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Managing weight loss after 60

Friday, February 21, 2014

I have read through a lot of SP articles, blog and team/message posts and it is clear that the same rules for weight loss apply whether you're 30 or 60 -- reduce your calorie intake and increase your activity level. But in looking at the problem of my repeated weight gains between 50 and 60 it is clear that my body was different in my 50+ years than it was when I was younger. In reading about the Over- 50 woman, I found that as you age, your metabolism SLOWS-- by up to 10 percent per decade after age 25. That means you may take in the same number of calories and exercise just as much as you did in your 30s, but the weight still creeps on.

Your estrogen levels may stay the same in your 50s, but you're losing muscle due to aging. That further SLOWS your metabolism, which is why belly fat continues to be an issue for women. As you lose bone mass, you become shorter. Because there's no place for your organs to go, your abdomen protrudes. As you shrink your BMI numbers change. At 5’6” and 150 pounds your BMI is 24.2 in the normal range. If you have shrunk a little to 5” 5” and still 150 pounds, your BMI is now 25 in the overweight range. And since you have lost muscle that extra is in fat which is probably around your middle if you are a woman.

After 50, thinking about doing cardio is easier than doing cardio. As I have aged, I find that I am not as flexible, it takes longer for me to recover from intense cardio, my joints ache a lot more and it is much easier to get hurt. So being active is great but there are limits to the amount of exercise I can do in a day.

For me losing and maintaining are all about managing calories. For me it really meant giving up sugar, refined-carbs, fried food, limiting red meat and really watching the amount of fat I eat. I have learned this over the last two years with a loss of 35 pounds using the SP nutrition tracker to follow a healthy eating plan. I make sure I eat enough calories every day.

I do splurge occasionally but I have been able to curb the sugar monster which has really helped me to get the weight off and keep the weight at maintenance. I also avoid FULL FAT DAIRY which allows me to eat foods I love just without the cheese and sour cream. Think tacos and spaghetti!

Now at 60+ I eat at the low end of my calorie range which is not a lot of food in a day and there is almost no room for fun food. Even if I plan out my calories to splurge at one meal, I still have to eat small amounts (think Thanksgiving!! ). There are 408 calories in 1 cup of Lasagne with Meat, who eats only a serving of lasagne that fits into a cup?Sometimes I just eat what I want but try not to over eat. Then watch what I eat closely over the next 4 or 5 days until my weight is back in range.

So where does all this information leave me? A little down because it means that if I like being at my current weight I have to really watch what and how much I eat every single day and be committed to a regular (no excuses) exercise program. But fitting into a size I like, having all of my health numbers looking good, being medicine free and feeling energetic at 66 is just GREAT.

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I learned from so many Sparkers That the old 80/20 Rule in Life apply to weight loss and food intake also. The number on the scale is affected 80% by what you eat and 20% on how much you exercise. I am a prime example of this, after a lifetime of almost daily exercise and yet increased weight gain through the decades. I'm 54 and Finally have got this appetite under control, through clean eating, complex carbs, no bread, few starches, and something sweet everyday if i crave it. Plus a healthy dose of reality checking. Now I'm using the Nutrition Tracker along with Fitness Tracker for full accountability and, just to know how it all adds up.
    I'm also enjoying myself in all ways. And finding myself full, on a lot less food.
    Who knew?
    1419 days ago
    So true. Sigh. I wish it were easier. Aging slows things down, but a determined mind will make progress. emoticon
    1476 days ago
    I love the information but I love how you wrapped it up even more.
    So where does all this information leave me? A little down because it means that if I like being at my current weight I have to really watch what and how much I eat every single day and be committed to a regular (no excuses) exercise program. But fitting into a size I like, having all of my health numbers looking good, being medicine free and feeling energetic at 66 is just GREAT.
    No excuses about how much more challenging the journey is at 66 (my age as well) or 70. Just recognition, acceptance and resolve. We can do this with the tools we have learned; mindfulness awareness, assessment and constant journey correction.
    Awesome! Thanks.

