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How to lose weight in your 60s

Many of my patients have told me that as they get older, trying to keep a fast metabolism feels like a full-time job. Now is not the time to throw in the towel though! A new study in the New England Journal of Medicine showed it’s never too late to start a healthy eating habit. Even if you clean up your diet in middle age or older years, you may still reap the benefit of living longer.

Try these six easy tips to help you kick start your metabolism, implement healthier eating habits and lose some extra unwanted weight.

1. Track your steps.

Lack of movement throughout your day can be doing serious harm. Not only may weight creep up but the risk for disease might as well. Studies have found wearable activity tracking technology and applications may help empower you in setting, monitoring and overall committing to your personal health goals.

Devices from FitBit, Garmin, Jawbone and more can help you track activity, calories, hydration and even your quality of sleep (another factor in effective weight loss). A wearable accountability tool may be the push you need.

2. Double up on protein.

After 60, two major lifestyle changes occur: Your muscle mass decreases even further and your protein needs increase. Both of these impact muscle mass and ultimately weight. To combat this, you’ll need to make sure you’re exercising beyond aerobic activities (to build muscle mass, which helps in weight loss and longevity) and you’re doubling the grams of protein you’re consuming.

A 2014 study suggested older adults double their dietary protein needs to help maintain muscle and address other overall health-related issues. One way to accomplish this is to make sure protein is added to every meal. Add protein including chicken, tofu or fish to salads. Start your day with a protein drink, snack on nuts or choose beans over grains at dinner time.


Joy Bauer’s Protein Pancakes

Nathan Congleton / TODAY

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Could a diet based on COFFEE help you lose weight? Medical nutritionist reveals delicious caffeinated recipes to …

Coffee is the new red wine. There are now tasting courses, sommeliers, and aficionados tracking single-origin beans from remote estates around the globe. Coffee contains 1,200 flavour compounds to red wine’s 700. Amazing. But did you know that it is also the latest weapon in weight loss?

I’m a medical doctor and, as the author of more than a dozen books on nutrition, I’m always on the lookout for the next great food story. For years we were told that coffee was bad for you. But early studies weren’t sophisticated enough and now we’re told the reverse.

A major study published last week by the International Agency for Research on Cancer at Imperial College London suggests drinking three cups of coffee a day cuts the risk of dying from a host of causes, including heart disease and stroke, by an astonishing 18 per cent.

A new study says coffee makes you live longer and nutritionist Dr Bob Arnot argues that a ‘coffee diet’ also helps with weight loss and fitness. Here the medic suggests recipes and smoothies to try out

It’s revolutionary stuff, and follows other studies showing similar results, including that coffee may also have a protective effect against Alzheimer’s disease and even some cancers. Could coffee be the superfood of all superfoods?

In my opinion, the new research leaves no room for doubt: drinking coffee can be the healthiest indulgence of your day. And it may make you slimmer, too.

Read on to find out how the coffee diet can help you lose weight, get fit and have more energy than ever.

The medic (pictured) suggests recipes and smoothies to try out, and highlights the pitfalls to avoid on your caffeinated mission

THE DIET

It amazes me that for decades we overlooked coffee — the world’s most popular beverage after water — as a weight-loss wonder. Here are just some of the ways in which this great-tasting drink, which contains only two calories a cup, can be every dieter’s best friend . . .

COFFEE BURNS MORE CALORIES

If you feel like your engine’s running a little faster when you’ve had a caffeinated beverage, that’s because it actually is.

Caffeine increases the body’s metabolic rate, so it burns more calories even when you’re idle. Depending on the amount of caffeine in your coffee, drinking one to three cups may increase your metabolism so that you burn an extra 75 to 100 calories a day.

If you replace a fat-laden snack with a coffee, you’re creating a calorie deficit. Swap a 400-calorie doughnut for a black coffee, for example, and you will be 500 calories ahead for the day.

COFFEE HELPS YOU BURN FAT WHILE YOU EXERCISE

Caffeine frees up fatty acids so you can use them as a fuel.

This fat-burning mechanism — taking fatty acids right out of your fat stores and burning them immediately — has a profound effect on weight loss. Burning free fatty acids instead of sugar allows anyone to remove fat stores more easily during exercise.

COFFEE DECREASES THE PRODUCTION OF NEW FAT

A study published in 2010 in the American Journal of Physiology found that chemical compounds in coffee known as phenols increased energy expenditure and decreased the production of new fat, successfully countering obesity.

