Your doctor may have suggested that you shed a few pounds in order to stay healthy. Or, you may have noticed your weight has gone up recently. There are many reasons this could happen.
You may be on a medication that causes weight gain. Or, you may be more sedentary than you used to be. Either way, you’ll feel better and look better once you get back to a healthy weight.
Losing weight doesn’t have to be stressful or difficult. With a few tweaks to your diet and lifestyle, you can get back to being healthy and slim! Here are a few of the easiest ways for seniors to lose weight.
Best 10 Ways for Seniors to Lose Weight
1. Trim Your Portions
One of the easiest and most effective ways to cut excessive calories from your diet is to trim your portions. One idea is to use a smaller plate when you eat, therefore making it easier to serve yourself a smaller portion.
Another idea is to cut your meals in half and only eat a half portion. As Americans, we tend to eat larger portions anyway, and when we go out to eat, we are typically served bigger portions than what’s recommended.
When it comes to snacks, be minimal. It’s okay to have sweets, but instead of four cookies, take two. Enjoy one scoop of ice cream instead of two.
Add in some healthy snacks to your day. Substitute fruit or nuts for sweet snacks and you’ll find they can hit the spot.
Don’t skip breakfast or any other meals. Skipping meals is actually worse for your weight, so you’ll want to keep eating your regular meals. Eating a healthy breakfast can ensure you stay full and resist the temptation to snack too much.
2. Move Around
Being active is the quickest way to building healthy weight loss habits no matter what your age is. This doesn’t mean you have to run a marathon. It simply means to start moving your body.
Try to get half an hour of exercise at least three times a week, or more. This could mean anything from a walk in the park with your dog to some yoga at home.
There are numerous classes you could take, online workouts, or personal trainers at your local gym or YMCA that can help you create a workout plan for weight loss that’s perfect for you.
A bonus of doing strength and resistance exercises is the fact that some of these can ward off some of the aches and pains that come with age, such as back pain and neck pain.
Exercise can also help alleviate depression and anxiety and get you outside for some much-needed Vitamin D!
3. Add Protein
Studies have shown that seniors who cut down on carbohydrates and add protein to their diets can build muscle mass and lose weight. As we age, we lose muscle mass, so protein helps replace that and keeps your bones strong.
A high-protein diet is essential for losing weight and maintaining a healthy weight, and many seniors aren’t getting enough protein in their diets.
Some foods to consider adding to your diet include lean meats, fish, eggs, chicken, yogurt, beans, and spinach.
Add a protein-rich food to every meal and try to slowly replace starchy foods and carbohydrates with protein-packed foods. Once you get used to these foods, you’ll realize that you have more energy, feel full for longer, and begin shedding pounds over time.
Some tips for getting enough protein include adding some seeds to your morning cereal, or grabbing a handful for a snack. Sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and flax seeds are great options.
Add chicken, eggs, or beans to your salads. Don’t forget nut butter! Splurge a bit at meals and sprinkle on some cheese! This is a great source of calcium as well as protein.
4. Drink Water
It sounds simple, but it’s not. Many seniors aren’t getting enough water in their diets. Staying hydrated is a key component to weight loss and overall health.
One rule of thumb is to drink half your body weight (ounces) in water. So, if you weigh 200 pounds, drink 100 ounces of water. It’s also a fact that sometimes when you think you’re hungry, you’re really just thirsty.
Next time you think you’re hungry in between meals, grab a bottle of water instead. Another way to ensure you get enough water is to purchase a reusable plastic water bottle you can take with you everywhere.
Make a note of how many ounces it has, and try and fill it up a few times a day. You’ll always be sure to get the right amount of water.
It’s okay to have coffee or tea but try to cut out sugary drinks like sodas or fruit juice that’s made with added sugars.
5. Stop the Sugar
When you are trying to be healthy, especially when you are trying to lose weight, it’s important to cut out sugars that aren’t necessary.
It’s a fact that seniors over 60 have a higher blood sugar anyway, so it’s best to not contribute to that, which can cause health problems you don’t need.
Consume sugar in moderation, and keep an eye on things with hidden sugars, such as beverages. Anything with empty calories should be avoided.
