This article is geared towards men. Women should check out the Fit Mother Project's article on losing weight after 50.
The good news is that you’re in the right place! We love to help people adopt a fresh approach, lose the weight, and reveal a fitter, healthier self.
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Why Weight Gain Is So Common
It’s easy to suggest that fast food is the issue, after all, fast food is generally high in calories and fat. But, while this can be a contributory factor, it’s not the real reason you’re gaining weight.
Weight gain is driven by calorie intake.
If you consume more calories than your body needs, (your maintenance amount), then you will gain weight.
The recommended calorie intake for a man over 50 is 2,200; a figure that drops to 2,000 when you pass 60.
The problem is that most men continue to eat as they did in their 20’s when calorific demand is approximately 2,500. Consuming 300 extra calories a day is going to result in weight gain over time.
In fact, there are several key issues that cause weight gain and make it critical to learn about losing weight after 50.
1. Decrease In Muscle Mass
As men age, their levels of testosterone start to drop. This actually starts from the moment you hit 30. Unfortunately, testosterone has been shown to increase muscle mass by increasing the level of protein synthesis in your body. Less testosterone is likely to equate to a decrease in muscle mass.
2. Lower Metabolic Rate
The speed of your metabolism affects your ability to absorb energy from food. In short, if your metabolism is slowing your digestive system is less efficient, resulting in less energy from your food and more fat stored.
Hormonal changes as you age, illness, and your body developing a resistance to leptin will all contribute to a slowing of your metabolic rate, leading to weight gain.
3. Decrease in Activity Levels
When you’re young, it’s easy to eat anything because you’re active all the time. Unfortunately, as you age, life takes over. Work and family often prevent men from finding time to exercise.
The bottom line is that an increase in eating out, combined with a lack of time to exercise, change in hormones, and the natural slowing of your body will cause weight gain.
The good news is that you can do something about it and start losing weight after 50; you’re never too old!
The Right Approach to Losing Weight After 50 Is Critical
Losing weight after 50 is more than just possible, there are thousands of men who have achieved success with the Fit Father Project.
You can be one of them; all you need is the right approach.
Simply cutting calories is a great start.
After all, eating fewer calories will result in less fat storage. Eating fewer calories than your maintenance amount will result in weight loss.
But, to be really effective when losing weight after 50, you need to understand the different approaches to weight loss according to age.
Older Men vs. Younger Men
In general, it’s easy to lose muscle and gain fat as you age. This is because of the changes in your body already previously.
However, this knowledge can be used to benefit you!
Young men often rely on being physically active in order to stay in shape.
Exercise routines can generally be structured around cardio activities; increasing the body’s endurance, burning fat, and helping them to stay in shape.
Men over 50 will likely have had some muscle loss; that’s why their routines need to focus more on weight lifting.
Did you know that a pound of muscle burns approximately 5 times more calories than a pound of fat when resting?
That may not seem like a lot, but building muscle will increase your ability to burn fat and boost your energy levels.
In addition, muscle growth ensures you have better balance and stronger bones, which will help to prevent you from falling and getting injured.
Loss of muscle has also been linked with an increased risk of age-related disease and reduced energy levels.
You may be surprised to learn that muscle loss starts at the age of 30, the same time that testosterone levels start to drop. This is actually why younger men should include weight lifting in their routine, and it is the founding block to losing weight after 50.
Do you want to know the really good news? Older men actually have great muscle synthetic response. In short, you can build muscle as fast as your younger counterparts!
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The Role of Food In Weight Loss
It doesn't matter what people tell you and how much exercise you do; you need to look at what you’re eating. Put simply, you can’t out exercise a bad diet. But, there is more to this than simply eating fewer calories than your body needs.
The first step is to take a look at this free meal plan; it will give you an idea of the foods you should be eating.
The real secret is not just in balancing the types of food you eat, it’s in making sure you get all the nutrition you need.
Here are several points to help you get the nutrition right:
Whole foods are foods that have not been processed.
Processing destroys many of the beneficial bacteria and adds an array of items that will not help your weight loss efforts.
These include stabilizers to extend the life of the food, salt, and even sugars/sweeteners. They’ll make you want to keep eating the food!
Good examples are whole grains, vegetables, fruit, legumes, beans, lentils, etc.
Macronutrients sound impressive. In reality, it is simply the term used to describe your intake of protein, carbs, and fats. All macronutrients are essential to maintaining a healthy body.
It’s actually quite easy to regulate your intake.
The perfect plate approach to food is all you need to know to achieve a balanced, and nutritious, meal every time.
If you want to temporarily boost your fat loss, you can try a high protein, low carb diet. But, in the long term, the perfect plate approach is the healthiest and easiest option.
FREE 1-Day Weight Loss Meal Plan For Men 40+
Lose weight. Eat like a man. Enjoy your life. Over 55,000 men are using this.
