How to Lose Weight if You are in Your 50s

Easy ways to stay lean and healthy well into your 50s and beyond

lose weight older people in 50s

One of the biggest challenges as you get older is weight loss. In this post, you’ll learn how to lose weight in your 50s and beyond.

Here’s the thing:

You are probably already thinking and scolding yourself that you have already lost all the opportunities to lose weight during your younger years.

But there is great news: anyone is never too old to learn, nor is it never too late to lose weight!

In fact, shredding off some pounds is for any age who needs it.

You will just need to set yourself for some lifestyle adjustments to lose weight healthily, depending on your physical capabilities or medical condition. 

Why does it get harder to lose weight in your 50s?

You lose muscle mass

Your body loses skeletal muscle mass and function as you age. This condition is called sarcopenia. This condition usually starts after the age of 30.

As you get older, you may decrease your physical activity, which eventually slows down your metabolism, and just burn fewer calories.

As a result, you gain more weight! Research revealed that the less active you are due to age-related health conditions, the more muscles you lose. 

According to a study, adults tend to gain weight an average of one to two pounds per year.

Over time, the accumulation of this small and consistent weight gain will significantly lead to an increasing Body Mass Index (BMI) or obesity. 

Article continues below

Your hormones changes

As you get older, your body undergoes different levels of hormonal changes. 

The production of growth hormones (GH) starts to decline as you step on your middle age. One of the functions of your growth hormone is to build and maintain the body’s muscle mass.

When these hormones’ production decreases, your body becomes harder to keep up and strengthen the muscles.

Around the age of 45, a woman’s body transitions to the menopausal stage. She may start to experience a significant drop in estrogen levels, resulting in her gaining extra pounds around her belly.

This condition increases their risk of having hypertension, heart disease, abnormal cholesterol levels, and even type 2 diabetes.

The fluctuation of estrogen levels makes it hard for women to stick to a diet and exercise, and the more they end up gaining weight. 

As for men, their testosterone levels drop significantly once they reach the age of 40. Testosterone is needed to regulate muscle mass, muscle strength, and fat distribution. 

Studies explain that as men age, their testosterone level drops 1 to 2 percent per year. With this change, it decreases their body’s to effectively burn calories. 

Your metabolism slows down

Being less active as you age reduces your muscle mass. Losing muscle mass is likely to slow your body’s metabolism.

This makes it complicated for your body to converts calories into energy. Instead, you end up storing more fat. You will only burn fewer calories due to the loss of muscle mass. 

10 ways to lose weight in your 50s

Research shows that living an unhealthy lifestyle such as having poor dietary choices, sedentary physical activity, and metabolism changes are a recipe for weight gain after 50.

Here are ten ways for older men and women to not in losing weight in their 50s:

1. Seek advice from a health professional

Before you jump on any weight loss program, it is best to see your doctor and give you an overall health assessment.

In this way, they can know how to help you set a safe and realistic weight loss goal the fits your health condition, especially when you are already in your 50s.

As for your dietary goals, you would need to consult a nutrition professional, specifically a registered dietitian.

Article continues below

A dietician will help you set a healthy eating pattern that enables you to reduce weight and provide nourishment to your body.

They are experts that will determine the best strategies to lose extra body fat without depriving yourself of foods that you may still enjoy eating.

Research shows that there is significantly a significant impact on weight loss if one seeks a dietitian’s guidance.

2. Find an exercise you’ll enjoy

Exercise can surely be tedious and tiring. But, bumming yourself all day won’t help you lose weight either. This is critical if you want to lose weight in your 50s and beyond.

Exercising is not all about doing those monotonous, repetitive activities. There are just many kinds of exercises to explore!

You can have a combination of aerobic exercise, strength training, balance, and flexibility. 

Aerobic exercises are necessary for general fitness and endurance. Strength will help promote your muscle strength.

It will help you reduce body fat and boost your metabolism resulting in burning more calories. And of course, you don’t have to do the highly intense exercises. 

Balance exercises strengthen core muscles to help you maintain balance. Flexibility exercises increase your mobility and reduce stiffness.

