If you are 50 or above and have been dieting but you haven’t achieved the desired results, age could be getting in your way to losing weight.
Normal age-related changes happening to your body could jeopardize your weight loss efforts.
Maybe you have never had a problem maintaining or losing your weight, but now you are finding the scale not moving.
There is a scientific explanation for this scenario. As you get older, your body does not respond the same way to your efforts to lose weight after 50.
As we age, our bodies tend to gain weight by about 1 to 2 pounds a year.
This figure may seem insignificant, but it can have detrimental health effects in the long run.
Over time, you could significantly pack on a load of weight. In some cases, you could develop obesity, which is when you have a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or more.
Obesity risks begin to increase in our 20s, often peaking at 40 to 59, before decreasing slightly after 60.
Not Everyone Becomes Overweight In Their 50s
While there is an increased chance of being overweight in your 50s, not everyone gains weight at this age.
The reason being, as we age, our body weight is increasingly influenced by our genetic makeup, food choices, and our lifestyle or level of physical activity.
Sometimes, people say genetics play the role of loading the gun for weight gain and lifestyle pulls the trigger.
That being said, it’s common for someone to find it difficult to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight with every passing year.
Why Is It Hard To Lose Weight In Your 50s?
There are many reasons you may find it challenging to shed off those extra pounds as you age. And here are some of them:
You Experience Age-Related Muscle Loss
Research indicates that the lean muscles we have naturally built start declining by 3 to 8 percent every decade after the age of 30.
This is a process referred to as sarcopenia. It is also possible to lose muscle mass if you become less active because of health conditions related to age such as arthritis.
If you are sidelined with something like surgery for days, weeks, or months, you could lose muscle volume as well. And reduced muscle loss means inefficient use of calories.
Even when you eat moderate carbs, they rack up in your body, impairing your weight loss efforts.
Now that you know that muscle loss occurs during aging, why then does it matter in weight loss?
Since lean muscles utilize more calories than fat, it may impact your weight loss efforts.
Unless you indulge in strength training regularly with help of a personal trainer, you will mostly need to consume fewer calories per day.
Therefore, if you maintain the same amount of calories you used to consume when you were young, you may increase your weight rather than lose it.
Unfortunately, many people, including women over 50, don’t adjust their calorie intake, which impacts their ability to lose weight.
They keep eating the same amounts, and because they have reduced muscle mass to help burn the calories coupled with less activity, the end result is gaining weight gradually.
For a good guide check out our advanced macro calculator to see what your recommended daily caloric intake should be.
Normal Hormonal Changes Are Occurring
In both men and women, changes in hormones occur as part of aging.
This helps explain why middle age is considered the prime time for adding on kilos.
Women in menopause, which happens mostly between ages 45 and 55, experience a significant fall in the production of estrogen, encouraging excess fat to form around the belly.
Such a shift in the storage of fat can make a woman’s weight gain more noticeable, affecting her shape and body composition.
It also increases the risks of having hypertension or high blood pressure and other chronic conditions such as high cholesterol, heart disease, and type-2 diabetes.
If you cannot manage your weight, you can seek medical help.
A doctor may advise you to seek a personal trainer to help with exercises and workouts or identify a weight loss routine to follow to prevent excessive weight gain or obesity.
Also, fluctuations in the levels of estrogen during the perimenopause stage, which involves sometimes years before menopause, may bring mood changes.
Fluctuations in mood can affect your ability to maintain a healthy diet and stick to your exercise or workout plan when trying to lose weight.
Therefore, the average increase in weight during the period of transition to menopause goes as high as five pounds, which can affect your health and wellness.
Similarly, men experience a considerable drop in the production of testosterone as they advance in age.
The change in the production of hormones makes testosterone gradually start declining around age 40.
The decline happens at a rate of around 1 to 2 percent a year.
Since testosterone helps regulate the distribution of fat as well as muscle strength and mass, this means that its decline makes your body less effective at burning the calories you put in from your diet, ultimately affecting your body composition.
Moreover, the production of growth hormone (GH) by the pituitary gland starts to decline from middle age forward.
GH has many functions in the body, including building and maintaining muscle mass.
As a result, when a man’s GH reduces, it is harder for the body to build and maintain muscle. In turn, the number of calories the body is able to burn is impacted.
There is a snowball effect created. You begin accumulating more fat, less lean body mass, and burn fewer calories – all these mean that your body keeps piling up calories over time. As a result, you continue gaining weight and may find it difficult to lose the extra pounds.
The Metabolism Is Slow
Reduction in muscle mass can slow down your metabolism.
Metabolism is a complex process often involving the conversion of calories into energy.
