Losing Weight Over 50
It is possible to lose weight over 50 if you understand the health factors that change as you age. Learn more about balancing hormones, boosting your metabolism, managing stress, and more.
The Secret to Losing Weight After 50 for Women
There is a secret to losing weight for women after 50. And it’s not having a plan to count calories better. In fact, that is often what keeps people stuck. The secret is knowledge. Really understanding what causes weight gain – biologically and psychologically – is the secret to losing it – especially as we get older. Weight gain is a symptom. Keep reading to discover the six root causes of weight gain. If you address these root causes, the symptom of weight gain goes away.
My wife and I were so close to finishing our basement. Up to this point we had done a lot of the work ourselves with painting, baseboards, laying tile in the bathroom, etc. We only had the carpet left to install. But, then my wife sent me a text with a picture and said, “ I want to build this cool modern fireplace in our basement… can you build it?”
Now, I like to build things and worked construction a few summers in high school but I am no finish carpenter! However, with a slight deer in the headlights look I responded, “Sure! Let’s do it!”
I had no idea how to build it. It looked impossible.
But, I said yes because one thing I’ve learned is that if I don’t know how to do it, someone else does. So I texted my neighbor T.J., who is very good at that kind of stuff and together we built a beautiful fireplace my wife loves. Success!
T.J. had the “secrets” I didn’t have.
When it comes to weight loss, especially when you’re over 50 years old, it can seem impossible to lose weight and keep it off. However, just like with my ‘impossible’ carpentry job, it was really a matter of having the right knowledge. With the right knowledge you, too, can lose the weight you want to lose. If you don’t already know how that works, you can just rely on someone else who does.
After helping over 1200 people, the majority of them women in menopause, lose 20-45 LBS of fat in 6 weeks, on average, and then keep it off, I’ve discovered the deeper knowledge – the secrets – to getting these results.
Now real quick — if you’re looking for a guide that’s going to tell you to count your calories and exercise more and give you a workout plan… This is not it. In fact, that’s why it’s been so hard as you’ll learn.
But if you want a breakdown of why you gain weight, why it’s so hard to lose it especially as we age, and how to lose weight and keep it off…. then this is the place for you.
The Secret Sauce to Permanent Weight Loss.
Most people I’ve found have tried many different attempts at losing weight, sometimes too many to count, or what I hear a lot is “I’ve tried everything”.
And nowadays it’s so hard to know what to do. We’ve got everything from:
- Low-fat to Keto
- Vegetarian to Carnivore
- Pre-packed meals and shakes to real food
- Count your calories to just eat what you want
- Eat-less to reverse dieting
So many questions!… Here are a few that I get asked about often…
- How do you lose weight and keep it off?
- Is it even possible to lose weight, especially as I age?
- Can I lose all the weight I want… or do I just need to be “reasonable”?
- What’s the best diet for a 50 year old woman?
- Is it different for men and women?
If you’re like me, or many of the clients I’ve worked with, you probably want the answer to these. I’m going to give them to you with what I call the secret to permanent weight loss.
That short of it is –
YES – it IS possible to lose all the weight you want
YES – you can keep it off
YES – you can do it if you’re over 50
YES – you can do it if you’re a women
NO – there is no best diet
So what’s the secret?
Well, it’s not really a secret. I just call it that because it’s not well-known or talked about. And that’s only because it’s not the main approach that people have been taught. So they think it’s a secret.
It’s definitely not dieting.
It’s definitely not some shake program.
It’s not more exercise.
I’m guessing those things haven’t worked as they don’t for many.
I wish the secret was an easy one-liner I could just state here, but the secret has to be understood piece by piece.
Once you have all the pieces it’s easy and you say, “Oh I get it, that makes so much sense.” But until then it’s like looking at a freshly opened box of a puzzle, you only see little pieces.
Why Focusing On Calories Will Keep You Stuck
Let’s break down the first piece to this secret so we have a clear understanding of why we’ve been stuck— Calories in / Calories out.
When asked why we gain weight, most people would say from eating too much.
If you asked those people how to lose weight, they’d probably say eat less. But isn’t that what we’ve been doing for years and it’s not working? And it may be getting harder.
I think because overeating can cause weight gain— we automatically assume that creating a caloric deficit leads to weight loss. And even better fat loss.
So we say to eat less and exercise more.
