Weight loss for women over 50 can help you stay active and enjoy life to its fullest in your 50s, 60s, and beyond! The right weight loss plan for women over 50 is well-balanced and something you can follow indefinitely. Knowing more about how weight loss works can be a life-changing experience.
How is Weight Loss for Women Over 50 Different?
Weight loss for women over 50 is different from weight loss in younger women and men. Women in their 50s may experience hormone fluctuations and often have lower metabolisms than their younger peers.
They might also have less lean body mass needed burn extra calories during weight loss. That can change with the right exercise program though!
Weight maintenance calorie needs for moderately active women based on age are:
- 2,200 calories for women ages 19-25
- 2,000 calories for women ages 26-50
- 1,800 calories for women over 50
Weight loss calorie requirements for women over 50 are usually about 1,200 calories daily. If you feel hungry when eating 1,200 calories per day or you’re very active, try consuming 1,500 calories daily instead during weight loss.
Surprisingly Simple Weight Loss Tips and Tricks
When weight loss over 50 is your goal, knowing how to plan nutritious menus is the key to success. Use the simple diet tips below to plan weight loss meals:
#1 Eat Small Meals Throughout the Day
Rather than eating just one to two (or even three) large meals aim for smaller, more frequent meals or snacks every few hours or so.
When eating 1,200 calories daily for weight loss over 50, choose from the following meal/snack schedules:
- Four 300-calorie meals
- Five 240-calorie meals
- Three 300-calorie meals plus two 150-calorie snacks
- Six 200-calorie meals
If your weight loss energy needs are 1,500 calories, choose from the following options:
- Four 375-calorie meals
- Five 300-calorie meals
- Three 350-calorie meals plus two 225-calorie snacks
- Six 250-calorie meals
For best results, choose a meal plan and eating schedule that best matches your daily routine.
#2 Know How Many Calories You're Eating
When you first begin a weight loss plan over 50, it’s helpful to record calories so you know if you’re on the right track. You might be eating more calories than you think!
Use a free online food composition database or calorie-tracking app, such as MyFitnessPal, Fatsecret, or Lose It!. To give you an idea of the calorie content in some of your favorite healthy foods, use the following list:
- 3 ounces of lean poultry, fish, seafood, tofu, or seitan: 70-135 calories
- 2 eggs: 145 calories
- 1 cup of non-starchy vegetables (leafy greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, etc.): 10-45 calories
- 1/2 cup of starchy vegetables (black beans, corn, peas, potatoes, etc.): 65-120 calories
- 1 cup of fruit: 45-135 calories
- 1 cup of dairy foods or plant milk: 80-160 calories
- 1/2 cup of cooked whole grains: 75-110 calories
- 1/3 ounce of nuts or seeds: 50 calories
- 1/2 tablespoon of peanut butter: 45 calories
- 1 teaspoon of oils: 40 calories
- 1/6th of an avocado: 40 calories
This list gives you a good estimate of the energy content associated with nutritious foods when you don’t have time to count calories!
#3 Divide Your Plate
Dividing your plate into fourths is a simple way to plan nutritious meals and menus for weight loss over 50. For example:
- Fill 1/2 of your plate with non-starchy vegetables
- Fill 1/4 of your plate with protein foods (eggs, poultry, fish, seafood, tofu, etc.)
- Fill 1/4 of your plate with starches (whole grains, legumes, peas, sweet potatoes, etc.)
- Add 1 teaspoon of oils or another healthy fat to each meal
- Aim for 2-3 cups of dairy foods or plant milk daily
- Eat two 1/2-cup portions of fruit daily
If you exceed your daily weight loss calorie allotment, try using smaller plates.
