Losing weight when you’re older is a challenge, but worth it for your health

by Kevin Wells, lead writer at SeniorDiabetic.com (guest writer for Fitwell.co)

  Photo by Jake Thacker on Unsplash

Photo by Jake Thacker on Unsplash

Losing weight is no fun for anyone. It’s even more difficult as we get older. The pounds don’t come off as easily and it seems the odds are stacked against us but it’s still possible to lose and maintain your weight. It just takes a bit of a lifestyle change.

Weight loss has no magic pill. If it did, we’d all be thin. It takes work and dedication, and a commitment to your health. The only true way to lose weight is to burn more calories than you take in. As we get older, we lose muscle mass and replace it with fat, which puts us at risk for more problems.

The good news is that if you lose just 5 to 10 percent of our weight, you’re likely to see a change in your blood pressure, cholesterol and sugar, which will significantly reduce your risk for disease. Talk to your doctor about the best way to approach weight loss and diet. They can make recommendations for calorie intake and types of food to eat based on your specific needs.

Diet

When we’re busy, it’s easy to forget about eating well. Drive-thrus are so cheap and convenient. But cooking at home is usually the best way to lose weight. Focus on getting lots of fruits and vegetables and lean meats. Lean proteins, such as fish and chicken, are not only good for you, they help you stay fuller longer.

Fiber can also help you feel more full and help you lose weight. Consider adding lots of beans, asparagus and oats to your diet. It also helps your gut bacteria, so you’ll feel better.

Make sure to drink lots of water, too. Drinking water is good for you any time, but especially when you’re trying to lose weight. Water fills you up and keeps your body hydrated. Yes, you’ll go to the bathroom more, but it’s worth it for your health.

Exercise

Adding exercise to your routine can seem pretty daunting, especially if you’re not in the best health or have painful joints, but once you get going, it’s not that difficult. You just have to take the first step. Exercise is important for weight loss, but also your general health. Exercise can improve your longevity, mood, brain function and immunity.

Walking is the best start. If you’re able to walk unimpeded, just start walking. If you can just walk to the end of your block and back, it’s a start! Just go for it. Then tomorrow, do it again. And the next day. Soon, you’ll find it’s getting easier and you can add another block. Then another. Eventually, you’ll be a regular walking guru. If the weather isn’t ideal, consider walking at an indoor mall. Most malls open earlier than their regular opening times for walkers. You’re also likely to meet a new friend that way.

Don’t forget to build that lost muscle, too. If you don’t want to join a gym, consider building your own home gym. It may sound pricey, but it’s not. You can buy some home gym equipment pieces a little at a time and use them in your living room. You only need: a yoga mat, a balance ball, resistance bands and a few dumbbells. Then you’ll have everything you need to get fit, and these items can easily be stored away so you don’t lose your living room.

Losing weight is a journey, and your changes in diet and exercise should become a lifetime commitment to better health. Adding physical activity and good nutrition are bound to boost your overall health and lifestyle. If you’re an older adult, changing your lifestyle can help ensure your later years are healthier, meaning you can do more of the fun stuff you love.

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