Help On The Way.
If you gained a few pounds over the holidays, you’re not alone. The good news for seniors looking to get back on track is you can bring about weight loss by cutting 500 calories daily from your diet. That’s the equivalent of one bagel with cream cheese.
The bad news, according to a report in the New England Journal of Medicine, is most people don’t lose the one to five pounds they gained during the Christmas and New Year’s season. So it will take an effort to trim up.
Best Way To Lose Weight
Diet-related New Year’s resolutions are common, and they can work if seniors set reasonable goals and start slow. According to a weight loss article published on The Conversation website, seniors should begin to put the fat break on by learning to control their desire to eat.
Easier said than done, right? It’s not as tough as it sounds. Start by not eating at all when you don’t feel hungry. This helps reprogram your brain to avoid overeating, binging or grabbing at finger foods.
Even if you’re not a Weight Watchers adherent, the group’s methodology of counting calories can help keep you become accountable to your diet. It’s like keeping a calendar datebook for time management. If you keep a journal of your eating, your habits will improve.
Curbing appetite can increase your desire to be active, which will help burn fat accumulation, according to The Conversation. “But be gentle with your body if you’re just starting out,” The Conversation reports. “By the time the fat brake wears off, you could be on your way to active new habits.”
One of the misconceptions about dieting is that it’s all or nothing. Give up all treats and achieve weight loss. Indulge in sweets and you will fail. While no dieticians advocate abundant sugar consumption, seniors don’t have to start living off lentil beans. According to Hungry Girl author Lisa Lillien, people should make smart choices 80 percent of the time and let themselves off the hook 20 percent of the time.
Smart choices, over time, will produce results. Patience is key, especially as metabolism slows with age.
Readers Digest, in an article entitled “20 Ways to Beat Post-Holiday Weight Gain,” said it is possible to lose one or two pounds a week but not to give up if you fail. Readers Digest suggests not trying to lose more than 10 pounds in six months because your body will kick into starvation mode and cravings will increase. Weight loss is a marathon, not a sprint.
Cool cool water
Speaking of cravings, studies suggest that cravings are not always about hunger. People often mistake thirst for hunger, so the next time you feel like noshing, reach for water first. Drinking also makes you feel full; many experts suggest sipping water of sugarless ice tea just before sitting down to a meal. Continue drinking as you eat to add volume to your meal.
Water is good. Alcohol adds calories. One beer equals 150 calories; a 3.5-ounce glass of wine, 85 calories. According to Readers Digest, the worst offenders are creamy cocktails such as brandy alexander. Sodas pack calories as well.
“The bottom line: If you’re trying to bring about weight loss, stick with water,” Readers Digest suggests.
Readers Digest advises that you don’t need to overhaul your diet overnight to cut 500 calories a day. Seniors who make too many changes too fast will get frustrated, binge and give up. Instead, make a resolution to change one habit a week, such as introducing one piece of fruit a day into your diet as a replacement for sweets.
Artists talk about achieving balance in their work by adhering to the rule of thirds. Turns out, there is a rule of thirds in eating too, according to Readers Digest.
“When you eat dinner out, reduce the temptation to clean your plate by setting aside one-third of your meal,” Readers Digest suggests. “Ask the server for a doggie bag, and take it home for lunch the next day. Try serving yourself one-third less at home too. This simple tactic could subtract more than 500 calories a day.”
Losing weight after 55
Weight loss in your older years is tricky business. Keeping it off can be harder. According to the Sixty and Me website, it requires a solid commitment to exercise, healthy eating and stress relief.
In an article for the Sixty and Me website written by certified weight loss coach Karen Donaldson, Donaldson said seniors should recognize their emotional attachments to food. Comfort eating is real, especially at the holidays, when people recall happier years or lost loved ones.
“Many people equate food with happiness and subconsciously try to recreate those happy memories by overindulging,” Donaldson writes. “Our subconscious minds equate food with love.”
She said trying to use “willpower” to overcome food cravings is misguided because food cravings are often about needing comfort. If you just “need a treat” or feel sad, bored or nervous try mindfulness therapy or doing something you like such as call a friend, take a short walk, reading or listening to music.
Keeping It Off
Carol Stanley, a health writer who contributes to Sixty and Me, said mindfulness should include making the mental commitment to grow old thin.
“I am not one of those people who can eat everything without gaining weight,” she said. “I have to be careful what I eat. Many people will follow just about any diet to achieve weight loss. However, after going on one of those diets, many of us simply can’t wait to be off the diet to go back to our old ways of eating.”
Stanley put together her best suggestions for weight loss and keeping the weight off:
- Keep food related temptation out of your house.
- Eat only when hungry. Monitor this on a regular basis.
- Avoid random eating.
- Stop eating before you get full. Wait about 15 minutes before indulging in a second helping. You may be surprised to find out you don’t want it.
- Keep healthy snacks in the house.
- You can make healthy and wonderful meals without bread, creams or starchy veggies, and they will still taste great.
- Don’t get sucked into whole wheat bread and pasta and think you won’t gain weight.
- Drink lots of water as it fills you up and rehydrates you.
- When hungry have a glass of V8 Juice, low in sodium, and add your spices.
- Eat very hot peppers and you won’t want to eat (just kidding about this).
- Treat yourself once a week to something delicious and wicked.
- Eating sugar on a regular basis causes addiction just like any other addictive substance.
- Have a love affair with soup.
- Avoid non-fat and low-fat foods (too much sugar, water or additives).
Many local libraries, YMCA’s and government offices have information about weight loss programs, and there is much information online.