How To Lose Weight As A Senior
As part of the natural aging process, the body’s metabolism starts to slow down as we get older and we lose muscle. Because we are burning fewer calories due to muscle loss, we have to either eat fewer calories with the same amount of exercise, or keep our eating the same amount and get more physical activity, or ideally a combination of both, to keep from gaining a lot of weight.
To change your eating habit, focus more on fresh fruits and vegetables. Most of them have few calories but are packed with good vitamins and minerals that we need to stay healthy. While that donut (or two) you have mid-morning with your coffee tastes great, it is most likely filled with saturated fat and sugar, both of which you should reduce as you age.
You can add in more exercise into your daily life by doing yoga or strength training; actually consider doing both. Yoga is a no impact physical exercise that is not only good for increasing joint flexibility and balance, but also keeps the mind sharp through meditation. Stiff joints and the increased propensity to fall as we get older are a major cause of broken bones in seniors. As we get older, it takes longer to heal after a break; some never do fully recover.
Strength or weight training helps keep you from losing more muscle mass and it can actually build muscle to replace some of what you already lost. And you burn extra calories at the same time. A win-win situation.
By the time we reach age 70, our muscle mass has went from 45% down to 27%, but what you may notice is you weigh the same (if you are lucky – you now have a higher number if you are not).
The problem is you can’t trust the scale to give you the whole picture. Even though the number on the scale may not have changed much, the pounds of muscle you lost were replaced by an increase of body fat.
The only way to get rid of it is to burn it off by eating healthy and exercising more.
But how do you know how much weight you should lose? By calculating your Body Mass Index or BMI. Start by:
• Weighing yourself first thing in the morning without clothes.
• Next measure your height in inches.
• Multiply your weight by 700
• Divide that answer by your height.
• Then divide it again by your height
The resulting number is your BMI. For example let’s use a 150 pound person 67 inches tall; the formula would look like this: weight*700/height/height=BMI or 150*700/67/67=23.39. A number between 18.5 and 24.9 is a healthy weight; 25 to 29.9 is overweight; 30 or more is obese.
As a starting point, lightly active men over age 50 should consume 2,000 to 2,600 calories per day; women 1,600 to 1,800. Because genetics, muscle mass, age and activity all affect the number of calories burned, you will have to tailor the calories you need to your own body.
Strive to lose about one pound per week. To do so you have to burn 3,500 more calories than you take in. This breaks down into a daily deficit of 500 calories. Through a combination of exercising more and eating fewer calories, it is not that hard to do.
Unexplained Senior Weight Loss: What to Be Aware Of
Are you an older person who has lost weight recently without trying to do so? At first, you probably felt pretty good about yourself. You noticed that you were dropping a couple of pounds, and maybe even looking better in the mirror. But as you continued to lose weight unintentionally, you began to get concerned. You probably wondered if this was a sign of some debilitating disease or condition.
Unexplained senior weight loss is a good reason for concern. Diabetes is just one dangerous condition which can cause unintentional weight loss, in seniors as well as other adults. To try and explain your inexplicable weight loss check out some probable causes below, and be sure to consult your physician.
#1 – Recent Changes in Your Life and Environment
Moving can have a dramatic effect on your mind and body. The same can definitely be said for entering or leaving a serious relationship. If you just received a job promotion and are now traveling all the time, this can also precipitate weight loss. If you have experienced some major change in your life recently, that could be the simple reason for your drop in weight.
#2 – Natural Physical Changes
As you age, your body changes. Simply looking in the mirror you understand that your body is much different than it was 10, 20 and 30 years ago. Your metabolism slows down, and you have a natural tendency to develop less body mass and muscle. Because of this, seniors simply do not have the hunger that they did when they were younger. As all these changes take place, they can combine to naturally melt away the pounds.
#3 – Medication
The medical community understands that certain medications have specific side effects. Even so, until you as an individual take any type of medicine, there is no telling how your very specific body chemistry will react to it. Medication can cause weight gain and weight loss, as well as a long list of other mental and physical side effects.
#4 – Depression, Mental Issues
Some older people have mental problems considering aging. They notice they are not as mobile and independent as they used to be. They miss their strong, capable bodies, and can become depressed as a natural reaction to the physical aging process. Anxiety, panic attacks, depression and other mental situations can all lead to drastic and immediate weight loss in senior citizens.
Consult your doctor and find out what a healthy body weight is for you. Everyone is different, and you have a healthy weight range you need to shoot for. It could be that your weight loss is actually taking you to your healthiest body weight. Only by talking with a doctor and or health care professional can you discover what your naturally healthy body weight is, and whether you unexplained weight loss is a concern or not.