Phenols are one of coffee’s best-kept secrets, the same compounds that make fresh fruits, vegetables, red wines and teas healthy.

Not all coffees contain the same quantity of phenols — those from high-altitude farms close to the equator in Africa outrank those from the Far East, for example.

Buy beans from Kenya, Ethiopia, Brazil and Colombia, and the lighter the roast the better. Dark roasts contain fewer phenols, and are often undrinkable without milk and sugar.

What’s key here is drinking coffee after a high-fat meal: a high-quality medium roast cup also contains an important substance called melanoidin, an antioxidant that works in the digestive system to decrease the absorption of fats.

COFFEE MAKES FAT LESS DANGEROUS

Phenols in coffee exert powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects on the body, fighting the forces that fuel many diseases, including cancer. But they also decrease peroxidation, a process which creates more dangerous fats that can damage cell membranes and contribute to the risk of coronary artery disease.

THE LOW-CAL ALTERNATIVES TO YOUR LATTE 

Peppermint mocha latte

Combine 1 cup unsweetened cashew milk, 2 pitted medjool dates, 1 tbsp cocoa powder, and 1/8 tsp peppermint extract in blender. Heat 1 cup of cold coffee concentrate (steep coffee grounds in cold water for at least 12 hours, then strain) in a small pan and whisk in the other ingredients. Makes about 2 cups; serves 2.

CALORIES: 89 PER SERVING

Blueberry pomegranate frappe

Blend ½ cup cold brew coffee concentrate (see left), ¼ cup pomegranate juice, one 6oz pot of low-fat blueberry yoghurt, 2 tbsps raw cashews, 1½ cups frozen blueberries, ½ tsp ground cinnamon, a handful of ice cubes, 1-2 tsps maple syrup (optional) until smooth. Makes about 2½ cups; serves 2.

CALORIES: 202 PER SERVING

BUT ISN’T CAFFEINE BAD FOR YOU?

Caffeine and phenols are the two ingredients in coffee that aid weight loss the most. But caffeine has also been associated with causing insomnia, nervousness, stomach complaints, a racing heart and even muscle tremors, so why is it suddenly being touted as healthy?

The truth is that different people react to caffeine in different ways. There’s no official recommended limit, but it’s generally agreed that four coffees a day are safe for most adults, and as long as your last one is drunk in the early afternoon, it shouldn’t affect your sleep.

However, check with your doctor before starting the diet and if you feel anxious, can’t sleep, or find your heart racing, you’re probably getting too much caffeine. If so, switch to high-quality, high-phenol decaf and you’ll still get results.

NOT ALL COFFEES ARE CREATED EQUAL

Many coffee drinks are serious nutritional disasters, potentially adding hundreds of extra calories a day. A large frozen cappuccino from a High Street chain, for example, can load on more than 600 calories — the equivalent of a meal — and a whopping 105g of sugar. These sweet treats are hard to give up, especially because they’re paired with the mood boost you get from coffee.

The key here is to replace these coffee catastrophes with treats that are good for you, contain a fraction of the calories, and taste even better — see the blended coffee drink recipes listed below.

The rest of the coffee you consume — your fat-busting reward coffee — should be black. But that’s no hardship when you use good, light-roasted beans that burst with flavours such as blackberry, raspberry, hazelnut, dark chocolate, cinnamon and honey.

Drinking coffee in this new way, and taking time to enjoy it, will help you physically and mentally in your efforts to lose weight.

DON’T MAKE THESE COMMON MISTAKES: 

1. Don’t use dirty equipment

Coffee tastes better if you wash your equipment regularly. Regularly run a brew without coffee but with white vinegar in the water to cleanse your kit.

2. Don’t use pre-ground beans

There is no way to make a fresh cup of coffee when you buy pre-ground beans. Buy whole beans and grind them just before brewing for the freshest-tasting coffee.

3. Don’t use old beans

Buy only what you need for one to two weeks so that your coffee doesn’t go stale.

4. Don’t refrigerate coffee

The moisture that can form on refrigerated or frozen beans stales them instantly and there’s a strong chance your beans may end up tasting like your leftover salmon. Store coffee in an opaque, airtight container in a dark, dry place.

5. Don’t use tap water

Cut the chlorine and minerals from your coffee. Use only spring or filtered water.

