Lose Weight as You Age With These 5 Tips
Do you know someone who maintained their weight in their 20s and 30s, but now they hit the big 4-0, things have started going downhill? This is about the same time you start to naturally lose muscle mass and start having huge hormone fluctuations.
So, as the years start creeping up, are we all doomed to that middle-age muffin top?
As we age, your body changes metabolically. This, along with needing to maintain a calorie deficit to lose weight, it can be hard to lose weight. This doesn’t mean you are doomed to gaining weight, though.
The key to achieving your weight loss goals is consistency and mindfulness.
You may have to stick to your goals a little more than you did when you were younger, but the goals are reachable.
So here are five tips that can help you lose weight as you age.
Lose Weight as You Age
#1 - You’ll Need to Pay Attention to Your Eating Patterns
As we get older, we are able to learn and understand how nutrition affects our overall health and well-being. You’ve gained some experience on the impact of certain food choices, and now it’s time to put that experience to use.
The hardest part, though, is going to be changing those habits that have been ingrained for decades.
As you get older, you need to be more mindful and aware of what you are feeding your body. Lack of exercise affects our body by atrophy. “If you don’t use it, you lose it,” some say.
The great thing about losing weight when you are older is that you don’t have to have drastic changes. In fact, simply being conscious of your food choices, logging your food, and learning to enjoy the food you are eating, are all you need. This includes being accurate with portion sizes.
If you want to lose weight, it’s going to take some changes. Period.
You need to address all of these problematic behaviors. This is the time to look for everything you do that keeps you from losing weight. You know, all of those things you do that you crack jokes about. Smashing a couple of cheeseburgers before you go over to Thanksgiving dinner is great, but that is why you can’t lose weight.
Be real with yourself; forgive yourself for any habits you’ve manifested, and start making progress towards a new you.
#2 - Start Logging Your Food
Something that helped me lose 120 pounds for the second time is logging my food.
The great thing about logging your food is because starting is simple. The easiest barrier of entry is simply writing everything you eat down in a notebook or on your computer or phone. Write down what you ate and how much. “I had three pieces of pizza, three chicken wings, a breadstick and a can of Pepsi.”
Getting into the most basic habit of putting information down about your nutrition gives you a solid foundation to do better. Apps like MyFitnessPal make it as easy as scanning a bar code to input your food.
Seriously, sign up.
You don’t need to change your eating habits, but knowing that you will have to write them down can start helping you make better decisions.
Once you learn how to log your food, you have the habit to make any nutritionally-related fitness goal — lose weight, build muscle, get stronger than you should be, or how to cut weight for a bodybuilding show.
It all starts with learning to log your food. Building the habit of making better nutritional choices, planning out what you’ll eat, and executing on those plans will be the other things you’ll need to incorporate into your life.
#3 - Be Consistent With Portion Sizes
I look at portion sizes in a different way. I see a portion size as a unit of measurement.
I know that two tablespoons of sour cream is going to cost me 60 calories. I know eight ounces of pork loin will account for 240 calories for my day.
Keeping your goal calories for the day in the back of your head, you can plan what you eat so you don’t run out of calories by 3:30 pm. Take control of what you eat and account for what you eat. It’s okay to buy some fast food as long as you count the calories and don’t have a second dinner later on in the night.
Being consistent with your portion sizes means you need to be mindful of the actual amount of food you eat and how many calories that equates to. It doesn’t necessarily mean it’s “bad” if you eat more of it.
Ideally, you want to try to use an 80/20 rule for eating. Take 80% of your daily calories — for example, 2,000 — and multiply that by 80%. This gives you 1,600 calories that should come from nutritious sources. Your fresh proteins, veggies, fruit, dairy, and grains.
As you get comfortable in the kitchen, you will start to phase out all of the processed foods. You’re going to see how many more calories you are eating without getting any nutritional value.
Seriously, one pound of chicken breast is around 750 calories. Grabbing a Big Mac and fry will be 780 calories. I don’t know about you but I like to eat, I almost always choose fresh proteins and ingredients over the foods I used to love.
#4 - Count Calories
Every time I write something about calories, I know I am triggering people when I say a calorie is mostly a calorie.
By that, I mean if we assume you eat a moderately reasonable diet, if you were to restrict your calories, you will lose weight eating the same foods. Eating more nutritious foods helps to nourish our bodies — why would you purposely rob yourself of nutrition?
So say you eat out once per workday, you may cook up a steak or some chicken occasionally, but generally, you have some microwave foods to eat. You log your food and you eat 3,000 calories. You make a plan to lose weight and you determine 2,000 calories is the goal you should aim for.
If you eat the same foods you have been but remove 1,000 calories per day from your usual diet, you’re doing to lose weight. Period. Simply quitting soda or your sugar loaded coffee can cause a drastic weight change.
#5 - Lift Weights
As we age, we start losing muscle mass. This loss of muscle mass will cause or metabolic rate to drop, which means you won’t burn as many calories. This, along with a poor diet, smoking, drinking alcohol, genetics, and sedentary behavior make your metabolism slow more.
Lifting some weights a few times per week will help you regain muscle that you’ve lost — and build some more. Along with stronger muscles, your bone mass increases, it can improve sleep, boost your mood, and improves your cardiovascular health.
When you think about “building muscle,” you picture a bodybuilder, right? When I talk about building muscle in this article, I’m talking about being able to carry a case of water strong. Being able to pick up and move more than ten pounds.
You don’t have to have aspirations to be a bodybuilder to benefit from lifting weights.