10 Powerful Tips to Lose Weight After 50

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To your surprise, what used to work doesn’t work anymore and you may have given up hope that you can ever lose the weight you’ve put on in the past few years. Here are my best 10 tips to lose weight after 50. 

No matter what anyone says there is no magic or easy way that is known to be long-term safe. Women seem addicted to losing weight at any cost, even their long-term health.

I will say this over and over. Thin does not equal healthy. Our health is comprised of so many things and losing weight is not a magic bullet that gives you health.

That being said, eating a sound diet that focuses on nutrition is never a bad thing. While food may feel like the enemy at times, food is an essential, important, and enjoyable part of life.

Feeling great in your body is also an essential, important, and enjoyable part of life.

My aim is to help you not just lose weight but to find peace with your body and food. I write for women over 50 and I want you to have your best chance at feeling great for many more years!

The Truth About Weight Loss After 50

I teach women that they can lose weight, without a diet, eating food they like. This is a process that is built on what really works and is designed to give women long-term success.

This is not a quick fix and it may take weeks or months for your body to respond. Through coaching, I help women develop the skills needed to change how they eat, to appreciate their unique bodies, and to find peace with food–often for the first times in their lives.

Also by the age of fifty, many women have health conditions that can make losing weight even slower.

We’re all well-versed in diet talk. Diet talk is all the things that are accepted as true but can be detrimental.

Here are some examples of diet talk:

It can be about WHO you are: unmotivated, lazy, lack of willpower. Diet talk also provides a lot of misinformation.

  • Information that is simplified such as eat less, exercise more
  • General pronouncements on food groups such as carbs or fat are bad
  • Quick starts, not going off the plan for a period of time, restrictive or strict eating, one-size fits all plans
  • Simply untrue things such as having fat on your body is unhealthy or that thin equals being healthy, or that losing weight makes you healthier

Here’s something to think about. Even at the highest level of science and medicine, there are still a lot of competing opinions. 

Most diets will work at first, if you follow them. However, it can feel impossible to get started, follow, and do for the rest of your life.

To have long-term success, you have to eat now, the way you want to eat forever. Except for about 5% of people who lose weight, everyone eventually goes back to their own way of eating.

Also, keep in mind that the diet industry is huge money. Your buying into diet mentality keeps other people making money but it doesn’t help you love your body or eat in a healthy way.

What is Healthy Eating?

Everyone has their own version of healthy eating. For a long time I ate only whole grains. Then I avoided whole grains. 

In my early fifties, I thought my green smoothies were the key. I avoided added sugars, added fiber and vitamins. 

Every time I thought I had found healthy eating, I ended up changing my definition of healthy eating at a later time.

At 61, I like to keep things simple. To me, healthy eating is concentrating most of the time on eating real food: protein, carbohydrates in their natural form, and nutritional fats. 

Healthy eating also includes eating not-so-healthy foods at times. You can incorporate special or favorite treats into your diet. I always encourage my clients to plan for these. 

Healthy eating is eating that makes your body and mind feel great. Your body will let you know what is healthy for you.

The most perfect eating plan is useless if you can’t stick to it. In my experience most people struggle to stick to eating plans. The result is that they feel more shame and guilt around their eating because of this.

I offer shame and guilt free eating. When women learn to eat in a healthy way for them, they feel empowered and confident.

This is healthy!

Where These Tips to Lose Weight Come From

After 7 years of writing about weight loss for women over 50 and three years of life coaching women, I am putting my favorite 10 tips to lose weight after 50 in the order I use with my clients.

I turned 61 a few months ago and I believe more than ever that what I eat is important and so you’ll see that I stress going setting up your healthy eating habits before you try to lose weight.

Picture of author Sara sitting outside with a cup of coffee

It is widely known and validated that diets don’t work for the long-term. You could be handed a diet plan that is perfect nutritionally for you and it would still be difficult to stick to. There is no magic diet that will be easy to do.

Let’s face it. Another diet to fail at is not what you need right now. A diet will always let you down eventually. Having solid eating habits is yours to keep forever!