Most importantly, find an exercise program that your body and health condition can handle. Exercising everyday, even for a few minutes, can make a big difference.

Always know your limits and know when to stop exercising to prevent yourself from accidents and injuries.

3. Stick to a healthy diet

To maintain a healthy weight, get the nourishment you need from whole foods like fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds, meats, legumes, and grains.

In other words, choose whole foods. Studies found that a diet rich in whole foods is associated with weight loss.

Also, have a weight loss meal plan rich in protein and fiber to help minimize unnecessary cravings.

Plus, it will also give you a feeling of fullness a little longer. Limits your intake of products with added sugar and other processed foods that have low nutritional value. 

4. Apply portion control

Knowing about portion control or the amount of each food you should ideally consume is essential in managing your weight. 

Learn to estimate serving sizes or portion sizes of various foods. Take note of how the food approximately looks like in one serving size.

Then, check the food’s nutritional information to know how many calories and macronutrients it has per serving or portion size.

Article continues below

5. Hydrate yourself

Increasing your water intake will boost your metabolism. 

Studies show that water can potentially accelerate thermogenesis up to 30% for 1 and a half hours after drinking half a liter of water. With this, it can help your weight loss weight in the long run.

6. Minimize convenience food consumption

Convenience foods like fast foods, candies, and other processed foods are high in calories and less nutritious.  

According to a study, frequently eating convenience foods significantly contributes to weight gain. And it can even get in the way of your weight loss goals.

7. Minimize alcohol intake

Your love for alcohol may be one of the culprits of your weight gain. This time, you have to find it in yourself to minimize your alcohol intake. 

Experts revealed that alcohol can hinder your body from burning fat, and you will end up feeling hungry. Hence, it becomes a factor for you to make poor food choices. 

Just believe that it will be worth it because studies have shown that limiting your alcohol intake will help you control your diet and reduce your tendency to overeat.

8. Get enough sleep

Depriving yourself of getting enough sleep can potentially slow down your metabolism and change your hormone levels.

In this case, this will trigger increased appetite and fat storage. In the end, you will keep on gaining more weight. 

Give yourself eight to ten hours of sleep, which is the recommended amount of sleep that your body needs to function normally throughout the day and help you maintain a healthy weight. 

9. Manage your stress

Research has found out that people are stressed, they tend to find comfort in eating food even if they are not hungry.

This kind of habit will increase their chances of gaining extra pounds. Your body releases cortisol, a stress hormone when you are under stress.

High cortisol levels may help you control stress. However, it can also burden your weight loss efforts because more cortisol production will increase your belly fat storage. 

Manage stress levels by giving yourself time to relax, have fun exercising, and surround yourself with strong social support. 

10. Practice mindful eating

Be mindful of your food consumption. Monitor your eating patterns and total calorie intake.

Be responsible enough that you are in control of your diet. Eat when you’re hungry and know your limits.

Incorporating mindful eating as part of your lifestyle will surely help you achieve your weight loss goals and promote good eating behavior. 

Takeaway

It is not a surprise that, in most cases, weight gain also comes with age.

Understand that there are sarcopenia, hormonal changes, and metabolism changes that significantly contribute to weight gain in your 50s. 

Whoever convinced you that your chances of losing weight beyond the 50s are slim, then they’re wrong! As long as your body permits, losing weight in your golden is safe. 

Though it is a hard fact that it gets harder to lose weight as you age, many weight-loss strategies can still help you attain and maintain healthy body weight

Along with the weight-loss program that is recommended to you, remember those tips we have shared above. And, don’t that this is a journey and not a contest. Be patient and take one step at a time.

(Registered Nutritionist-Dietitian)

Dorothy is a Registered Nutritionist-Dietitian and a candidate for a master's degree in Public Health (MPH) major in Public Health Nutrition. She has a passion for teaching to her university students about food, nutrition, and health. Dorothy is a coffee lover and she enjoys traveling, writing, cycling, running, cooking, baking, and cooking.