We all know that the older we get, the more we have to do in order to maintain a healthy weight. And while you might not be burning energy the same way you did when you were younger, but you can still take off extra pounds if you are trying to lose weight.
As the advice young people get, it still applies to you:
- Burn more calories than you consume
- Load up on veggies, fruits, lean meats, low-fat dairy, and whole grains
- Limit the number of sugars and foods with no nutritional value
- Stay away from fad diets – the results usually don’t last
There are of course some other things you need to do if you’re over 60 and want to lose weight. These include:
- Strengthen muscles: We lose muscle mass as we age and a great way to compensate for that is to do strength training. Try using weight machines the next time you’re at the gym or use lighter weights you hold in your hands. You can also use your own body weight for resistance by practicing yoga or Pilates. Building up your muscle mass is key to burning more calories and maintaining your weight.
- Protein is key: Since we’re at risk of losing muscle mass, we need to make sure our diets include about 1 gram of protein for roughly every 2 pounds of body weight. Protein is also a good way to feel fuller longer. Great sources of proteins to stick to include wild salmon, eggs, vegan-friendly options, and lean beef.
- Stay hydrated: this should go without saying for everyone: drink plenty of water! Oftentimes, thirst will mask itself as hunger and then we eat when really, all we needed was water. And as we get older, we slowly lose our ability to be quick to notice when we’re thirsty! On average, we should be getting around 64 ounces of water a day. We get water from drinking it (of course), but we also get part of it from the foods we eat. Foods that are naturally full of water include cucumbers and tomatoes.
- Boost your metabolism: You can outsmart your aging metabolism by eating smaller meals and snacks at least every 3 hours. Since our metabolism is already slow in our 60s, not eating enough will only make it slower. You can figure out what you need to eat in a day by discussing it with your primary doctor or a physician.
- Get your fiber: Eating foods with fiber is good for your digestion. Unfortunately, constipation tends to become more of an annoyance as you get older but eating fiber-rich foods can help prevent constipation and other digestive issues.
- Use less salt: Consuming an excess amount of salt can raise your blood pressure and this puts you at a heightened risk of health problems like heart disease or stroke. Most of the salt we eat is in foods we eat every day. Salt is in cereals, bread, canned soups, and frozen foods. Take a look at food labels before you buy and select the ones that have less salt. Also, try not to add too much salt to your food when cooking or baking.
- Vitamin D is important: Vitamin D is important to maintain bone health. The best source of vitamin D is safe exposure to UV sunlight. You only need to spend a brief period of time in the sun each day to get an adequate amount of vitamin D. We can’t get enough Vitamin D from food alone, though dietary sources full of Vitamin D include eggs, oily fish, and enriched breakfast cereals and spreads. Vitamin D is known to help prevent osteoporosis.
It’s never too late to have a healthy lifestyle. Your 60s are an important decade. It’s the time we most of us begin to plan to put our work-life behind us and retire. You may have more time to spend on focusing on yourself and while this change may be exciting and scary, there is no better time to start working on a “new you” phase of your life!
This “new you” have the time to focus on your health and feeling great. Your retirement should not only be about “resting” but about reaching your fullest health and working toward having a long life of health and happiness.