How do you lose weight after 50?
Today, we’ll look at what it takes to boost your metabolism and lose weight in your 50s (without depriving yourself or having to spend hours at the gym).
Want to learn more? Let’s go.
How do you lose weight after 50?
What does it take to lose weight in your 50s?
As your body changes, your metabolism and other functionalities change. And that impacts your weight. But there are ways to lose weight — you just need the right strategies.
Here’s how weight loss changes after you turn 50.
How hard is it to lose weight after 50?
It might feel like it’s harder to lose weight after 50.
In your 50s, you hit menopause or you’ve already hit menopause, which makes a big difference for your weight loss.
Your body just doesn’t work the way it used to. As studies show, your metabolism slows down. Specifically in your 50s, you experience hormonal changes, which makes it harder to lose weight.
As a study published in Nature shows, aging affects lipid turnover in the fat tissue so that it decreases. What this means is that the pace at which fat is removed and stored slows down and makes it easier to gain weight.
Plus, people start losing muscle mass every decade from their 30s onwards. That’s then replaced with fat. Muscles use up more calories than fat and fewer muscles result in a slower metabolism.
So what used to work doesn’t work anymore. To lose weight, you need new strategies.
And if you don’t adapt, it will be hard to lose any weight at all.
Why should you lose weight?
At the same time, you SHOULD lose weight if you carry extra weight. Being even slightly overweight will increase the risk of health problems. And the risk goes up the more overweight you are.
Other health issues that are due to being overweight include: high blood pressure, high cholesterol or pre-diabetes or diabetes.
But how do you lose weight after 50? That’s what we’ll look at next.
How can you boost your metabolism after 50?
Should you follow a specific diet? How much do you need to exercise? And how do you get rid of belly fat?
Here are 23 ways to lose weight after 50!
1. Don’t diet!
Ever tried to lose weight with a diet? Most of us have. I used to be a serial yo-yo dieter and tried every diet under the sun — Weight Watchers, South Beach, Atkins…
But the thing is:
Diets won’t help you lose weight. It’s true. Tons of science backs this up.
According to a UCLA analysis of 31 long-term studies, people initially lose 5-10% of their weight on a number of diets. But that weight comes back — and more. Only a small minority was able to keep their weight off, while the majority ended up gaining weight.
And according to a 52-week study of 152 participants, people unknowingly eat more to make up for lost calories when they are eating fewer calories.
As you can see, diets aren’t a great way to lose weight.
What is, though?
Here’s why enjoying chocolate cake might be the answer.
2. Enjoy your chocolate cake
Here’s what I mean:
Deprivation will keep you from losing weight.
If you say no to everything you enjoy (be that a glass of wine, chocolate cake, or a slice of pizza), you will only end up sabotaging your own weight loss goals.
A study of 68 women shows that study subjects who have a tendency to overeat and who were told to abstain from their favorite snacks for 24 hours ended up eating 133% more than those who didn’t restrict themselves.
Another study shows that your brain becomes more attentive to pictures of food because of caloric deprivation. This, again, can contribute to binge-eating. The study results suggest that caloric deprivation increases responsivity of attention, reward, and motivation regions to food.
But how can you have your chocolate cake and lose weight?
The answer is moderation. If you eat healthy most of the time, you can enjoy your chocolate cake when you feel like it.
Take my student Tree. She didn’t say ‘no’ to everything.
Instead, she kept enjoying her family Thursday dinners with desserts.
The best part? Despite being an incredibly busy professional woman with 12+-hour workdays, Tree lost 20 pounds and fit back into her size 4 jeans.
3. Eat more protein (and the foods to eat)
Eating more proteins is one of the best ways to boost your metabolism, according to research. Because your metabolism slows down as you get older, it’s the perfect way to lose more weight.
You see, many proteins are enzymes, which are important for metabolism. Proteins also contribute to cellular energy metabolism as proteins.
But what foods are great for getting more protein?
Eat foods like chicken, white fish, salmon, and turkey. And if you’re vegetarian or vegan, greek yogurt (for vegetarians), chickpeas, chickpea flour, and hemp seed are excellent sources of protein.
4. Exercise more
According to a study of 527,662 adults, any level of exercise is linked with better health (lower likelihood of high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and diabetes) than no exercise at all.
That’s why you should move around whenever possible. For example, take the stairs instead of the elevator and use your lunch hours to take a short walk instead of sitting still.
5. Exercise in the right way
That said, some forms of exercise are more effective than others for losing weight.
A 9-month study shows that strength training increases metabolism (with variability between individuals, depending on factors like thyroid hormones and fat-free mass).