SMOOTHIES TO KEEP YOU FULL ALL DAY 

BOB’S SUPER SMOOTHIE

1 cup water

2-4 tbsps chia seeds

½ cup plain Greek yoghurt

½ cup frozen blueberries

½ cup frozen melon

½ banana

3 cups chopped, stemmed, frozen kale leaves

½ cup fresh or frozen spinach

1 teaspoon wild honey, or to taste

Blend until smooth. Makes about 3 cups.

CALORIES: 393

BOB’S SUPER SMOOTHIE 

BOB’S SUPER SMOOTHIE 

KALE, CARROT, PEAR GINGER

1½ cups carrot juice

 ½ cup water

1 cup kale

 1 small diced pear

 ¼ cup raw almonds

1 tbsp lemon juice

 ¼ tsp chopped ginger, plus more to taste.

Blend until smooth. Makes about 3 cups.

CALORIES: 255

COCONUT, BANANA, MANGO SPINACH

1½ cups coconut water

1 cup mango

1 small banana

2 cups firmly packed spinach

3 tbsps pumpkin seeds

Blend until smooth. Makes about 3 cups.

CALORIES: 232

GRAPEFRUIT, AVOCADO CORIANDER  MINT 

GRAPEFRUIT, AVOCADO CORIANDER MINT 

GRAPEFRUIT, AVOCADO CORIANDER MINT

1 cup fresh pressed apple juice

 1 cup grapefruit sections (without pith) and any extra grapefruit juice

1 cup mint

 ½ small avocado

 ½ cup coriander

 ½ cup water

Blend until smooth. Makes about 3 cups.

CALORIES: 185

COCONUT, STRAWBERRY APPLE ALMOND

¾ cup coconut water

1 cup fresh strawberries

1 cup diced red apple

 ½ cup plain Greek yogurt

¼ cup raw almonds, preferably soaked and drained

3 tbsps unsweetened coconut flakes

 ½ tsp vanilla extract

 coconut extract (optional)

 A few drops artificial sweetener (optional)

Add all ingredients and pulse a few times, keeping the mixture chunky.

Serve with a spoon. Makes about 2 cups.

CALORIES: 312

 

YOUR DAILY PLAN

To kickstart weight loss, try this short-term, fast-acting plan that relies on three filling fruit smoothies in place of meals, plus flavourful black coffees to reward you with a mood lift and act as a distraction from snacking.

The blended coffees, meanwhile, serve as decadent, nutritious treats to substitute your daily high-fat High Street latte. Remember to drink eight glasses of water a day, too. As with any diet plan check with your doctor first.

The smoothies will keep you full and satisfy all your nutritional needs, and the coffees will keep you happy and energised. Aim for 1,500 calories a day and mix and match smoothies and coffee drinks. It couldn’t be simpler:

SMOOTHIES — BREAKFAST, LUNCH, AND DINNER: Choose a smoothie recipe and make three servings in the morning (or the night before) to drink throughout the day. You may need to multiply the recipes to reach your daily calorie total.

COFFEES: Have your first cup when you wake. You’ll start burning fat within the hour and feel alive again with a nice, smooth onset of caffeine-induced wakefulness.

Remember, it takes almost an hour to feel the full effects of caffeine, so you’ll overload if you drink too much at once. Two hours is a nice interval after which to have your second cup.

Make a coffee whenever you feel like snacking, or when you need an energy boost. Drink one an hour before you work out.

SNACKS: Choose a snack such as hummus and carrot sticks, rice cakes and cottage cheese or a handful of almonds, once or twice per day, but only if you’re hungry.

EXERCISE: Exercise in the morning if your schedule allows (any kind of aerobic or strengthening exercise will do). With nothing but coffee on board, you’ll start burning fat right away. If you prefer to exercise in the evening, try drinking a coffee an hour beforehand, choosing decaf if you’re caffeine-sensitive.

Depending on how much weight you want to lose and your lifestyle, an appropriate time on this regime may be three days or three weeks. When you feel slimmer and more energised, replace one of the smoothies with a healthy, low-fat solid meal of about 500 calories.

Stick with this regime until you’re down to your target weight. Now change again, so that you’re eating two solid meals per day and one smoothie for breakfast, plus, of course, your coffees.

Log onto one of the many online calculators that use your sex, height, weight and activity level to calculate a precise daily calorie requirement tailored just to you.

You’ll be amazed at the rejuvenating effect coffee can have.

