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When you hit a certain age, your metabolism naturally drops into a lower gear and your body doesn’t respond in the same manner to your diet and exercise efforts, or lack thereof. If this only affected your pants size, weight gain might not be such a big deal. But being overweight after 50 puts you at risk for developing diseases like Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular problems and cancer. The best way to lose weight after 50 is to make permanent lifestyle changes.

5 Smart Food Choices

You don’t need the government to ban foods to help you make healthy choices; just use common sense. In essence, if you can’t pronounce an ingredient on a food label, stay away from it. Making the switch to whole foods–foods that are unrefined or not processed–will cut out most of your go-to convenience foods, but it’s more of an inconvenience to deal with a disease that’s linked to obesity. In addition to fresh fruits and veggies, examples of whole foods include low-fat dairy, juices made from only real fruits, foods labeled “organic” and meals made from scratch (like what your great-grandmother ate).

4 Calorie Intake

You pack on the pounds when you eat more calories than your body needs. To lose weight, talk to your doctor or a nutritionist to learn how many calories you should eat to shed the pounds and keep them off. If you’re at risk for any types of diseases, like cancer or heart disease, ask your physician about other diet modifications to help you stay healthy. You might as well get this done during the same office visit since health care isn’t getting any cheaper.

3 Resistance Training

As you age, your body starts to lose bone density. You can prevent this–and lose weight–with simple resistance training exercises at least three days a week. Resistance training is a type of exercise that makes your muscles contract because of an external force, like lifting a kettle ball. Use free weights, resistance bands or your own body weight if you’re working out at home, or partner with a trainer at a gym. Some simple resistance training exercises include pushups, bicep curls and squats. Don’t forget to stretch after your training so you stay limber.

2 Hydrate

Drink at least 8 cups of water every day; that’s at least 64 ounces or 2 liters. Soda and coffee don’t count. Staying hydrated and filling your body with H2O helps curb cravings, helps you feel less hungry, keeps you regular and staves off dehydration.

1 Exercise

As you get older, the temptation to sit around starts to get more attractive. Don’t give in. Exercise at least 30 minutes every day. Slip on your sneakers and take a brisk walk around your neighborhood. Do some laps at the pool. If there’s a hurricane blowing outside or 3 feet of snow, walk around your dining room table. The type of exercise that you do doesn’t matter as much as you actually doing it.

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