One caveat: I actually recommend that you start eating in the right way before you add on strength training. Once you’ve built up that habit, you can start doing 30-minute strength training sessions twice a week.
You can even do strength training exercises at home to avoid having to waste a lot of time going to the gym. Just use kettlebells or your body weight and you’re good to go.
6. Drink water (this tip will help you keep the habit)
Drinking water is a great way to lose weight.
People should, on average, drink 6-8 glasses of water every day. (This recommendation depends on things like if you live in a warmer climate or exercise a lot or have health problems. You should consult your doctor if you’re unsure.)
Some research, like this smaller study that assessed 14 study participants, shows that drinking water improves metabolism. According to the study, drinking 500 ml of water (2 ¼ cups) increases the metabolic rate by 30%.
But if you don’t love drinking water, it can be hard to keep the habit. A powerful way to make water more interesting is to drink infused water. Add herbs like mint to your water or a bit of lemon juice and it instantly becomes more delicious.
What’s the next step? To get accountable. That’s what we’ll look at next.
7. Get accountable
An 18-week study with 23 female study participants shows that accountability makes it easier to lose weight. All participants in the study’s weight loss program lost weight, but those that kept it off had social support.
Another study shows that two-thirds of study participants who were enrolled in a weight-loss program together with friends were able to keep their weight off six months after the program ended. A quarter of those who attended on their own achieved the same.
In other words:
Accountability in the form of a friend, a mentor, or a coach, can help you keep your weight off in the long term.
That’s not all, though. Also support groups help, as we’ll see in the next step.
8. Find a support group
Here’s the thing:
Group programs can be a great way to lose weight.
One study showed that a weight-loss program that included group support and sessions with a dietician was more effective for those who got the support compared to people who tried to lose weight independently. In fact, those who attended the program lose 3x more weight (10 pounds).
Plus, study participants who had been part of the program kept off six pounds two years after it ended. Those who lost weight independently regained all their weight in that time.
So, if you want to lose weight, consider joining a reputable program, such as my own program, Slim Down Transformation.
9. Cook more at home
You probably know that you shouldn’t eat that much fast food… (Fast food is often processed and high in sugars.)
But did you know that other restaurant food isn’t great for your health, either?
According to the USDA, restaurant foods contain fewer fruits and vegetables and have more calories, fat, and sodium than food prepared at home.
As you can see, you should avoid eating out. But how do you manage if you’re incredibly busy and don’t have time to stand in the kitchen for hours?
One of my favorites is to use a crockpot. Here are some of my favorite crockpot recipes you can use right away.
Or, cook in batches. You can cook lunch and dinner for the next few days all in one go and save a lot of time that way.
10. Sleep more… And better
How much sleep do you get, on average?
The reason I’m asking is that sleep has a BIG impact on your weight.
According to research, sleep deprivation can lead to metabolic dysregulation, which is linked to inflammation, weight gain, and obesity.
Plus, as this study shows, sleep-deprived people tend to go for foods that are high in calories and carbohydrates.
You should aim to get at least 7-8 hours of sleep every night.
11. Don’t skip meals
Are you skipping meals, such as breakfast? That could have a big impact on your weight.
Try to eat as consistently as you can. For example, this afternoon snack can help you keep satisfied in between your meals.
12. Make it easy for yourself to adopt new habits
You know how it is:
Changing what or how you eat requires you to change your habits. So does exercising.
Make it as easy as you can for yourself to adopt new habits.
For example, put your workout clothes by your bed so that taking that first step to working out becomes much easier.
And only buy foods you should eat (instead of filling your cupboards with processed or high-sugar foods).
Another important weight-loss strategy is to eat foods that boost your metabolism.
That’s what we’ll look at next.
13. Eat metabolism-boosting foods
Did you know that some foods, like spices, can help you boost your metabolism?
According to an analysis of animal studies, curcumin, capsaicin, and garlic have a positive impact on lipid metabolism.
They come with other health benefits, too. For example, turmeric can help the body to manage hyperlipidemia and oxidative and inflammatory conditions.
So to get these benefits, add spices to your foods (remember: eat more protein, such as salmon and chickpeas).
Why tea helps you lose weight.
14. Drink green tea
If you’re a heavy tea drinker, this strategy is for you.
You see, a Penn State study conducted on mice shows that consuming green tea on a daily basis together with exercise results in increased fat metabolism. The dose was the equivalent of 8-10 cups of tea every day.
Herbal teas can also help you stay hydrated and as we’ve seen, water helps you lose weight. Win-win!
15. Avoid processed food (here’s why)
Here’s the deal:
The quality of the food you eat is important for how much weight you end up losing.
