Losing weight is usually a frustrating process that demands a lot of patience and requires extraordinary effort. For women over 50, it is even tougher. As you get to 50 and over, losing weight becomes more challenging because of your slowing metabolism.
This doesn’t mean that weight loss after 50 is entirely impossible. There are many great ways to lose weight at this age, but what is the best diet for women over 50? We explore keto for women over 50 and how to use it effectively for weight loss.
Why Is Weight Loss After 50 So Hard?
As you age, The body undergoes several changes. At 50, you are no longer young; you have undergone muscle degeneration. You are no longer that energetic youth with so much energy.
Here are reasons why losing weight becomes more difficult with age:
As you age, your body’s metabolism slows down. When you burn more calories than you consume, you lose weight. With a slow metabolism, however, your body burns fewer calories at rest and during activity.
Muscle degeneration also takes place as you get older. There is the involuntary loss of muscle mass, function, and strength. Muscle mass decreases at about 3 to 8% per decade after the age of 30 (10). And because muscle takes more energy to maintain than other t\types of tissue, as you lose lean muscle mass, your metabolism starts to slow down.
After the age of 50, the process of fat infiltrating your muscles accelerates. Fat infiltration also increases with inactivity. The effect of this is you may feel easily fatigued. However, research shows that resistance training can mitigate this as it increases lean muscle mass and may improve muscle composition (11).
During menopause, some women may experience an increase in body fat. When women are younger, they tend to collect fat around their hips and thighs. This is known as gynoid fat distribution.
However, as women enter perimenopause and menopause, the fat distribution pattern changes. Fat starts accumulating around the abdomen (14). This pattern is called android fat distribution that is common in males.
These changes are a result of hormonal changes. Menopause in a woman officially starts when she has not received her menstrual period for about 12 months. During menopause, a woman’s estrogen levels are generally lower. Reduction in estrogen levels has been linked to an increase in body fat (6).
Keto Diet For Women Over 50: 10 Ways To Make It Work
At this point, you may be wondering what a keto diet is? A keto diet is basically a high-fat, very low-carb, and moderate-protein diet. A keto diet requires that you cut on carbs and increase your fat consumption to help the body burn up the fat in its stores more efficiently.
Keto diets have been shown to aid in weight loss. Low carbohydrate diets may also be beneficial to your overall health (4). They may also help shed extra fat without the effect of intense cravings that are common to other types of diets.
At the heart of a ketogenic diet is ketones. When the body is low on blood sugar, it produces ketones from fat as an alternative energy source (8). Production of ketones happens when you cut on your carb intake and take the right amount of protein.
When you eat keto-friendly meals, your liver can convert fat into ketones that are used as energy by your body. This state where your body uses fats as an energy source instead of carbohydrates is referred to as ketosis. This allows fat burning to increase dramatically, potentially helping get rid of unwanted fats.
So, how many carbs can you have on keto? A ketogenic diet should contain about 5% carbohydrates, 25 % protein, and 75% fats (9). You can easily check whether your body is in ketosis by taking a simple urine test. Keto test strips are available over the counter at your local pharmacy.
Here are 10 tips on how to get the best out of a keto diet for women over 50:
Don’t Skimp on Protein
Protein is an essential component on the keto diet menu for women over 50. For weight loss, consuming the right amount of protein is crucial. Protein is vital as it helps increase muscle mass and prevent a metabolic slowdown.
In fact, protein boosts metabolism. This macronutrient has a higher thermic effect on food (30 to 50%) than other nutrients. The thermic effect of food refers to the number of calories required to digest and metabolize the food.
Protein also regulates the hunger hormone ghrelin. It causes a reduction in the production of ghrelin, leaving you full for longer (5). So after eating a high protein breakfast, it is unlikely that you will reach for a snack before your next meal.
The recommended amount of protein is 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight per day (3). If you weigh 90kgs, the minimum amount of protein you should consume in a day is about 72 grams. To avoid poor muscle growth, also ensure you consume the right amount of protein.
Get the Right Amount of Fats
The whole point of a Keto for Women Over 50 is to cut back on the carbs while getting the right amounts of fats. One of the best parts about keto eating is that you get to eat fats at every meal. However, once you become fat-adapted, you might end up overconsuming fats.
If you want to cut weight, you have to use up the fat stores in your body instead of getting all your calories from fats. Dr. Bret Scher suggests that before your body becomes fat-adapted, it is okay to eat high amounts of healthy fats (13).
