If you’re over 50 you might be concerned about your health, maintaining a healthy body weight, and maximizing your quality of life. Losing weight after 50 might sound arduous, but with increased age comes the wisdom and discipline needed to make weight loss after 50 a success!
Healthy Habits for Women Over 50
Losing weight after 50 involves more than simply dieting and getting regular exercise.
Additional healthy habits play crucial roles in your overall health and wellness, especially mental health. Examples of healthy habits for women over 50 include:
#1 Prioritize Brain Health
Forgetfulness and cognitive decline associated with aging can be a concern for women over 50. Take care of your brain by exercising it like you would muscles in your body. Try:
- Regular reading
- Crossword puzzles
- Career-related thinking and comprehension
- Doing taxes, balancing checkbooks, and other math-related tasks
Keeping your brain and thinking skills sharp improves overall health and wellness.
#2 Take Dietary Supplements
Dietary supplements for women over 50 help you avoid nutrient deficiencies, improve brain function, enhance mental health, and reduce chronic disease risks – especially osteoporosis and heart disease. Supplements to consider for women over 50 include:
- 500 milligrams of DHA plus EPA daily to optimize heart health and cognitive function
- 1-10 billion CFUs (colony forming units) of probiotics daily to enhance immune function, improve digestive, skin, and heart health, and ease anxiety and depression
- 200 milligrams of green coffee bean extract, 3,000 milligrams of phaseolus vulgaris (white kidney bean extract), or fiber supplements to enhance weight loss if your doctor gives you the okay
- Calcium, vitamin D, and phosphorous supplements to boost bone health
- 425 milligrams of choline daily to enhance brain function
- Multivitamin supplements designed for women over 50, containing all essential vitamins and minerals (including 150 micrograms of iodine)
Always check with your doctor before taking dietary supplements.
#3 Get Enough Sleep
Sleeping enough is important at any age, especially in women over 50.
Sleep keeps hormones that control appetite in check, helps prevent injury, enhances cognitive function, and gives you the energy needed to stay active throughout the day.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend women over age 50 get 7-9 hours of sleep each night.
#4 Focus on Mental Health
In addition to taking dietary supplements, eating right, exercising, and getting plenty of sleep, there are additional things you can do to relax and ease stress and anxiety to improve overall health and wellness. Try:
- Tai chi
- Outdoor walks or hikes
- Getting a massage
- Social support or talk therapy for depression
- Get in touch with your spirituality
Check in with your doctor if you simply can’t shake feelings of depression, stress, or anxiety, to find out if certain medications are right for you.
#5 Have Your Hormones Checked
Hormone levels can fluctuate with age, especially in women during and after menopause. Have your doctor monitor the following hormone levels beginning in your 30s and 40s:
- Thyroid hormone
Hormone levels that are abnormally low or high can affect your body’s metabolism and your ability to effectively shed excess weight.
Ask your doctor if hormone replacement therapy or taking isoflavone supplements is right for you.
Studies show that taking at least 75 milligrams of isoflavones derived from soy daily significantly increases bone mineral density, improves heart health, and may alleviate hot flashes associated with menopause. But since soy isoflavones have estrogen-like properties, always get your doctor’s permission before taking these supplements.
#6 Drink Water, Coffee, and Tea
Drink plenty of water to prevent fatigue associated with dehydration and help reduce hunger. Aim to drink 2-4 cups of water in the morning when you wake up before you drink coffee or tea, and 2 cups of water before meals to help boost satiety.
Studies show that caffeine aids in weight and fat loss. It also helps you stay mentally alert and gives you the boost of energy needed to work out regularly and stay active throughout the day.
Diet Advice for Weight Loss Over 50
A healthy diet is crucial for losing weight after 50. Women over 50 have different calorie and nutritional needs than men and younger women, as metabolism and muscle mass tend to decrease with age. Try the following dietary tips and tricks to optimize weight loss results.
#1 Know Your Weight Loss Calorie Needs
Women’s caloric needs vary based on size, lean body mass, metabolism, and activity level. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020 estimate the following weight maintenance energy needs for women over 50 based on how active they are:
- Sedentary women over 50: 1,600 calories daily
- Moderately active women over 50: 1,800 calories per day
- Active women over 50: 2,000-2,200 calories daily
These calorie guidelines are for women over 50 who would like to maintain a healthy weight. If you’re moderately active or active and would like to lose weight, aim to eat about 1,200 calories per day to drop about 1-2 pounds each week.
