Losing weight at 60 for males is not easy at all. While things like cheese and wine get better with age, the body does not work the same. When you get older, losing weight becomes a little bit harder than it was when you were younger. This is from the fact that your body does not function the same way as you are losing muscles, your hormones are all over the place and you are not burning as many calories as you used to. While all these factors might be working to hinder your weight loss journey, this does not mean that losing weight when you are older is impossible. It just requires more time, energy and making conscious decisions regarding your weight.
Although your body is not what it used to be, the simple rules of losing weight still apply even at 60 years and above. You should burn more calories than you take in. That creates a calorie deficit and makes your body use the stored fat to provide energy to the body hence promoting weight loss. You should eat more vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, fish, fat free or low fat dairy, lean meat and poultry.
You should by all means try to avoid empty calories. Empty calories are calories that have no benefit to the body. Examples include calories from alcohol, calories from sugary drinks and foods and so on. You should also avoid fad diets. These are diets that promise fast weight loss by being very restrictive or unrealistic. Fad diets can cause more harm than benefit, they are unsustainable and they mostly promote only temporary weight loss.
Why Is Losing Weight So Hard For Men At 60 Years?
There are a number of reasons as to why losing weight for men at 60 years and older is hard. Here are some of these reasons:
Age-Related Muscle Loss
As we get older, we start to lose muscles. The loss of muscles starts at age 30 and keeps going on for the rest of your life Studies show that people lose between 3% and 8% of their muscle mass every decade (1). From that, you can already imagine how much muscle mass you’ve lost by the time you’ve gotten to 60. The process of losing muscles due to age and other related factors like gender and physical activity is referred to as sarcopenia (1) . This is not the only reason men at 60 lose muscles as age-related health conditions also play a role (1). As you get older, common conditions such as arthritis may affect a person’s motility and render them less active, which only accelerates muscle loss.
The loss of muscle mass should be taken as a serious matter as you get older as this promotes weight gain and hinders any efforts to lose weight. The reason for this is from the fact that muscles are metabolically active tissues. What this means is that they have a higher resting metabolism compared to fat mass. Losing the lean muscles lowers your body’s metabolism hence it becomes a little difficult to lose weight.
As we grow older, we undergo a change in the levels of certain hormones and this affects our ability to lose weight. As men grow older, they experience a significant decrease in the levels of testosterone (1). The level of testosterone in men starts to decrease when they hit the big 4-0. Testosterone levels decrease at a rate of 1 to 2 percent annually (1). Yes, you read that right. Testosterone has many functions including regulating fat distribution, and helping with building strength and muscles. This is to say a decrease in testosterone levels will result in loss of muscle mass and this slows down the body’s ability to burn calories.
Another hormone that is also affected by aging is the growth hormone. As you grow older, the pituitary gland produces less and less of it (1). Among the many functions of the growth hormone you’ll find that it helps in building muscles and maintaining muscles. Therefore, a decrease in the level of the growth hormone makes it hard for men over 60 to maintain the muscles they already have or build more muscles and this lowers their bodies’ metabolism.
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Slowing Down Of Your Metabolism
As we’ ve already said, the slowing down of your metabolism is mainly caused by loss of lean muscles, but that is not all. As people become older, they become less active (1). When a person is 60 years and above, they may have stopped working and mostly just want to relax and enjoy their retirement. The lack of a busy schedule and other things to do might make them less active which means that they can’t burn as many calories as they used to lose when they were young. Being inactive can also be caused by diseases and injuries which become more common as a person gets older.
Those are some of the factors that make weight loss for men at 60 years and above hard.
Meal Plan For Losing Weight At 60 Male
When it comes to weight loss, there are two main things that a person should do to get the required results, the first one is to evaluate their diet and the second one is to exercise. These two factors complement each other.
The dietary requirements for men over 60 depends on how active they are. Men over 60 who are more active are required to eat a little more since they burn more calories. Here is the number of calories men over 60 need to have to lose weight in a healthy manner (4):
- Sedentary 60 year old men – 2000 calories everyday
- Moderately active 60 year old men – 2200 to 2400 calories everyday
- Very active 60 year old men – 2400 to 2800
Since most 60 year old are moderately active, here are the potions they need to consume so that they don’t consume more calories than they need to:
5 To 6 Ounces Of Meat, Poultry Or Fish Everyday (4)
That makes 42 ounces in a week. You should always make sure 12 of the 42 ounces comes from seafood. Meat, poultry and fish are excellent sources of protein. As you grow old, you should increase your intake of proteins. Proteins help build muscles, preserve existing muscles and repair muscles. Muscles are important in weight loss as they are metabolically active even while at rest.
2 ½ To 3 Cups Of Vegetables For Your Diet (4)
The vegetables should include green leafy vegetables like spinach and kales. Try to add different coloured vegetables to your diet; add peppers, tomatoes and the like. You should also include legumes like beans, peas and the others. Vegetables are important in your diet as you age as they contain a lot of vitamins and minerals that are helpful to your body. Vegetables also contain a high fiber count and this promotes weight loss by promoting satiety and digestive health.
1 To 2 Cups Of Frozen Fruits Or Fresh Fruits (4)
Fruits are important to your health as you age. This is because they come with many different nutrients that your body needs to stay healthy as you age. Eat all kinds of fruits as they all bring something different. Eat oranges, bananas, berries, apples and so on.
½ A Cup Of Whole Grain Foods (4)
Whole grains are good sources of complex carbohydrates and some essential vitamins and minerals. Whole grain foods are also encouraged when you are trying to lose weight as they have a high fiber count. Fiber promotes satiety as it makes you feel fuller faster and for longer. Whole grain foods are pretty much cereals, bread and pasta with the name, ‘whole wheat’ before their names. Other common whole grains include brown rice, quinoa, and even popcorn.