When you have more body fat but less muscle mass, it lowers your body’s ability to burn calories. This affects your body composition.
What’s more, a majority of people become less active as they age. Again, this compounds the problem of weight loss because being inactive means the metabolism rate is reduced.
Something to mention here is that age is not the only thing that can determine your rate of metabolism.
Other things such as sex and body size play a role and so do particular health conditions like hypothyroidism.
Doing workouts with the help of a personal trainer can raise your metabolism and help you lose weight.
You Lead A More Sedentary Lifestyle
By the time you reach your 50s, your career is perhaps in full swing.
Although this may be great, it can affect your weight loss efforts. You likely move less.
You probably own a car that you drive to work. When you get to your desk, you spend eight or more hours seated.
You also have a lot of work, allowing you little time to get up for a walk or perform some exercise during your workday.
You may find yourself too occupied to break for lunch at home, increasing the chances that you will order that calorie-dense takeaway food or eat something from a vending machine.
A sedentary lifestyle negatively affects your body weight.
It can cause you to build body fat and increase weight.
Without exercises such as strength training, you continue to pack on more weight and body fat.
A personal trainer can come in handy in helping you exercise your body and help you manage your body weight.
You Are More Stressed
As you go through the aging process, life challenges may cause an increased amount of stress.
And being stressed has an impact on body weight. You may have a mortgage that you haven’t completed and you are nearing retirement.
Financial challenges and the presence of a chronic health condition or disease can be even more stressful while aging and prevent you from losing weight.
Additionally, you may experience work-related stress. Increasing stress levels can increase the production of ghrelin, the “hunger hormone,” making you hungrier.
Consequently, you end up putting more calories in your body, which again impairs your weight loss efforts. Reducing stress can help you lose weight and body fat.
Women tend to experience numerous life changes as they enter their 40s.
One big change that happens during this time is caring for the family.
Often, the hours you used to spend at the gym are taken up by responsibilities such as taking care of children at home.
You may also be required to help kids with things like homework. You may find that you do not have time to pay attention to your weight loss program, including your exercise regimen and diet requirements, allowing you to gain more pounds.
Schedule your activities properly to allow time for exercise. Your health is important, especially as you are aging.
How To Lose Weight In Your 50s
There are a few things you can do to jumpstart your weight loss journey at the age of 50.
First, focus on healthy foods. It is paramount you increase your intake of fruit and vegetables.
Minimize eating sugar, fast food, and junk food or processed foods as they are detrimental to your health.
Prioritize whole foods, including nuts, fruit, leafy greens or vegetables, and beans as they add the desired nutrients, including protein.
These foods contain fill-you-up fiber in large amounts. Consuming these foods makes it easier to cut back on eating calories.
Whole foods take up more space in your stomach while also putting fewer calories into your daily dietary plan.
Also, downsize your meal portions – learn to adjust the diet you eat based on your lower calorie needs.
Do so gradually. You can begin by trimming about 200 calories from your diet and make changes as needed, based on your weight loss routine.
The key in using a diet to manage weight is to have a balanced diet, which goes hand-in-hand with exercise to ensure long-term results.
Your diet should have the right food groups, including protein, and in the right proportions.
It’s easy to mistake the sensation of thirst for the need to consume food.
When you stay hydrated with water instead of calorie-rich beverages like sodas, it helps ramp up your metabolism, increasing your body’s ability to break down fat.
And because stress can take its toll on your weight loss effort, you should try to reduce stress levels.
Consider activities that reduce stress, such as weekly yoga classes or meditation. It will help prevent stress eating.
Loss of muscle mass is associated with weight gain. It makes sense to exercise your body to help preserve your muscle mass.
A trainer can help with your workout and physical activity. Strength training, for instance, helps achieve this goal. A high-intensity workout helps enhance the resting metabolic rate among older adults.
More muscle in older adults means burning calories much more efficiently, ultimately creating better health.
Try incorporating aerobic exercises into your workout and diet routine through a trainer.
Exercise will help get your heart rate up. Try to walk, swim, bike, or jog every day. It also helps if you have a good night’s sleep.
It’s good for your health and wellness.
Don’t be discouraged when you see that you are not shedding off those extra pounds even after making a few adjustments.
A woman’s body chemistry, as well as her lifestyle, is unique. Fortunately, weight gain shouldn’t be a fact of life when you are in postmenopausal years.
If you don’t lose weight even after making efforts to exercise and eat healthy foods, it’s a good idea to seek medical advice to promote your health and wellness.
The benefits of losing weight are many as you age. Having good sleep is also crucial for health.
It even helps with your diet, as women who sleep sufficiently tend to have healthy eating habits. They are even motivated to exercise and achieve long-term weight loss results.