Simplifying Weight Loss for Seniors

There are many things that change about your body and your lifestyle as you age. That’s part of the reason that weight loss for seniors is such a complex issue. The same theory of burning more calories than you consume, which may have worked during your 20’s, 30’s and 40’s, applies during your golden years. But if you tried to lose weight in the past as a senior, you know that the reality is more difficult than it sounds. Once you reach your senior years, the truth is, it becomes even more challenging to drop those extra pounds. Some seniors simply don’t know very much about nutrition or how to go about losing weight. Others don’t have access to healthy food choices and opt for fast food or processed foods that add pounds on quickly. And many don’t have the energy they did when they were 25, or even 45, making it hard to keep up with regular exercise. From diet to lifestyle to natural changes, with so many challenges, losing weight as a senior can feel like an uphill battle.

 Reasons Weight Loss for Seniors Is More Difficult 

Losing weight at any age isn’t easy for most people. If it were, obesity wouldn’t be at epidemic proportions in this country. Even when you’re younger, losing weight is difficult and often fraught with failure. Between the ages of 29 and 39, women average 7 pounds of weight gain while men average a 15-pound increase. As you age, your body changes and it gets even more difficult to shed excess weight. By the time you reach your senior years, you might wonder why you can’t lose a single pound even when you’re eating next to nothing. Some of the reasons you might be having trouble include:

  1. A slowing metabolism
  2. Joint disease
  3. Loss of hormones
  4. Decreased muscle mass
  5. Diabetes and insulin resistance
  6. Fewer exercise options

Weight gain is a problem for seniors because it increases their risk for numerous health conditions as they age. The strength of the association between obesity and mortality risk increases with each year that you get older. That’s why keeping your weight under control during your golden years is so important. Some serious health conditions that obesity is a risk factor for include:

  1. Hypertension
  2. Heart Disease
  3. Stroke
  4. Type 2 Diabetes
  5. Osteoarthritis
  6. Gallbladder Disease
  7. Respiratory Problems
  8. Some Types of Cancer
  9. Mental Illness
  10. Depression

Developing any of these conditions can lower your quality of life and shorten your lifespan. While losing weight might be more difficult during the later years in life, it’s important enough to make the added effort.

The Best Diets for Seniors

Most seniors who are overweight have already tried to lose weight by dieting at some point. Fad diets and weight loss supplements often don’t work at all, or they only result in short-term weight loss. When these methods of weight loss are used, you often end up gaining back more weight than you lost in the first place. For younger adults trying to follow a healthier eating plan that reduces their overall calorie consumption, the challenge is in eating fewer of the right kinds of food. For seniors, both the types of food and the number of calories they eat matter. Ideally, they need to get more nutrition from less food. Every calorie isn’t the same and just counting them isn’t enough to help them lose weight. Fortunately, some of the most popular diets for weight loss today are well-suited to seniors.

 Weight Loss for Seniors – Choosing the Best Diet

The best weight loss diets for seniors not only facilitate weight loss, but they also aid with some of the health conditions that are common in seniors. The best diets for seniors help make them healthier and don’t increase their risk of developing dangerous health conditions. Anyone’s calories need to go down as they age. For senior women, eating a diet of 1,600 to 2,200 calories per day is usually adequate for weight maintenance. For senior men, a diet of 2,000 to 2,800 calories per day is ideal. From these calories, they need to get more protein than they did when they were younger. A diet that is higher in protein supports their immune system and reduces their risk of developing osteoarthritis. That doesn’t necessarily mean eating more meat. Diets that include lentils and beans are great sources of protein that doesn’t increase your fat intake.


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