Weight is a very sensitive thing to women regardless of their age. Furthermore, staying in shape and maintaining a healthy weight is not reserved for certain age groups but should be pursued by everyone alive. Losing weight after 50 is hard and perhaps even harder for women, but it is also a realistic goal. In this regard, how many calories should a 60-year-old woman eat to lose weight?
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Naturally, as the body ages, humans require less energy from food. It reaches a point where they may have to track the calories they consume and the impact on their weight for one reason or the other. 60 is a tricky age because you may feel that you can feast on a small snack, and suddenly you have gained 2 pounds overnight. No wonder you find senior women and men making gyms a necessary part of their routines because watching their weight is critical for their health.
Why Is It So Hard To Lose Weight After 60?
While losing weight starts to become somewhat challenging at around 50, 60 is the age where most women encounter this annoyance. Below are some of the reasons why it can be so hard to lose weight at this age:
Hormones Are Slowing Down, And So Is Your Metabolism
This does not start at 60, but metabolism generally slows down with age. This is because of the decreased production of testosterone and human growth hormone (HGH), leading to the natural loss of muscle mass. Hormonal changes and not getting enough of key nutrients like calcium also can affect metabolism, making it difficult to lose weight (3).
Perimenopause And Menopause
These are stages that peak around the ages of 50s and 60s in women, and the shift results in burning fewer calories than before. Typically, menstruation causes body temperature fluctuations that boost calorie burning at certain times of the month. Perimenopause and menopause also bring with them insulin-resistance making it hard to lose weight (10).
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More Free Time To Socialize And Eat
At 60, you have either retired or nearing retirement. This creates more room for things like eating and socializing. You will find yourself around people who are eating most of the time, and that is how staying in shape starts being a distant dream because you find yourself drifting from questions like how many calories should I eat a day (6)?
Potential Health Conditions To Be Aware Of
Sometimes, when losing weight becomes extremely difficult, it is because of underlying health conditions. Such health conditions include becoming less sensitive to insulin and the thyroid losing function (8).
How Many Calories Should A 60-Year-Old Woman Eat To Lose Weight Each Day?
Typically, women over 50 years and with an active lifestyle require about 2000-2200 calories per day to maintain their weight. Women of the same age group, but are somewhat active, are required about 1800 calories to maintain weight, while those who are not physically active have a recommended calorie intake of about 1600 calories per day for the same purpose.
To lose weight, consume less calories than you need to maintain your weight, but do not go below a minimum of about 1200 calories per day because these will be able to offer you sufficient nutrients to prevent your metabolism from slowing even further. Do not be as extreme as cutting 1000 caloric intake per day to lose as much as 2 pounds per week because this intake will be too low (6).
You should plan a moderate weight loss of about ½ to 1 pound per week. This means your calorie deficit (the difference between what you consume and what you burn) will only be as low as 250 to 500 calories per day. How many calories do I need a day? Based on your weight, you can use an online calculator or consult a dietician regarding your baseline calorie needs, from which you will subtract calories and create a deficit.
Read More: Keto After 60: Can Entering Your Golden Years Affect Your Keto Success?
Dietary Choices For Weight Loss At 60
Your meals should be based on lean proteins, fresh vegetables, and whole grains. Between those meals should be snacks on low-fat dairy, healthy fats, and fresh fruit.
Start your day with breakfast consisting of eggs, whole-grain toast, and an apple; low-fat plain yogurt, blueberries, and slivered almonds; or oatmeal, skim milk, and strawberries (2).
Lunch and dinner should comprise a 2 to 4-ounce serving of protein that may include white fish, tofu, white-meat pork, skinless poultry, or lean steak. Adequate protein is important for 60-year-old women who are dieting because it preserves the essential lean body mass.
You can combine the protein with ½ a cup of whole grains such as quinoa, barley, wild rice, or brown rice. The meal should also include plenty of watery, green vegetables like fennel, kale, broccoli, spinach, and asparagus. There is no harm in trying colorful vegetables such as cabbage, eggplant, bell peppers, and cauliflower. This is because vegetables contain limited calories per serving but are packed with phytonutrients and fiber that fill you up (4).
If possible, avoid sauces and dressings because they will only add lots of extra calories without any nutritional value to your meal. Instead, go for vinegar or lemon juice, olive oil, and fresh herbs to add some flavor to your dish.
Sample 1400-Calorie Weight Loss Menu
Women 60 years old and above require about 1600 to 2200 calories per day to maintain their weight. So, how many calories should I eat a day to lose weight? The calories needed to lose weight might be below 1600. The 1400-calorie menu should help them lose weight, but the figure can be adjusted depending on several factors (5).
A weight loss plan should have three meals in a day and one snack, which is optional. There should be breakfast consisting of a boiled egg, one whole-wheat English muffin (topped with a tablespoon of peanut butter), and a 6-ounce cup of yogurt in the morning to make a total of 415 calories.
During lunch, take 2 small mugs of mixed greens topped with half a cup of chickpeas, an ounce of low-fat cheddar cheese, six sliced almonds, and two tablespoons of low-fat salad dressing coupled with a large banana to add up to 435 calories (11).
For dinner, take four ounces of grilled salmon, a cup of baked sweet potato, and a cup of roasted Brussels sprouts tossed in a teaspoon of olive oil to get 475 calories. For a snack, take half a cup of nonfat milk with half a cup of unsweetened whole-grain cereal to give you 95 calories.
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Keeping Carbs and Sugars Low is Essential for Weight Loss at 60
Carbohydrate-rich foods may not have been an issue before, but the body changes at 60 will demand you to change your diet as well. Even your usual daily dessert might make you gain weight, something it never did before. The answer to that is simple, adults over the age of 60 are likely to have higher blood sugar because of insulin resistance (1).
Insulin is responsible for signaling the liver, muscle, and fat cells to remove glucose from the bloodstream. But if the cells are resistant to insulin, glucose won’t be used, and the result is that it stays in the blood, which is how high blood sugar is created. This can cause all manner of things ranging from metabolic syndrome to pre-diabetes and type II diabetes. At this point, it is extra difficult for the body to lose weight (9).
The remedy is to limit refined carbohydrate intake. How many carbs per day to lose weight for a woman? What’s more important is the type of carbohydrate. Get your carbs from whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, while limiting refined grain products (like white bread and pasta) and added sugars. This will help keep blood sugar in balance, so it will be easier for you to maintain or lose weight (7).
The Bottom Line
How many calories should a 60-year-old woman eat to lose weight? As noted, depending on the body type and other factors, there is no uniform amount of calories for losing weight after 50. The figure might be less than 1600 calories, but going below 1200 daily calorie intake is not recommended because you will be depriving yourself of essential nutrients.
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This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- A review of recent evidence relating to sugars, insulin resistance and diabetes (2016, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Dieting After 60: 4 Things You Need to Know (2014, webmd.com)
- 15 Things That Slow Your Metabolism (2020, webmd.com)
- Health Benefits of Fruits and Vegetables (2012, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- How Many Calories Do You Really Need? (2020, webmd.com)
- How many calories should I eat a day? (2018, medicalnewstoday.com)
- How many carbs should dieters eat for weight loss? (2018, medicalnewstoday.com)
- Insulin and Insulin Resistance (2005, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Metabolic Syndrome: Insulin Resistance and Prediabetes (2015, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Perimenopause (2020, webmd.com)
- Quick, Easy Recipes: More Halfway Homemade Dishes (2008, medicinenet.com)