An extensive, 20-year study of 120,000 people showed that weight change was most strongly associated with the consumption of processed foods, like sugar-sweetened beverages, potato chips, and processed and unprocessed red meats.
Every 4 years, participants gained an average of 3.35 lb. However, those who ate vegetables, whole grains, fruits, nuts, and yogurt were more likely to keep their weight off.
Processed foods are high in starches, fats, sugars, and refined grains. These foods have a negative impact on your weight.
In other words:
Avoid processed foods as much as you can.
Donuts, pizzas, and chips are all foods that are processed.
(However, remember that you don’t need to deprive yourself. You can enjoy these foods once in a while, especially if you follow the other strategies most of the time.)
16. Use this plate model for faster weight loss
One of the questions I get all the time is:
“What should I eat every day to get rid of my menopausal belly fat?”
I get it. Your body is changing. And you want to look and feel great despite those changes.
One of the best ways is to use my Fat-Burning Food Framework:
Use this plate model for all your meals and you’re off to a great start.
On that note, let’s take a look at meal plans.
17. Use meal plans
I love planning my meals. First, it helps me free up time that I can spend with my kids. Second, meal planning has been shown to help with weight loss.
A study that assessed 40,556 participants suggests that meal planners are more likely to enjoy higher food variety. Women are less likely to be overweight, whereas men are less likely to be obese.
Meal plans don’t even have to be that difficult to set up.
To get you started, here are a few of my favorite meal plans:
18. Focus on your body composition
You shouldn’t get stuck in thinking that your body weight is all that matters.
Sure, losing weight is an indicator that you’re getting healthier if you’re overweight.
But another important number is your body composition, so the percentages of fat and fat-free mass in your body.
As you age, your muscles will start declining. At the same time, having excess fat is unhealthy. People with a higher percentage of fat have a higher death rate.
But skeletal muscles help you maintain posture, breath, and move. Muscle is also an important nutrient store and metabolic regulator, so building muscles go hand in hand with your overall weight loss goals.
That’s why you should focus on both building muscles and losing weight. But as muscles take up less space than fat, losing weight is a health indicator only to some extent.
19. Drink coffee
Are you a heavy coffee drinker?
In that case, you might experience some weight-loss benefits. According to a study, four cups of coffee can have metabolism-boosting benefits.
The study followed 126 overweight adults over 24 weeks. They were either given four cups of regular coffee or four cups of a coffee-like placebo beverage.
Those who drank coffee every day ended up reducing about 4% of their body fat.
If you use this strategy, just remember to skip milk and sugar in your coffee.
20. Don’t sit still the whole day
If you’re sitting still the whole day, as you might be at your desk job, you might be gaining weight without even realizing it.
A study of 6,000 adults by the CDC shows that 25% said they sat more than eight hours a day. 44% said they did no moderate to vigorous physical activity.
Nearly 80% of adults are not meeting the key guidelines for aerobic and muscle-strengthening activity.
Now, this lack of activity is really bad.
Researchers at Stanford University School of Medicine analyzed data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, a long-term CDC project. The analysis included more than 17,000 people.
As the research found, a lack of physical activity makes people gain weight.
And sitting the whole day is bad for your health in so many other ways and has been linked to obesity, diabetes, depression, and other serious illnesses.
21. Eat less sugar (here’s how)
One of the most effective ways to lose weight is to eat less sugar.
The average American consumes 17 teaspoons of sugar a day, while the recommended amount is 6 teaspoons for women and nine for men.
At the same time, sugar is linked to weight gain. A review of USDA and CDC data shows that consuming sugar impacts obesity.
A meta-study of 88 studies looked at the link between soft drink consumption and weight gain. The study found a clear association between soft drink intake and an increase in body weight.
It’s clear that to lose weight, you should reduce the amount of sugar you eat. The problem? Sugar is found in so many foods you might not even realize are high in sugar — flavored yogurts, cereals, bread…
The trick is to eat foods that make you feel fuller for longer. A few of them include chickpeas, beans, and fish.
But another tip I love is to use sweet spices to replace your sugar cravings.
22. Follow a plan that suits your lifestyle
Here’s the thing:
Age doesn’t keep you from losing weight. A study demonstrated that obese people over 60 were able to lose as much weight as younger people, using only lifestyle changes.
The study followed 242 people who participated in a program that focused on lifestyle changes, such as dietary changes, psychological support, and encouragement of physical activity.
That said, any program you follow should work for your lifestyle.
If you work a lot and have a family, you likely don’t have time to work out for hours or think too much about the foods you eat.
And you want to continue enjoying eating out with your family and friends.
Choose a program that works for you! For example, my own program, Slim Down Transformation, is tailored for busy, professional women in their 40s, 50s, and 60s who want to lose weight.
