Fitness At 50 And Beyond: No More Dieting!
© Doug Champigny, http://flirtingwithfitness.com
All Rights Reserved Worldwide.
If you’re 50 years old or older, congratulations – you’ve most likely outgrown the need to ever go on a diet again! After all, you don’t need to fit into a prom dress next week, show off 6-pack abs on the beach next month or fit into skinny jeans before school goes back next year, right?
Because when it comes right down to it, that’s all dieting is – a short-term weight-loss goal that ends at a certain point in the near future. And as you’ve probably experienced in the past, when the dieting ends the old ways of eating resurface, creating the need for your next diet. Looking back, those goals weren’t really important enough to risk your health for, were they?
There are exceptions though, so be sure to discuss your situation with your doctor if you’re overweight. In cases where a person is morbidly obese, a major medically-necessitated intervention diet might be needed – in which case don’t rely on this article, any blog or other online source; it should only be taken under direct medical supervision by a qualified and licensed medical professional!
But for the vast majority of people over 50, removing those artificial deadlines frees you up to pursue healthy nutrition and sustainable weight management. Instead of forcing sudden, extreme changes upon your body you can now take small steps to fine-tune your caloric intake to match YOUR metabolism and level of activity a well as balance out your macro-nutrient ratio.
By now you probably know whether you’re overweight, underweight or in your healthy range, but double-check with your doctor anyway. You’ll want to do at least an initial consult anyway, to know whether you have any condition that has to be factored in when setting up your healthy eating plan. Conditions like pre-diabetes, hypertension an others often display no outward signs and that’s why that initial consult is so important.
Everyone’s body composition, metabolic rate, activity level and any pre-existing conditions combine to make them unique, but for the most part everyone can start from one place: aiming roughly to get 40% of your calories from protein, 40% from carbohydrates and 20% from essential fats. None of these 3 macro-nutrients is bad for you, but an over-abundance of any one, or the combined total, is.
Remember that a calorie is simply an amount of energy; your body requires energy for it’s internal operations and to get you through your daily activities successfully. To help you get started, pick up a ‘food counts’ book from your local bookstore or library, or find a reputable source online. Healthy eating doesn’t involve you counting your calories every day, but it’s wise to be fairly sure what you’re doing as a starting point.
Your current weight and muscle-to-fat ratio is the direct result of what you’ve been eating and the amount of activity in your average day. So once you know roughly how many calories you’ve been averaging daily, you can fine tune your meals to keep you around the same level but now eating the right amount of protein, carbohydrate and fat each day.
That’s the first two steps – seeing your doctor and getting your macro-nutrients in line. The third and final step is to maintain that macro-nutrient balance while decreasing your intake a bit if you’re overweight or increasing it a bit if you’re under your healthy weight range.
There’s no need to make large, drastic adjustments – you’re looking to find the perfect amount for you to maintain a healthy weight year in and year out, so small steps will yield the best results. A drop of just 200 calories a day would be 72,800 calories a year, or about 20 pounds of fat loss.
Don’t bother to weigh yourself daily – that’s a ploy by the weight-loss industry designed to get you to spend more and more with them. Instead, take your starting weight, then put that scale away for a month. The 200-calorie-a-day deficit is only going to cut about a pound and a half to two pounds a month, and your bodyweight can fluctuate by that much in any given day, so it’s easy to see how daily or weekly weigh-ins could confuse or demotivate you.
Over time, you’ll be able to tell if you need to cut back more or add a bit back in – but keep it to small increments and stay at the new level for a month or two to see what effect it has. You CAN find the right level of caloric intake to keep you at your ‘ideal’ weight – it may take a few months, a year or even two – but so what? You’re looking for a lifestyle that will keep you healthy for the rest of your life! Stick to it and you’ll never have to worry about dieting again.