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lose weight after 50

How to Lose Weight After 50

When you want to lose weight after 50, it’s hard but not impossible. Here’s why weight loss gets harder and what you can do about improving your health and living a longer life.

When you hit 50, it can feel like you suddenly start gaining weight. One minute you’re in your 40’s and feeling energized, the next you feel more tired and less like yourself. You don’t know where it’s coming from or why it’s happening.

If that’s been the case for you, you are NOT alone. The effects of aging he everyone in one way or another, with common experiences related to predictable changes that happen as we age.

Women produce less estrogen, accumulate more fat around their hips and midsection, and lose bone density.

Men produce less testosterone and lose muscle mass as well. They also experience a rise in instances of diabetes and heart disease after the 50-year mark.

Many of the hormonal changes and aging processes are unavoidable. And when it comes down to it, it’s not your fault it’s harder to lose weight as you age. 

But that does not mean you can’t do anything to prevent or reverse the effects of aging on your weight. It’s never too late to start.

With the right strategies, you can get down to your goal weight and feel confident in your skin. You can reverse the effects of aging on your weight and even prevent major weight gain that many people experience in middle age.

Doing so just requires understanding what’s going on with your body and how to counteract it.

3 common barriers to weight loss after 50

  1. Loss of muscle mass

Sarcopenia, the gradual loss of muscle tissue, sets in around age 40. The loss in muscle mass doesn’t happen overnight, but by 50, many people lose 10% of their muscle mass

Muscle does more than give us a toned body. It influences your metabolic rate and how you burn calories.

When it comes to the types of tissues and cells we have in our body, certain types burn calories more efficiently. Muscle burns more calories than fat, which makes having more muscle helpful to lose weight.

So as you lose muscle, your resting metabolic rate begins to decline–by some estimates as much as 2% per decade. So by 50, your metabolic rate has slowed down and you lose muscle mass, which leads to noticing weight gain and other related health concerns manifesting around that time frame.

2. Sleep changes

For a long time, researchers have noted a link between sleep and weight gain.

Those who stay up and eat late into the night are more likely to be overweight than those who stop eating in the early evening and have a consistent, early bedtime.

There is also a connection between sleep deprivation and weight gain–those who don’t get the full recommended 7-9 hours of sleep eat more the following day and seek out calorie-dense foods.

Not only is your body trying to make up for lost energy, but sleep impacts your hormone regulation. The hormones ghrelin and leptin which regulate your appetite and fullness can get out of balance. As a result, your body craves more calories than you would normally seek out and you feel like you can eat more than usual.

3. Hormonal changes

As you age your levels of estrogen and testosterone drop. When this happens, your body starts to store more fat and it’s harder to drop any extra fat that accumulates. 

At the same time, the hormones ghrelin and leptin act differently as well. They help you accurately determine when you are hungry and when you are full. But when these hormone levels fluctuate, you feel hungrier than you used to and it’s harder to feel full. As a result, you end up eating more than you once did and it’s difficult to limit your calorie intake.

How to achieve your weight loss goals after 50

Lift weights

It’s important for anyone to include 3-4 days of strength training in their week. Starting before 50 can help prevent the common health concerns that arise at 50. 

One study found that adults who exercised at least four days a week experienced no loss of muscle mass or related effects at the same time others in their age group who didn’t exercise were showing signs of losing muscle mass and a slowing metabolic rate.

But even if you haven’t taken preventative measures and find yourself wondering how to lose weight over 50―it’s not too late at all.

You can regain lost muscle mass and prevent further loss by lifting weights just a few times a week.

As a result, you will increase your bone density which prevents osteoporosis, or loss and weakening of bone. It also keeps your muscle mass at levels that keep your metabolism efficient.

Stay active

While lifting weights is important to retain muscle mass and boost your metabolism, it’s important to stay active in other ways too.

It’s common to feel like you slow down after 50, but you can keep up much of your energy by maintaining an active lifestyle.

Cardio for one is an important piece of keeping an active lifestyle. Cardio exercises like swimming, running, or hiking help you maintain your heart health. An unhealthy heart and cardiovascular system are associated with fatigue and changes in overall health. A healthy heart helps you keep up your energy levels throughout the day so you can burn more calories and stick to a routine sleep cycle. 

