A friend told me that dogs fall into two categories when it comes to food, they either “eat to live” or “live to eat”. I think the same applies to human beings. I definitely fall into the “live to eat” category. Because of this, I can’t diet. Lately I can’t even get motivated to try, despite being at my highest weight ever. I was feeling discouraged then I suddenly remembered a list I made years ago of 21 tips to lose weight. I dug it out and realized, I can use this in midlife!
Why diets don’t work in midlife
Losing weight after 50 is tough. As women age, we are hit with a one-two punch of hormonal and lifestyle changes resulting in an increase in body fat, often abdominal body fat. While some of these changes, such as declining estrogen levels, are not within our natural control, we can have an impact on lifestyle changes such as lower activity levels, changes in sleep patterns, and casual eating.
But don’t reach for the most recent fad diet. For one thing, most fad diets aren’t sustainable over the long term. Most people can’t maintain extreme calorie reduction, food restrictions, and strict food plans. Furthermore, our aging bodies don’t lose pounds in the same way as we did in our youth. Extreme solutions can result in a loss of lean body mass and a reduction in bone density. Losing weight must be part of a healthy approach to lifestyle in order to be effective.
My list of 21 tips to lose weight in midlife is a great place to start!
I created this list in my early thirties, when I was thin, for a friend who had to lose substantial weight. He didn’t want to diet and couldn’t follow a food plan. This was an easy way to help him identify small changes that he could make which would lead to huge impact. When I began putting weight on in my late thirties, I used these tips to get my weight in check and maintain it for a long time. Then I slipped. Time to get back on track!!
Pandemic weight gain
The “Quarantine 15” is a real thing for many of us. I’ve found it challenging to be at home and not pile on the pounds. For one thing, my workdays have gotten longer – not shorter. Instead of using the time saved commuting for productive measures such as exercise, I’ve extended my schedule. Bad choice!! I need to fix that. There is no excuse for me not to use some of that saved time for exercise. Second, pretty much my entire day is now spent sitting on my butt in Zoom meetings.
But, the biggest downfall to being home all the time is that the kitchen is just 10 feet away from my desk. 10…feet….away!
I graze, all day. A coffee cake here, some popcorn there. It adds up. Fast! I’ve gained 11.7 pounds since my first work at home day. This has to stop.
How to use the list of tips
Here is my list of 21 Tips. Use some of them, or all of them. You can mix and match depending on the day. Each tip will result in a different amount of weight loss. They are all ways to make small changes to your lifestyle to support long term weight loss that sticks.
21 Tips to lose weight in midlife
- Replace one or two starches a day with something higher in fiber & protein such as beans or whole grains.
- Cut your wine intake! If you have a glass of wine every day, your consuming 120 calories per glass = .24 pounds per week = 12.48lbs per year!
- Don’t let any one food, except green veggies, fill more than ¼ of your plate.
- If you are a person who always has a second serving of dinner, reduce both servings by 10%. This could mean 10-15 lbs per year.
- Have a serving of fruit daily. It adds fiber to your diet, helps you stay full, and will make you feel healthier!
- Use half of a roll for your sandwich. Keep the contents the same, just half the bread. 105 calories in a half bulkie roll, if you eat two sandwiches a week, you’ll lose around 3 lbs. per year. If you eat a sandwich every day, 11 lbs could melt away annually.
- Drink water before a meal. Research shows that drinking .5 liter of water before a meal will decrease calorie intake and increase weight loss by 44%!
- Have your tea or coffee black. If you use skim milk and have two cups per day, you could lose 2.4 lbs. per year. If you use cream, that number jumps to 12lbs.
- Find a way to get 15 short minutes of exercise per day and you’ll lose 6.25 lbs. per year. Remember, all movement counts. Arm exercises in your chair is still exercise. Start small.
- Eat half your snack/dessert. Cutting these calories daily could result in 7 to 10 lbs. weight loss in 12 months.
- Eat some fat!! Healthy fats such as avocado oil, olive oil, and nuts are good for you. They fill you up. Give you energy and help you to avoid snacking.
- Don’t drink your calories! One fruit flavored drink can pack hundreds of calories. The same holds true for smoothies, even those made from fruits and veggies. Replace one fruity beverage with a seltzer each day and you could see 17 pounds fall off your waist line annually.
- Delay your first meal. Add to this delay daily until you’ve removed breakfast from your routine. When you eat your first meal of the day, start with a protein.
- If you do eat breakfast, eat a high protein breakfast such as eggs, hummus, or nuts. Starting your day with protein will help reduce cravings throughout the day.
- Track your food. You don’t need a fancy app or a program, just write it down. Research shows the food journaling works to reduce calorie intake even if you’re not dieting.
- Weigh yourself once per week at the same day and time. This helps you to keep an objective watch over your weight.
- When you eat out, split your meal in half as soon as it arrives and ask for a box. Restaurant meals have far more calories, in most cases, than what we cook at home. Take temptation off the plate. 500 calories saved once per week can result in 7.5 pounds per year in weight loss.
- Always carry good snacks to avoid impulse purchases that you’ll later regret.
- Keep your trigger foods out of the house. If it’s not there, you can’t eat it!
- Implement a 20 minute rule for satisfying a craving. It’s simple, if you’re craving something, instead of running to the cabinet and grabbing it, set yourself a 20 minute timer. If, at the end of 20 minutes, you’re still craving it, help yourself. You’ll be surprised how often the craving will pass.
- Park a distance from your destination and walk. It doesn’t have to be far. The addition of even 1,000 steps per day could pay off in the loss of 4 pounds in a year.
How to get started losing weight?
Losing weight is always hard but it becomes increasingly difficult in midlife. Give yourself the grace to start small. Do what you can do each day and build on it. Every step in the right direction is a good one 😊
My starting goal is to lose 27 pounds. Beginning now. Here are pictures of me at my current weight. Wish me luck!