Sara Garska

To really make changes, you have to address all the things: your physical requirements, your emotional needs, and the power of your mind.

Four years ago, I wrote my most popular post, 7 Powerful Tips to Lose Weight After 50. I update it often to keep it current. However, I decided that it had so much information in it that a new post made more sense.

If you are caught up with overeating and need to get a handle on that first, check out How to Stop Overeating for Good.

So, instead of updating, I wrote this list of 10 Tips. Be sure and go read the 7 Tips post later. There is so much good stuff in that post that will help you on your journey.

But these are the tips that have grown from my real work with real women.

  • These are the tips that I use every day
  • These are the tips that are research-based
  • These are the tips that are sustainable. Since you aren’t on a diet; there is nothing to quit

My passion in life is telling women that you don’t have to diet to get to a better happier life. In fact, everything about diet culture helps create more misery in the world.

What if you could just live? Eat food. Live your amazing passionate life?

That’s what I want for you. And if you want to lose weight, I want to help with that too!

I’m a realist too. I know that you also want to take care of your body. For so long, we’ve been fed the LIE that being thin = being healthy.

My friends, those are two different things. Being thin is a label. Being healthy is a state of being.

You don’t have to wait until you are thin to be healthy. The changes you make to your nutrition and emotions are healthy. You will feel better!

My mission is to reduce the pain that comes from hating your body and being obsessed with food, while teaching you ways to eat that are aligned with your overall goals.

How to Get the Most from 10 Tips to Lose Weight After 50

I’ve put these tips in a specific order, so that you can understand the whole process. I know you have weight loss goals and I want to decrease the chances that you give up before you get the results you want.

The first three tips create the foundation for everything else. Diets always say do this and don’t do that without taking into account what you are doing.

You probably don’t need to change everything. From experience working with women, most women have the general right idea and just need a boost. While you may need to eat fewer calories, it’s also possible you need to adjust your food intake in other ways.

There are usually just a few places that need tweaked and two of them will probably surprise you. (Eat more and eat more fat).

Some are things you might have thought are fads yet are actually backed up by current research. (Limit sugar and processed foods and time-restricted eating).

I also point out the tips that will help you see results faster. In addition, I give you tips to make those changes almost painless.

Ready to go?

Sara’s 10 Tips to Lose Weight After 50

Getting started

  • Set the Intention to Lose Weight
  • Write Down What You Eat
  • Stabilize your eating

Create weight loss

  • Limit Sugar, Processed Foods, and snacking
  • Time Restricted Eating
  • How to eat carbs

Lifestyle changes that make it all easier

  • Eat more at meals
  • Eat more healthy fat and oils
  • How to plan for special occasions
  • How to use hunger as a guideline

I know you are eager to get started! But hear me out. You have tried so many things over the past few decades. You may be going through menopause and not know what to do.

This time, I want you to feel great about what you are about to do. I really want you to be intentional about the process and be able to make it work for you.

This isn’t about eating more spinach, broccoli, and lean protein. My goal is to help you with shifting your mindset and creating new habits.

Picture of woman sitting on the ground with the words: Ten steps to lose weight after 50

Set the Intention to Lose Weight

Don’t laugh. I know you want to lose weight. Usually though, it is just that—a want. You want it but you haven’t set the intention. Setting the intention means that this is what you are going to do.

Another thing is that a lot of you are HOPING to lose weight! There’s a huge difference between hoping and having an intention.

There is no time limit. It doesn’t have to be a certain number of pounds per month.

You are telling your brain, that you not only want to lose weight, you intend to lose weight.

What I mean by intention is that you’ll remember your intention even on days that seem less than perfect, when you don’t see the results you want, or you just want to give up for any reason.

No single event is going to derail you. You won’t get off-track because there is no actual track.

Here is how you go from hoping to having an intention. Intention means you are going to stick with this until you figure out what works for you no matter how long it takes.

It doesn’t mean you intend to be miserable living on low-calorie or low-fat food. You don’t have to eat foods you don’t like.

