Being in tune with our bodies is important as we grow older. As we age, our metabolism slows down and we must challenge ourselves to stay healthy and fit. Have you ever seen someone with extra weight that looks older? Have you ever met someone who looks fit and in top shape and looks younger than what they are? Well, weight can attribute to that. The good news is You can take control of your life and get your body in shape. You can achieve the goals you have set for looking good and be in the best shape of your life. Blackdoctor.org shares 8 ways to deal with weight loss and aging. Check these simple eight steps out.
1. Demystifying Food
Before you can take control of your eating habits, you have to take away the power that food has over you. In the process, you can begin to look at what you put on your plate as a positive power instead of an evil force over which you’ve lost all control.
- Think moderation, not elimination. Figure out what’s important and what’s not. Learn to eat less of the high-fat, high-calorie foods you enjoy the most. Knowing you can still look forward to your favorite foods makes the process something you can live with for a lifetime.
- Eat regularly in response to real hunger. Learn to listen to your body’s cues. By eating healthful, balanced meals and snacks when you’re hungry, you’re less likely to get caught up in out-of-control eating that you’ll regret later.
- Say good-bye to calorie counting. Switch your focus from calories to good nutrition. Make your healthful eating changes gradual, so you don’t get overwhelmed.
- Picture portions. It’s hard to manage your food intake if you don’t have a clue what a 1/2 cup serving of pasta looks like or what a 6-ounce glass of juice is. When you start out, measure your food until you’ve learned to judge portion sizes accurately. If portion sizes start creeping back up, return to measuring and weighing for a while.
- Disconnect with the scale. Don’t focus on a number, instead use how you feel and the way your clothes fit to measure success. If you just can’t give up the scale, make your weigh-ins less frequent. Weighing yourself once a week is adequate.
2. Assessing Your Weight as a Senior
The best way to determine if you’re carrying around too much weight (and probably not enough muscle) is to calculate your body mass index (BMI). BMI is just one indicator of good health, but it’s a good place to start. A lower BMI indicates you’re more likely to be healthy.
Here’s how to figure your BMI:
1. Weigh yourself first thing in the morning, without clothes.
2. Measure your height in inches.
3. Multiply your weight in pounds by 700.
4. Divide the answer in #3 by your height.
5. Divide the answer in #4 by your height again.
6. The answer in #5 is your BMI.
What Your BMI Means:
* 18.5 or less is underweight
* 18.5-24.9 is a healthy weight
* 25-29.9 is overweight
* 30 or more is obese
Knowing how many calories you need each day is another important piece of information that will help you manage your weight. Most experts say that 2,000 to 2,600 calories a day should meet the energy needs of men older than 50 who are lightly to moderately active.
For women over 50 who are lightly to moderately active, 1,600 to 1,800 calories a day should do it. However, these are just ballpark figures. Individual calorie needs can differ greatly depending on muscle mass, physical activity, and genetic differences.
While it’s true that the more calories you cut, the quicker you’ll lose, don’t make the mistake of cutting back too much. If you go too low (below 1,600 calories a day), you won’t get enough nutrients, you’ll be fatigued, and your body will simply compensate by slowing its metabolic rate even further so that each calorie is used as efficiently as possible.
A slower metabolic rate means that your food sacrifices won’t amount to the weight loss you expected: You’ll have sacrificed for little reward. For men: Multiply your goal or ideal weight by 13.5 to get your daily calorie needs. For women: Multiply your goal or ideal weight by 13.2 to get your daily calorie needs.
3. Getting More Physical Activity as a Senior
If you’re determined to succeed at losing weight, simply cutting calories won’t guarantee success. Physical activity is as essential to achieving long-term weight loss as a healthful diet, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). By themselves, neither exercise nor diet can get you to your goal as effectively or as fast as the two of them can together. That’s especially true for people over age 50.
Not only is physical activity essential for weight-loss success, the NIH says it’s an important factor in maintaining your weight once you’ve lost the extra pounds. Take comfort in the NIH’s use of the words “physical activity,” not “exercise.”
The message is that you can win the weight-loss game with many different kinds of physical activity. You don’t have to do killer aerobics and lift heavy weights at a gym to drop pounds and keep them off. But you do have to do something, and you have to do it regularly.
4. Anti-Aging Bonus
Researchers have recently learned that regular physical activity can have a powerful effect on age-related declines in metabolism. One study out of Tufts University Center for Physical Fitness found that strength training by itself increased the metabolic rate of postmenopausal women by 15 percent. Not much, you say?
If the boost translates to only 100 calories a day, which is a realistic expectation, you could save yourself from putting on an extra 10 pounds in a year. Regular exercise offers a trifecta of good health: It burns calories, builds muscle, and improves your overall health. Experts on aging say that the body is better able to repair itself and perform efficiently if it is properly conditioned by exercise and good nutrition.
And the calorie-burning rewards of exercise are not limited to your workout time. Some research suggests that your revved up metabolic rate stays elevated for several hours after you stop exercising.
While weight management may be your number one priority now, think fitness not thinness. Just look at all the other health bonuses experts attribute to being physically active:
Regular physical activity reduces your risk of developing:
- heart disease
- some kinds of cancer
- high blood pressure
It also can reduce the symptoms of:
And it boosts and builds:
- the immune system
- your energy level
- your muscle mass
- blood flow to the brain, which helps keep you mentally sharp
So how should you get started? It doesn’t matter how you begin, just get moving! Any activity is better than vegetating in front of the television. Look for every opportunity you can to stand instead of sit, walk instead of drive, or run instead of walk. Turn your everyday activities into opportunities for physical activity, such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator. Make movement a routine part of your everyday life.
5. Triad of Physical Activity
Recent research has found that when it comes to exercise, you need a combination of three types to reap the most health benefits — weight training for strength, aerobic exercise for strength and endurance, and calisthenics (stretching, bending, and twisting exercises) for flexibility.
Studies have found that extreme physical exertion is no more useful to gaining and maintaining fitness than is moderate exercise. What’s more, you place yourself at risk for injury or a heart attack if you’re not already in good physical shape. So start off slowly and increase your activity gradually. Get your doctor’s okay before beginning a new physical activity if you haven’t exercised in years or have a medical condition.