At 50+. You are no longer as fleet of foot as you were at 20 or even 30. Your actions have become a little more restrained. Your chronological clock has started taking its toll and there is little you can do about it.
For a woman, menopause comes knocking with its complications. That’s if it’s not arrived before you hit 50. There is a sharp drop in estrogen levels which leads to a migration of stored fat from lower portion of the body to the midsection widening the waist area and leading to a little distortion in shape.
A National Institute of Health ( NIH ) and Harvard University commission reviewed data from more than 45,000 women over a period of 17 years. They reached a conclusion that women with wider waist measurements would more likely suffer from heart disease and cancer than women with smaller waists.
As we get older, we engage in less activities. Muscle burns more calories than fat so having a disproportionate amount of muscle to fat ratio in your body can lead to loss of strength and increased disability.
While there is little we can do about the changes brought about by our chronological clock, we can certainly interrupt the changes our bodies undergo on their own ( physiological ) through adequate exercises.
If you are over fifty and trying to lose weight, these five options will help you out.
1 ESTABLISH A CONSISTENT EXERCISE REGIMEN
This calls for some measure of discipline on your part because most people do not want to subject themselves to the rigors of daily exercise .
To make sure you keep to your schedule, you would need an accountability partner whose job would be to hold your feet to the fire and ensure you carry out these exercises daily.
Make sure you include the following in your daily training: Aerobic exercise, Strength/Resistance training and Stretching
.(a) Aerobic exercises such as Cardio machines, Spinning, Running, Swimming, Hiking, Dancing are some aerobic exercises you may wish to engage in.
Aerobic exercises help to improve cardiovascular health, lowers blood pressure, helps regulate blood sugar, reduces asthma symptoms, reduces chronic pain and aids sleep.
(b) Strength/Resistance Training: is a type of physical exercise specializing in the use of resistance to induce muscular contraction.
Strength training includes push ups, pull ups, bench press and squats. Strength training makes you stronger and fitter, protects bone health and muscle mass, helps keep weight off for good and develops better body mechanics and disease management.
The good thing about some of these exercises is that they can be done at home.
( c ) Stretching is a form of physical exercise in which a targeted muscle group is stretched to improve the muscle’s elasticity and flexibility. Stretching is beneficial in increasing your range of motion, blood flow to our muscles, improving your posture, healing and preventing back pain, relieving stress and calming your mind.
I would advise you take out a gym membership. The price of gym memberships has become discounted over the years and some go for as low as $10 or less a month.
If you can afford it, I will highly recommend you secure the services of a trainer who will supervise your training program.
2 TRY INTERMITTENT FASTING:
What is Intermittent fasting you may ask? Intermittent Fasting is an eating pattern in which you alternate between periods of eating and fasting.
The most popular form is the eight hourly interval. You eat at 8 o’clock the previous night, take your breakfast at 8am the following day and wait until 8pm to take your supper. That way you are eating at 12 hourly intervals. Science has proven that Intermittent Fasting can help you lose weight and belly fat
without having to consciously limit calories. Among its many benefits, Intermittent Fasting can lower blood sugar by 3-6% and insulin levels by 20-30% which should protect against Type 2 Diabetes. Intermittent Fasting can reduce “bad” LDL cholesterol, blood triglycerides, blood sugars and insulin resistance.
These are all factors that can trigger heart diseases. It can even protect against Alzheimer’s disease.
I have had a long relationship with Intermittent Fasting. It started way back in Nigeria long before I set foot in the United States
. I chronicled my Odyssey with Intermittent Fasting in my other blog: “ Intermittent Fasting: A Positive Catalyst for Weight Loss and Wellness.
I remember not too long ago when I went for my physical. The doctor carried out all the tests and finally informed me that I was not only overweight but was a borderline Diabetes patient.. My weight tanked at 202lbs. He advised me to engage in more physical activities and watched what I ate so the Diabetes did not become full blown.
I restarted my early morning aerobic exercises but more importantly I resumed my 5:2 weekly fasting regimen.I would eat my three home cooked meals on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday , Saturday and Sunday but would fast on Wednesday and Friday.
After my Supper at 7pm, I would not eat again until 7pm the following day on my two days of fasting. I restricted myself to water diets to keep my system hydrated and made sure I did not binge on food when I ended my fast at 7pm.
Six months later, I went back to the same doctor for a re-evaluation. My doctor was pleasantly surprised with the progress I had made since the last time he saw me.
My weight was down from 202lbs to 193.5lbs and I was no longer a borderline Diabetes patient.
Fasting however is not for everyone. There are some health conditions that can preclude one from fasting.
