The truth about weight loss after 50 is we’ve got to kick some of those lingering old ideas to the curb. Whether you are trying exercise, diet, or wisely, both, some of your strategies may need a 21st century change.
1) “More” Exercise is Worse
Especially when you take the old school eat less, exercise more (no, no no!) route. Both of those are stressful to the body. When you’ve got stress, you’ve got cortisol. When cortisol increases the body breaks down. You’ll end up tired, more vulnerable to injury, and with a slower metabolism than before.
Weight loss after 50 is much more related to hormone balance and muscle preservation than “burning” anything off.
Even if you find exercise reduces your stress level, it can backfire on you. It’s true after an appropriate amount of exercise you will reduce cortisol (and stabilize blood sugar and improve insulin sensitivity which help weight loss).
Beginning a regular exercise program is a wonderful idea. But over doing it is a disaster. The last thing you want to be is someone who says, “I was doing so well and losing weight, until I got hurt.” At a certain point, which varies for everyone, your level of cortisol begins to rise instead of lower from exercise.
The biggest challenge for women in midlife is that your “more” has moved. You may not realize when you’re doing too much for right now.
Please don’t confuse this with you being delicate or needing to do “light” exercise from here on out. That’s not it at all. What you do need to do is stay within the sweet spot and realize this: you’re supposed to feel good while you’re losing weight.
Nothing that makes you feel miserable during is going to get you lasting results later.
2) Skipping meals and depriving yourself backfires.
This old habit kicks up your cortisol and ultimately leads to a binge-purge relationship with food.
I know that intermittent fasting is popular. For some of us children of the 70s and 80s, though it can bring back memories of starving and eating lettuce or grapefruit. If you’re not careful in the way you approach it, you could bring back a binge-purge cycle. If you ever dieted strictly and blew it big time after, you know what I mean.
Intermittent fasting has its place. The difference between it and meal skipping is this: it’s planned. It’s not about decreasing calories and counting. It’s about timing for a natural body detoxing/clean up on the cellular level that occurs when you do it correctly.
Weight loss after 50 can benefit from Intermittent Fasting done correctly. You want to start though with a good diet to return to when you’re not fasting.
3) Lifestyle habits do matter.
Sleep, rest, and recovery are as or more important than your exercise.
Sleep alone, if you change nothing else will improve your weight loss success.
There are changes you can make to the type and timing of food that can be key parts in supporting sleep easily. When you wake refreshed your entire world, not just your ability to make better food and exercise choices, will improve.
I’ve worked with both male and female clients with insomnia over 36 years who have literally experienced a life-changing wake-up when they’ve improved their sleep hygiene.
The message here is that “it all counts.” That’s also good news. Getting more or higher quality sleep helps your weight loss. All movement matters, you don’t have to kill yourself working out! You may need to say hello to a little intensity, yes, but it’s in very small amounts that it supports you best.
Weight loss after 50 is not unique from any other age in this regard. What you do 23 hours a day matters more than what you do for one. You can’t exercise away poor health habits.
4) A condition that’s stable on medication is still a factor.
Medications and medical conditions can cause inflammation that needs attention.
There are some simple solutions. Support your body with optimal food first and potentially supplements. A change in dietary and lifestyle habits can help you improve your body’s ability to function. Every medication has negative side effects. The more you realize what you put in your body and do with your body has the biggest influence on whether you need medication or have medical conditions, the more in control you become.
Help your natural detoxification with habits like lemon water, increasing your greens, and regular sweat sessions can reduce inflammation and in turn make it easier to lose weight.
There are often medications you can ask your physician about that may have fewer side affects. And you may be able to reduce medications if you’re working on diet and exercise adjustments. In fact, sometimes it’s necessary! Communicate with your practitioner about what you’re doing. A little reflection about whether your weight loss after 50 coincides with taking more medications may offer clues for your weight loss success.
5) Counting calories & points can lead to toxin consumption.
You could easily increase your toxins and decrease your micronutrients if you get seduced by “tracking points.”
It’s become a national obsession that started decades ago. It is no more successful today than it was when it began. Initial successes for most have become a need for a “lifetime” membership. The lack of education about healthy choices is replaced by a cult-like following. Instead of whole foods, processed ones with artificial sweeteners and chemicals, and a passion for the zero-calorie, low or no-fat foods that confuse the metabolism are featured.
Weight loss after 50 must include the cumulative effect of many factors. You must include the toxins you and I didn’t know were building up in our bodies (stored in fat) in our younger years. Specific methods of releasing them go beyond calories in- calories out. We need to look at what calories (both burned and ingested) do to your hormones.
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