We don’t talk a lot about keeping weight off as you age. At least in the fitness industry we don’t. Maybe because “how to lose weight” is more attention grabbing. I don’t know the answer, but I do know that keeping the weight off requires a strategy.
Get in shape
Exercise does work, especially to counterbalance the physiological changes that occur in the body with aging. Chris Crowley and Henry S. Lodge said it best in their book, Younger Next Year for Women (there is also a version for men), “You do have to age, but you don’t have to rot!” Exercise is one of the best antidotes for aging and for maintaining your weight.
Strength training and aerobic exercise are essential. Twice a week for strength training (full body) and an accumulation of 150 minutes of aerobic exercise (moderate levels) are the two important goals.
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“Quit eating crap”
Crowley and Lodge hit the proverbial nail on the head – as you get older, “quit eating crap.” Fast food and overly processed food should be eliminated or minimized in your diet. Keep sugar (the real stuff) as an occasional and special treat.
Add more whole foods like fruits and vegetables (these nutrients help our bodies work more effectively), and be mindful to include lean proteins and healthy fats. Keep a food journal for a week and then take an objective look at what you eat. Where can you improve the quality of your food?
Seek out a professional for guidance if you are unsure of what changes to make. An expert resource, like a personal trainer, can help you determine what habit changes are best for you. A trainer is also a great resource for added accountability and discipline.
Pay attention to your portions
Our energy needs shift when we get older, which makes it easy to be over eating without changing anything. If you have started to think about the possibility of weight gain, it is likely that your psyche is telling you that it is time to take a look at your nutritional house. In addition to improving the quality of your food, take a look at your portions. Are you satisfied and full when you complete your portions? Or are your portions larger than your hunger? If the later, then you are likely overeating. If you are overeating on a consistent basis, you will likely gain weight. To prevent weight gain, work to reduce your portion sizes.
At Strand Fitness, you have your own personal coach helping you put healthy habits into action. Exercise, nutrition, getting the right amount of sleep, and keeping negative stress in check are all essential strategies for being a stronger and healthier you! And for keeping the weight off as you age!
Deal with poor sleep quality
We may need less sleep as we get older (I have read about an hour less), but we still need high quality sleep. Not getting the right amount of high quality sleep can lead to weight gain. Lack of proper sleep messes with the hormones that regulate hunger and satiety. In other words, we are apt to feel hungrier and not be as aware when we are full – e.g. we overeat.
Be proactive with your sleep. If you are having sleep issues, do an inventory of things that are disrupting your sleep. See where you might make improvements. We’ve written two blogs on the topic that have some helpful tips. (Don’t leave a great night’s sleep to chance; How to get great sleep).
If you find that your sleep is disrupted despite your best efforts, check in with your doctor. Inadequate sleep over long periods of time takes a toll on your health.
Keep Negative Stress in Check
My last blog post addressed stress and its positive and negative impacts on the body. (Click here to read more). Just like inadequate sleep, chronic stress can result in weight gain. When we are under stress, eating habits tend toward the unhealthy. Grabbing for convenience food or maybe not eating for long periods of time are examples of eating habits that work against a lean and healthy body.
Chronic stress plays mind games with us! Under stress, two things happen. The part of the brain responsible for rational decision making gets quiet. And our “reward” center takes command – seeking out pleasure and instant gratification. If food is your way of coping with stress, then strategies for proactively dealing with stress are important to preventing weight gain.
Ready to be a stronger, healthier you?
See why Strand Fitness is for you!
Contact Pam to schedule your complimentary fitness consultation.
At Strand Fitness, we specialize in highly personalized programming for the “slightly older” body.
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