#4 Know Which Foods to Nix
It might be difficult to cut out junk food at first, but doing so is crucial for weight loss success over 50. After awhile you won't even miss it! Following the well-balanced, healthy meal plan above can reduce your cravings for unhealthy foods that hinder weight loss. Steer clear of the following foods:
- Alcoholic drinks
- Sodas, juices, sweet tea, and other sugary drinks
- Sweets and baked goods
- Refined grains (white bread, white rice, regular pasta, etc.)
- Fried foods
- Processed meats (ham, deli meats, hot dogs, bacon, etc.)
- Potato chips and other snack foods
- High-fat dairy foods
If you choose red meat during weight loss, eat it in moderation and choose very lean, organic, grass-fed cuts of meat.
#5 Drink Water, Coffee, and Tea
Increasing water, black coffee, or unsweetened tea intake is an excellent weight loss strategy for weight loss for women over 50. Water helps you feel full without calories. Coffee and tea provide fewer than 5 calories per serving but give you caffeinated energy so you can stay active throughout the day and complete fat-burning workouts.
Studies show that drinking at least 3 cups of coffee or tea daily is associated with a lower body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference in adults. Women should aim for at least 12 cups of water or other fluids daily, especially during weight loss.
#6 Consider Meal Replacement Protein Shakes
Drinking protein shakes as meal replacements can fill you up with fewer calories and properly nourishes you when you’re in a hurry or on the go. Many weight loss shake recipes contain about 250 -300 calories. Drink a shake for breakfast or lunch, or as post-workout replenishment.
In addition to following the dietary weight loss advice above, there are numerous simple ways to achieve optimal health and boost your chance of weight loss success over 50. Examples include:
#7 Take Dietary Supplements
Taking dietary supplements over 50 is an excellent way to meet your body’s nutritional needs and enhance weight loss. Consider taking the following healthy supplements for women over 50 during your weight loss journey:
- Multivitamin supplements containing iodine
- Soy isoflavones plus black cohosh supplements for menopause symptom relief
- Extra calcium and vitamin D as needed for bone health
- Omega-3 fatty acids containing at least 500 milligrams of DHA plus EPA
- Probiotics supplements for digestive and overall health
- Fiber supplements as needed for weight management
- Choline supplements for better brain health
- Melatonin to improve sleep quality
Always check in with your doctor before taking dietary supplements, especially if you’re taking medications or have a health condition.
#8 Get Your Hormones Checked
Women over 40 may experience hormone fluctuations associated with menopause.
Estrogen, progesterone, and even testosterone might fluctuate outside of a normal range with increasing age. Women also have a higher risk than men of developing thyroid conditions, such as hypothyroidism, that can decrease metabolism and hinder weight loss.
Have your doctor monitor your hormones to make sure they are balanced, to boost your chance at effective weight loss. If your levels are too low or too high, your doctor can adjust medication dosages accordingly. You might have to take synthetic thyroid hormone or estrogen, for example.
#9 Focus on Sleep
Getting plenty of sleep is crucial for effective weight loss for women over 50.
Sleep helps your body function at its best, improve cognitive function, and keep energy levels high.
Sleeping enough also balances hormones in your body responsible for appetite control, making it easier to eat fewer calories to shed pounds. Aim for a least 7-9 hours of sleep each night for best weight loss results.
Chronic stress can also alter hormones within your body responsible for increased hunger. Stress over 50 is bound to happen from time to time, but there are several ways to combat long-lasting stress. For example:
- Try yoga, tai chi, or meditation
- Get a massage
- Take vacations
- Try acupuncture
- See a chiropractor
- Spend time outdoors
- Go for regular walks outside
- Exercise regularly
Find something you enjoy doing to de-stress, and avoid overbooking your schedule!
#11 Try Fat-Burning Workouts for Women over 50
Fat-burning workouts for weight loss in women over 50 are similar to fat-burning workouts for younger women and men. The only difference is you’ll go at your own pace and modify exercises as needed until your strength and endurance increases.