Cardio is also a great way to burn calories during exercise. HIIT in particular is known for begin effective to burn a high amount of calories during the workout plus it helps build strength to build your resting metabolic rate as well.

But the most important thing to do is find a form of exercise and other activity that you enjoy most so you keep doing it and reap the health benefits of staying active.

Reduce intake of refined sugars

As your metabolism slows down, it becomes harder for your body to process the foods you used to eat with ease. You may have always been able to get away with eating your favorite sweets and snacks without noticeable weight gain over time, but that changes in middle age.

To adjust to a slower metabolism, it’s important to be more aware of what you choose to eat every day. While you don’t have to cut out ALL the tasty food you enjoy, limiting intake each week is advised. 

This is not only beneficial for your weight, but also for preventing type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

Get support

Studies have shown that people with a workout or diet partner are more likely to follow through.  We feel more supported and it’s more enjoyable to work towards a goal with another person.

This means we are more likely to do better if we choose a friend or family member to get healthy with. You can hold each other accountable and follow through on your plans for a healthy diet and exercise.

You’re also more likely to successfully lose weight if you have the support of a doctor or weight loss professional on your side.

It’s understandable to try and go it alone to lose weight because in theory, it sounds as simple as changing your diet or exercising more.

But the truth is that it’s hard to know what to do for your particular situation and get the results you want. It’s common for people dieting alone to cut out too much of the wrong foods or develop an unhealthy relationship with food. And it’s even more common to lose steam a few weeks into your diet plan. Sticking to a diet or exercise regime when you have frequent temptations around is a challenge. That’s why having someone who creates a sustainable plan and check-ins improves the likelihood you follow through and see results.

At Valley Medical Weight Loss, our doctors help you create a weight loss plan that is personalized for your needs and helps you learn healthy diet habits for the long run. We know how important it is to still enjoy food even while you diet, so we help you get to your goal and then teach you how to maintain it without a lifetime of extreme dieting.

To get your weight and health back on track after 50, visit one of our locations for a consultation today. No appointment necessary.

Overcome Common Weight Loss Obstacles

If you hit a wall in your weight loss journey, don’t stress, and don’t give up! We have some tips to help you.

When you start your weight loss journey it’s easy to feel motivated and excited for the changes you imagine in your life. The last thing on your mind is all the weight loss obstacles that could get in your way.

But the changes you want take time. And over time the excitement starts to fade. You realize just how difficult it is to lose weight. And it’s not uncommon for all your goals to suddenly feel impossible.

But you can do it. Just like the thousands of others who have found success before you.

But we know it’s not easy. It’s never as simple as just do more exercise. Or just stick to your diet.

If it were as simple as just following those suggestions, then no one would be overweight.

The truth is…no matter how much weight you want to lose, there will be ups and downs. You will encounter roadblocks.

The key to success isn’t pretending that won’t happen. 

It’s in being prepared.

So here are some insights about how to overcome six of the most common weight loss obstacles. 

That way you can make a gameplan from the start. And when something inevitably tries to get in your way, you will overcome it and succeed in your weight loss journey.

1.Diet Struggles

Constantly feeling hungry

Hunger is one of the most difficult feelings to ignore. And if you’re constantly feeling hungry, then you most likely won’t be able to maintain your weight loss plan for very long.

But there are ways of getting around that. Like by choosing foods that are high satiety, but low calorie. High satiety means foods that make you feel full after eating them.

Foods like oatmeal, fish, greek yogurt or Icelandic skyr, popcorn, soup, fruits, vegetables, and potatoes (not in french fry form—sorry, I know they’re delicious).

These foods are filling and low calorie. Many of them highly nutritious too. 

And they’re a good place to start for another problem people face around food and weight loss:

Not knowing what to eat

There’s a lot of conflicting information about what the best diet is. 

But it really doesn’t have to be so complicated. Your goal is to eat for health and weight loss.

