If you're like many senior citizens who are carrying around a few extra pounds, you undoubtedly already know that losing a little weight would contribute to improved health and happiness on your part — but at the same time, you may have struggled with weight management in the past and are reluctant to try it again. You probably also know that seniors have different nutritional and exercise needs than their younger counterparts but are unsure of the best approach to take to meet your weight management goals. Fortunately, the premise of weight loss remains the same at any age — to lose weight, it's necessary to use more calories than you consume. Nonetheless, there are age-appropriate strategies for losing weight that seniors need to know about — the following are four of them to get you started.
Rethink Old Habits
If you're over 60 and eating the same way you did when you were 20 or 25, you'll undoubtedly gain weight, so it's time to rethink old dietary habits. Think half-sandwiches instead of whole ones for lunch, single scoops of low-fat ice cream for dessert rather than pie à la mode, and fettuccine primavera instead of fettuccine Alfredo.
Practice Weight Training
People lose muscle mass as they age. Although this process begins at around age 30, it accelerates significantly after age 60. Weight training helps preserve your muscle mass. Many senior centers have fitness classes for older adults that include weight training, or, if you'd rather work out in the comfort and privacy of your own home, you can purchase your own set of weights.
Eat More Protein
Because of the probability of losing muscle mass, seniors should also make a point of including plenty of protein in their diet. According to Consumer Reports, nearly half of all seniors do not eat enough protein. Older bodies don't metabolize protein as efficiently as their younger counterparts, so you may have to eat as much as 50% more than you did when you were younger. As an added bonus, protein is great for helping you lose weight because it typically makes you feel full for a long time.
Thirst is often misinterpreted as hunger, and as people age, their ability to feel thirst may decline — and your body may be sending you mixed signals. Staying hydrated by drinking plenty of fresh, clean water and eating foods such as tomatoes, berries, and cucumbers that are naturally rich in water.
Professional weight management treatment for seniors will likely include all of the above suggestions. Contact a weight management professional today for more information on staying lean and healthy in your retirement years.