#2 Try Intermittent Fasting
To help you achieve a daily 1,200-calorie goal, consider intermittent fasting. Reduce your energy intake to 800 calories per day certain days each week, or only eat during an 8-hour window of time during the day. Studies show that limiting food intake to an 8-hour window leads to calorie restriction and weight loss without calorie counting. Avoid dropping below 800 calories per day unless your doctor supervises you.
#3 Become Familiar with Macronutrients
Become familiar with the three main macronutrients to effectively drop weight after 50. They include:
- Carbohydrates: 4 calories per gram
- Protein: 4 calories per gram
- Dietary fat: 9 calories per gram
The Institute of Medicine recommends consuming 45-65% of your calories from carbs, 10-35% from protein, and 20-35% of your daily calories from dietary fat.
But because protein and fat help boost satiety for weight loss, you might consider the following when eating 1,200 calories per day:
- 40-45% of calories from carbs, or 120-135 grams of carbs daily
- 30-35% of your calories from protein, or 90-105 grams of protien daily
- 25-30% of calories from dietary fat, or 33-40 grams of fat daily
Use the chart below to give you an idea of how many grams of carbs, protein, and fat are in some nutritious whole foods for women over 50:
|3 ounces of grilled chicken||0 grams||25 grams||3 grams||126|
|3 ounces of tuna||0 grams||20 grams||3 grams||109|
|3 ounces of shrimp||0 grams||20 grams||0 grams||84|
|2 large eggs||1 gram||13 grams||10 grams||143|
|3 slices of firm tofu||5 grams||19 grams||5 grams||139|
|3 ounces of seitan||5 grams||20 grams||1 gram||108|
|1/2 cup of low-fat cottage cheese||3 grams||14 grams||1 gram||81|
|1 cup of skim milk||12 grams||8 grams||0 grams||83|
|1 cup of soy milk||4 grams||8 grams||5 grams||80|
|1 container of nonfat Greek yogurt||6 grams||17 grams||1 gram||100|
|1 reduced-fat string cheese stick||0 grams||6 grams||3 grams||45|
|1/2 cup of cooked black beans||20 grams||8 grams||0 grams||114|
|1/2 cup of cooked brown rice||23 grams||2 grams||1 gram||109|
|1/2 cup of cooked quinoa||20 grams||4 grams||2 grams||111|
|1 packet of cooked oatmeal||27 grams||7 grams||3 grams||150|
|1 cup of strawberries||12 grams||1 gram||0 grams||49|
|1 medium banana||27 grams||1 gram||0 grams||105|
|1 cup of non-starchy vegetables
(lettuce, cucumbers, asparagus, tomatoes, etc.)
|2-7 grams||1-4 grams||0 grams||8-40|
|1 ounce of nuts or seeds||5 grams||7 grams||14 grams||161|
|2 tablespoons of nut butter||7 grams||7 grams||16 grams||191|
|1 teaspoon of plant oil||0 grams||0 grams||5 grams||40|
|1 tablespoon of oil-based dressing||2 grams||0 grams||3 grams||35|
|1/6th of an avocado||3 grams||1 gram||5 grams||55|
|8 large olives||4 grams||1 gram||5 grams||54|
#4 Divide Your Plate
If you don't have time to count calories or macronutrient grams during weight loss, it’s okay! Divide each plate the following way to make sure you’re meeting daily nutritional needs:
- Fill half of each plate with non-starchy vegetables (lettuce, spinach, celery, green beans, cucumbers, tomatoes, bell peppers, mushrooms, broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, etc.)
- Fill one-fourth of each plate with protein-rich foods (eggs, chicken, fish, tofu, etc.)
- Fill one-fourth of each plate with fiber-rich carbs (fruit, corn, peas, beans, lentils, other legumes, whole grains, etc.)
- Eat 2-3 servings of low-fat dairy foods or plant milks
- Add a small portion of dietary fat to each meal (oils, avocados, nuts, seeds, etc.)
