Wondering how to lose weight after 50 follows the realization that it is much harder to maintain weight later in life. The scale seems to climb, while your pants feel slightly tighter. Why can’t you lose weight like you did in your 30s or 40s? That’s what you need to discover.
Knowing how to lose weight after 50 means learning how your body changes as you enter your prime years. Let’s focus on the changes before showing you how to gradually shed those pounds and regain the freedom from a “dad bod” or menopause belly.
What Is Truly the Best Way to Lose Weight After 50?
The best way to lose weight after 50 involves making lifestyle and activity changes. Here are some changes you’ll need to embrace:
- Consuming fewer calories (31)
- Resistance training (19)
- Cardio workouts (8)
- Toning muscles (8)
- Good sleep (17)
- Buddy systems (22)
- Personalized weight loss plans (3)
- Protein-rich meals (10)
- Homemade meals (9)
- More produce in your diet (24)
- High-fiber foods (13)
- Whole foods (16)
- Cold water (1)
Now, let’s see why you’re battling weight problems and how you can shed pounds after 50.
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Why Is it Difficult to Lose Weight After 50?
A few challenges arise when you hit the 50s, and some can occur even earlier. Let’s discover why you’re finding it difficult to shed pounds in your best years.
Declining Muscle Mass
Henry Ford Health suggests you start losing 3-5% of your lean muscle mass every decade from 30 (10). You could lose 30% of your muscle mass between 50 and 70, particularly if you don’t engage in muscle-strengthening activities.
Body Fat Increases
Medicine Plus says that body fat can gradually increase after the age of 30 (2). Bone density and muscle mass can begin to decline as fat increases. This fat typically increases around the middle of the body, creating a “dad bod” or menopause belly.
Systemic Inflammation May Welcome Weight Gain
You’re more likely to suffer from inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis after 55, which may lead to weight gain (15). It may also prevent weight loss by limiting your mobility during exercise. Dr. Diane Brzezinski states that weight gain and chronic inflammation are part of a vicious cycle, and they negatively impact each other (23).
Your Metabolism Slows Down
Harvard explains that your metabolism is responsible for how your body stores and uses energy to help you breathe, repair cells, digest food, and circulate blood (25). Metabolism naturally slows with age, but genes also play an important role. You may also lack enough food with a higher thermic effect, such as protein.
You may have previously had a fast metabolism, but this slows down as you lose muscle mass. Galveston researchers confirm that muscle mass is a significant factor in protein metabolism (26). Lower muscle mass and not eating enough protein are lifestyle factors that may slow your metabolism further.
Weight Loss After 55 Female Hormone Challenges
In fairness, hormone changes can happen before 55, but during and after menopause, they can contribute to added weight. The Cleveland Clinic claims that estrogen levels can decline, which may further slow the metabolism (11).
Estrogen begins declining during perimenopause, but the hormone helps the metabolism burn calories at rest. Your resting metabolic rate is how many calories you burn while you do nothing. Lower estrogen levels can result in burning fewer calories at rest.
Lower Estrogen May Cause Appetite Issues
University Hospitals explain how declining estrogen in menopause may decrease leptin (21). Hormone changes and sleep disruptions may increase ghrelin, making you feel hungrier. At the same time, a leptin decrease may interfere with appetite regulation as this hormone signals when you’ve eaten enough.
Male Hormone Changes May Cause Weight Gain
Researchers from the UK found that testosterone levels in men decline with age. Total testosterone levels can decrease by approximately 1.6% each year. (20). Data also showed that 20% of men over 60 have lower than average levels of testosterone. Further, for men over 80, the percentage increases to 50%. Unfortunately, declining testosterone can further negatively impact muscle mass, slowing metabolism.
How to Lose Weight to Fix “Dad Bods” and Unwanted Bellies
Knowing how to lose weight after 50 may help reduce the “dad bod” or menopause belly. Let’s look at practical ways of shedding unwanted pounds as your body slowly enters a new phase.
Eat Fewer Calories
You can use one of two methods here. Firstly, the American Heart Association’s 200-calorie rule suggests that older adults who are obese can lose weight with 200 fewer calories daily with cardio exercise (28). Alternatively, you can use a sharper calorie deficit to lose weight.
The Mayo Clinic says you need to burn 500-1000 calories more than you eat each day to lose 1-2 pounds a week (31). Maintaining at least a 500-calorie deficit can effectively help to lose a healthy weight each week. Ultimately, a calorie-deficit calculator will determine precisely how many calories you need to cut daily to lose weight by age, gender, and weight (4).
