Do you need help with losing belly fat after 65? If so, then you are in the right place. Belly fat is nothing to joke about. It is associated with so many health risks, which is probably why most everyone is looking for a way to get rid of it. Losing belly fat is a daunting experience but perhaps even more challenging for the seniors above 65. At this age, you are not as strong, active, or capable as you were in your twenties. This fact makes it even more challenging to lose belly fat. That being said, we are not implying that losing belly fat is easier for youngsters. For sure not. Despite all this, we can assure you that there are some tricks and tips that can make losing belly fat after 65 much more straightforward.
In this article, we will be looking at the dangers that belly fat poses for seniors. To help reduce this risk, we will also discuss the best-suited tips to make it easier to lose weight after 65. Keep reading on for this and more insight on those frequently asked questions about losing belly fat for seniors.
Causes Of Belly Fat In Men And Women Above 65
Most people connect an expanding waistline to aging. However, as you might have noticed, people in their twenties and teenage years also can put on belly fat. This means that belly fat is caused by other factors and is not necessarily influenced by natural aging.
According to Medical News Today, belly fat in any age group can be caused by several factors. These include consuming a poor diet, alcohol consumption, high-stress levels, genetics, poor sleeping patterns, and lack of exercise (12).
Understanding these causes is pivotal as it paves the way for the best practices to help you lose this unwanted fat. Yet, as much as we are focusing on losing belly fat, it is worth noting that we do need some belly fat.
A little belly or visceral fat helps in providing cushioning around your organs (15). The problem comes in when you have too much of it. The best way of determining if you have excessive belly fat is by taking your waist circumference measurement.
The recommended maximum waist circumference for a non-pregnant woman in any age group is 35 inches. On the flip side, the recommended maximum waist circumference for a man in any group is 40 inches (3). Anything above these measurements is considered to portray excessive belly fat.
Dangers Of Belly Fat Above 65
Why worry about your waistline? This is one of the frequently asked questions about a big waistline among men and women above 65. We understand that most young people are worried about an expanding waistline for fear of losing their physique.
That makes sense and it might explain why most of them are so determined to lose the visceral fat. What you can find is that it might not be so clear to those above 65 about why they should be concerned about belly fat. As mentioned earlier, visceral fat is linked to multiple health issues. Knowing this, seniors, too, should be worried about having an expanded waistline.
According to WebMD, it is more deadly for women above 65 (between 70 and 79) to have belly fat than be overweight (6). This is because an increased waist circumference was linked to increased mortality risk in this age group.
The site summarizes a study investigating the link of increased waist circumference to increased mortality risk. According to the study, the risk of mortality in older women increased when the waist circumference surpassed 31.5 inches (6). Measurements above 35 inches (88 cm) were considered an extreme risk of mortality (6).
Belly fat too in men above 65 also poses various health risks. The extra pounds around the waistlines of both men and women above 65 increase their risk of conditions such as (4):
- Cardiovascular diseases
- Sleep apnea
- Colorectal cancer
- Type 2 diabetes and insulin resistance
- High blood pressure
- Premature death as a result of any cause
- Heart attacks
- Breast cancer
- Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease
- Breathing problems
- Abnormal cholesterol
Why Is Losing Weight So Complicated?
Many people have tried losing their belly after age 65 and failed. If you are among these people, it is worth noting that you are not alone. Most seniors find it extremely challenging to lose visceral fat due to one or a combination of these factors:
For women, reaching and surpassing the menopause stage can increase your body fat and have most of it settle in your abdomen (5). It is more challenging to lose the extra weight and belly fat acquired from going through menopause.
Aging is associated with sarcopenia. The term refers to the loss of skeletal muscle mass (16). Muscle mass also plays a role in fat loss. It determines the rate at which your body burns calories. If you have more muscle mass, you tend to burn more calories (7). However, if you have less muscle mass, you will burn fewer calories.
Since you lose muscle as you age, your body reduces the number of calories it burns. As a result, it takes you longer to see changes around your waistline, despite consistent efforts to fight visceral fat (7).
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Metabolism is vital for belly fat loss as it affects the rate at which your body burns calories at rest and during activity. As you age, metabolism tends to slow down. With the loss of muscle mass and reduced metabolism, getting rid of belly fat after age 65 becomes ten times harder.
Reduced Appetite Control
As you age, you tend to have trouble regulating your meals. Typically, youngsters will eat less after a big meal, which enables their bodies to use up the calories (8). Natural appetite control appears to fade as individuals age. As aging progresses, we consume more calories than the daily requirement, further leading to a calorie surplus and, eventually, weight gain.
How To Get Rid Of Belly Fat After Age 65?
Despite all these challenges, seniors can lose belly fat. But before we let you in on these practices, we must advise you first to seek professional help and advice. It is not about implementing any other practice but instead the most suitable one to help you lose belly fat. With that said, here is a look at some practices on how to lose belly fat fast after 65:
Weight or resistance training is the best way to lose belly fat after 65. As mentioned earlier, burning belly fat can be challenging in this age group due to muscle loss. By doing resistance training exercises, you develop more muscle mass that helps your body burn more calories even at rest (1).