23. Get professional help
Tired of doing it on your own?
For example, a 5-year study of 1,432 participants suggests that one-on-one expert coaching, food log feedback, and live weekly expert-led online classes were significant predictors of weight loss in a 6-month period.
Another 12-month pilot study of 28 women suggests that health coaching helped these women lose on average 16.52 lbs and reduce waist circumference by 3.56 inches. Their blood pressure went down and high-density lipoproteins went up.
You can read about more weight-loss program statistics here.
Ultimately, weight loss programs can help you lose weight faster and keep off that weight in the long term.
Losing weight after 50 – success stories
Now you know how to lose weight in your 50s. But what are some actual success stories? Here’s how several of my students in their 50s have been able to lose weight… and keep it off!
Stephanie, one of my star students, has a busy job, a grown-up daughter and she also does a lot of volunteering in her community. She used to have high cholesterol and high blood pressure and she had recently found out that she was pre-diabetes. Stephanie wasn’t that overweight, but she felt her health was spiraling. She would stress eat and constantly snack on sugary foods.
During our time together, Stephanie’s goal was to lose 10 pounds. She ended up losing 15 pounds and lost 3 inches off the hips and waist.
The best part? Her health has taken a major turn. She’s no longer pre-diabetes and her cholesterol and blood pressure reached healthy levels.
Stephanie has so much more energy these days that she even decided to finally make a dream come true and get back to school. She’s now studying for a master’s and a PhD in leadership.
The reason she was able to do all this?
She’s able to control her sugar cravings thanks to the mindset shifts she went through in my program. As Stephanie puts it:
“It’s all real food. It’s not a diet, it’s a lifestyle change. The great thing is that you’re not giving up a food group. You can eat whatever you want, you just learn how to control what you eat and not being controlled by what you eat.”
Patti, who is 58, lost 27 pounds in 90 days. Her goal is 60 pounds and there’s every reason it’s going to happen.
The reason she was able to lose all this weight in such a short timeframe?
We gave her specific metabolism-boosting meal plans that are family-friendly. Even her husband loves them! We kept her motivated through accountability and we had multiple weekly accountability check-ins. Ultimately, she got a simple system that teaches her how to cook delicious food that she’s then created a lifestyle with. Oh, and she’s done this with no exercise.
Pam, who is 58, is a retired teacher who up until recently used to do everything for her loved ones. She didn’t really have time for herself and as a result, her health declined.
She was morbidly obese and struggled with several health issues. It wasn’t like she didn’t do anything — Pam had tried programs like Weight Watchers before. But nothing seemed to work.
That’s when she decided to join my program. What really appealed to her was all the support she would get and that she would be part of a community.
Did it pay off? You bet! Pam lost 33 lbs, 2 inches off her bust, 4 off her waist, and 4 inches off her hips. She lost 30 lbs without any exercise and once she felt more energized, she added on exercise.
She fits into new clothes (and is getting rid of the old ones for good), she exercises every day, walks her dogs, and feels more confident. During our interview, she could even wear a tank top that is two sizes down from her previous size.
And does she think the changes will stick? Pam says yes, because the program is about mindset and not some quick fix.
She’s looking forward to traveling and finally enjoying her 50s and 60s to the fullest!
Anita is 55, a teacher and mom of two daughters. As Anita is an Indian vegetarian, she doesn’t eat some foods like eggs and tofu. For many, this can make it harder to lose weight because it feels like there aren’t enough healthy alternatives.
But as Anita’s daughters are older and independent, she saw this as the moment to spend on herself and take care of herself. She gave herself permission to lose weight and by doing that, she knew she had to learn new strategies and get accountability to stay on track.
Within the first month, she had already lost her first five pounds and kept going from there.
Vicky, who has two grown-up children, has tried to lose weight her whole life and gone through various programs. None of them worked for her and she quickly gave up on them as they weren’t easy to follow.
Vicky used to feel so tired after every day at work and in the breaks, she would just snack.
But after going through my program, she lost 17 pounds in the first 8 weeks without exercise. She also shed 7.5 inches off her body. Vicky used to be size 14, almost 16. But she’s gone down to size 12 and looks forward to being able to wear her old clothes again.
She feels more energized and now, instead of napping or snacking, she’ll take walks because she has so much more energy. She loves the food and that she never feels hungry!
Over to you!
There you have it. Now you know what it takes to lose weight after 50.
It IS possible to lose weight in your 50s. What it comes down to is using the RIGHT weight loss strategies — not to deprive yourself or use unhealthy supplements.
What have you tried so far to lose weight?
Let me know in the comments below!