By Charlyn Fargo
Many people focus on weight loss with their January resolutions, but I find back-to-school routines are a great time to think about trimming up our waistline and getting back in shape. The kids are back in school, and parents can focus on getting healthy meals back on the table and carving out some time for exercise.
You’re probably heard that 60 is the new 40, and 50 may be the new 30 – but has your scale gotten the memo? As the years creep up, it seems the pounds do as well. And weight loss becomes a little more difficult. September is a great time to do something about fitting in those favorite jeans again. New research shows that avoiding weight gain with age is one of the best ways to help you live a longer and healthier life.
Your first step? Get a new mindset. While losing weight in your 40s, 50s and beyond may be somewhat challenging due to age-related changes and hormones, it’s certainly not impossible – or even as hard as you may think. Weight loss experts say there’s no reason why the majority of people can’t reach a healthy weight (That includes you.)
Here are five research-backed tips for losing weight at any age – and none of them involve the latest diet craze.
- Eat most of your calories earlier in the day. Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a queen and dinner like a pauper. In a study at the University of Alabama’s Nutrition Obesity Research Center, dieters who ate a 700-calorie breakfast, 500-calorie lunch and 200-calorie dinner lost nearly 18 pounds in 12 weeks, compared to 7 pounds lost among participants who ate a 200-calorie breakfast, 500-calorie lunch and 700-calorie dinner.
- Make protein part of your breakfast. Breakfast with eggs or Greek yogurt has proven to be a winning weight-loss strategy. Studies show that dieters who eat high-quality protein as part of their first meal help ward off hunger pangs, reduce cravings and help lose fat while maintaining lean muscle mass. According to a study in the International Journal of Obesity, women who ate eggs for breakfast as part of a reduced-calorie diet lost 65 percent more weight and 34 percent more belly fat than women who started their days with a bagel breakfast equaling the same calories.
- Limit alcohol. One of the most effective ways to get your younger physique back is to cut back on alcohol intake – or avoid it completely. A couple of glasses of wine with dinner or a couple of beers while watching a game adds up to 300 extra calories. And that alcohol can increase your appetite and make you crave calorie-rich choices. In one study, researchers found that men who had one alcoholic drink before lunch ate, on average, 85 additional calories (besides the drink) during their meal compared to no-alcohol meals.
- Commit to exercise. Strength training is important as well as cardiovascular exercise – walking, jogging, cycling or swimming. Strive for 30 minutes of exercise at least five days a week – and even more will help you lose more.
- Try not to overeat. As we age, the body’s metabolism is less resistant to overeating. So a seemingly minor binge ends up as extra pounds. If you know, you will be eating more, add in some exercise or go light on calories the next day.
The bottom line? Losing weight starts in your mind. Write down what you eat, how long you work out and keep track of results. Before long, your weight will be headed in the right direction.