Are you ready to lose the extra weight? Want to lead a happy, long life and prevent diseases? Then you should do something about right now. Minor lifestyle changes, such as eating more fish and red meat, cutting back on salt, and staying hydrated, can make all the difference. Even the smallest weight loss can positively impact your health and add years to your life.
Is Weight Loss Really Necessary?
Obesity is one of the main causes of death and illness among people over 50. In 2010, one third of older adults in U.S. were obese. Currently, this condition affects more than 15 million Americans over the age of 51. Every extra pound you carry increases your risk of heart disease, high cholesterol, stroke, hypertension, insulin resistance, and cancer.
Older adults who are overweight or obese report more feelings of sadness, depression, and anxiety compared to those with a normal body weight. The effects of obesity have a lot in common with the effects of smoking. Obese individuals experience cardiovascular problems, difficulty breathing, lethargy, tiredness, fatigue, lack of self esteem, guilt, and strong food cravings.
It’s no secret that most diets fail. Millions of obese people are caught in an endless cycle of dieting and binge eating. They suddenly change their diet and lifestyle, eliminate whole food groups, achieve their target weight, and then return to normal eating. As a result, they gain all the weight back and even more. So they start a new diet and the story repeats itself. Over time, this vicious cycle leads to heart disease, metabolic disorders, and even death. Not to mention how stressful it is to constantly think about what, when, and how much to eat.
The only way to lose weight and keep it off is to eat mindfully and have an active lifestyle. It’s recommended to change your diet gradually and listen to your body. People over 50 have a higher risk of high blood pressure and high cholesterol, so it’s important to cut down on salt, sugar, and trans fats. Portion control is essential. Don’t worry – you can still indulge in your favorite treats occasionally – just make sure it doesn’t become a habit. Weight loss is a long journey with ups and downs, so prepare yourself mentally before getting started.
Watch Your Calorie Intake
Every calorie counts once you reach your 50s. Yet, most people keep rating like they’re 20 or 30 years old. As you age, your metabolism slows down. Thus, it’s important to lower your calorie intake and watch your portions. In order to lose one pound, you must remove 3,500 calories from your weekly intake. This can be achieved through diet and exercise. Keep in mind that healthy eating is a lifestyle change, not a race. Take one step at a time and learn to enjoy your new habits.
Practice Portion Control
Many people eat healthy, but still carry extra pounds. How is it possible? Well, healthy good can make you fat too. Eating too much of anything will eventually cause weight gain. You can be overweight or obese despite having a diet that’s based on fruits and vegetables.
For example, walnuts are considered some of the healthiest foods on earth. Packed with essential fats, protein, and fiber, they are a true nutrition powerhouse. The problem is their high calorie content. There are over 650 calories, 65 grams of fat, and two milligrams of sodium in 100 grams of nuts. Most people eat at least 150 – 200 grams in one sitting, so the calories add up.
Now you understand why it’s important to weigh your food and practice portion control. Just because a food is healthy, it doesn’t mean it’s good for your waistline too.
Get the Most Nutrition from Your Calories
Every time you go shopping for food, get the most nutrition from your calories. For instance, 500 calories worth of chips are not the same as 500 calories worth of fish or chicken breast. A 300-calorie fruit smoothie is much healthier and nutritious than a 300-calorie latte.
Your diet should include nutrient dense foods that support mental and physical health. Fill your plate with vegetables, lean meat, seeds, lentils, beans, quinoa, fish, and small amounts of nuts and seeds. Choose low fat dairy products, unrefined vegetable oils, and seasonal produce.
Make Exercise a Habit
Don’t forget about exercise! For many older adults, the thought of doing anything except normal walking is simply out if the question. However, lack of exercise only makes things worse. Over time, you’ll lose muscle mass and your bones will become weaker. This increases your risk of fractures, osteoporosis, and arthritis. Every extra pound you carry puts an additional three or four pound load to each knee, causing joint pain. No matter how hard it may be to exercise, it’s essential to make the effort. If you manage to work out at least 30 minutes a day, you’re on your way to a healthier you.
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