,2,3 strategy will guide you. It is four daily habits that you can follow to get your diet started and maintained.
Thank you for reading and have a wonderful week!