Strengthen Your Muscles
Ohio scientists found that resistance training can combat sarcopenia and muscle mass loss (18). At the same time, the University of Maryland found that strength training can speed up your metabolism after 50 (19). Resistance training may prevent muscle loss and increase the amount of calories you burn while resting.
WebMD recommends adding cardio workouts to your routine to lose weight after 50 (8). You should aim to get your heart pumping so you can still talk during your workout for 20 minutes 3-4 times weekly. Swim, walk, or dance your way to weight loss with a combination of cardio and strength training.
Stretch Your Muscles
WebMD suggests stretching exercises for women over 50 (8). Stretching might not help you lose 50 pounds in a week, but it will help support flexibility and range of motion. ]. Any muscle-strengthening activities will boost your metabolism. So, you could do some yoga or Pilates.
Change Your Daily Routine
You can add more effortless cardio to your daily routine by taking the stairs instead of the elevator. Try standing when you talk to people or adopt a dog so you can enjoy daily walks. Get a comfortable pair of shoes to enable a brisk pace on your walks where possible.
The University of Arizona examined how sleep quality and quantity affect weight loss among women (17). Women who slept for seven or more hours were 33% more likely to lose weight successfully. Also, sleep quality matters. Get more sleep to help you lose weight.
Harvard scientists found that social support may help individuals feel more motivated and stick to their weight loss goals (22). Social support keeps you accountable and may prevent you from gaining weight and encourage you to lose it.
Check Your Medications
Some medications can cause weight gain. Maryland researchers found that 20% of US adults had used at least one medicine that resulted in weight gain (29). This doesn’t mean you should stop taking your meds, but you could discuss alternatives with your doctor.
Don’t Skip Breakfast
Breakfast starts your day and can promote regular eating patterns. Spanish research found that skipping breakfast may potentially increase your risk of weight gain and other metabolic disease (27). Start your day effectively with a well-balanced meal.
UCLA Health suggests that fitness trackers may motivate you to stick to your weight loss goals (3). However, the best results come from personalized guidance. At BetterMe, we offer personalized plans and guidance. Personalized coaching can motivate you to continue.
BetterMe App helps you achieve your body goals with ease and efficiency by helping to choose proper meal plans and effective workouts. Start using our app and you will see good results in a short time.
How Can I Kickstart My Metabolism After 50? (Nutrition Tips)
Knowing how to lose weight after 50 includes discovering ways of kickstarting your slowing metabolism. Let’s focus on nutritional ways you can boost your metabolism while exercising.
Eat More Protein
Harvard recommends protein as a higher thermic effect food source, which can increase your metabolism to burn more calories (25). Strength training is vital, and eating enough protein will support your metabolism. Henry Ford Health recommends that 10-35% of your daily intake should come from protein (10).
Forget About Convenience Foods
Wisconsin research shows convenience foods may lead to weight gain (9). Fast or highly processed foods are associated with a higher body mass index (BMI). Stop eating out and cut out those refined carbs, high-sugar content foods, and highly processed meals.
Start Cooking at Home
The Wisconsin research also found that eating at sit-down restaurants was linked to a higher BMI (9). Cook your meals fresh, prep them beforehand to save time, and enjoy the wholesome ingredients that encourage healthy eating habits and weight loss at home.
Eat More Vegetables
An Australian review of 10 studies found that eating more vegetables can reduce the risk of weight gain and slowly help you lose weight (24). Eat more fresh produce, such as cauliflower, avocado, cabbage, zucchini, lettuce, kale, spinach, broccoli, asparagus, Brussels sprouts, and peppers.
Eat More Fiber
Harvard suggests eating 30 grams of fiber daily to help you lose weight and improve overall health (13). You should also reduce salt, sugar, trans/saturated fat, and alcohol intake. Add fiber with cereals, grains, vegetables, legumes, fruit, nuts, and seeds to help you lose weight.
Enjoy Whole Foods
Bahrain researchers reviewed studies and found that whole foods can help individuals lose weight (16). Eating more whole vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes, grains, seafood, and poultry can support weight loss by providing plenty of healthy fats, protein, and fiber.
Time Your Calories
Eating a larger calorie count at the right time could help you metabolize food better before you sleep. Italian scientists found that individuals who eat most of their dinner calories are more likely to gain weight (5). You should eat your higher-calorie meals earlier in the day.