Consider adding the following weight loss workouts for women over 50 (30-60 minutes per day) most days of the week:
- High-intensity interval training (HIIT), which involves alternating high-intensity 1-minute exercise bouts with lower-intensity
1-minute recovery periods, for about 30 minutes
- Biking, jogging, walking, rowing, stair climbing, using an elliptical machine, or swimming at a moderate intensity for 45-60 minutes
- Circuit training, which includes resistance training exercises, at least 2-3 times per week
For best results, choose a circuit training routine that works all major muscle groups and combines resistance exercises with aerobic movements. Examples of circuit training exercises you can do from the comfort of home or at a gym include:
- Aerobic movements: burpees, rope jumping, jumping jacks, jogging in place, traditional high knees, high knees with alternating elbow-to-knee touches, side-to-side hops, front-to-back hops, skaters, and mountain climbers
- Box exercises: box jumps, alternating box toe touches, and box step-ups
- Squat exercises: traditional squats, squat to press with dumbbells, squat kicks, jump squats, squats with medicine ball wall throws, kettle bell swings, and squats with rear leg raises
- Lunge exercises: traditional alternating lunges, pulsing lunges, alternating jumping lunges, and walking lunges with dumbbells
- Calf exercises: calf raises using your own body weight, calf raises with dumbbells, and seated calf raises
- Back exercises: dumbbell dead lifts, barbell dead lifts, bent-over dumbbell rows, and rear delt flys
- Chest exercises: pushups, dumbbell chest press, barbell chest press, incline dumbbell chest press, and dumbbell flys
- Shoulder exercises: standing shoulder press, seated shoulder press, kettle bell swings, front raises, and lateral raises
- Biceps exercises: standing dumbbell biceps curls, seated dumbbell biceps curls, and standing barbell curls
- Triceps exercises: skull crushers, standing triceps extensions with dumbbells, triceps pull-downs using a resistance band, chair triceps dips, and triceps kickbacks with dumbbells
- Ab exercises: traditional sit-ups, crunches, lying leg raises, Russian twists, planks, plank jacks, side planks, plank hip dips, jack knife sit ups, and bicycle crunches
Mix and match these exercises to create your own fat-burning workouts over 50! Complete each exercise for about 1 minute before moving on to the next exercise with little to no rest periods between. Aim to complete 3-5 sets of each exercise.
#12 Increase Activities of Daily Living
Getting at least 30 minutes of exercise in daily is important but isn’t a guarantee you’ll lose weight over 50. Increase your activities of daily living to get your blood pumping all throughout the day, not just during workouts. Increase the following everyday calorie-boosting activities:
- Play with your children or grandchildren outside
- Grocery shop, cook, and do the dishes
- Carry your clubs while golfing
- Go bowling or curling
- Play tennis or racquetball
- Do outside yard work
- Mow the lawn
- Vacuum, mop, wash windows, or paint
- Walk the dog
- Wash and fold laundry
If you've been putting off indoor and outdoor house chores, don’t!
Cleaning and other active everyday tasks should be part of a weight loss plan for women over 50.
Less clutter also helps you de-stress!
#13 Sign Up for the FM30X
Many women over 50 don’t have a lot of weight to lose but weigh more than they’d like to. If this is the case for you, the Fit Mother Project can help! The Fit Mother Project 30X (FM30X) program is a healthy, sustainable, long-term weight loss plan with proven success designed for busy moms of all ages. Key components of FM30X include:
- Well-balanced weight loss meal plans, menus, and recipes
- Fat-burning workouts
- Motivational support and health coaching
- Fit mom social media access and support
- Weekly newsletters and much more
FM30X is similar to the Fit Father Project 30X, a program that’s helped thousands of busy dads drop weight and keep it off for life, but for moms!
If you’d like to learn more about FM30X for weight loss for women over 50, sign up for the FREE 3-day fit mom starter kit! In it you’ll receive a free weight loss meal plan, free fat-burning workout, email coaching support from health experts, and much more! Give it a try today!
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.