Losing weight can be a daunting task, especially as you get older. Metabolism slows down, and with kids and work, it’s easy to fall out of an exercise routine. However, there are ways to overcome these challenges and maintain or achieve a healthy weight even after the age of 35.
Mary Wirtz, a clinical dietitian, explains that muscle mass decreases by approximately 3-8% per decade after the age of 30 years old. With this muscle-mass loss comes a decrease in basal metabolic rate, which is the rate at which you burn calories when at rest. Stephen Anton, Ph.D., of the University of Florida College of Medicine, says that as you age, the quality of your muscle changes from being mostly muscle fibers to a combination of fat and muscle. This may lead to feeling fatigued more easily.
However, despite these trends, there are ways to fight back. Establishing smart habits at the age of 35 can set you up for a healthy weight (and life) in your 40s, 50s, and beyond. Here are six expert-backed tips to help you lose weight and stay healthy:
Prioritize Strength Training
Staying active can help prevent muscle loss, says William Samuel Yancy Jr., M.D., the director of the Duke Diet and Fitness Center. You can maintain muscle or regain it with regular strength training at least twice a week. However, aerobic activity such as running, rowing, hiking, and biking is also helpful.
Easy on the Drinks
Avoid soda, sweetened iced tea, juices, and smoothies with added sugars. Alcoholic beverages, particularly craft beer, can have upward of 300 calories per serving. Switching to low-calorie beers or seltzers can help, but keep an eye on munchies, rough night sleep, and hangovers.
First, consult your primary care physician to review the weight-gain potential of any medications you may be taking. Get an honest assessment of underlying health conditions that may affect your weight. Second, make a standing appointment with a friend for an active activity such as lunch runs, weekly lifting sessions, or a new fitness class. Being accountable benefits not only your health but also the health of your buddy.
Chronic stress can make it difficult to lose weight and contribute to weight gain. It may be helpful to work consistently with a licensed therapist or psychiatrist to reduce anxiety. Diaphragmatic breathing exercises and other relaxation techniques such as massage, meditation, yoga, music art therapy, journaling, and exercise can also be beneficial.
Fine-Tune Your Diet
Meal and snack timing, portion size, and general preference are all critical components of maintaining a healthy weight long-term. Lean protein, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables are constant no matter how the guidelines for healthy eating have changed over the years. The key is to identify what works for you and ensure it is manageable for sustainable results.
Get Enough Sleep
Healthy adults need at least seven hours of sleep a night, and getting more has numerous benefits. A study showed that people who slept eight and a half hours each night ate 270 fewer calories daily than those who slept less than six and a half. The eight-and-a-half-hour sleepers also lost about a pound every two weeks. Ensure a consistent bedtime, avoid screens before bed, meditate, and if necessary, consult with a sleep specialist.
By implementing these six tips, you can achieve a healthy weight and improve your overall well-being, regardless of age. Remember, it’s never too late to prioritize your health.