What to eat at midlife: Healthy weight loss strategies

February 22, 2013 at 8:54 am in Healthy Living by VN Editors

Ever tried the grapefruit diet, or one of those cleanses that are said to be foolproof, to lose a little extra weight? Crash dieting is unhealthy, and usually doesn’t work in the long term. Use healthy weight loss strategies to keep the extra pounds off and keep looking great during midlife.

Living in a High-Stress, High-Calorie Society

The Huffington Post identified two reasons why many people are overweight: a high-calorie world, and a high-stress lifestyle. The wide availability of quick high-calorie food and beverages makes it easy to consume too many calories in a given day.

Day-to-day stresses drain energy reserves. Lack of energy makes it more difficult to maintain discipline and summon up the motivation to stay active. Couple this with the fact that many people eat as a way to relive stress, and it adds up to excessive weight gain. Over time, it may even lead to obesity.

Bad Food, Good Food: The Ongoing Debate

“So much conflicting information out there! This study – that study, what worked for someone’s sister last year. Eggs are bad. Eggs are good.” VN member and featured commenter RamblinRedhead sums up the diet industry pretty well. Information is always changing and being updated. First carbs are bad, now they’re good – but there are still restrictions. How is anyone supposed to keep up?

RamblinRedhead was forced to figure out how to lose weight. She became obese, and it gave her aches and pains. She tried walking, and eating better. Finally, she found a program that actually worked.

“Record everything you eat,” she advised. “[Weight Watchers] uses a points system, but you can also track calories…I was amazed at how much I ate without thinking about it.” She also uses oil on a limited bases, and always healthier choices like olive and canola. Lean proteins, like eggs and turkey bacon, make up a large part of her daily diet. “I lost over 50 pounds that first year – slowly, but in a natural, healthy way.”

It’s true that some foods are worse for you than others. It’s always a good idea to avoid fried foods, refined white sugar and white breads. Eat whole grains, lean protein, fruits and vegetables.

VN Member Weight Loss Strategies

Lots of VN members struggle with maintaining a healthy weight. Some are still trying to figure it out, but others have found weight loss strategies that do work for them.

Annie shares an entrée with her husband when they go out to dinner. “We share the main dish and also order a cup of soup for each. Restaurants usually serve double the amount you should consume.”

“Small changes — starting with how you talk to yourself about the possibility of changing – will add up to lost pounds and better health,” says VN member mscoach.

“The only thing that has worked consistently for me is: 1. eat less; 2. move more,” wrote LindaR. She balances food and exercise to maintain a healthy weight.

Find a creative way to stay motivated, like VN member wife in mid life crisis. “I followed the dog food diet: Find a friend who also wants to change their eating patterns. Buy two tins of the most disgusting dog food. Set a realistic goal – weight and date. Divide this into weekly goals to ensure safe eating and exercise. Meet and compare experiences and help each other along the way. The one who doesn’t make it has to invite at least 50 friends to watch her eat the whole tin!”

What Really Works in Weight Loss

Diets don’t work, says Forbes. What does? One of their recent articles advises re-setting your metabolism.

  • Strength training builds muscle, and that burns fat. The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn through the day. Do some strength training several times a week to slowly build healthy muscle.
  • Sleep is good for you. Try to get at least 8 hours per night. Experts agree that healthy sleep keeps stress down. The metabolism is also active during sleep, so you’re burning calories. Lack of sleep can cause you to feel hungrier and experience more food cravings.
  • Check your thyroid if nothing seems to work. It’s possible that your thyroid has become underactive as you approach midlife. Visit a doctor to have yours checked. You should always consult with a physician before beginning a diet and exercise regimen, anyway.
  • Eat regular meals, advises CNN. Regularly eating keeps your metabolism working at optimal levels through the day, and studies have shown that women who eat regularly while dieting lost more extra pounds than those who skip meals.

Healthy weight loss is slow and steady, not quick. You shouldn’t be losing more than two pounds a week. If you take a slow and healthy approach to losing weight, you have a much better chance of keeping it off.

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