Adapted by Alison Roberts from The coffee lover’s diet: change your coffee, change your life by Dr Bob Arnot, published by William Morrow on July 27 at £18.99. © Bob Arnot 2017. To order a copy for £14.24, visit mailbookshop or call 0844 571 0640. PP free on orders over £15.

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How to Lose Weight, According to Personal Trainers

Husband-and-wife celebrity trainers, Chris and Heidi Powell, give new meaning to the term “power couple.” The dynamic duo makes writing books, hosting TV shows, creating workout apps and raising four kids — all while staying ridiculously fit — look like child’s play. The couple are probably best known as the former hosts of ABC’s Extreme Weight Loss, where they coached and coaxed dozens of contestants to reach and maintain unimaginable weight-loss goals. Now, they’ve translated their life-changing weight-loss regimen from show into a new iPhone and Android app they’ve aptly named Transform.

We met up with Chris and Heidi at studio in New York City to pick their brains about the things they wish their clients — both virtual and in-person — knew about how to lose weight and keep it off. And here’s the thing: Yes, they’ve made their bones (and killer abs) in the gym, but some of their best get-fit advice is all about what you need to do before you even lace up your sneakers. Here are five things they want you to know about how to shed those extra pounds — for good.

1. Weight Loss (and Better Health) Begins With Water

Before you roll your eyes and say, “tell me something I don’t know,” consider this: One in 10 medical consultations for tiredness and fatigue can be attributed to dehydration. If you’re dragging at 7:00 am, how are you going to get up and get your butt to the gym? What’s worse, Chris Powell says, is “the mechanism in our brain that signals thirst is often mistaken for hunger,” which certainly isn’t going to help you win the battle of the bulge. If you have trouble drinking enough water, Powell points to his “10 Gulp Rule” as a surefire way to keep thirst (and cravings) at bay. “Every time a a water bottle touches your lips, drink 10 gulps before putting it down and you’ll be well-hydrated all day long.”

Image::Chris and Heidi Powell, celebrity trainers and creators of the fitness app Transform. |||[object Object]
Chris and Heidi Powell, celebrity trainers and creators of the fitness app Transform.

2. A Toned Body is Made in the Kitchen, Not the Gym

If you’ve read anything about health in the last five years, it has been this: You can’t out-exercise a bad diet. And there a couple of reasons for that. One, exercise — not even an hour of SoulCycle — can compensate for a diet that’s fueled by a nightly dose of Mexican food and margaritas. After all, those 528 calories you burned on the bike are quickly eradicated after two frozen margaritas, which clock in at 760 calories. And here’s that second reason: When we exercise, we tend to use food-based rewards to treat ourselves for a job well-done.

“It doesn’t matter how many crunches you do; if you’re not eating right, you’re never going to see those abs,” says Heidi Powell. Of course, that doesn’t mean you should scrap that exercise routine for a restrictive low-calorie diet. You just need to pay attention to what’s fueling you — and your workouts. Experts recommend eating a well-balanced diet that features plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole-grains, and lean meats and dairy. “Nutrition drives weight loss and nutrition drives muscle gain,” says Heidi Powell.

There’s so much energy in this room right now. We’re getting our dose of #wednesdaywisdom from the totally inspiring @realheidipowell and @realchrispowell. Stay tuned because they’ll be spilling their best weight-loss and workout secrets at @nbcnewsbetter. 🙌🏼

A post shared by @nbcnewsbetter on Apr 12, 2017 at 10:35am PDT

3. Try One Small Change at a Time, Not Two or Three

For many of us, going on a diet or recommitting to workout goals is an aspirational, rather than realistic moment. That Monday start date rolls around and we’ve instantly transformed into morning people, ready to down a gallon of water, blend up a protein shake and hit the gym before work. But, for most of us, that moment is short lived. “The biggest mistake that people make is that they take on way too much too soon. If you shrink down those lofty goals into just one smaller commitment at a time, you’ll have much greater success,” explains Chris Powell. So, try drinking more water one week, and then working in the better breakfast the following week. And there’s a bigger payoff than just a lower number on the scale. A new study from Harvard found that making micro-changes to your diet significantly reduces the risk of early death. Those small changes “are the baby steps to lifelong change,” says Powell.

Weight training + cardio = the one-two punch for ultimate weight loss.

Weight training + cardio = the one-two punch for ultimate weight loss.