When you become fat-adapted and can go a long time without eating, you should regulate those amounts. The secret is to keep watch of your fat consumption. But if you hit a weight stall, you might want to check and make sure you are not consuming too many fats.
Ensure that you cut back on fats without sacrificing fullness or prompting the return of cravings for salty or sugary ultra-processed foods. Also, do not starve yourself; just watch out for the excess fat.
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Stress is an outright enemy of weight loss. When you are under stress, the body causes the release of cortisol (7). This sends your body in a flight or fight mode, temporarily pausing under process in the body and slowing your metabolism. While cortisol is an important hormone, in excess, it can be harmful.
Cortisol may cause hunger and increase your appetite. It may also cause cravings for sugary, fatty, and salty foods. This means you will likely forget about your keto-friendly foods and grab some french fries, burgers, or pizza.
You have heard about stress eating. It is an actual phenomenon, and under stress, you may end up overeating. Consequently, you may abandon your ketogenic diet without even realizing it.
And while you are in your 50s, there are many things to stress about – your kids, home, friends, and relatives. Even worrying about your weight loss is a bad thing. But remember, stressful conditions are detrimental to your weight loss.
Try to take some time off things and relax. You can engage in pleasant diversions such as knitting, meditation, walks, crocheting, or reading a book.
Cut Back On Alcohol
Alcohol contains many extra calories making it a key contributor to weight gain if you drink a lot. An occasional glass of wine or beer does not hurt. However, overdrinking has a negative effect on weight loss.
When you consume alcohol, your body’s metabolic priority changes. The body puts on pause the metabolism of other substances to metabolize alcohol. This is because the body wants to get rid of a toxic byproduct of alcohol called acetate.
Even while on a keto diet, taking alcohol in excess is counterproductive. So if you have reached a stall and you cannot seem to lose any more weight, it might be best to cut back on the booze.
Get Plenty Of Quality Sleep
During menopause that takes place between 40 and 50, it is common to experience sleep disturbances (12). Poor sleep has been associated with positive energy balance which could cause weight gain over time (1). So in the case you have reached a plateau, check whether you are getting quality sleep.
Getting an inadequate amount of sleep may also increase the release of the primary stress hormone called cortisol linked to abdominal fat (7). To get better sleep, try going to bed at the same time every day. Also, sleep in a dark room and avoid drinking alcohol or eating right before bed.
Cut Back On Carbs
For keto for women over 50 to be effective, you have to limit the number of carbs you consume. But once you have been following your keto diets, carbs may creep back in. This is mostly in the form of nuts, fruits, and sauces.
You need to check your carbs intake then cut back to consuming under 20 grams of net carbs a day. Be on the lookout to avoid processed foods rich in carbs, such as bagels, breakfast cereals, pastries, and waffles.
Experiment With Intermittent Fasting
Once your body is fat-adapted and you can go for long hours without eating, you can try intermittent fasting. With Intermittent fasting, an individual alternates between long periods of fasting and eating. An individual usually goes without food for about 16 to 24 hours.
A key rule of low-carb eating is to eat only when you are hungry and not to a specific eating schedule as many people are accustomed to. You can try a 24 hour fast where you eat dinner tonight then eat again at dinner the following day.
Alternatively, you can skip breakfast then eat lunch and dinner with an 8-hour interval in between. You can switch up the two methods by doing a 16:8 fast followed by a 24 hour fast then a day of normal eating. Do not go for long fasts that run for several days. And always discuss with your doctor first, as fasting is not safe for everyone.
Lift Weights More
Starting yourself on a diet is usually not enough for weight loss. To burn calories and shed weight, you need to combine exercise and dieting. To achieve maximum weight loss, a combination of keto and exercises for women over 50 is necessary.
Weight training (sometimes referred to as strength or resistance training) helps build muscle mass (2). Muscle plays a crucial role in metabolism as increased lean muscle mass boosts your body’s metabolism. With strength training, your resting metabolic rate increases, and your body burns more calories at rest.
Weight lifting does not have to be excessive – about 90 seconds per muscle group at least twice weekly should be enough. Ensure that the weights you are lifting are heavy enough such that after 20 to 15 reps, you cannot do one more.
Ensure you drink enough water after your workouts. Also, include rest days in between heavy exercise so that your body can recover.
Avoid Added Sugars
Limiting foods high in artificial sugars such as soda, candy, cookies, sugary cereals is crucial for weight loss. Also, if you have been adding artificial sweeteners such as sucralose to your low-carb diet you may want to wean them off as they can lead to unhelpful sugar cravings.
