This post is part of the Gorgeous 50’s series inspired by a book given to me by one of my sisters on my 50th birthday – ‘Grown up and Gorgeous in your 50’s’ by Pamela Robson. I will be sharing some of Pamela’s words and my own thoughts along the way. To see all posts published as part of this series, go here.
Diets come and go, but there is no magic pill for weight loss. Gaining and losing weight is all about the little habits you’ve developed. Every time you replace a bad habit with a good one, it is a step in the right direction.
- We often use food as a reward. Try to be aware of when and why you are eating. Use something else as a reward or comfort.
- Stay within your kilojoule allowance and you’ll lose weight. If you drop 400 kilojoules from your daily diet, you should lose about 1 kilogram a week.
- Adding exercise to the equation can boost your ability to lose weight. It helps to increase your metabolic rate, even after you’ve stopped working out.
- Eat smaller portions, and forget what your mother taught you about finishing everything.
- Make a shopping list and don’t shop when hungry. If it’s in the pantry you’re more likely to be tempted to eat it.
- Be patient, you have to be in it for life. Be warned, go back to your old habits and you’ll go back to your old weight.
First up – I’m not a dietician and I’m not a nutritionist. I am though, a mid-life woman who is sharing her thoughts and opinions based on her own personal experiences.
Dieting and Weight Loss
I’ll be the first to admit that weight loss is something I’m always striving for since I hit these mid-life years! It’s not as easy to stay slim and maintain it as when I was younger. However, I don’t believe in diets at all anymore (and I think I’ve tried them all). I believe in education – learning what is good for us and what isn’t; gaining an understanding of appropriate portion sizes and how much can be eaten in a day to either maintain our weight or lose some if that is what we are hoping to achieve; and little habits that can be changed that will accumulate to make a difference!
My research tells me that as we women age we don’t need as many calories, nor can we eat as big a meal! Our metabolism slows and our muscle mass decreases, which can lead to weight gain in the long run. Regular exercise, especially strength training, is paramount. Here’s some posts I’ve written previously in this series about exercise for women over 50: Exercise over 50 – Weights, Cardio & Stretching, and The best 50-something workout.
Menopause and Sleep
Another couple of things that women over 50 need to be aware of when striving to lose and/or maintain weight are: Menopause and weight gain and Sleep and weight gain! The two links provided there will provide more information to help with weight loss and to maintain as well.
How many calories should we eat per day?
For women, generally it is recommended we eat within the vicinity of 1,200 to 2,200 calories per day dependent on how active our lifestyle is and whether we are looking to lose weight or to maintain our weight. You would need to seek the advice of an expert (dietician/nutritionist etc) to determine the right amount to match with your lifestyle and needs.
By the way – 400 kilojoules (as mentioned by Pamela above) is equivalent to 95.602 calories.
Food as a reward
I agree with Pamela that as a culture we do tend to reward ourselves with food or drink or both! “Let’s celebrate with a wine and a cheese platter!” “Let’s catch up over dinner or Devonshire Tea”, etc etc. We should really try changing things up to things like – “let’s catch up for a walk and a chat”. You can still follow it up with a drink – but more-so with the purpose to hydrate while you chat! Aside from meeting up with friends, I choose to reward myself for achievements or even just getting through a busy week with things like a pedicure or a hair appointment or a walk somewhere nice out in nature.
Smaller portions is a given when it comes to meal times and a desire for weight loss or even to maintain our weight. I actually have found this easier as I’ve gotten older as our appetite’s do seem to decrease somewhat. I’d prefer to have a smaller main meal and leave room for maybe some strawberries and blueberries with a bit of yoghurt as a treat afterwards, than to eat one huge main meal that leaves me feeling overly full and heavy and blah! My problem area, which I’ve said many times here on the blog, is SNACKING! I think I might need to be hypnotised or something to stop me snacking!
Grocery shopping when hungry
I most definitely have been caught in the shopping whilst hungry trap. Best to avoid that one ladies. Eat before you go! If I’m hungry when I go grocery shopping all kinds of things seem to ‘fall’ into my trolley – pikelets, chocolates, savoury treats, you name it! Then they are at home in my pantry taunting me all week – if they last the week! This lesson has well and truly been learnt!
Nutrition for the 50+
I have my own opinions on what are the best kind of foods to eat at this stage of our lives and what foods must be avoided, but I’m hesitant to share them here because 1) I’m not a qualified expert & I’d prefer to refer to the advice from experts, and 2) Advice and opinions seem to be changing all the time, and 3) Food choices depend on taste and if you have any intolerances/allergies etc. I will say though (because I can’t help myself) the following:
- The more fresh and organic foods that you eat the better. It’s best to reduce or even remove processed foods from your diet.
- I personally try to eat protein with every meal but not large amounts. This does not mean red meat – there are loads of alternatives. See these examples of healthy protein foods as advised by The Heart Foundation.
- I recommend investigating anti-inflammatory foods, and
- Learn what you can do to improve your gut health. Here’s a couple of articles to get you started: 8 Steps to Better Gut Heath (by Dr Joanna) – a PDF; and 5 top foods to nourish your gut bacteria (by Jean Hailes).
Here’s a post I wrote very recently on Healthy eating habits for women over 50 that’s well worth a read if you haven’t read it already.
If you’d like to know more about what nutrition is recommended for adults over 50 here in Australia, this is what Nutrition Australia tells us.
You may also like to watch this video (13 minutes, 56 seconds) of Sue from Sizzling Towards 60 & Beyond interviewing Erin O’Neill an Accredited Practising Dietician who talks on what Smart Eating is and tips for Women Over 50 to eat smarter and healthier.
Of course, anyone with allergies or food intolerances (like myself) may need to make some adjustments. You might be best to seek the advice of a dietician or nutritionist for this.
My final thoughts
Of course we would all like to feel slim and lovely but I’m of the opinion these days that the aim should not be a SKINNY body but rather a HEALTHY body. In these days of hyper connectivity and social media we also need to be careful to not be comparing our bodies to all those body beautifuls (many of which are likely to be facetuned) we see on Instagram (for example). We often tend to forget that more often than not those girls are 20-30 or so years younger than us and at their age we too looked like that! We all come in different shapes and sizes and all bodies are beautiful! They are the vessels that carry us through our lives and we’ve gotta be grateful for that! True beauty really is what lies beneath the skin. Us ladies can be far too critical of ourselves can’t we (yes, myself included)?!
Enjoy your week!
Ciao for now,
Link up here at WOTM or with another of us in the Lovin’ Life Linky team:
Leanne of Deep Fried Fruit
Deborah of Debbish | Jo of And Anyways
It doesn’t matter where you link up as it will magically appear on all our blogs.