Gut Bacteria and Weight Loss
You may be surprised to find that your gut bacteria play an important part in your health and your ability to gain or lose weight!
There are approximately 40 trillion microorganisms in your gut. This is important to ensure all the nutrients possible are absorbed from the food you eat.
However, science has discovered that a shortage of butyrate is likely to increase your chances of obesity and even contracting type 2 diabetes. Some gut bacteria can also make you feel hungrier, increasing your food consumption and weight gain.
The key to having healthy gut bacteria comes from eating plenty of plant-based whole foods and staying away from over processed junk. Eating probiotics, such as live yogurt or pickles, can also help improve your gut health.
Get Active & Stay Active
Losing weight after 50 is possible by just reducing your calorie intake. But, to sustain this, improve your health, and boost your energy levels; you need to be getting and staying active.
There are two states your body can enter when exercising, depending on what exercise you are doing:
If you are exercising exceptionally hard, then you’ll be unable to catch your breath. This is common when you’re doing very high-intensity exercise or weight lifting. In short, you’ll be unable to do the exercise for more than a few minutes.
In this anaerobic state, your body will be relying on energy broken down from your muscle stores. It’s essential to refuel on protein after you’ve worked out; this will ensure your muscles heal and rebuild, stronger and bigger.
In contrast, you should be able to breathe and even hold a conversation when in an aerobic state. With this type of exercise, your body is utilizing oxygen and your existing stores of energy to power your body.
After approximately 20 minutes, your stores will be exhausted and your body will start burning fat; hence the term aerobic fat burning. Running and cycling are good examples of this type of workout.
The best approach to weight loss after 50 is to do both anaerobic and aerobic exercises.
Not only does this keep your body guessing what is coming next, but it will also help you to burn fat and to build muscle, (which increases your fat burning capabilities).
The Effects of Stress & How To Control It
There are many pressures in everyday life, your family, work, bills, and the list goes on.
Unfortunately, every time you are in a pressure situation your body responds by releasing the hormone cortisol. This is an ancient response that prepares your body for flight or fight.
Although it’s not essential in most of the stressful situations you face, the production of it is unavoidable.
Cortisol production blocks the production of other hormones, including those that control appetite and encourage muscle growth.
That’s why it’s imperative that you learn to recognize stressful situations and discover how to negate their effects or avoid them. Of course, it’s not always possible to avoid a stressful situation, but these tips will help:
- Start a journal that records when you’re stressed; and why.
- Recognizing your stress triggers will allow you to plan your day to avoid them; when possible.
- Discover the power of meditation to calm your mind.
- Exercise daily, this relieves stress and releases endorphins that make you feel good.
- Sleep more; see the next section.
- Communicate about your issues with someone you trust.
- Switch off from blue screens, (computers and phones), periodically.
- Learn to say no. You can’t do everything; it’s time to prioritize.
The Power Of Sleep
Every man should aim to get between 6-8 hours of sleep every night. Research suggests that getting enough sleep helps slow the aging process.
But, more importantly, when you sleep your body repairs and balances itself.
Sleeping allows your hormone levels to return to normal, stress levels fall, your appetite hormone reduces and your fullness one increases; all great for weight loss.
In addition, your body can focus on protein synthesis which repairs and strengthens muscles; helping your efforts to lose weight, while getting fitter and stronger.
To ensure you get enough sleep, work backward from the time you have to get up. Make sure you have at least 8 hours in bed and avoid caffeine or exercise for at least an hour before bed.
Ideally, you should turn off devices emitting blue light then as well.
Understanding Your Mental Wellness
One of the biggest assets most men over 50 have is that wisdom comes with age. You also know it’s important to think before you act and you probably have the self-discipline to follow through with challenges.
Final Thoughts to Get You Started
You can start adjusting your diet today and lifting weights, and it won’t take long for you to feel and see the results.
However, before you start any exercise routine, it is imperative that you warm up properly and warm down afterward. This requires you to stimulate the muscles you’re about to use through dynamic exercises, and then hold them to stretch them afterward.
Warm-ups and stretches reduce the risk of injury and DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness).
As with anything new, small changes are best. This will increase the likelihood of you making changes for life and not just for a few weeks. Check out this meal plan and workout; it is the perfect way to get started. You can build on this and share your success with the other members of the Fit Father Project.
Losing weight after 50 may not be a walk in the park, but it is possible and lifting weights can be done in less time than walking in the park!
THE 30-Day Health Program for Men 40+
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Your new friend & health coach,
Head Training Staff, The Fit Father Project
Brotherhood Nickname: “The Fit Brit”
Bragging Rights: 16 Years in the fitness industry, Author of ‘The Easy Fitness Guide', Father of 4 boys and Husband to a Venezuelan beauty.
*Please know that weight loss results & health changes/improvements vary from individual to individual; you may not achieve similar results. Always consult with your doctor before making health decisions. This is not medical advice – simply very well-researched info on losing weight after 50.