There are ways to replace the sugars in your diet – you may want to try more natural alternatives to sweetener, such as Stevia.
If you have a sweet tooth, try sweet fruits, like strawberries. Adding berries to yogurt is a great pick-me-up that will also satisfy your urge for something that tastes like dessert. You can even find smoothie recipes and make delicious smoothies with yogurt and fruit!
6. Get Enough Sleep
You may think that you need less sleep as you get older. After all, it’s not like you’re growing anymore! However, that’s just not true. Seniors need just as much sleep as younger adults, especially when it comes to weight loss.
Not getting enough sleep can deteriorate your energy level, and you need energy to exercise and stay moving! When you sleep, your body produces hormones that help keep you energetic and young, healing your body.
Doctors say that seniors should get at least seven to eight hours of sleep a night. It’s best for you if you create a routine; have an established bedtime so your body gets used to sleeping at the same time each day.
Leave your phone and computer in the living room, don’t bring these things into the bedroom. They’re just a distraction from your body getting the sleep it needs!
Read a book to wind down before you sleep or take a hot bath to get relaxed. You’ll wake up feeling refreshed and ready to get some exercise.
7. Eat More Often
It’s better for you to eat five or six small meals throughout the day than to eat three larger meals. Since you’re going to be hungry in between meals, by the time you actually sit down to eat, you may end up eating more than you normally would.
In order to avoid this, eat smaller meals throughout the day. This could mean a fruit salad and yogurt at midday or some nuts and a salad a couple of hours after lunch.
Smaller meals ensure your blood sugar doesn’t drop, causing agitation and crankiness. If your blood sugar gets low, you’re going to feel bad and eat more, which is counterproductive to losing weight.
If you eat more times a day and you’re eating healthy things, it’s okay to have five small meals instead of three large ones. You don’t want to starve yourself – that’s not the healthy way to lose weight.
8. Get Off the Scale
It’s easy to get flustered by the numbers on the scale, but it’s not going to do you any favors. In fact, it only creates more stress.
Don’t weigh yourself every day when you are trying to lose weight. You’ll just add unnecessary stress to your life. Besides, the scale isn’t what’s important. What matters is how you feel! If you’re losing weight the correct way, it won’t happen overnight, so there is no point in getting worried about it.
Make a plan to weigh once a month or once every two months. If you’re doing what you’re supposed to, cutting your portions, loading up on fruits and vegetables, and avoiding sugar, you’ll definitely see results and feel them, too.
Don’t add extra worry to your life by keeping an eagle eye on the scale! Losing weight is a process, and doing it safely can take time. That means you may only lose a pound a week, and some weeks, you may not lose any.
Don’t overthink it! Just take the steps you need to in order to get healthy.
9. Make Small Changes
There are things you can do every day to change your life in order to lose weight. Do you usually park by the front door of the grocery store? Park a few aisles away and give yourself a walk.
Take the stairs instead of the elevator next time you go see your doctor. Instead of ordering ranch or honey mustard dressing on your salad, squeeze a fresh lemon onto the greens instead to reduce calories.
Don’t indulge in alcohol – it’s empty calories you just don’t need! Consider growing your own garden. This makes it easy to get fresh veggies, and gives you a reason to be outside, getting out and about and exercising!
Heading to Starbucks? Skip the latte or mocha and have a tea instead. Avoid the fried foods and go for grilled or baked! Small changes you can make to every aspect of your life can have a big impact on your health and your weight.
10. Plan Your Meals
One of the best ways to stick to a healthy diet is to make a meal plan each week. This way, you can purchase the foods and ingredients you need at the store and avoid impulse purchases or making added trips.
You can also meal prep, if you like. If you make a meal you enjoy and there’s a lot left, freeze individual servings so you can eat it later. This is cost-effective, too.
Planning for the week allows you to take some of the stress off, and you don’t have to worry about what you’ll be eating every day.
If you need some suggestions for meals, talk to your doctor or a nutritionist about some ideas, or look online. If you don’t cook at all and you can afford it, consider a meal program that ships healthy meals to your door.