Many know all too well that there are no shortcuts to lasting weight loss, particularly because real weight loss requires real change: change of perspective, change of habits, change of routine, and change of attitude. According to Nicholas “Dr. Nick” Yphantides, M.D., M.P.H., Medical Editor for TOPS Club, Inc., this is true no matter what your age happens to be. But it’s also true that as you age, you face different challenges as your body, responsibilities, priorities, and life circumstances change. Consider the following tips for healthy aging and happy aging to overcome obstacles and feel better than ever.
“Career and family demands may leave you feeling short on time, all the time,” notes Dr. Nick. “Choose fruit, nuts, and yogurt on the go, rather than skipping a meal and ‘making up for it’ later. This could cause you to get so hungry that you end up binge eating.”
- If you have young children, they may want sugary snacks or other foods that aren’t good for them – or you. Be mindful about snacking with your children. You don’t need to eat a cookie (or two) every time they do. Avoid eating what they leave on their plates.
- Fill the fridge and cupboards with healthy options. By choosing well at the grocery store, you and your family will have good choices available at home.
- If you can’t make it to a gym, find other opportunities to stay active. Park as far as is practical from your destination, take the stairs instead of the elevator, and go on walks, even if they’re short – such as during a break at work.
“Your metabolism will start to slow down,” says Dr. Nick. “We lose about five percent of our metabolic rate for each decade of aging, according to some estimates.”
- Heat up your body’s “furnace” by eating healthy calories in the morning, including high-fiber foods to keep you satisfied well into the day.
- Maintaining, or even building, muscle mass is a key way to combat a slower metabolism. Consider investing time and money in a personal trainer. Even just a few sessions can help you learn strength training techniques and routines that you perform on your own.
- Men experience a gradual loss of testosterone, which can mean lower energy over time. Most women will experience hormonal changes, including declining estrogen and progesterone levels, which can lead to fatigue. It may seem counterintuitive, but regular exercise, such as a 30-minute walk most days, can increase your energy.
- Aim to get at least seven hours of sleep each night. If you feel tired, try a short nap to catch up on sleep and feel refreshed.
According to Dr. Nick, “Effects of excess weight, including elevated blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, and arthritis, are most likely to appear beginning in this decade.”
- Make sure you and your doctor schedule regular examinations and health screenings, so you can stay informed about your health. You may face the choice of taking medications for a variety of conditions. It can be empowering to take control of your welfare by making healthy choices that lead to long-term change.
- Your metabolism will continue to slow down, and you will likely gain weight unless you make changes to your diet.
- Avoid using food to deal with stress. Excess calories will have an even greater impact in terms of weight gain. Be deliberate about finding alternative ways to unwind and relax.
- Strategically replace high-calorie foods or drinks with lower-calorie ones. For example, choose flavored water, tea, or seltzer instead of soda or pop.
“If you retire from a full-time job outside of the home, you may go from being partially active to being inactive. But don’t retire to the couch,” emphasizes Dr. Nick. “Re-fire!”
- Pursue new interests, passions, goals and activities, or take the time to rekindle old ones.
- Clear any new regimens or activities with your primary care physician.
- Gather a group of friends for a game of tennis or a round of golf, or buddy up with someone for regular walks.
- Try activities to help you improve your flexibility, such as yoga.
- You may feel some limits in what your body can do. For example, you may experience joint pain or difficulty with balance. Listen to your body at any given moment to avoid doing harm in the course of trying to stay healthy or lose weight.
Founded more than 66 years ago, TOPS (Take Off Pounds Sensibly) is the only nonprofit, noncommercial weight-loss organization of its kind. TOPS has more than 125,000 members in thousands of chapters throughout the United States and Canada. Visitors are welcome to attend their first TOPS meeting free of charge. Membership is affordable at just $32 per year in the U.S. and $36 per year in Canada, plus nominal chapter fees. To find a local chapter, view www.tops.org or call (800) 932-8677.