Because of that, we get the majority of diets, programs, trainers, or whatever you’re doing, that’s all about calories in and out. Whether that’s through points, shakes, actually tracking calories or macros, fitting into a container, or whatever other new way to get you to track calories.
Now it’s true that in general, we are eating way too much food in our society overall which definitely can lead to weight gain.1,2
And calorie deficits can indeed help you lose weight. No doubt. We’ve seen that time and time again.
But here are some surprising things you may not know.
- Some foods DON’T make you gain weight regardless of the calories.3
- Certain foods will actually increase your energy expenditure (i.e. metabolism) without changing calories at all.4
- Calorie deficits don’t always lead to the goal we want. Here’s a few reasons why:
- Eating less doesn’t always make you lose fat – often it’s muscle.5 Of course you don’t want that.
- Eating less can make you store fat and slow your metabolism down and undereating becomes as big of an issue as over-eating.6,7
- Losing weight doesn’t necessarily solve things like insulin resistance, blood sugar problems, leptin resistance, hormone imbalances, etc… It just makes you lose weight.8
- Not all calories are the same. Meaning salmon and chocolate cake don’t do the same things to the body, so why would we count them as the same?
Again, just to clarify so no one gets mad at me here — It’s not that deficits or knowing how much food you’re eating isn’t important, or that going into a deficit can help you lose weight. That’s all true.
But eating less and exercising more is bad advice to try to lose weight permanently.
- Losing weight is different from losing weight by getting healthy.
- Losing weight and keeping it off is different from just losing weight.
The emphasis has always been on calories but there are more important things to focus on if you want to lose weight healthily and keep it off.
The first thing to focus on isn’t how much you’re eating, it’s what you’re eating.
Deficits can help you lose weight. Changing what you eat will help you lose it AND keep it off.
It’s like a plant – you don’t focus on how much liquid you give it first – you focus on the kind of liquid. It has to be water. No matter how much gasoline, milk, or Gatorade you pour on the plant— it won’t work.
Whew! What a relief we don’t have to track calories anymore!
We’ll cover this more as we unpack the rest of the secret, but it all comes down to how the food impacts the body.
Let’s take a look at a quick example of how this works with some everyday choices and how food impacts the body regardless of calories.
Soda VS. Broccoli – Same amount of calories right?
Most people know that soda and broccoli are very different – Yet the message is that as long as the calories are the same that’s all that matters.
If you ate 1000 calories from both of them, it may be the same amount of calories, but what they do to your body is completely different. Mark Hyman does a great job breaking this down.9
Here’s what the soda does:
- Spikes blood sugar
- Spike insulin
- Cause belly fat storage
- Increase inflammation
- Raise triglycerides
- Raises blood pressure
- Increases appetite
- Contribute to leptin resistance so you don’t feel full
- Makes you want to eat or drink more
Even if you are in a deficit.
And by drinking the soda, you’ll want to eat more which will make it very difficult to stay in a deficit.
On the other hand with broccoli:
- Very few calories get absorbed because of all the fiber
- There’s no blood sugar spike so your blood sugar stays stable
- Your stomach will fill up and get full which signals to your brain that you’re full
- No triggering to eat more
- Get a boost of nutrients to help optimize metabolism, lower cholesterol, reduce inflammation, and boost detoxification and balance hormones.
Most people wouldn’t need that in-depth of a breakdown to understand that broccoli is better for you, but yet, most people when it comes to weight loss are still trying to make the calories in/calories out thing make sense.
But it just doesn’t. Even in a study, they found that just by changing out sugar but NOT changing calories there are major improvements that happen with blood pressure, triglycerides, LDL cholesterol, insulin resistance, AND weight loss. And even for some people in this study who didn’t lose weight, their other health markers still improved.10
So now that we know the first part of the secret that calories in and calories out is not the first thing we should focus on, let’s break down the next part of the secret. The cause of weight.
Why You Weight Gain – The Real Answer
To answer the question, “How do you lose weight permanently?” you have to ask the question, “What makes you gain weight in the first place?”
This is critical because weight gain is actually a symptom of bigger things going on in the body, not just overeating.
This is why so many people get into a calorie deficit or try everything but still can’t reach their goals. And it’s not just because you need to stick with it better, though you may have been told that.
If you address the cause of the symptoms— the symptoms go away.
Again, much like a plant dying from not watering it. The wilting leaves are just a symptom. Not enough water is the root issue. Solve the water issue and the wilting leaves go away.