Given that such foods are sweet they are easy to overeat and can take you back a few steps when you are trying to cut weight. Always read labels to check whether an item has added sugars on the nutrition facts. You can also check the ingredient list for common sweeteners such as agave, corn syrup, or cane sugar.
Set Achievable Goals
Having realistic achievable goals is important for anyone trying to shed some weight. Most women have an idealized weight goal they have never been able to achieve. This number usually has no relationship to their well-being and health.
Most women often think of how they want to be instead of the impact of fat loss on their overall health. Yet thinking of weight as just the number you see on the scale is self-sabotage.
If you are in the habit of hopping on the scale every day, you should stop. Try and look beyond the scale. Instead focus on how great you feel, how many inches you have lost around your weight, and how your clothes fit.
Keep a positive mindset and do not get discouraged as weight loss can be frustrating. Remember the long-term goal is to lose fat, adapt to a healthier lifestyle and improve your overall health.
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Food List For Keto Eating For Women Over 50
You may think you have everything about a keto diet figured out until you are at the grocery store and you need to get food supplies.
Here are the keto diet foods for women over 50:
- Eggs. Eggs are a great source of protein. You can prepare them whichever way you like, boiled, fried, or scrambled.
- Vegetables. Eat plenty of green leafy and other non-starchy vegetables. You can cook these vegetables in healthy fats like coconut, olive, avocado, or macadamia nuts oils.
- Meat. Go for unprocessed meat that contains few or no added carbs.
- Fish and seafood. These are excellent sources of protein and omega 3 fatty acids. Look for the wild variety and avoid farmed fish.
- Berries. Eat them in moderation.
- Dairy products. Go for the high-fat dairy products as the low-fat dairy options often have added sugar.
Foods to avoid while on keto include:
- Alcohol. Contains too many carbs and sugars.
- Added sugars. Limit the intake of added sugars.
- Fruit. Eating a little fruit is okay but consuming too much fruit adds sugar to your diet.
- Starch. Avoid starchy foods such as rice, wheat, white bread, and potatoes.
Is Keto Good For Women Over 50?
A ketogenic diet when properly taken is believed to have many health benefits alongside aiding in weight so. Given its many potential benefits, a keto diet may be a good weight loss strategy for women over 50.
However, it may have some side effects. Once you begin on a keto diet, you may experience a keto flu that is sometimes referred to as carb flu. It is usually a short-term response to drastic dietary changes.
Symptoms of keto flu resemble that of the common flu. You may experience diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, general weakness, or dizziness. The symptoms usually resolve in about a week. Sometimes you may get a red itchy keto rash that appears on the back of the neck but it is very rare (9).
Always discuss any major diet changes with your doctor first. Keto is not necessarily safe or beneficial for everyone.
A keto diet contains a lot of fats and is low on carbs. But, does keto work for women over 50? Yes, it can work and may help with weight loss when taken the right way. For it to be effective eat fats, proteins, and carbs in the right portions.
Do not starve yourself or over-consume fats. You also need to stay positive and avoid stressful conditions. Remember you can always consult a doctor or a nutrition expert for further guidance.
If you want your weight loss plan to be efficient, don’t forget to do some exercise on the regular basis. Check out this 20-min Full Body Workout at Home.
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!
- Alterations in sleep architecture in response to experimental sleep curtailment are associated with signs of positive energy balance (2012, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Are You Lifting Enough Weight? (2021, verywellfit.com)
- Dietary protein intake and human health (2016, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Effects of low-carbohydrate diets v. low-fat diets on body weight and cardiovascular risk factors: a meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials (2016, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih)
- Effects of Meals High in Carbohydrate, Protein, and Fat on Ghrelin and Peptide YY Secretion in Prepubertal Children (2009, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Estrogen Deficiency and the Origin of Obesity during Menopause (2014,ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Interactions between sleep, stress, and metabolism: From physiological to pathological conditions (2015,ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
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- Keto Calculator (2021, omnicalculator.com)
- Muscle tissue changes with aging (2010, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- SKELETAL MUSCLE FAT INFILTRATION: IMPACT OF AGE, INACTIVITY, AND EXERCISE (2013, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Sleep disturbance during the menopausal transition in a multi-ethnic community sample of women (2018, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Top 10 tips to lose weight on low carb or keto for women 40+ (2021, dietdoctor.com)
- Winning the weight battle after menopause (2019, health.harvard.edu)