Dividing your plate this way helps you properly portion foods and get all of the essential nutrients needed to achieve optimal health during weight loss.
Exercise Recommendations for Women Over 50
Staying active over 50 is the key to:
- Preserving lean muscle and bone mass
- Achieving or maintaining a healthy weight
- Maintaining high energy levels
- Increasing strength, flexibility, and the ability to perform everyday tasks
- Reducing stress, depression, and anxiety
- Slowing physical decline associated with aging
There are numerous things to consider when beginning an exercise program for weight loss after 50.
Be sure you choose workouts and activities you enjoy!
#1 Properly Warm Up and Stretch
Warming up and stretching properly is important at any age as it aids in injury prevention, improves workouts, and keeps you flexible and agile. Before beginning each workout, warm up for 3-5 minutes. When you’re finished, cool down for the same amount of time and complete post-workout stretching exercises.
#3 Consider Yoga, Pilates, or Tai Chi
Exercises that increase flexibility and balance, such as yoga, Pilates, and tai chi, are excellent choices for women over 50. These workouts help you relax, ease stress and depression, boost energy, and improve strength to boost your ability to perform everyday functions now and in the future.
#2 Combine Strength Workouts with Cardiovascular Exercise
You’ll achieve optimal health and aesthetic benefits by combining strength exercises with cardiovascular workouts. Aim to exercise at least 30 minutes most days of the week. Examples of fat-burning workouts include:
- Circuit training, or alternating strength training circuits with cardio exercises (rope jumping, burpees, jumping jacks, rowing, etc.) for 30-45 minutes 2 days each week
- Continuous cardiovascular exercise (jogging, walking, biking, swimming, using an elliptical machine, etc.) for 45-60 minutes 1-2 times per week
- High-intensity interval training (HIIT), or alternating 1-2 minutes of high intensity exercise with 1-2 minutes of lower intensity intervals, for 20-30 minutes 1-2 days each week
- Yoga or Pilates 1-2 days weekly
Changing up workouts regularly helps you achieve the figure and fat-burning results you desire.
#4 Increase Activities of Daily Living
Daily workouts shouldn’t be the only time you’re active during the day. Increase the number of calories you burn all throughout the day, not just during exercise, to enhance weight loss over 50. A 155-pound adult expends the following in just 30 minutes:
- Cooking: 93 calories
- Bowling: 112 calories
- Dancing: 112 calories
- Playing frisbee: 112 calories
- Horseback riding: 149 calories
- Raking: 149 calories
- Gardening: 167 calories
- House cleaning: 167 calories
- Playing badminton: 167 calories
- Weeding: 172 calories
- Painting: 186 calories
- Kayaking: 186 calories
- Mowing the lawn: 205 calories
- Golfing and carrying clubs: 205 calories
- Downhill or cross-country skiing: 223 calories
- Shoveling: 223 calories
- Snowshoeing: 298 calories
The bottom line is to avoid sitting down as much as possible throughout the day, even if it means getting a sit/stand desk at work!
I Need Extra Guidance: Where Should I Begin?
When losing weight after 50 is your goal, you don’t have to do it alone. Sometimes extra help planning meals, menus, and workouts – and motivational support from health experts is all you need to achieve the body weight and figure of your dreams.
The Fit Mother Project 30X (FM30X) is a weight loss plan designed for busy moms of all ages. You’ll receive customized meal plans, recipes, workouts, weekly newsletters, and Q&A support from health coaches along the way.
FM30X has helped thousands of busy moms get and keep lost weight off for life. If you’re thinking about giving FM30X a try, sign up for the FREE Fit Mom Starter Kit today! You’ll receive a:
- Free 1-day meal plan
- Free fat-burning workout
- Free email coaching
- Private fit mom Facebook group access
When you’re ready to take control of your health after 50, the Fit Mother Project is here to help! You'll look better, feel better, and be able to enjoy life to its fullest!
Writer, The Fit Father Project
A 15-year freelance writing veteran, Erin is registered dietitian and health educator who is passionate about health, fitness and disease prevention. Her published work appears on hundreds of health and fitness websites, and she’s working on publishing her first book! Erin is a wife and mom of two beautiful children.