So if you really start to look at the body and how it works there are a few key things that if they are happening cause it to store fat, almost regardless of calories.
I call these the big 6.
As we’ve covered, overeating can contribute to weight gain for sure. But also as we’ve learned, if you’re in a deficit you can still have things happen which will make it very difficult to lose the weight you want and keep it off.
- Blood sugar imbalances14,15
- Poor digestion16,17,18
- Nutrient deficiencies21,22,23
- Hormone imbalances24
If these things are happening, they can make you gain weight regardless of how old you are or your gender. But if these things are happening before you go into menopause, then the changes during menopause that cause weight gain will be more pronounced.25
And this is also why when you do a typical diet and just cut calories it doesn’t make you lose the weight you want or allow you to keep it off, especially as you age, because most diets don’t address these 6 issues. They can but don’t always and might make them worse.
So now that we know what the cause is, we know the solution.
The Secret To Easy And Permanent Weight Loss Even After 50
We now have the other pieces to the puzzle that calories are not the answer and that bigger root issues are happening that make us gain weight or not lose it.
And because we know the cause of the problem, we know the solution—we just address the cause.
Sounds really simple and almost too easy, right?
Again, you can lose weight through pure calorie restriction, yes, but keeping it off requires optimizing health which comes from addressing the root cause of weight gain.
But the real secret to losing weight at any age is by actually addressing the root issues that are causing the weight gain.
When you look at addressing the root issue of weight gain you have to address the six big problems as mentioned above.
- Blood sugar imbalances
- Hormone imbalance
- Poor digestion
- Nutrient deficiencies.
And it may sound in-depth to fix it but there’s one thing that becomes the key to start addressing each of them at the same time— and that is through food.
Not the quantity of food. The quality of the food is key.
This will make all the difference.
What’s amazing is that generally, the foods that help reduce inflammation are the same foods that help balance blood sugars, and hormones, and nourish your body, and so on.
And we know that just starving yourself isn’t going to work long-term. But eating food that is delicious and nourishing helps you address the root imbalances, and naturally helps you eat less so you don’t have to track calories gives a sustainable way to live forever.
And you don’t have to be a dietician or nutritionist to know what to do, it’s pretty simple.
What To Eat
So what do we eat to address the root issues and imbalances in the body so the symptom of weight gain goes away? Each person is of course unique so you may need some specific guidance but in general, here’s where you start.
Focus on getting .5-1 gram of body per day from protein. Find protein with terms like grass-fed, organic, free-range, or pastured. This makes a difference in the quality of the protein and what it does to your body.
Non-starchy vegetables are a staple in fueling your body, balancing blood sugars, and reducing Inflammation. So pile them on your plate. You can almost eat as much as you want. A pro tip is to start your meal with veggies so that the fiber slows the absorption of sugar and balances blood sugar.
Starchy vegetables are a great option as well. Sweet potatoes, yams, beets, white potatoes, etc. are all great. Typically you can eat them 3-5 times a week and enjoy them.
Fruit is a great option with lots of vitamins and minerals and is especially great when you want something sweet. Fruit juices and dried fruit have a lot of sugar so they spike blood sugar and they often make you want to eat more.
Healthy fats and oils.
Fat does not make you fat. Again, quality matters. Avoid industrialized and hydrogenated seed and vegetable oils like corn, canola, safflower, sunflower, cottonseed, shortening, and margarine and the foods that contain them.26 Most processed foods come in boxes, cans, bags, or packages, and many restaurants use them.
Focus on cold pressed unrefined oils like olive, coconut, Avocado, macadamia oil, grass-fed butter, and even lard and tallow.
Dairy can be a great option as well, just make sure it’s grass-fed and organic. Also, pay attention to your body if it causes digestive issues or other reactions which can be a problem for some people.
This is not the only thing to eat of course as other foods can be added in addition to this, including treats and snacks, but if we focus on incorporating as much of these foods as possible and flooding and nourishing our body with them we will start to see the changes we want.
When it’s not working
Sometimes bigger things are going on in the body, or someone needs more personalization that needs some special individualized attention. That’s where getting some specific help can come into play. In our Metabolisms Reboot Program, we work individually with people to help them optimize their health and they lose 20-45 LBS on average. We also see improved brain fog, less joint pain, more energy, and better sleep amongst many other benefits that start happening when you address the imbalances in the body. Schedule a free metabolism assessment to figure out what’s been holding you back and get an exact pathway to reach your goals.