By Lucy Reed (gigmine.com)
For most of us, age comes with some undesirable side effects, like achy joints, stiff muscles, and what seems like inexplicable weight gain. A common lament is, “I’m eating what I used to, but I just keep gaining weight.” However, scientists say this happens for several reasons. We lose muscle mass, we gain fat, and we become less active, to name a few.
If you’ve packed on a few extra pounds and you’re looking to get them off in a healthy way, here are six keys to successful weight loss after age 65.
Up Your Level of Physical Activity
Physical activity happens when our skeletal muscles move our body to expend energy. And any physical activity we engage in is a necessity for burning calories. Whether you’re climbing steps versus jumping on an elevator, running to the grocery for a shopping mission or working up a sweat at the gym, you’re engaging in the second phase of physical activity known as expenditure. But did you know that there’s also a third phase of physical activity that happens even after you’re done? It’s called excess post-exercise oxygen consumption, and this means after we’ve worked out, our bodies continue to burn calories. Remember, the key to any weight loss program is burning more calories than you consume.
Cut Back on Calories
As sad as it is, we can’t eat like we did when we were younger or even like we did in our 30s. As we age, our metabolisms get slower, and this means we’re not able to burn off the same rich meals we used to enjoy. Start by trimming off 100 calories a day to see what type of weight-loss results you can achieve, and work from there.
Strengthen Your Muscles
Simply put, muscles burn fat. However, age means our muscles don’t heal and recover as well. To help strengthen your muscles, you can invest in some inexpensive home exercise equipment that will help you do the job. For starters, purchase a set of resistance bands; a basic set will run about $25. Add a pair of lightweight dumbbells (between three and five pounds) for about $5. Last, get a stability ball for $10. By just sitting on it to watch television, your body will be working harder to balance, which causes you to move more. Stability balls also engage your core muscles, which can improve your balance and improve back pain.
A Home Workout
You only need enough space to stretch out if you want to work out at home. Carve out an area where you can leave your equipment, and that’s solely dedicated to physical activity. Alternatively, those who rent can even look for an apartment complex that offers a fitness center. This can be a great option if you’re preparing to move into a smaller space, and it eliminates the need to buy much equipment. Plus, many complexes around the Atlanta area offer accessibility features that can be a boon in your golden years.
Trick Your Metabolism
One of the best ways you can lose weight when you’re older is to outsmart your metabolism. As mentioned, age means a slower metabolism, and when you deprive your body of food for extended periods of time, you’re completely shutting off the furnace. In other words, your body ceases to burn fat. To keep that furnace going, you’re going to need to eat several small meals throughout the day. Never go longer than three hours without eating.
Craft a Plan by Visualizing the Goal
According to Sixty and Me, there are three key steps to achieving your weight-loss plan. First, you have to have a vision of the intended outcome. In this case, seeing yourself slimmer. Second, give yourself an attainable goal. Do you want to reach a particular weight for an upcoming class reunion or wedding? And finally, action, or the hard work part of the plan. She suggests that you’ll definitely encounter bumps along the way, like an ice cream sundae, but stay the course and find a plan that suits your “style and way of life.”
Drink More Water
Oftentimes your body mistakes thirst for hunger, and this leads to excessive eating. Make a goal of drinking half of your body weight in ounces. So say, for example, you’re 200 pounds, you should be drinking 100 ounces of water a day.
If you’re thinking it sounds impossible, you’re wrong. Science shows that you can successfully lose weight by incorporating diet and exercise lifestyle changes. Get started today with these six tips.
Best, Lucy Reed