    1477 days ago
    bummer, ain't it

    Still - beats the alternatives

    still working on learning how to crave Brussels sprouts
    1488 days ago
    The way I look at it is you are in charge of your own destiny. Yes, it can be difficult the older you get, but don't let that take you down. Be the one that doesn't fall into that category. You can do this!
    1490 days ago
    All the information you give is true, but doesn't tell all the story. With regular exercise you can build muscle thus increasing your metabolism and it also helps strengthen your bones.

    Each person is different and true we will never be at the metabolism we had at 20 but I haven't found it means I can't enjoy favorite foods. Especially if I modify them to be lower in fat and calories but still delicious.
    1491 days ago
    Thanks for sharing! I kind of knew all the facts but I never got them together in my head, so I liked your blog very much.
    I'm only 46 and haven't noticed any of these signs, but it is good to know in advance and get prepared to eat less or move more in the future.
    1491 days ago
  • MAREE1953
    I'm 60 and will be celebrating my 3 yr anniversary of reaching and maintaining my goal weight in May. Last summer I began taking Art of Strength classes at my local gym because DH encouraged me to try it. He is 14 yrs younger than me and my classmates range from 20s and 30s, a few 40s and a 50 yr old. I keep up and sometimes beat them in the challenges thrown at us by the trainer. I'm learning to lift a lot heavier weight (yesterday it was deadlifting 115 lbs for 2min). In my previous classes the heaviest weights available were two 15 lb dumbbells.

    So I guess what I'm saying is that it can be done and most of all I am extremely grateful for my health and fitness level!! Spark on!!
    1491 days ago
    I enjoyed your blog, lots to think about.
    1491 days ago
  • SHERYLP461
    I am 67 and have been fighting this since I was 50, added to that a hysterectomy at age 45. It is very difficult to move enough to make a difference, but everyday I move just a little more.
    1491 days ago
    I came to the same realization kicking and screaming a long time ago. I'm in my 60s and my health is important so it requires sacrifices.
    1491 days ago
    I've got a few months to go and I'm practicing now!
    1491 days ago
    I agree with everything that you have said (except I haven't shrunk yet, and didn't even think of that! ) I am 64. I do an hour of cardio 5 days per week (Leslie Sansone) and use bands a couple days as part of the Leslie work-out. This is what I have found that keeps me at my goal weight. I also have to watch what I eat. Much smaller portions. Try to eat nutrient dense food. If I have what I call a "food fling," then I cut back for a few days. If it's what I have to do to stay healthy, feel good and be a size that feels comfortable......then I am willing to do it.
    1491 days ago
    You're timing on writing this was so apropos for me !
    Now I'm depressed....hahahahahaha ...just kidding. :-)
    All my sugar comes from my delicious coffee creamer. I have managed to cut back to between 3-4 cups/day. After that, I drink decaf tea.
    I'm active enough to maintain my current weight. No problem(s) there. Although, I do want to lose " at least " another 10lbs.
    Great Blog !
    I'll be back when you write some more......
    1491 days ago
    What a great Blog! I am 73 and fight the same demons. You definitely have to be consistent as you grow older and keep on moving. If I were not as physically active as I am now (golfing, swimming, strength training and lots of walking), I could probably only do half as many activities as I am doing now. You just have to move, if you still want to eat. Yes, the portions are getting smaller with every year, but, otherwise, we would keep on putting on weight. I have hardly reached my goal, but have lost about 25# since my 60s and am feeling great.
    1491 days ago
    I hear from so many old people that they say " when you get older, your taste buds will change and no longer want to eat fatty foods or meat." And I wonder that is really the case or they just saying to avoid eating for their own good for keeping healthy weight ?
    I hope when I get older, I really wish my taste buds will change and no longer crave for Fat, meat, and sweet. Thanks for sharing this blog. Have a wonderful day.
    1492 days ago
    1492 days ago
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