The 10 Weight Loss Mistakes Women Over 50 Make Most Often

Weight Scale.

10 Weight Loss After 50 Mistakes

Are you frustrated with a lack of results from your exercise?

Getting older does not mean that you’re doomed to muscle loss and weight gain.

If you’ve been trying to lose weight or add muscle tone (or both) but aren’t seeing results…

Trying to lose weight after 50? Any of these unintentional weight loss mistakes may be your obstacle. Can we agree you’ve probably got some habits that aren’t working? See if you catch yourself in any of these. Weight loss over 50 is possible, just not doing those same things you’ve always done.

  1. Using the Scale to Measure Success

Body composition matters most. When you lose weight its part fat and part muscle. The way you lose weight determines how much muscle you lose. By ignoring body composition you set yourself up for more fat in the long run. We lose a combination of fat and muscle. If we regain weight after a “diet” it is 100% fat. That cycle of lose, gain over the years has increased your fat. Even if you don’t have weight to lose, you are likely to have a higher percent body fat (not to be confused with BMI).

Get your weight, your body composition (know your fat and lean muscle weight) and your measurements. Weigh and measure weekly. Measure body fat every 6-8 weeks. (Scale recommendations here)

  1. Counting Calories

Hormones, not calories, control weight. At one time science taught that weight loss was a mathematical equation. Burn more calories than you take in and you’ll lose weight. New information that we have now proves this completely wrong. Weight loss over 50 and during menopause is ALL about hormones.

Your body on a diet is stressed. Cortisol together with insulin result in fat storage. The ability to burn fat when you diet severely is reduced. Temporary results usually result in weight regain that far surpasses the loss. When you eat less you tell your body to burn less. It does. Slowing your metabolism then going “off” your calorie counting diet will mean you eat far more now than your newly slowed metabolism use. So you store it.

The quality of your calories matters much more than the quantity. We’re finding now that high fat diets result in lower fat people. By default that’s going to mean higher calorie foods. Of all weight loss mistakes, I know this one can be the hardest to change. Try.


  1. Going Low or No Fat

This is a sidekick to low calorie. The result is inflammation. While once we did think eating fat makes you fat, and eating cholesterol containing foods raises cholesterol it’s no longer a steadfast science-based rule.

Fat is crucial if you want to create a physical environment with less inflammation as well as an emotional environment that leaves you satisfied after a meal. In fact the chemicals added to low fat and no fat are more likely to increase your fat than healthy amount of fat in your diet will.

weight loss mistakes

  1. Everything in Moderation

Some foods just don’t fit anywhere in your diet. There are general rules we all need to live by. MSG, arsenic, heavy metals – these things in our foods should be avoided yet they are a part of ingredients of every day foods including some protein powders – which you’re taking for health purposes! They’re everywhere… from tea and coffee (my favorite  vetted and better options here) to tuna and even your drinking water.

Then there’s the “healthy” foods that for you just aren’t any more. You need to identify your own food sensitivities and eliminate those foods at least temporarily. The internal damage to your gut health reduces absorption of nutrients leading to greater risk of disease.

The answer to this #4 in weight loss mistakes is one you might love! Do less exercise, just make it count more! High intensity intervals twice a week instead of the 4 mile walk every day… and you’ve just exchanged an hour for 20 minutes.


  1. Overdoing Cardio

If you’re a woman who exercises there’s a strong chance you do more cardio than is optimal. Weight loss over 50 is limited by more cardio!! Too much elevates cortisol levels, increases inflammation, and if you’re already stressed and tired puts you at risk of adrenal fatigue. So many women find me already there. It’s time to connect that you may be causing it.

Yes, exercise, but at the right time, intensity, and duration according to your hormones and health not according to a text book.


  1. Not Lifting Weights or Lifting Without a Plan

Strength training is a woman’s best fat-fighting friend. Too little weight provides too little stimulus to muscles to either create shapely, lean tone or help boost metabolism for fat burning. Weight loss over 50 is about boosting your metabolism for hours after. You can’t do that with pink dumbbells or Pilates.

Women tend to follow the same routine without change for too long or do random exercises in random order. Your large muscle groups determine your metabolism to a greater extent than small muscles. So, while you may want to do arm exercises to go sleeveless, you’ll have an easier time getting shorts on and your shirt buttoned with squats, lunges, pressing and pulling exercises for major muscle groups.

  1. Thinking If You Can’t Exercise You Can’t Lose

Nutrition is responsible for 80% of success. Inactive women can be just as slender and slim as athletes as long as they eat well. It’s not the hour of exercise a day that matters most for metabolism and long term weight control. Non Exercise Activity Time (N.E.A.T.) is showing up more and more in studies as the key to fighting obesity.

If you can’t do all exercise there is likely something that you can do. If you’re restricted by a joint or body part strength train with the rest. Avoid impact with bicycling, water walking, or swimming. Weight loss over 50 is ironically sometimes made easier when you isolate proper eating, resting, and sleeping. Or when you’re only focused on exercise. So if you’ve got a limiter, it may simplify the steps to successful weight loss after 50. Eventually, yes, do all the things. To start, do one thing well.

  1. Eliminating Foods without Adding Micronutrients

Your body is a machine and all parts need to function properly. If you’re missing just one micronutrient it affects your body’s ability to function. It may also affect your absorption of other nutrients. Of all weight loss mistakes women over 50 make, this one is most logical. Reduce or eliminate foods and you eliminate the very parts, the micronutrients, required to make a metabolism hum.

  1. Timing Your Food Wrong

Timing is everything. Good foods at the wrong time can be detrimental to weight management. Carbs are necessary but you’re eating them at the wrong time to balance hormones. It’s counter intuitive, but if you’re stressed you will do better shifting carbs to later in the day.

The amount of protein you need is specific per meals not based on a total per day. Not everyone needs to snack. In fact for weight loss over 50 and during menopause, stop that snacking. Only if you have adrenal fatigue do I recommend otherwise. Eat to benefit your hormones.


  1. Weight Loss Mistakes #10: Ignoring Sleep Needs

Exercise all you want and eat as clean as you want, without sleep you won’t lose fat weight. The difference between longer sleepers and short, deprived sleepers in both weight loss, and specifically the amount of weight loss that is fat is dramatic. Sixty percent of the weight lost by short-term sleepers is muscle. That is not going to help your case. Think of sleep as your secret weight loss weapon.

Stay tuned for the follow up blog where I’ll share some of the steps I use in The After 50 Fitness Formula course to break these old diet cycles and rev up your metabolism. Slow now doesn’t mean slow forever.

For over 35-years as a Personal Trainer and Wellness Coach, international presenter and creator of the Flipping 50 Fitness Specialist for fitness pros, I’ve worked with women and have helped thousands crack the code to weight loss after 40. It can work for you too. 

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