Health, Fitness & Lifestyle
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We don’t think it will happen to us. After all, we know how to lose weight and stay healthy, right? We’ve been doing this our entire adult lives.
I can’t even count how many times women have come to me and said, ”I eat healthy, I don’t eat carbs, I exercise all the time but no matter what I do I just can’t lose this weight. Everything changed when I hit 50. Why is it so hard to lose this weight?”
Frustrating, isn’t it…
Well, the good news is that it doesn’t have to be that way. And honestly, it doesn’t have to be hard either.
As we age, our body changes. Our hormones plummet, the metabolism slows down, it gets harder to get a good night’s sleep and so on. Along with menopause comes mood swings, anxiety and even aching joints. It’s hard to stay on track with a weight loss plan when all of this is going on.
And if you’re trying to lose weight by doing what you did in your 20s and 30s (even your 40s) you’re likely making matters worse. Since we don’t have the same estrogen or progesterone levels that we used to have, we are more susceptible to the effects of cortisol. Cortisol, commonly referred to as the stress hormone, is part of what’s causing the weight gain and belly fat. Before menopause, estrogen protected us from the effects of stress and hence, belly fat!
A lot of other hormones could be out of balance as well. Especially if you’ve been dieting for a long time. And when your hormones are out of balance it causes hunger and cravings.
Next, we need to consider our metabolism. Yes, your metabolism is slowing down, but not as much as you may think. You are actually in more control than you think.
The typical go-to for weight loss is to eat less and exercise more. Sounds reasonable doesn’t it? But I’m here to tell you this is exactly why you aren’t losing weight. Yes, you indeed need to be in a caloric deficit to lose weight and yes you need strength training to build muscle. The problem is when you drop your calories too low and exercise too much. This causes too much stress on your metabolism. And when your metabolism is stressed, it slows down.
If you want to boost your metabolism you need balance. Finding just the right amount of calories in (macros) and calories out (exercise) that works for your body and you’ll start to see the scale move in the right direction.
How do you know what’s right for you?
Keep in mind that we are all different and what works for one woman may not work for the next. The key is to discover where your metabolism is at and start working with your metabolism instead of against it.
I like to call this staying on the edge of dieting. Reduce your calories just enough to cause a small deficit and work out hard enough to elicit change in your muscles without overstressing the body. This means getting enough sleep, resting between workouts, and fueling your workouts properly with the right nutrition.
A lot of women are over-exercising and wondering why they aren’t seeing better results. You would think with all the exercise you’d be lean and toned! But after 50 the opposite happens. I’m not saying don’t exercise, you need strength training more than ever. I’m saying don’t over-exercise. As we get older our muscles need more rest between workouts to give them time to recover and build.
The final component of a well-balanced routine for weight loss after 50 is getting low-intensity movement throughout the day such as walking. This is a great way to boost your metabolism without increasing your cortisol.
My Top 6 Tips for Weight Loss After 50
Follow these tips and you'll be sure to notice a BIG difference!
Lisa Swanson is an ACE Certified Health Coach, Personal Trainer and Orthopedic Exercise Specialist as well as a certified AASDN and PN level 1 nutritionist. With over 35 years experience helping people turn their lives around, she is on a mission to provide relevant and useful knowledge to help women in midlife reach their goals.
Check out my interview with the Magnificent Midlife podcast on staying fit and healthy long-term.