Why does it seem so much harder to lose weight once you hit 50?
Does the body just turn off its fat furnace?
Must you restrict yourself no end just to lose one pound?
Most people see aging as an inevitable decline into dysfunction, but age really is just a number.
If you do the right things, you can lose weight in your 50s and 60s, you just have to know how to approach it.
How to Lose Fat When You're Over 50
Now, I want to be clear, if you are someone who feels like it’s impossible to lose weight, it will take longer than it used to.
This is because your body has changed over the years. In part because things do change as you age, but much more than that, it’s because you have not been doing what you need to do to maintain your fat burning abilities.
Doing the wrong things for 5 years is very different than doing the wrong things for 25 years.
The good news, however, is that if you do what I am about to tell you, you will REBUILD your body in a way that will burn fat and keep it off once you lose it. And that is the whole point!
Don't stress, and definitely don't give up! Just follow the plan, and you will not only start to lose fat, you will also move and feel a whole lot better, too.
Step 1: Lift Weights
Lifting weights at any age is important, but as you age, it becomes critical to help you maintain an active, lean lifestyle.
The reason strength training matters so much is because as we age, we start to lose muscle mass. This results in two big problems:
1) You become weaker and less capable of moving.
2) Your metabolism slows down.
Both of these things lead to you gaining more fat, which just reinforces less movement and an even worse metabolism.
The best way to combat this is by lifting weights 2-3 times per week. I cannot stress enough how important it is to challenge your muscles regularly. Otherwise, they will start to disappear.
Strength training is even more important for women, because it will not only help you rebuild lost muscle mass (LEAN muscle mass, not big bulky muscle), it will also help prevent osteoporosis and will keep you feeling strong and confident in your everyday life.
I see so many women spending hours and hours doing more “cardio” and beating themselves up in classes to stay thin.
But the truth is, if you just have a consistent routine of strength training, you can actually get away with doing a lot less!
Now there is nothing wrong with cardio; in fact, it does need to be part of a well-rounded fitness program. But doing hours and hours of cardio is not what you need if you want to stay strong and lean as you age.
Strength training builds muscle, and muscle burns fat. So if you want to lose fat and keep it off, you have to build up your lean muscle mass.
Step 2: Put Down the Wine
I know, I know, you love your wine, or beer, or whiskey. What is life if you can’t have a little fun?
But if you want to look or feel a different way, then you need to act differently.
Do you have to cut out alcohol altogether? No!
However, if you are drinking 1-2 drinks every night, you are really shooting yourself in the foot.
Calories are not just calories when it comes to alcohol. Ethanol calories make it very hard to burn fat because they can only get processed in the liver, and are processed very slowly. When your liver is spending all of its time working on ethanol, it gets overloaded and you are not able to lose fat.
Combine this with the hormone dysregulation that alcohol will cause (as if you need more things messing with your hormones!) and you have a daily barrage against your fat burning system.
This doesn’t mean you need to quit altogether, but you do need to cut back if you are hoping to lose fat. That might look like just having one drink a day to start and eventually cutting back to having 2-4 drinks on the weekends.
Once you are back in shape and have the muscle mass to support a healthy metabolism, THEN you can go back to one drink a day...though you may find that you don’t actually feel like it anymore.
Step 3: Regain Your Motion
Over the years you have dealt with all types of aches and pains, strains and pulls, sprains and breaks.
If you are lucky, you have never had surgery, but I can guarantee that you have had a least one injury.
The tricky part about injuries is that they lead to compensations in movement, which eventually means less movement.
Hopefully you did some PT when you hurt yourself, but what happened after? Did you keep doing those drills? For how long? Did you ever feel like you got back to 100%?
All too often people do not fully recover from injuries and surgeries, leaving them limited in their motion.
And when you are limited in motion, you dramatically decrease your metabolism.
Think about when you were young and you could move however you wanted. You could sprint, jump, roll, etc. You were moving all the time and in big ways.
Now your movement is probably very controlled, small range of motion, and slow. You need to be careful so you don’t injure yourself!
Well, this is really hurting your chances of burning fat and you must regain full, confident range of motion if you want to keep yourself lean.
What Else Will Help?
The three action steps above are a great place to start, but of course there is more to losing fat.
These three things are the most common reasons that I see people struggling with when it comes to losing weight or feeling like age has made it hard to stay lean.
However, here are just a few other things that you may want to consider as well:
1) What you eat: Eating foods that are anti-inflammatory and support your gut is going to matter when it comes to fat loss. I like to recommend the 90% rule for eating.
Have 90% of your meals be "health focused" and 10% be "fun focused." That way you still get to have your favorite foods, but you are putting yourself in a position to lose fat and feel good.
2) How much you eat: This one might go without saying, but it can be so easy to overeat if you are not paying much attention. A good way to make sure this one is under control is to do a food log for one week.
This will give you great information on how you are doing in terms of calories and you can make adjustments as needed.
3) What your exercise program looks like: When it comes to your strength training and cardio, it is important to do the right things. Honestly, the best way to know if your are following the right program is to work with a coach.
You don't have to train with them every time (unless you need the accountability), but you do need someone to make sure you are doing the right things and that you are doing those things correctly.
4) How well you're sleeping: Sleep problems are a classic fat loss killer. There are some people who just do not have good sleep habits, but there are also a lot of people with sleep apnea.
If you snore, you may want to get checked for sleep apnea because it will make a world of difference when it comes to losing weight and just feeling at your best.
5) Water intake: We all know we need to drink water to stay healthy, but what you may not know is that you also need water to help you burn fat. At the cell level, fat cannot be metabolized without adequate water.
So if you need to revisit this one, start by tracking how much water you drink right now. Most people need at least 8 cups (64oz per day), but if you are active, you may need more.
6) How you manage and mitigate stress: Stress may be the biggest obstacle when it comes to you losing weight. Not only does stress turn off the systems required to burn fat, it also is a big contributor to all the poor habits that make it hard to eat right, drink less, and exercise more.
So if you are overstressed, you really need to handle this before you can expect to make long term progress on your weight loss goals.
Yes, exercise can be a great way to reduce stress and burn fat, but it can only go so far. All too often we load so much on our plates that there is not enough mental space required to actually give our health and fitness the attention it deserves.
Sometimes the best thing you can do for your health is to start taking things away.
Let go of some of your commitments.
Say no to new requests for your time and attention.
Actually put yourself first and know that this is the only way that you will ever get to a point where you can feel at peace and truly give your best to others.
Now if you are not sure where to start when it comes to strength training, I would like to invite you to join our 28-Day Kickstart Program and learn the exact steps you need to take to start getting results now.
This program is designed specifically for men and women over 50, and will give you the training, nutritional support, and accountability you need to start getting results now.
In this program you will get:
- Full fitness and goals assessment
- Personalized fitness coaching to teach you the exact exercises you need to safely and effectively move better and build stamina
- A simple meal plan to help you decrease inflammation
- 1-on-1 success coaching to help guide you as you work to change your diet, exercise, and lifestyle habits
You can hit your weight loss goals while moving better and having more energy, you just need a program that is custom-built for you.
Click here to learn more and take back control of your health and fitness today!
Mint Condition Fitness empowers people to take control of their fitness and fully enjoy the life they have built.