Yes, You Can Boost Your Metabolism Over 50
If you want to boost your metabolism over 50 you’ve got to avoid these common mistakes. Many of these were born decades ago when we though weight training led to bulk or slashing calories and jumping into aerobics for hours was the perfect solution to fitting into the dress by Saturday night.
Times, and science, have changed. The very thing you’re doing to lose weight is killing your metabolism if you’re doing any of these things. If you’re doing several? You have some damage repair to do. And yet, good news! You can.
Avoiding the Weight Room
Muscle is your friend. It is the only metabolically active tissue you have. However, you’re not just not gainingmuscle you’re losing muscle unless you weight training. Losses that began at about age 30 unless you were lifting weights are beginning to show a cumulative effect by 50. Weight training is a must to boost your metabolism over 50. There is no better way.
You’re more likely to get rounder and softer even if you’re luckier to be the same weight. That’s an increased amount of fat and decreased muscle. Weight training can recover muscle losses and support fat loss both. You’ll see noticeable difference in your body composition if you’re doing effective workouts within three months. You may start to feel them much sooner.
The Flip: Get started on a weight training program today. Never do less than stimulating major muscles (chest, back, lower body) twice a week in a simple 10-minute routine at home. If that’s all the time you have. If you can add another short third time a week focus on additional muscles during that workout. Better: get one longer workout for full body and 8+ major muscles (include arms, shoulders, additional leg exercises).
You message your body to burn less if you feed it less. So dieting “works” like this: You slow your metabolism by eating less and often very differently than you intend to for life. You then resume eating more, with a slowed metabolism. More of your food gets stored as fat because your body is burning less. Hence, the cycle that results in you storing an increased amount of fat every time you’ve gotten off that diet ramp.
Telling statements that it is NEVER going to work permanently:
“Calorie counting is the only way I can lose weight.”
If you eat the right foods you can eat up to 300 kcals a day and still find yourself at optimal weight and energy. And you can do that in a way that feels good instead of hating life. It’s not about calorie counting, and if you’ve been following Flipping 50 you already know that, but that gives you an idea how quality over quantity is the winner for long term weight management.
Shift your thinking away from short term weight loss toward ways to boost your metabolism over 50 long term.
The Flip: Focus on nutrient-rich whole foods. Eliminate processed crap and chemicals. Beware of ads that suggest a diet or protein drink has X amount of protein and vitamins and neglects to tell you the other ingredients in the fine print that you don’t want.
Eating Too Little Protein
Protein boosts your metabolism and supports that lean muscle that keeps it burning. You’ve got two ways to think about metabolism. There’s that small boost that comes after meals to digest and breakdown food and exercise as the body returns to normal and uses extra energy to do it.
Then there’s the long-term boost that comes from increasing the amount of lean muscle and losing fat. That means your body at rest (since most of us don’t exercise all day – this is REALLY IMPORTANT) burns more calories.
IF you are, and this is not a suggestion, cutting calories, there is evidence that on low calorie diets, high protein intake can be supportive of weight loss without it costing lean muscle tissue. (see above “dieting” section about why this is so important)
The Flip: Starting your day with a high protein meal is an easy way to boost your metabolism over 50.
According to research on all ages and all activity levels aiming for about 30 grams of protein at each of 3 meals a day is a good goal. The older, and more sedentary, or more frail you are the more important protein. Yes, as unintuitive as that is, your need increases as you age and if you’re less active.
Athletes (including athletic older adults who exercise at least moderately three times a week) synthesize protein better. But if you’re not moving as much as you should or want to more protein helps you prevent muscle wasting.
This is not easy to do right away. Protein aids satiety so you may get full quickly as you increase your intake. Thirty grams per meal is your goal. Simply getting more… by adding up snacks and meals does not have the same positive effect. More information on protein-related muscle loss here.
Skimping on Sleep
A group of obese menopausal women in a weight loss program were divided into two groups. One was given 8.5 hours of sleep, the other restricted to 5.5 hours of sleep. All program participants lost weight. The long sleepers lost moreweight, and more of it was fat weight, preserving their lean muscle tissue.
The Flip: To boost your metabolism over 50, you have to get your optimal sleep. If you’re not prioritizing it, start. If you know how important sleep is but you’re struggling, start looking at these over 20 tips that support your ability to get quality sleep in Sleep Yourself Skinny.
You’ve got to change your language around sleep too! Don’t allow statements to creep into your vocabulary like, “I can’t sleep,” “I’ve never been a good sleeper,” or “I’ve got hot flashes and night sweats” be your excuses. You CAN positively effect hot flashes, night sweats, and even a decades-long history of sleep disorders with the right type and timing of exercise and food.
Doing Tons of Cardio
Ironically, you’ll kill your metabolism due to detrimental effects on cortisol if you’re overdoing your cardio. If you’re racking up hours of cardio weekly and you’ve got nothing to show for it, or if you seem to be aging faster – drawn facial skin, crepey dry skin, more prominent wrinkles, or instead of having a youthful fit look, you have a more wasted appearance… cardio is accelerating your aging process. Your muscle takes a major hit. It’s likely you’ve tipped the scale in the wrong direction and you’re just chasing muscle instead of building it and sustaining it.
The Flip: Swap a chunk of that cardio time for weight training and interval training. If you’re already doing both, reduce your total quantity of cardio. Improve the quality of it. Less of that zone 3 “No Benefits Zone” type of training and even zone 2 – that steady state – will help cardio queens improve fast. You’ve got the discipline. You may need to find another way to relax if exercise is your only stress reducer.
If you have an increased appetite, or you opt for caffeine or sugar (you claim you have a sweet tooth), or wine to calm down, these are strong signs you’re overdoing cardio and it’s backfiring on you.
To boost your metabolism over 50 is not as hard as we make it. Boosting yours begins with dropping that thought “it’s harder after 50.” Because it’s harder only if you keep making the mistakes you learned decades ago: if you try to exercise the way you did when you were 30.
If you change the way you try to change your weight you will be successful in your effort to boost your metabolism over 50.