Many factors contribute to the difficulty of losing weight as a senior. With age, the human growth hormone and metabolism slow down, causing loss in muscle mass and low energy. Paired with our culture’s partiality toward sedentary activity, and any other random aches and pains you might already have, getting rid of that stubborn weight can seem nearly impossible. Yet with the proper focus and a positive attitude, the following actions can assist most individuals in healthy weight loss at any age.
Visit Your Doctor
Before starting on a weight loss journey of any capacity, check with your doctor to note any preexisting conditions or risks. Cardiovascular disease, thyroid issues, and diabetes are all more common after middle age. This means that focusing on your physical health is more important than ever; but before you jump in, you should also be aware of what to watch out for with the guidance of a health professional.
Watch Your Diet
It’s so easy to just call in delivery or order takeout — but truth be told, you usually feel poorly and waste a lot more money eating that way. Try creating a grocery list and start meal planning for the week. You don’t need to forbid every single snack you enjoy, but try and focus on portion control. Ideally, half your plate should be greens. Fruits and veggies will take care of your fiber needs and leave you full without giving you that dreaded post-meal bloat. Instead of carbs and sugars, focus on getting in some good lean protein. Fish, beef, chicken, nuts, and low-fat dairy products can assist with muscle mass and energy.
Sip the Right Drinks
Skip the sugary juices, sodas, and alcohol, and get reacquainted with your old friend H2O. Water is key for digestion and metabolism, and a lot of people will feel the need to reach for a snack when really they’re just dehydrated. Staying hydrated is important and assists with keeping energy levels high, skin healthy, and your digestion system in working order. Is water too boring? Tea (especially green tea, which provides antioxidants and helps boost your metabolism) and no- to low-calorie flavored or sparkling waters will also get the job done.
We wouldn’t ask you to skip out on your morning cup of joe, but try to ditch the dressed up fancy mochas in exchange for a non-fat latte or a black coffee with a dash of cream. Lots of coffee shops will put in upwards of six pumps of flavoring in their drinks. Try asking for just one or two to get that flavor without all the unnecessary sugar and calories.
Try Some Strength Training
Muscle mass decreases with age, and with muscle loss comes a slow metabolism and weight gain. No one expects you to go all Schwarzenegger, but starting out with small free weights or resistance bands and doing a few repetitions a week will leave you looking lean and feeling strong and capable. Begin with light weights and easy resistance so you don’t put too much stress on your joints or muscles.
Move Your Body With a Buddy
As people get older, staying connected with friends and family members can feel more and more difficult. Creating a scheduled time each week to go on a walk with a friend can benefit both your social calendar and your physical fitness. Find a nearby park or track, and grab a light lunch afterwards for a perfect afternoon. Low-impact exercise, when done enough, can yield big results and kick start healthy habits. On your own, take a walk to the mailbox, walk the dog, or head down to your local grocery store to start the day. Make it as easy or as challenging as you’d like. Getting out and moving your body can drastically improve your mood as well!
As a senior, looking after your body is crucial, and it’s also well within your reach. With the right outlook and a focus on all of the above, you’ll be on your way to a healthier weight and lifestyle.
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