Based on your personal conditions, you may eat a different variety of foods from another person, but there are a few general rules to stick to:

You want to eat more foods that have high nutritional value. Foods that get you a mix of the right essential nutrients your body needs to be healthy. And you want to keep your caloric intake low enough to lose weight.

But when you don’t have time to put in the research to learn about all there is to know about diet, it’s easy to feel stuck.

This is why having a meal plan created for you can be so helpful. It takes all the thinking out of the equation on your end. You get an expertly created meal plan and the results will follow when you stick to it.

You don’t have time to cook

When you decide to cook your own meals because it’s healthier than going out to eat or relying on microwavable meals, you realize how time-consuming cooking can be!

Plus you’re tired after work every day. The last thing you want to do is cook every night.

The best way to get around this weight loss obstacle is to meal prep.

Every Sunday making all of your meals and putting them into portions that you can easily grab and heat up throughout the rest of the week.

It removes the temptation to go out to avoid cooking. It saves you the time of cooking a new meal every single day.

And it’s the best way to set yourself up for success.

2. Exercise Obstacles

Find exercise boring

If you can’t find the motivation to exercise it’s possible that you find exercise boring.

The thought of going for a run sounds like mind-numbing torture. And walking on the treadmill for an hour? Total snoozer.

Not everyone would choose to spend hours of their week doing rigorous activity. You might have other passions and interests you want to invest your time in.

But there’s no denying the importance of exercise for your health. You avoid doing it at your own peril.

The reality is that there are so many types of exercise out there. And while you see fitness influences all over social media, or professional athletes on TV, don’t assume that you must go all or nothing into exercise as they have.

Find an activity you enjoy—yoga, swimming, walking, jogging, team sports, lifting, or dancing.

It can be anything. But you have to do it regularly.

At least three days a week of moderate to intense activity is recommended. But what’s even better is getting into the habit of doing 30 minutes of fun physical activity every day.

Just remember that if you start to get bored you can always switch things up.

Don’t have time

I get it—we live in a culture where being busy is the default.

So this makes creating time for longer workouts difficult for many people. It’s hard to show up for classes that run for an hour or longer when you barely have time for everything else.

But there are ways of saving time in your workouts.

One simple way is by choosing to workout at home instead of the gym. This cuts down on commute time you inevitably have to factor into your day.

And don’t feel like you have to follow any program that will take you longer than 30 minutes to complete in a day.

30 minutes is enough time to get in a solid workout. And it’s a reasonable chunk of time to set aside each day.

It’s going to be difficult to do at first. Especially if you haven’t established a routine. Or if your daily schedule really does feel like mayhem.

But the 30 minutes you invest now will improve the quality of your life now and for your future.

Pain 

Pain is one of the hardest weight loss obstacles to overcome.

But it can be done.

Work with a trainer. Speak with a physical therapist. These are people who are specially trained to work with you through your pain.

And with so many different types of exercise to choose from, you can find something that won’t cause you pain. 

3. Embarrassment 

It’s easy to feel embarrassed when there’s a lot of social stigma around weight.

Maybe you’re embarrassed that all your past attempts at losing weight failed. And you believe no one will take you seriously when you say you want to try again.

Maybe you don’t want to step foot in the gym where you see plenty of fit and thin people.

That kind of embarrassment and fear is paralyzing.

So how do you overcome it?

One way is to remember that you aren’t alone and you have nothing to be ashamed of.

Changing your lifestyle isn’t easy. And everything you’re doing deserves compassion and celebration.

Know that you belong anywhere. If fear of the gym is stopping you from getting the exercise you need to burn calories and lose fat, let’s consider a few things:

  • No one in the gym actually cares about what you’re doing or even notices. And if they do, they’re the problem, not you.
  • The gym exists for everyone who wants to get healthier–that includes you!
  • Give yourself time to learn. You won’t feel like a pro in the gym at first. Embrace those feelings of uncertainty and channel them into learning so you can feel more at home there.

And finally, find people who support you. Anyone who cares about seeing you feel healthy and happy won’t shame you for trying. Even if you tried and failed before. 

Having the support of others normalizes what you want to do. Support helps you overcome any weight loss obstacles and helps you feel less embarrassed.