1 To 3 Cups Of Dairy Products Everyday (4)
Here we are talking about milk, yoghurt and the likes. Dairy products are important as you age as they contain protein as well as minerals like calcium. Calcium helps to strengthen your bones and teeth which is something you need as you age. Strong bones ensure you can move around and even work out and this helps with weight loss. Calcium also helps in the growth and repair of muscle tissues. Remember, as you grow older you are continuously losing lean muscles every decade and this slows down your metabolism leading to weight gain. In order to lose weight at 60 years, you should do everything you can to keep your muscles and one thing you can do is have 1 to 3 cups of dairy products.
1 To 2 Tablespoons Of Healthy Oils (4)
There are so many sources of healthy oils such as olives, avocados, olives, canolas, nuts and so on.
This is what a 60 year old man who is moderately active should eat to lose weight. Highly processed foods contain a lot of unhealthy fats, added sugars, and sodium and should therefore be limited. The unhealthy fats can increase the risk of certain cardiovascular conditions like heart attacks and also increase the chances of weight gain as they contain so many calories. The same can be said for sugary foods and drinks as they can increase the risk of diseases like diabetes, tooth cavities and can promote weight gain.
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Best Way To Lose Weight For Males At 60
Since now you know what you should eat and how much of it you should eat, as we said earlier, your diet alone cannot help you lose weight while at 60 years and older and therefore you need a total lifestyle change to even stand a chance of losing weight. Here are some changes you should make in your lifestyle to lose weight.
Water is essential in your weight loss journey. A person should drink 1.5 litres of water to 2 litres of water or more everyday. Drinking water is important while you are trying to lose weight as sometimes thirst comes masked as hunger (2). This leads you to eating more food than you should, increasing your daily calorie count. Taking water before meals helps increase satiety. Studies show if you drink water before you eat, you will eat less food than you would have eaten had you not had water. This reduces the number of calories you consume, hence promoting weight loss. Water helps improve metabolism. Remember your metabolism is now slowing down and you should do everything you can to try and increase your metabolism and one of things you can do is to drink more water.
You might not be able to lift as heavy weights as you used to be able to. Not being able to lift heavy weights should not worry you. The best thing about strength training is that you can use light weights, resistance bands, and even bodyweight exercises and they will be as effective as lifting the heavy weights. Apart from being effective, as long as bodyweight exercises are done in the correct form, they are less likely to cause injuries. Bodyweight exercises also have progression as the stronger you get the heavier the resistance (your body) becomes.
Why is resistance training important you may ask? It is important because it helps you build muscles and maintain the muscles you currently have. This is helpful in your weight loss journey as your metabolism keeps lowering from the fact that you are losing muscles with each passing decade (2). Building muscles will help increase your metabolism since muscles have a higher resting metabolic rate compared to fat mass. Before you attempt any strength training exercises, you should clear it with your doctor and consult an expert as they are the best people to advise you which exercises you should do and which ones you shouldn’t.
When it comes to losing weight, cardio exercises triumph all other exercises. This is from the fact that cardio exercises burn more calories compared to all other exercises. The way to lose weight is to create a calorie deficit and this can be achieved by eating less than your body burns or burning more calories than you eat. The best thing about cardio exercises is that they are easy to do; they don’t have very complicated forms. They are also very cheap since most don’t require equipment. Jump rope, running and swimming are good examples of exercises that burn the most calories. Before you start your cardio exercises, you need to warm up so as to prevent getting injured. Also, always discuss any new exercise routine with your doctor before starting.
Play With Your Metabolism
This is the age to try all you can to increase your metabolism. One way of doing so is eating many small meals (3). This is not the time to starve yourself. Your metabolism is already slowing down, staying for long periods of time without food only slows your metabolism more (3). Make sure not to stay more than three hours without food. A good way of making sure of this is by eating healthy snacks like nuts every few hours. You can also grab a plate of fruits every now and then. While doing this, be careful not to go beyond your daily required calorie intake.
The more hours you stay awake, the more calories you are likely to take in. Not sleeping enough is likely to encourage unhealthy eating habits like late night snacking and this adds to your daily calorie intake hence leading to weight gain. A person should sleep for 7-9 hours everyday. If you have trouble sleeping, you should consult a health practitioner. Getting enough sleep is essential for weight management.
Reduce Your Alcohol Intake
Alcohol might just be the reason it is difficult for you to lose weight. Alcohol contains calories that are mostly referred to as empty calories. These are calories that have no benefit to the body. When you drink alcohol, you are adding to your daily calorie intake which hinders weight loss. Another way alcohol hinders weight loss is from the fact that alcohol increases your appetite. What this means is that you end up eating more and this leads to weight gain.
Do It With People
Everything becomes fun and easier when done with people. Find people who want to lose weight like you do and do it with them. When you do it with other people, it is easy to keep each other accountable and this keeps any of you from losing motivation.
The Bottom Line
Although losing weight at 60 for males might not be easy, it does not mean it is impossible. You need to watch what you eat, build strength, be active, sleep enough, reduce your alcohol intake and soon you’ll start to see the results.
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!
- 5 Reasons It’s Harder to Lose Weight With Age (2019, everydayhealth.com)
- 7 Best Ways to Lose Weight When You’re Over 60 (2019, prevention.com)
- Dieting After 60: 4 Things You Need to Know (n.d, webmd.com)
- Recommended Healthy Meal Plan to Lose Weight for a 60 Year Old Male (2020, livestrong.com)
- The Real Reason Weight Loss Is Hard After 60 (2018, finance.yahoo.com)