4. Weigh Yourself Right, Not Often

Having trained hundreds of people who have gone on to lasting weight-loss success, Chris and Heidi Powell have two words of advice when it comes to the scale: stay off. At least every day, that is. Heidi Powell recommends weighing yourself once a week — and keeping it consistent. That means, weighing yourself on the same day, at the same time, and in the same clothes — every time — for steady results. Why just once a week? Heidi Powell explains that “we lose weight in a saw-tooth pattern: one day we’re up a couple of pounds and the next day we’re down,” which can be discouraging when you’re focused on results. Science tells us which day you weigh in matters, too. A study found that we weigh more on weekends and less on weekdays so you may find that early or mid-week works best. “Weighing in once a week is going to keep you out of your head and keep your mind in the game where it belongs,” says Powell.

Every time a water bottle touches your lips take 10 gulps.

Every time a water bottle touches your lips take 10 gulps.

5. You’ve Got Do Some Weight Training

If you’re not resistance training while you’re going all-out on your cardio routine, you’re losing muscle, says Chris Powell. And the more muscle mass we have in our bodies translates to more calories burned, even when we’re not exercising. “If you’re just doing cardio, you can lose about one pound of muscle for every four pounds of fat, which means you’re basically losing your metabolism,” Powell warns. To maintain your muscle, incorporate two or three days of strength training — think: weight lifting, squats, lunges, etc. — into your weekly mix. Chris Powell calls strength training and cardio the one-two punch for ultimate weight loss.

Falling isn’t what defines us. Whether or not we get back up DOES. It doesn’t matter how far we’ve fallen or hard we hit…or really even how many times it’s happened. What matters is what we choose to do AFTER the fall. The beautiful thing about being human is that with every fall and rise, we become better, stronger, more powerful versions of ourself. It’s almost as if we were meant to struggle.😉 So pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and let’s do this. 👊🏼 #OnThatNote #ImSleepingin 😴

A post shared by Heidi Powell (@realheidipowell) on Jul 15, 2017 at 11:35pm PDT

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‘I can do anything': How this college student lost 200 pounds in 2 years

Growing up Jenna Winchester always weighed more than other children and her father never let her forget it. Once when she fell he said, “I hope you didn’t dent the floor.” Even though he constantly made cracks about her weight, Winchester tried ignoring him. Yet, his insults stuck, causing her to turn to food for comfort.

“I got extremely depressed and wouldn’t leave the house or do anything but eat and sleep,” Winchester told TODAY. “That is when the weight all truly piled on.”

She gained 100 pounds, and soon she was up to 370 pounds at just 5 feet 6 inches tall. Even though she disliked being overweight, she could never successfully lose weight.

“I would tell myself ‘OK this year I will get it together and I will lose weight’ and I would never do it,” she said. “I would be a disappointment to myself.”

Courtesy Jenna Winchester

By her 17th birthday she knew she had to do something.

“I just woke up one day and thought ‘It is time to change,’” she said.

Winchester cut out sugary drinks and swapped them for water. She’d put mint or cucumbers in the water to make it tastier. Then she started eating salads and more vegetables. At the same time, her family adopted a new puppy, Nadia, and the pup became her motivation to walk daily. Then she started doing things like jumping jacks and jumping rope. Even these small exercises felt difficult at first.

“I struggled a lot,” she said. “My whole body hurt and I was out of breath constantly. It was probably a month before I started to feel better and it got easier.”

After two months, she dropped 15 pounds and loved the changes she saw.

“That kept me extremely motivated,” she said.

While Winchester, who lives in Saratoga Springs, New York, still walks Nadia every day, she also joined a gym, and goes every day except for when it’s closed for holidays. She doesn’t follow a specific meal plan, she simply eats more healthy foods and less processed foods. But most importantly she listens to her body.

“I know when I need to eat and I know when I need to stop,” she said.

In less than two years, she shed 200 pounds. While she feels happy with her accomplishments, she does have excess skin that needs to be surgically removed. Her insurance does not cover the procedure so she started a Go Fund Me page to try to raise money.

“Having all of this extra skin is so frustrating,” she said. “I will look in the mirror and see my arm jiggle and I feel like I am being thrown back into being almost 400 pounds.”

Courtesy Jenna Winchester

Today, the 19-year-old woman is a sophomore at Russell Sage College, studying exercise physiology, and finally, she feels proud of herself. She also stopped talking to her father, which helps with her confidence, too.

“I have changed so much. I feel like I am a completely different person,” she said. “I realized I can do anything.”

