Reaching half century might be a reason for celebration in the game of cricket but not a joy for many in real life. Greying hair, appearance of crow’s feet, menopause troubles (for women), diminishing eye sight and declining charm are not the only troubles you face once you enter your 50s. There are even more complicated ones that can put your total body metabolism and physical health to a toss, such as increase in weight.
Its not surprising to see individuals in their 20s, 30s or 40s struggle to shed off extra kilograms juggling between exercise sessions, diet plans and detox drinks in a desperate attempt to lose weight. It doesn’t make sense when someone in his/her 50s tries to compete with people belonging to a younger age group as it is a complete waste of time. ‘The going gets tough when the age gets going’ cannot be truer as shedding away those extra flabs and weight around your waistline becomes close to impossible.
How to Lose Weight After You Cross 50
There is no denial that we reach our peak bone mass by the age of 30 and we all manage the rest of our lives with the stored-up bone density. Age also decreases muscle mass and physical activity levels-two primary reasons for increased weight gain after 50. American College of Sports Medicine puts each of us in a shock mode by revealing that our bodies experience a 5-10% decline in muscle mass every decade after the age of 50 because of which resting metabolic rates decline by around 2-3% every decade. This means that you might be eating the same quantity of food as in your 40s and still gain weight. This almost answers all of our doubts regarding increased weight gain as we age.
Humans love to stay active and go about doing their activities. We consciously don’t decrease our activity levels just because we grow old. Age does it in most people’s cases due to different reasons-some suffer from arthritis/joint pain while few others start devoting less time for physical activity and move around less often. This decreases muscle activity thereby causing muscle loss.
Remember, nothing is impossible to a willing heart. All you need is that extra push and effort to help you stay on track. Simple changes mentioned here can help you go a long way towards good health:
Strength Training: Walking might be the best activity suitable for people across different age groups. But one must combine it with at least two days of strength training to build muscle mass and lose weight. Cardio exercises help you burn fat, but muscle building involves resistance training. Either do lighter weights with more reps or heavy weights with decreased number of reps. There are reports showing the advantages of lifting weights only twice a week-it helps to gain around 1.4 kilograms of muscle mass.
Power-pack your Protein Routine
Youngsters, especially guys crave for protein-rich food during their teenage years and well into their 20s or 30s to build muscles after which your craze diminishes. Reputed nutritionists and dietitians recommend adults over the age of 50 to at least consume 30-40% of their daily calorie intake from proteins. Sadly, not even half of the requirement is fulfilled by those over 50 years. It works much better when the protein consumed is dispersed evenly throughout the day. Latest studies published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition show that eating equal quantities of protein during every meal is linked to increased muscle mass in people over the age of 67. Don’t forget your eggs for breakfast, munch on a handful of nuts for lunch and add some protein-rich curry/milk during dinner.
Dine out Less Frequently
People over 50 years eat out frequently due to absence of restrictions in the form of children (kids go out for higher studies or are married off) whose presence compels them to prepare food at home and feel like ordering good food every now and then. They consume high-calorie, processed foods and eat out to their heart’s content thus increasing daily calorie values. It is advisable to rely on home-cooked food to keep your waistline in check.
Add Fat, Only the Good Ones
Weight loss is more about what you eat compared to what you do. Forget about eating the same way in your 50s as you did in your 20s and 30s. Stay clear of junk food. Eat foods rich in proteins, whole grains, fruits, veggies and ‘good’ fat. Get the complete list of foods that are high in ‘good’ fat from the website www.firsteatright.com. Substitute your oily samosas and kachoris with yummy fruits and veggies. These little changes to your diet can go a long way towards improving your overall health.
Our life is indeed cruel. In our teenage years and as younger adults, we feel like sleeping for hours together but lack of time curbs us of our sleeping beauty pleasures whereas after 50 years we have ample time but are unable to sleep. Research shows that overweight/obese people get less sleep comparatively. This lack of sleep increases the production of hunger hormone ghrelin which makes an individual eat more. One must also diligently follow similar sleep routines every night. Go to sleep and get up at roughly the same time every day. This sets your circadian rhythm and your body is disciplined to avoid any more chances of becoming obese/overweight.
AVOID FRAUD. EAT SMART.
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Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.