When I was younger all it took to lose a little weight was to cut down on portion size, cut out alcohol and do a little more exercise for a short period of time. Now I’m over 50 it takes much longer to lose weight in a sustainable way, and it’s much harder to shed the blubber, so most of the time I’m conscious of my lifestyle habits and try not to let my weight get too out of control.
Lots of women I speak to share the same problem. It’s harder to shift the kilos when we’re older, and when I Googled, “How to lose weight in a sustainable way” I was met with lots of challenging advice.
In my opinion having healthy lifestyle habits are the best way of maintaining a healthy body weight, and this post is no place to be if you need to lose a lot of weight and need medical or qualified dietary advice, but if you’re looking for tips to help jolt you from feeling ‘bleuh’ to hopefully feeling ‘blooming’, then you’re in the right place.
When I need to lose a little weight to feel better (not just for body image) this is how I reign myself in …
My Top 9 Tips for weight loss after 50
- I’ll ‘up’ my time being active – say ‘yes’ to bike rides with my husband, and ”yes to parking the car further away from the shops than necessary, as well as trying to take the stairs instead of escalators whenever I can.
- I’ll go for a power walk for 50 minutes a day, 5 times a week, and incorporate a few stretching exercises and a ‘step-up’ exercise, along the way.
- I cut down on carbs (such as potatoes and rice) – to the point where I may only eat them once or twice a week, and in small portions.
- I’ll cut out pasta and pizza and crisps and chocolate and cake – except for the rarest of occasions.
- I won’t drink wine (sigh) and I’ll cut out sugar in my coffee. I’ll try and drink more green tea – I enjoy Rooibos tea.
- I’ll probably have porridge for breakfast (portion controlled) with a handful of blueberries, or muesli and yoghurt (portion controlled) and add a small piece of protein such as smoked salmon on ryvita, or a hard boiled egg.
- When I’m trying to lose a bit of weight I don’t eat bread for lunch (I love bread but it doesn’t love me). I eat Ryvita instead, often topped with tuna or cottage cheese, tomato and cucumber.
- For dinner I’ll eat fish, or chicken, or omelettes and occasionally lean steak, with lots of salad or veggies.
- On a weight reduction plan I make sure I eat three proper, reasonably balanced meals a day, and have an apple a day as a snack – but I do count calories throughout the day when I’m really being serious about losing weight, and make sure I know how many calories I should be consuming (or not consuming).
But I’m not the oracle when it comes to weight loss or maintaining a healthy lifestyle, so I asked two diet and fitness experts, and some of my blogging friends for their advice too.
Michelle Bridges Top Tips
When I asked Australia’s diet and fitness guru, Michelle Bridges for her advice, this is what she had to say: Michelle Bridges Health and Fitness Tips
Naturopath Karina Francois said …
1. Start the day off with a piece of fruit and a glass of lemon juice in hot water
2. Eat five small meals a day to help improve your metabolism. Eat a balanced diet including good quality protein (lean meats), good fats (deep sea fish, avocado, nuts, olive oil, coconut oil, and good quality carbohydrates (mainly from vegetables and fruits and very little grain).
3. Drink at least 1.5 litres of water
4. Sleep at least 7 hours a day
5. Incorporate ½ hour of exercise daily even if just walking
Karina Francois is a naturopath, with extensive knowledge, studies and clinical experience.
Clean Food, Clear Thinking is an empowering, yet straightforward guide to achieving optimum health through nutrition, and a change of mindset. Going beyond mere facts about healthy and unhealthy foods and recipes, the book educates the reader on the basics required for health and weight-loss, as well as developing an understanding of the role mindset plays in forming dietary habits.
Maintaining or losing weight in a sustainable way after 50
Some of my blogging buddies were kind enough to chip in with what works for them …
“The key to maintaining a healthy weight in our fifties and beyond is to keep as active as possible. The saying “if you don’t use it, you lose it” definitely applies as you get older. As well as losing our bone density, we also lose muscle tone if we don’t do some type of exercise to keep ourselves lithesome and energised. Plus the kilos soon creep on if we are too sedentary in our lifestyle.