Research in Diabetes Care shows how high intakes of sugar and sugar-sweetened beverages can contribute to weight gain (6). Reduce sugar in beverages and foods, and look out for sweetened yogurts, baked goods, sodas, sugary cereals, and candy.
Hydrate With Cold Water
Medical News Today suggests that drinking plenty of cold water can increase your metabolism (1). In addition, water may suppress feelings of hunger and help burn more calories. Women should aim to drink 2 liters daily, and men should drink 3 liters.
Psychologist Joseph Nelson suggests eating mindfully to help you become more present during meals (14). You may consciously regain control over your hunger by practicing mindful eating habits, allowing you to cut calories and portions intentionally.
Sample Meal Plan for Weight Loss Over 50
This seven-day, three-meals-a-day plan comes courtesy of Eat This Much and follows a 1,500-calorie meal plan with whole foods (7). The daily macros are per serving for each meal.
- Breakfast: Cajun coconut shrimp and orange and pomegranate salad
- Lunch: Coconut banana avocado smoothie and keto cinnamon crunchies
- Dinner: Mushroom eggwhite omelet and avocado and veggie salad
Macros: 1,503 calories, 105 g carbs, 98.3 g fat, 70 g protein, and 33.6 g fiber (7)
- Breakfast: Paleo Mediterranean meatballs and one cup of strawberries
- Lunch: Tuna and avocado salad and guacamole on tostada
- Dinner: Over-easy eggs and summer pepper and tomato salad
Macros: 1,503 calories, 78.2 g carbs, 102.9 g fat, 78.3 g protein, and 28.9 g fiber (7)
- Breakfast: Peppered steaks and avocado salad with mint
- Lunch: Tuna and avocado wrap and banana, almond butter, and dates
- Dinner: Avocado egg bake and spinach, lemon, and shrimp salad
Macros: 1,497 calories, 102 g carbs, 92.8 g fat, 83.7 g protein, and 34.7 g fiber (7)
- Breakfast: Egg and onion scramble and avocado, strawberry, and spinach salad
- Lunch: Salmon-wrapped avocado and four celery stalks
- Dinner: Chicken cabbage salad and guacamole on tostada
Macros: 1,505 calories, 85.9 g carbs, 101.7 g fat, 72.4 g protein, and 38.3 g fiber (7)
- Breakfast: Fried eggs with bacon and radish and Mediterranean salad
- Lunch: Pineapple ginger breakfast fruit smoothie and one medium avocado
- Dinner: Grilled steak with pepper relish and Paleo garlic spinach
Macros: 1,493 calories, 99.2 g carbs, 93.6 g fat, 76.7 g protein, and 30.6 g fiber (7)
- Breakfast: Blackened catfish and chopped radish and avocado salad
- Lunch: Red pepper and tomato salad and almond butter with celery
- Dinner: Lemon pepper baked tilapia and two cups of strawberries
Macros: 1,494 calories, 72 g carbs, 88.3 g fat, 115.2 g protein, and 25.3 g fiber (7)
- Breakfast: High-protein omelet and tuna in cucumber cups
- Lunch: Chicken celery sticks and strawberry and walnut spinach salad
- Dinner: Chili spice steak salad and sliced bell pepper
Macros: 1,505 calories, 90.5 g carbs, 83.8 g fat, 106.2 g protein, and 20.8 g fiber (7)
Read more: 3 Best Exercises to Lose Belly Fat After 50
How to Lose Weight in Your 50s as a Woman
Losing weight after 50 without trying is a myth. Instead, as a woman, you may need to make some changes to specifically target challenging areas, such as an increase in belly fat. You can follow all the tips from the previous sections to help you reduce your menopausal belly.
How Do You Get Rid of Menopause Belly? Top 3 Tips
Weight loss over 50 in menopause seems insurmountable, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Firstly, an Australian review of ten studies showed an inverse relationship between daily vegetable consumption and positive weight loss outcomes (24).
This also showed that increasing vegetable consumption helps to prevent weight gain.
Finally, the Cleveland Clinic says that combining diet, strength training, yoga or pilates, and cardio can be an effective t way of burning belly fat in menopause (11). A single-pronged effort will not help you.
For more information about weight loss after 50:
- 3 Best exercises to lose belly fat after 50
- How to speed up metabolism after 50
- Weight loss after 50 female
The Bottom Line
Knowing how to lose weight after 50 will keep you slimmer while helping you stay fit and healthy. Follow the recommendations for cutting back, changing your diet, and exercising to shape up after 50. In addition, you should use the meal plan to inspire you.
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!
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