Here are a few of her tips:

1. It’s a struggle.

It took months for Winchester to develop the stamina to perform cardio for a half hour. She’d get winded easily so she’d stop. Then start again. But she kept trying and slowly she built her stamina.

“It’s not easy,” she said. “You are going to be sweaty and sore and you are going to have to keep fighting.”

2. There’s no easy fix.

In the past, Winchester tried crash diets only to gain the weight back. When she started her weight-loss journey she modified her diet or exercise routine for what worked best for her body. It required a lot of research and trial and error.

“I slowly tweaked and changed things in my life,” she said.

Courtesy Jenna Winchester

3. “A piece of pizza is not the end of the world.”

While Winchester focuses on eating lean protein, vegetables, and fruit, she does sometimes enjoy a burger or a piece of pizza. In the past, she used to beat herself up about a bad meal but now she’s kind to herself.

“Everyone makes mistakes or struggles or forgets to do things or doesn’t do things right,” she said. “I tell myself that I made it this far that a piece of pizza is not the end of the world.”

For more inspirational stories, check out our My Weight-Loss Journey page.

How to lose weight in your 50s: 7 tips for slimming down

You’ve spent the last four decades of your life getting your metabolism and eating habits in the right shape. Now is the time to really tighten the belt (so to speak) and focus on managing a normal weight and developing a fierce disease reversal plan.

In your 50s, major shifts in hormones and habits can make losing weight a real challenge. You may also be seeing multiple doctors for various reasons, and considering natural remedies versus medication for new issues.

Regardless of the approach you choose, a good diet and an active lifestyle will go a long way. Here’s what to focus on if you want to lose weight in your 50s:

1. Spice things up

In many studies, cayenne pepper has been linked to helping increase metabolism and decrease cravings. A 2011 study revealed people who added cayenne pepper to their dishes showed a decreased amount of energy intake as well a decreased desire to consume fatty, sweet, or salty foods. If you like your food spicy, this could help you keep the weight down.

2. Be a kid again

Have you ever noticed children take forever to eat? That’s a good thing. A 2015 study found when people took 30 seconds in between bites, they stopped eating when they were no longer hungry, so they saved calories and pounds. This example of more chewing and less weight gain has been proven in several studies. We tend to consume more food than necessary as we age because emotion and stress can take over. To combat this, I suggest going back to childhood habits by using smaller plates and chewing longer. A smaller plate will make a smaller portion of food seem bigger. Focusing on slowing down your eating will help fill you up without filling you out.

3. Don’t retire from exercise

Many of my patients 50 and older come to their appointments with similar reasons for not keeping up with a workout plan. These often include some sort of joint pain, but this is not the decade to stop moving. First, assess what you can do. Then, take away the “I can’t” phrase out of your vocabulary. Swimming, walking, exercising on the elliptical machine and biking are low-impact activities. You’ll also want to focus on developing muscle mass to help preserve your metabolism. Finding a good trainer can be the first step in determining which resistance training activities will work best for you.

4. Plan ahead

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry once said, “A goal without a plan is just a wish.” You can wish for your 30something body back, but without strong goals and plans, it may not happen. Now more than ever, you need to focus on meal planning so you don’t rely on going out to eat all the time. I see this in a lot of my patients who are 50 and older. They don’t cook as much because their kids have grown up and moved out. Plan ahead by chopping fresh veggies on the weekend, making soups you can freeze, and having healthy convenient food options (like frozen quinoa, vegetables, and wild salmon burgers) ready in a pinch.

5. Apply a ‘just a few bites’ approach

Have you ever found yourself trying not to eat that piece of chocolate cake you’ve been craving all day, so you end up eating everything else in its path (and probably still eat the cake, too)? One way to enjoy some of the foods you want without reaping the negative consequences is to allow yourself a few bites. This tactic has helped many of my patients who are going on vacation or dealing with the struggle of powerful cravings.

6. Focus on quality over quantity

Straight calorie counting is not always effective because it forces you to start obsessing more about quantity rather than quality. Research already supports the notion that when comparing a higher quality whole foods diet with a standard processed food diet and calorie counting, the whole foods diet can help aid more in weight loss. Get rid of the pressure of counting every calorie.

7. Turn off the TV

Studies have found if you eat in front of the TV when it’s turned on, you may consume 13 to 25 percent more calories than if the TV was turned off. Further, a recent survey shows most Americans stop eating when their plate is empty or their TV show has ended. It may be extremely beneficial to tune into your mindful eating habits by turning off the TV and listening to your body.

