You may notice as you get older, the pounds pack on more easily. And that’s caused by a few reasons, explains registered dietitian Jonathan Valdez, RDN, owner of Genki Nutrition and a spokesperson for the New York State Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
For starters, your muscle mass decreases. Around age 50, our muscle mass decreases by about 10%. The importance of muscle tissue is that it is metabolically active and has the ability to burn more calories than fat, he notes.
Next, your metabolism may slow. With each decade, our resting metabolic rate decreases by 2%, which affects the body’s ability to burn many calories, he says.
Lastly, your body experiences hormone changes as you age. Testosterone and estrogen levels decline with age, causing the body to store fat, and making it more difficult to lose weight. According to Valdez, lower estrogen can cause women to store fat around the abdomen, which can cause insulin resistance and promote weight gain. For men, decreased testosterone leads to decreased muscle mass and a slower metabolism. This prevents men from burning calories and losing weight.
If you’re looking to start an attempt to lose weight, it can feel overwhelming to know where to start, and with all the changes you’ll need to make. But you can keep things simple with these seven effortless ways to lose weight as you age. Read on, and for more on how to eat healthy, don’t miss Eating Habits to Lose Abdominal Fat As You Age, Say Dietitians.
“Eating more soluble and insoluble fiber can keep you feeling satiated and prevent you from feeling hungry,” says Valdez. “This can prevent you from consuming high calories and putting on unwanted pounds. Aim for at least 28 grams of fiber per day.”
READ MORE: 20 Different Ways to Eat 28 Grams of Fiber a Day
“Be clear on what your goals are—do you want to simply lose weight? Improve a specific quality of life factor? What are you looking for?” says Colleen Tewksbury, PhD, MPH, RDN, CSOWM, LDN, spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. “Then, determine what steps you can take to work towards those goals and start tracking them.”
A study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found that participants who kept daily food records lost twice as much weight as those who didn’t.
“A study showed that bumping up the protein intake increases satiety, decreased overall food intake, and preserves muscles,” says Valdez. “Try aiming for 25-30 grams of protein at each meal. Depending on your workout intensity, you may need 1.2 grams to 2.0 grams of protein per kilogram of weight.”
READ MORE: 20 Ways to Get 20 Grams of Protein at Every Meal
“Weight management is an entire field of care with specialists. Building a team of support is important to work towards long-term weight goals,” says Tewksbury. “This can include working with your primary care provider, registered dietitians, behavioral health providers, and others.”
Green tea has been studied for its weight loss benefits thanks to its antioxidant EGCG that targets fat cells, so make yourself a cup the next time you need a warm drink. One study published in the Canadian Pharmacists Journal found that people who drank green tea lost on average 0.2 to 3.5 kilograms more than those in the control group who didn’t drink green tea over 12 weeks.
Eating breakfast, and a big one at that, may help you lose more weight. A 2020 study found that participants who ate a high-calorie breakfast (69% of their daily caloric intake) compared to those who ate a low-calorie breakfast (those who ate 11% of their daily caloric intake) burned nearly twice as many calories throughout the day.
RELATED: The Best Breakfast Combinations for Faster Weight Loss, Say Dietitians
Okay, okay…this may require some effort. But it will definitely pay off.
“Studies show that aerobic exercise leads to significant weight loss in men and women,” says Valdez. “Aerobic exercise includes running, walking, or swimming. With weight training, which can help preserve muscle mass and boost your metabolism, you should exercise for at least 150 minutes per week.”