You may notice as you enter your 50s that losing weight or meeting your health goals can become a bit more challenging. This can occur for many reasons, one of the main ones being that your metabolism slows down about 5% per decade.
If you’ve been wanting to lose weight but have been struggling to see consistent changes, you may benefit from making a couple of small tweaks to the way you’re eating on a daily basis.
To learn more about this, we talked with a few dietitians to learn more about eating habits that can help reshape your body after 50. And for more healthy eating tips, make sure to check out Eating Habits to Lower Cholesterol After 50.
According to Penny Laurier, DR, a registered dietitian for 10 Minute Homemaking, skipping breakfast can quickly derail your weight loss goals. “For one, people who eat breakfast are less likely to snack later in the day.”
Not only that, but eating breakfast daily can give you more opportunities to get enough protein. When people get older, they oftentimes lack adequate levels of protein, which can have negative impacts on their metabolism and overall health.
Choosing a breakfast that is high in protein and fiber, and low in added sugar can help you work toward your weight-loss goals after the age of 50.
Laurier warns that processed foods are harmful to your health and weight loss goals, especially as you age.
“Processed foods are often high in sugar, unhealthy fats, and salt, and they tend to be low in fiber and protein,” she says, “so by avoiding processed foods, people can reduce the number of calories they eat and the number of unhealthy ingredients they consume,” thereby helping you reshape your body after 50.
A review published in Nutrition Journal concludes that not only is processed food consumption associated with weight gain, but it has also been linked to an increased risk of hypertension, coronary heart disease, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and all-cause mortality.
In other words, processed food should be avoided whenever possible, regardless of your weight loss goals.
READ MORE: What Happens to Your Body When You Give Up Processed Food
Avoiding processed foods is one thing, but filling that space with healthier options is just as important. Laurier suggests eating plenty of fruits and vegetables throughout your day for a number of reasons.
“Eating plenty of fresh, whole produce is a good way to lose weight after the age of 50 because it is nutrient-dense, can increase feelings of fullness, and tends to be lower in carbohydrates and higher in fiber.”
The CDC also recommends incorporating more fruits and vegetables into your daily routine when you’re trying to lose weight. Some tips they suggest trying are eating whole produce rather than juicing it, cooking in a low-fat way like steaming your vegetables, and trying frozen vegetables if it’s easier for your lifestyle.
Reshaping your body after the age of 50 doesn’t just mean shaving pounds off your frame—it should also encompass improving your overall health if it has fallen out of whack over the years. One important thing to consider is that starting at age 20, your risk for having high cholesterol increases. If you have high cholesterol, your risk for heart disease significantly increases as well.
This is why registered dietitian Blanca Garcia, RDN, recommends snacking on healthy, plant-based protein options. “Choosing plant-based snacks like nuts, seeds, hummus, or beans can reduce your daily intake of animal proteins, which in turn can decrease your body’s cholesterol and inflammatory responses.” For more, don’t miss Popular Foods for Reducing Inflammation After 50, Says Dietitian.