Managing your weight after 50 brings some challenges, but not obstacles that can’t be overcome. It’s true that as we age there are changes to our body composition, including:
- Increase in abdominal fat (the dreaded “belly fat”)
- Increase in fat deposits in muscles, heart, and liver
- Increase in body weight until about age 70
- Redistribution of fat with more fat in the trunk and less in arms and legs
But, before you jump on the latest popular diet, take stock and assess your weight. In Food & Fitness After 50 we offer assessments in every chapter to get you thinking about where you are and where you want to go with your diet, your strength, your endurance, your weight, and many other health and lifestyle issues. And, on our new web page for the book we’ve added the “Assess Your Weight” for you. So, take the quiz!
- Do you have a scale that is accurate and reliable?
- If yes, how do you know?
- How often do you weigh yourself?
- How do you usually feel when you see the number on the scale?
- Compared with when you were 25 years old, do you weigh:
- The same
- Do you know your Body Mass Index (BMI)?
- Do you know how to interpret your BMI?
- What is your waist size (circumference just above the hip bones and below the belly button)?
- Have you ever been on a weight-loss diet?
- If yes, which one(s)?
- Did you lose weight on the diet?
- If yes, how much, and how long did you keep the weight off?
- What do you think is a healthy weight for you?
Review Your Answers
- The first step to managing your weight is knowing your weight, an accurate weight, not a guess. If you have a scale, check its accuracy by using a known weight on the scale (like a 5-lb dumbbell) and recalibrate the scale if necessary. If you don’t have a scale, buy one!
- We suggest weighing yourself every day or every other day. Don’t worry about fluctuating a couple of pounds up or down from day to day; that is simply a normal change in water weight. But, by regularly weighing yourself, a pattern will emerge if you are maintaining, gaining, or losing weight.
- The numbers on the scale aren’t good or bad; they are just numbers to help you assess your body weight.
- As we age, weight-creep can happen. Many adults gain a pound or two each year, but after 20 years that can add up to an extra 20 or 40 pounds. By comparing your current self to your younger self, you might find that the extra pounds have been accumulating through the years.
- If you don’t know your body mass index (BMI), accurately measure your height and weight (for tips on accurate measurement, see Chapter 8 of Food & Fitness After 50).
- Enter your height and weight into an online calculator to determine and interpret your BMI at this website.
- Measure your waist just above your hipbone and below your belly button. For women, a waist size of 35 inches or greater, and for men, 40 inches or greater, often indicates storage of excess belly fat.
- There are hundreds of weight-loss diets and many people have tried them all. You can lose weight on any diet that restricts calorie intake; the hard part is keeping it off. We slowly lose weight whenever the calories (energy) we consume are less than the calories we expend. For example, if we expend 500 calories more each day than we consume in food and drink, we will lose about a pound of weight each week. The goal is to lose mostly fat weight rather than water or muscle weight. Rapid weight loss is often comprised of mostly water and some muscle. Gradually losing fat weight is the best way to ensure that the weight stays off because gradual weight loss helps us establish new lifestyle habits that are easier to maintain over the long haul.
- If you lost weight on the diet, congratulations, but if you gained it back, that can be defeating. Read more about weight loss and maintenance here: from an international obesity researcher in this interview.
- Be honest in your assessment of a healthy weight; let the BMI numbers guide you in your assessment. As we age, it is normal to gain a little weight. We suggest focusing on good overall health instead of a number on a scale.
More information, tips, and personal insights into managing your weight is found in Food & Fitness After 50 available on Amazon and from other booksellers.
Copyright © 2019 [Christine Rosenbloom]. All Rights Reserved.