I recommend at least half an hour a day of exercise within your capability. This can range from walking to jogging, cycling, yoga or pilates and gentle on the joints – aqua aerobics. All these exercises are reasonably mild and aren’t taxing on the body. I find if I exercise and don’t over indulge in too much food I tend to maintain a steady weight. Plus I feel a whole lot better for it!” says Kathy Maris. You might like Kathy’s article “Declaring War on Middle Aged Spread”
Janet Camilleri has this to say: ” I know exactly what works for me when it comes to losing/maintaining a healthy weight – I just need to actually DO IT! We bought a treadmill off Gumtree for $50 a couple of years ago, and I started walking.By walking around 2 to 3 kilometres, 4 or 5 days a week, I managed to lose 5 kilograms in 4 months; and my BMI decreased from 28 to 26. You can read about it here: How I lost 5 Kilos. Alas, since then I have become rather slack. I’m tired of battling middle aged spread. I really need to find my exercise mojo again.
“The biggest impact on my weight loss has been through increasing my activity. I wake early, get up to go for a walk and often photograph the sunrise, which sets me up for a positive start to the day. My son and I both have fitness trackers and we’re having a competition to see who does the most steps each week from now until Christmas. I have to say, I’ve found myself parking the car further away at the shops, walking when I could drive and going the long way around to increase my step count! The competition is fierce! Keep moving,” says Lyndall Gunnery-Smith from Seize The Day Project.
“I find it hard to get inspired to chop vegetables when I get hungry, so I find it a good idea to cut a variety of stick shaped vegies early in the day, then keep them in a container in the fridge. Celery, Carrot, Shallots are 3 of my favourites. Then when hungry I whip the container out of the fridge and dip the vegie sticks into tomato salsa for a snack. Only drink alcohol once a week because often our resolve is weakened when we drink, so the damage can be contained to that one.” Jan Robinson from Budget Travel Talk
So do tell us Lifestylers, what are your best tips for sustainable weight loss after the age of 50?
Disclaimer: As with all posts regarding health and diet on Lifestyle Fifty, this post is meant to inspire and generally inform. I urge you not to suddenly start eating something, or stop eating something just because we write about it here. Your medical practitioner or health specialist is the person to ask for advice relating to your specific health and diet requirements. This post contains an affiliate link to Amazon, and if you buy I stand to earn a small commission though at no cost to you. Thank you for your support 🙂
The week Trump won the election here in the US, I lost 3 pounds because I was so distraught, I lost my appetite. However, I don’t recommend this as a sustainable way to lose weight. After all, who wants to sacrifice their country to lose a few pounds?
Oh Suzanne, you’re hilarious! You’re right – Who should have to sacrifice, or want to sacrifice their country to lose a few pounds!
Walking ( including a lot of uphill) and pushing myself to go faster is my go to exercise. Walking really clears my mind as well. I load up on salads with some low fat protein and never eat between meals. It definitely requires more effort after 50!
Hi Pinky, I think you have some great lifestyle habits 🙂 I’m the same with walking – always trying to keep up the pace and I love how it clears my mind. I can be quite grumpy if I don’t walk in the morning 😉
Thanks for including in this great post on fighting the never ending middle-aged spread. I lost 6 kgs at the beginning of this year and as the year progressed further I managed to put about 4 kgs back on! I’m actually in the middle of doing a 4 week restart your diet on Paleo. So no carbs, no dairy, no sugar, no alcohol. It has been a killer but I’m beginning to see some good results. I agree with you that cutting down on carbs is a good way of keeping your weight in check. I am looking forward to reintroducing some good carbs back into my diet in a few weeks time. I really miss my muesli or porridge in the mornings.
Hi Kathy, glad you’re beginning to see some good results on your Paleo diet. It sounds fairly rigorous and I expect you’ll be glad when you can relax a little and have muesli or porridge again in the mornings. Hang in there, and good luck 🙂
Lyndall @ Seize The Day Project
Fabulous tips Jo. Thanks for including me in this post. I hope it’s helpful and inspirational to others 🙂
No worries, and thank you Lyndall 🙂 I hope so too 🙂
I lift weights 5 days a week and do 30 mins of cardio a day, I’m 57 and just workout at my local gym. I eat a lot but having muscle melts the fat!
You’ve just reminded me Lily that I should be doing more weight bearing exercise – thanks for this heads up – and keep up the great work 🙂