4. Motivation Fluctuates 

Our motivation to do everything comes and goes in waves. Truly, for everything.

Professional athletes, musicians, writers, and people from all walks of life will have plenty of days where they just don’t want to do it.

It might be one day. It might stretch to two weeks.

Because what happens with everything is we often reach a plateau. Or we find ourselves stuck in a rut. 

But progress is still happening. Even if we can’t see it or hear it, it’s happening. And you’re not far away from another burst of motivation and improvement if you just. keep. going.

So you will face low points in your weight loss journey. You’ll feel like it’s no use or that you aren’t making the progress you want.

This is truly one of the most insidious weight loss obstacles because it’s so easy to convince yourself nothing you do matters during times of low motivation.

It’s overcoming those low points that are the ultimate challenge. But there are some ways to regain that spark and stay on track.

Read motivational books, listen to motivational podcasts, watch inspirational documentaries. Find people who are willing to listen to you and motivate you.

Surround yourself with all the positive reminders of why you want to lose weight. 

And most importantly: don’t beat yourself up if you slip.

Did you have an extra cheat meal this week? Did you eat more in the last two days because of some social events that came up?

Do not worry.

A lot of times, when we break a pattern or a streak we feel like we’ve completely ruined everything.

And when we feel this way, it’s easy to just say you’re a failure, and give up altogether.

Instead, try to recognize the truth of the situation: you enjoyed the first treat in a month because you were happy and wanted to enjoy yourself.

Accept it, embrace that moment, let it happen, and then move on.

To shame yourself will only ever keep your motivation in a downward spiral. It will turn harmless incidents into catastrophic events even when it wasn’t close to being one to begin with.

5. Stress 

Stress is one of the most overlooked but hugely important barriers to weight loss.

Our metabolism actually slows down under stress.

And when we are stressed it’s easier to feel demotivated and run into more weight loss obstacles than when we feel at ease.

So if weight loss is your goal, it’s important to consider how stressed you are. And what you can do to reduce your stress.

Some common ways are to meditate, spend time outside, read a good novel, watch a fun series, take a bubble bath, or exercise. All of these activities can help you take your mind off what’s causing you to worry. And instead, let you focus on the present.

And if stress is really interfering in your life in many ways, it’s worth talking to a professional about your stress. 

The outcome would be a better state of mind and improved physical health.

6. Schedule Changes 

Have you ever gone on vacation and realized that it’s nearly impossible to stick to your usual weight loss plan?

Here’s the reality about vacations: they’re fun but they wreak havoc on your weight-loss plan. 

It’s harder to exercise. You don’t know what kind of gym your lodgings will have—if any. And you don’t know how much of your usual training routine you’ll be able to stick to.

There’s also the matter of food.

Chances are you’ll eat out regularly. This means you won’t be sticking to the meal plan that’s best for your weight loss and overall health.

Whether it’s a vacation, a new work schedule, or a life change that’s going to upend your normal routines for the foreseeable future, you can overcome these.

First off, it’s important not to stress out about these changes. Whether they’re temporary or long-term, the key to overcoming this obstacle is to create a new plan to keep losing weight.

People have achieved their weight loss goals under so many different circumstances. Some are undoubtedly easier than others. But your goals are always possible.

What’s the easiest way to overcome all of these weight loss obstacles?

With support.

It’s proven that those who have support in their weight loss goals are more successful and happier while doing it.

Why?

Because the changes you’re making are huge! They’re life-altering. And there’s no doubt that making lifestyle changes and creating new habits is one of the hardest things for us to do.

But when we feel supported and like our goals have a purpose outside of ourselves, they become more attainable. They become more enjoyable. 

Find out how to get life-changing weight-loss support at Valley Medical Weight Loss to make your weight loss goals a reality.

Sources:

1.“7 Filling Foods to Prevent Hunger Backed by Science.” Medical News Today, MediLexicon International, www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/324078.

2. Kiecolt-Glaser, Janice K, et al. “Daily Stressors, Past Depression, and Metabolic Responses to High-Fat Meals: a Novel Path to Obesity.” Biological Psychiatry, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 1 Apr. 2015, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4289126/.