There are several types of resistance training programs. These include exercising using bodyweight and weightlifting. Sit down with your fitness coach to determine the best exercises depending on your fitness level.
Can You Combine Weight Training with Other Losing Belly Fat After 65 Exercises?
Yes! However, this is only after getting a go-ahead from your doctor and trainer. Some seniors can still do resistance training programs in conjunction with aerobic exercises. According to Medical News Today, combining aerobic exercise and weightlifting can maximize results (11).
This site summarizes a study investigating the impact of weightlifting and aerobic exercise on belly fat in men above 40. The study discovered that men who did both exercises for losing belly fat reported a smaller waistline and lower body fat measurements. It was not surprising that the men who also implemented other practices like dieting had a smaller midsection (11).
You may have seen a lot of curated diets being praised or advertised online. All of them seem to promise the same thing, mainly weight loss or losing belly fat in a jiff. The problem is, most of these are fad diets which bring nothing but disappointments.
Regardless of the praises you hear of these diets, remember that you need to do your research before considering them. Of course this does not mean that there are no healthy eating plans that can help you burn stomach fat or lose weight.
There certainly are. Some diet plans like the Mediterranean and vegan/vegetarian diets are effective in burning stomach fat and weight loss. Please note, they can be limiting or frustrating for seniors to follow such diet plans.
The different recipes, rules, restrictions, and cooking timelines might demotivate them. Such might even make them quit days or months after starting one of these meal plans. This is without regard to not reaching their goal of burning stomach fat.
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Which Is The Best Healthy Eating Diet Plan To Burn Stomach Fat?
The best diet plan to help seniors lose belly fat is that which recommends the consumption of a healthy diet. Medical News Today defines a healthy diet as a meal containing nutrient-dense foods and in the right amounts (13).
People often think that healthy eating only focuses on eating the right foods. However, it also extends to the ratios and servings. Remember that you cannot lose weight in just one area of your body. When you start dieting, you will shed fat evenly (14).
As such, it means consuming fewer calories than your body can burn to promote weight loss (10). In this healthy diet plan, you also have to include foods from all the primary food groups. These include (13):
- Whole grains. Some good examples of whole grains include oatmeal, brown rice, whole-wheat pasta, and corn.
- Whole fruits such as apples, berries (strawberries, raspberries, blueberries), melons, oranges, and grapes.
- Vegetables. Consider adding vegetables such as broccoli, asparagus, kale, spinach, cauliflower, cucumber, and zucchini to your diet.
- Lean proteins. You can acquire lean proteins from lean meats like lean lamb, lean beef, and lean chicken. Other significant sources of lean proteins are seafood, eggs, lentils, and legumes.
- Healthy fats. Healthy fats that are included in a healthy diet include monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. You can acquire these fats from sources like nuts, fish, avocados, seeds, and olives.
- Low-fat dairy. Low fat or fat-free dairy product options have an added heart health benefit.
Getting Enough Rest
Another science-proven practice to help seniors lose belly fat and weight overall is getting enough sleep. Sleeping for less than five hours may result in a weight gain of about 32 lbs (2). Believe it or not, sleeping for more than nine hours may also have the same effect.
Sleep loss appears to cause weight gain and fat deposit around the waistline in two ways. These include (9):
- Making you hungry despite being full. Not getting enough sleep triggers your body to release a hormone called cortisol. It regulates your appetite. Decreased sleep makes you hungry, causing you to consume extra calories resulting in weight gain.
- Interference with your body’s ability to metabolize carbs. When carbs are not properly metabolized, they lead to high blood sugar levels. High blood sugars lead to the overproduction of insulin in the body. Excessive amounts of insulin can lead to insulin resistance and increased storage of body fat. Most of this fat might be deposited in your waistline. This is one of the basic steps leading to the development of diabetes (9).
Seniors may tend to get less sleep if they have various sleeping problems. These problems occur when (9):
- You have sleep apnea and keep waking up throughout the night.
- You have low back pain that makes it difficult for you to lie comfortably in your bed. As a result, you keep tossing and turning, preventing you from getting a good night’s rest.
- You have insomnia or depression, which keeps you up at night, resulting in the inability to get enough sleep.
You can improve your sleeping patterns and make sure you get enough rest by doing the following (17):
- Trying guided meditation to help you fall asleep
- Trying to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day to help establish a routine
- Keeping your bedroom calm, dark, and quiet to help you fall asleep faster
- Keeping away from electronic devices whenever you get into bed
- Avoiding eating two or three hours before your bedtime
The Bottom Line
Losing belly fat after 65 is no easy task. It may take longer than expected, despite putting in the needed work. This happens because seniors have reduced metabolism, low muscle mass, reduced appetite control, and menopausal changes.
Even still, some practices can be implemented to help men and women above 65 burn stomach fat faster. These include starting weight training programs, eating a healthy diet, and getting enough rest. Remember to talk to a professional before making any dietary or lifestyle changes to prompt belly fat loss.
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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 for decision-making. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
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- Belly fat in women: Taking _and keeping_ it off (2019, mayoclinic.org)
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- How to naturally lose weight fast (2018, medicalnewstoday.com)
- The Truth About Belly Fat (2014, webmd.com)
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