If you have any pre-existing medical conditions, I would strongly advise that you check with your doctor to ensure you can take part in a fasting ritual with no harm to you.
3 ENSURE YOU HYDRATE ADEQUATELY:
Drinking water helps boost your metabolism and cleanse your body of waste.
Water also helps suppress your appetite for food. If you drink water before meals, it makes you fuller and reduces the amount of food you eat.
You need a minimum of 8 oz of water, eight times a day to properly hydrate your system. A total of 64 oz of water a day is slightly less than 2 litres of water ( 1.9 litres ) or half a gallon of water. If you however engage in an activity that makes you sweat, like working out in a gym, you would need say 10 oz of water 8 times per day
Web MD, the authoritative Health Resource Website states that drinking water before meals results in an average reduction of 75 calories per meal.If you do the math, that means drinking water before just one meal every day would cause you to lose 8 pounds of weight per year.
For maximum effect, you may wish to flavor your glass of water with lemon to change its insipid taste. Lemon contains Pectin which helps in curtailing your food cravings and further enabling you lose more weight from drinking just water laced with lemon!
4 IMPROVE SLEEP IN TERMS OF QUALITY AND QUANTITY:
It is a known fact that we sleep less than our parents did just because our daily To do lists are chock full of activities that we struggle to fit within a 24-hour cycle.
It is only proper that as we age we should pare down our activities so we can have more time to rest and devote to quality sleep. One way to do this is to prioritize our activities( vide my blog: Productivity Hack ) Sometimes in our attempt to keep up with the Joneses, we put in long hours at work and take up additional overtime hours which drastically cuts into our sleeping time..
When we get back home,instead of going straight to bed, we turn on the TV to catch up on the news or watch our favorite soap opera while multitasking with numerous little tasks.
Three or four hours after we are done, we flop on the bed and cannot go to sleep. We turn and toss and before we know what is happening, it is time for us to go back to work. We become sleep-deprived
.The danger of becoming sleep-deprived is that it makes you binge on snacks. Study after study has concluded that too little sleep makes people eat bigger portions of all foods increasing weight gain.
A serious side effect of our sleep deprivation is that our body starts experiencing problems processing insulin. Insulin is a hormone that changes sugar and other foods into energy.
If your body is not able to process insulin as a result of lack of enough sleep, it merely stores it as fat contributing to weight gain.
We have different Circadian cycles and so we sleep for different lengths of time.. A good check to find out if we have had enough sleep is to gauge how we feel when we wake up. Do we feel well rested after we wake up from sleep or do we experience prickly needles in our eyes?
If we do experience a burning sensation in our eyes, it is evidence that we have not had enough sleep. At 50+, the expectation is that we would sleep for 7 to 9 hours a day depending on our Circadian cycle.
To give yourself a quality sleep, ensure you have a comfortable place with a mattress and bedding to your taste. Make sure you have good curtains to block out light of any kind coming in while you are asleep. You don’t want light playing on your closed eyelids while you are sleeping. Turn off your computer and TV one solid hour before you turn in for the night.
If you are caffeine-averse like I am, make sure you drink your coffee at least 9 hours before you go to bed.
Blinds for your eyes and noise cancelling ear phones for your ears will help you sleep deeply.
Please ensure your bedroom is devoid of any lighting when you go to sleep, especially blue light stemming from your electronic devices. Darkness prompts our bodies to release Melatonin, a natural sleep hormone; while light prevents its production.
5 EAT A WHOLE-FOOD PLANT BASED DIET
In our fast paced life, we hardly have the time to prepare meals at home. We eat most of our meals in restaurants during the course of our work day. We even take our families along with us to the restaurants. The days of home-cooked meals where we share banter with family and families over the course of a delicious meal seems over.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics report,the average American household spends an average of $3,008 per year eating out at restaurants. Most of the things we spend our hard-earned on are not good for his health.
Eating out is convenient but may not be healthy. At 50+, we should be aiming at eating whole-food plant based diet. Whole-food based diet puts emphasis on whole, little processed foods. It tries to limit or completely avoid animal products and focuses on plants, including vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, seeds and nuts which should make up majority of what you eat.
Whole-food based diet does not permit of fast food, desserts, refined grains, white rice, white bread, refined pasta, packaged foods, cookies, chips, processed meats, bacon.
It does call for a lot of discipline to do away with all these delicacies at once so I would advise that you go at it one at a time.
By x-ing such processed foods as soda,candy, cakes, fast food and refined grains out of our daily menu, we can effectively reduce weight. It has been demonstrated by various studies that whole food plant based diets are effective in reducing weight .
Eating real food, exercising and taking care of your sleep are still the most important factors to focus on in trying to lose weight at 50+