We wholeheartedly agree that 50 is the new 30. Midlife doesn’t mean the end of anything these days. Engaging in gratifying work, joyful fun, love, romance, travel, creative endeavors, feeling relevant and vital are now hallmarks of this stage of life. We want to continue to look, feel, and act not young, but youthful, as we move gracefully through middle age.
There are, however, some aspects of the aging process that can prove challenging to men and women. To address these challenges and continue enjoying a healthy and appropriate lifestyle, it’s necessary to strategies in place.
Weight gain, for example, is considered a fact of life after 50 for many individuals. And while there are physiological factors that contribute to added pounds, being heavier is not an inevitability or a foregone conclusion. You can combat midlife weight gain with a few techniques we want to share with you.
You might have a few extra pounds around the middle that don’t seem to budge with your previous healthy weight-reduction methods. The predominant culprits are metabolism, fatigue, hormones, and mobility. The metabolism of a 55-year-old operates at a significantly slower pace than that of 35-year-old. Hormonal changes can impact metabolic function negatively, especially for women, who may notice more stubborn belly fat, love handles, and underarm jiggle. It’s likely you are losing muscle, and fatigue is common. Stress is up, but mobility is down. You’re busy juggling a job, a household, challenging children and aging parents; you don’t take time to work out like you once did.
Combating all these factors that contribute to midlife weight gain requires concerted effort. Be honest with yourself about what you are eating, how much, and when. Keep a food journal if necessary. Progress may come from a combination of small changes. Swapping out sugary drinks for sparkling water won’t do it by itself, but it’s a start, and in combination with several other similar small changes, you can make progress. You need leafy greens now more than ever as well as good fats and fiber. Find a way to prepare greens that you love. Roast them with garlic, make them spicy with sriracha sauce, add a dash of curry for an Indian kick. Incorporate whole grains like quinoa, amaranth, and brown rice for more satisfying meals. Choose avocados over mayonnaise. Eat foods that satisfy and try to cut down on empty calories from white flour, sugar, and processed foods. Portion control is important: if your current serving of protein at dinner is 6 ounces, cut it back to 4 ounces, which is plenty if you savor it. Consider whether you’re really still hungry as you eat, and if you’re not, stop eating.
We’ve become conditioned to eat too much too often and usually the wrong kinds of foods. At work, most of us are sedentary, and many of us are dissatisfied or frustrated, so we eat junk for comfort or to relieve boredom. Instead, take a walk on your lunch break and snack on a small portion of nuts and raisins. You will feel more energized and your digestion will improve as a result. Drink more water. Often we are parched when we think we are hungry.
Exercise is also key at this time of life. What we do now determines how the last act will look. Make exercise a priority. Whether it’s tennis, swimming, swing dancing, golf (no cart!), light weight lifting, or yoga, it is imperative to find a way to keep moving your body to maintain strength, flexibility and agility. Keep trying classes, sports and techniques until you find something you want to participate in everyday, or keep switching, day by day or season by season – as long as you’re doing it. Exercise should, and will, make you feel good.
At Evolved Medical we embrace the process of aging. If you want to learn personalized strategies to combat weight gain after 50 and find out how to stay active, healthy, and fit, contact us online or give us a call for a consultation: (888) 925-4568.