Did your 50th birthday bring the gift of some unwanted pounds? Are you struggling to stay on top of your weight, even though you're not eating any more than you used to? Is it becoming harder to maintain the size and shape you were in before you turned 50?
If you answered yes to any of the above, you're not alone. As you age, a variety of changes take place in your body that make it increasingly difficult to manage your weight. Your metabolism slows down, hormone levels decrease, and your total body fat tends to increase as your ratio of muscle to fat shifts.
However, these changes don't mean that weight gain is inevitable. Here are some ways to manage and maintain your desired weight after 50.
1. Bump up your metabolism by bumping up your intake of leafy greens.
You should be eating leafy green vegetables on a regular basis if you're watching your weight. These foods are packed with an assortment of nutrients which help to keep all of your body functions, including your metabolism and fat-burning functions, operating efficiently.
Leafy greens are high in fibre, which improves digestion and prevents constipation (and the associated bloating and heaviness that comes with it.) And because they're so low in calories, so you can fill your plate and still maintain or even lose weight.
2. Maintain lean muscle tissue by consuming more protein.
Protein makes up 20% of your total body weight, and it is a primary component for building muscle tissue. Consuming more protein will help offset the changes in body composition that occur with aging, enabling you to hang on to more of your lean muscle tissue for a leaner, trimmer, more youthful appearance.
Whether you eat meat or follow a vegetarian or vegan diet, you have plenty of options for healthy sources of protein, including: meat, poultry, fish, legumes, eggs, cheese, yogurt, quinoa, tofu, and tempeh. Nuts are also a good source of protein, but they tend to be high in calories, so stick to a small handful at a time.
3. Discourage fat accumulation by cooking with onions and other foods containing quercetin.
Onions contain quercetin, a type of flavonoid with antioxidant properties (antioxidants protect cells from age-related damage.) Quercetin promotes a healthy metabolism, and helps to counter fat accumulation by inhibiting the growth of fat cells. Without changing the make-up of a meal, simply adding more onions to it will help you keep excess weight off.
Other foods, herbs and spices with high levels of quercetin include: kale, spinach, chilli peppers, fennel leaves, dill, and oregano.
4. Control your appetite by getting a good night's rest.
There's a well-established link between poor sleep quality and weight gain. If you're constantly sleep-deprived, you'll likely find it harder to maintain your desired weight. Along with contributing to a sluggish metabolism, sleep deprivation can throw off your hunger cues. Your appetite increases, you're constantly hungry, and you don't feel satisfied after eating, so you wind up overeating.
Getting a good night's rest on a consistent basis will help you stay on top of your weight, and you'll experience other benefits as well. You'll feel more energetic physically, sharper mentally, and more stable emotionally.
5. Fire up a sluggish metabolism by moving your body throughout the day.
Movement of any kind, helps to fire up your metabolism. This becomes even more important once you reach the age of 50, when your metabolism naturally starts to slow down. Don't feel that you need to do anything beyond what you're capable of. Instead, start off gradually and look for some fun, comfortable ways to work more movement into your day. For example:
Conclusion: good nutrition is crucial in your 50s and onward, in order for you to maintain strong bones and a robust immune system as you age. This is not the time to compromise your health by resorting to crash diets, skipping meals, or pushing your body beyond what it can reasonably handle to the point where you run the risk of injury. Working the above steps into your diet and lifestyle will help you manage your weight in a safe, healthy way.
Image by Jill Wellington from Pixabay
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