Remember…

Weight loss success, at any age, is based on many different factors. After 50, these factors increase. Don’t throw in the towel, though. It’s never too late to change your lifestyle habits and find a weight that makes you happy and healthy.

Kristin Kirkpatrick, MS, R.D., is the manager of wellness nutrition services at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute in Cleveland, Ohio, and the author of “Skinny Liver.” Follow her on Twitter @KristinKirkpat. For more diet and fitness advice, sign up for our One Small Thing newsletter.

How to lose weight in your 50s: 7 tips for slimming down

You’ve spent the last four decades of your life getting your metabolism and eating habits in the right shape. Now is the time to really tighten the belt (so to speak) and focus on managing a normal weight and developing a fierce disease reversal plan.

In your 50s, major shifts in hormones and habits can make losing weight a real challenge. You may also be seeing multiple doctors for various reasons, and considering natural remedies versus medication for new issues.

Regardless of the approach you choose, a good diet and an active lifestyle will go a long way. Here’s what to focus on if you want to lose weight in your 50s:

1. Spice things up

In many studies, cayenne pepper has been linked to helping increase metabolism and decrease cravings. A 2011 study revealed people who added cayenne pepper to their dishes showed a decreased amount of energy intake as well a decreased desire to consume fatty, sweet, or salty foods. If you like your food spicy, this could help you keep the weight down.

2. Be a kid again

Have you ever noticed children take forever to eat? That’s a good thing. A 2015 study found when people took 30 seconds in between bites, they stopped eating when they were no longer hungry, so they saved calories and pounds. This example of more chewing and less weight gain has been proven in several studies. We tend to consume more food than necessary as we age because emotion and stress can take over. To combat this, I suggest going back to childhood habits by using smaller plates and chewing longer. A smaller plate will make a smaller portion of food seem bigger. Focusing on slowing down your eating will help fill you up without filling you out.

3. Don’t retire from exercise

Many of my patients 50 and older come to their appointments with similar reasons for not keeping up with a workout plan. These often include some sort of joint pain, but this is not the decade to stop moving. First, assess what you can do. Then, take away the “I can’t” phrase out of your vocabulary. Swimming, walking, exercising on the elliptical machine and biking are low-impact activities. You’ll also want to focus on developing muscle mass to help preserve your metabolism. Finding a good trainer can be the first step in determining which resistance training activities will work best for you.

4. Plan ahead

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry once said, “A goal without a plan is just a wish.” You can wish for your 30something body back, but without strong goals and plans, it may not happen. Now more than ever, you need to focus on meal planning so you don’t rely on going out to eat all the time. I see this in a lot of my patients who are 50 and older. They don’t cook as much because their kids have grown up and moved out. Plan ahead by chopping fresh veggies on the weekend, making soups you can freeze, and having healthy convenient food options (like frozen quinoa, vegetables, and wild salmon burgers) ready in a pinch.

5. Apply a ‘just a few bites’ approach

Have you ever found yourself trying not to eat that piece of chocolate cake you’ve been craving all day, so you end up eating everything else in its path (and probably still eat the cake, too)? One way to enjoy some of the foods you want without reaping the negative consequences is to allow yourself a few bites. This tactic has helped many of my patients who are going on vacation or dealing with the struggle of powerful cravings.

6. Focus on quality over quantity

Straight calorie counting is not always effective because it forces you to start obsessing more about quantity rather than quality. Research already supports the notion that when comparing a higher quality whole foods diet with a standard processed food diet and calorie counting, the whole foods diet can help aid more in weight loss. Get rid of the pressure of counting every calorie.

7. Turn off the TV

Studies have found if you eat in front of the TV when it’s turned on, you may consume 13 to 25 percent more calories than if the TV was turned off. Further, a recent survey shows most Americans stop eating when their plate is empty or their TV show has ended. It may be extremely beneficial to tune into your mindful eating habits by turning off the TV and listening to your body.

Remember…

Weight loss success, at any age, is based on many different factors. After 50, these factors increase. Don’t throw in the towel, though. It’s never too late to change your lifestyle habits and find a weight that makes you happy and healthy.

Kristin Kirkpatrick, MS, R.D., is the manager of wellness nutrition services at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute in Cleveland, Ohio, and the author of “Skinny Liver.” Follow her on Twitter @KristinKirkpat. For more diet and fitness advice, sign up for our One Small Thing newsletter.

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