Write Down What You Eat

Write down what you eat or drink. This is hands-down the one habit that can change everything for you.

You don’t have to count calories, macros, or points; you are simply writing down the foods you eat and when. This allows you to see patterns.

This is not for punishment! It is simply to collect some data. No need to change anything for the first week or two. Just write down what you are already doing.

No one ever realizes their eating patterns until they start writing them down. You easily forget the little bites and licks here and there. Whole meals or snacks get erased from memory.

For example, you may feel like you are eating healthy because you are having oatmeal and berries in the morning. Yogurt and more fruit for a snack. Lunch might be a salad with chicken if you have time to eat. Dinner might be brown rice, some lean protein, followed by a small piece of chocolate.

At least that’s the way you remember it. But when you start writing it down, you may see the fast food you ate on days you didn’t pack a lunch. You’ll see the soda or drinks.

When I first started having women write down what they ate, I did it because it allowed me to see what was really going on.

Then I noticed that when women quit writing their food down, they lost their focus. In addition, their weight loss would stop or they would begin gaining again.

Writing down what you eat doesn’t have to be fancy. You can jot it down in a notebook, in an app, or in a document or note on your computer.

This way you can see exactly what you are eating at your meals. What snacks are you eating? What are the times that feel the most problematic?

In the next section, I’ll talk about areas to address but you have to know, really know what you are doing right now.

Not what you think you should do. Not what you want to do. But what are you doing, day in and day out.

It is much easier to do this process if you have honestly do this one thing. If you skip over it, you’ll miss the most important part of this process.

Here’s the thing. No matter how you are eating, there is a foundation in there somewhere. This is, what are you already doing right. In addition, you’ll be looking for all the rest.

  • When do you do the most emotional eating of the day?
  • What are your foods you can’t resist?
  • What foods give you the most comfort?
  • When do you snack?
  • How much sugar are you eating?

This allows you to have a laser focus on any change that makes sense. You aren’t shooting in the dark trying crazy things.

Stabilize Your Eating

Most diets just jump right to cutting things out. I recommend dealing with problem-eating first.

If you have times of the day where your eating feels out of control, work on that first. If you are addicted to any kind of soda that probably needs to go.

Hormonal changes play a part in how your body uses and stores fat. Your hormones like such as insulin, ghrelin, and leptin play a huge part in gaining or losing weight.

Many of our modern habits such as high carb snacks throughout the day can really affect your metabolism and lead to weight gain, while also depriving you of essential nutrients. 

Please don’t skip this! You binge and overeat for a reason. A diet will not help you if you don’t address the reason you can’t control part of your eating.

Stabilizing your eating will usually stabilize your weight. You will stop gaining.

If you have been on a slow consistent journey of gaining weight; not gaining weight is an improvement. Not gaining weight IS progress! It’s not something to fear. 

This is incredibly important. Allowing yourself to maintain weight will be very helpful on vacations and over holidays. And of course, when you want to actually maintain your weight.

This is an essential skill. If you don’t learn it during the process, you will not have if when you are happy with your weight.

This means:

  • If you are out-of-control eating at times, work on that first.
  • If you aren’t eating actual meals, start eating meals.
  • If you snack often, that’s a great place to start.

Ideally, you will get to the place where you are eating two or three meals that include protein, health fats, and nutritious carbohydrates.

It is very possible that you will lose weight as you adopt these changes. But it is more important to make regular meals a priority.

Building a foundation of enough food is something I can’t over emphasize enough.

You want to change your brain before you change your actions.

Limit Sugar and Processed Foods

Of all the foods you eat that are nonessential, sugar and processed foods are the most problematic.

One, they are crazy addictive. They mess with your brain. However, they are incredibly bad for our bodies when we eat too much.

Here’s the bottom line. These foods, even in modest quantities can keep you stuck or gaining weight forever.

After years of consumption, most women have some level of insulin resistance. Your body literally cannot remove enough glucose from your bloodstream and instead stores it as fat.

Concurrent with weight gain; it also is a major contributor to inflammation.

All of my clients report that they feel so much better simply by removing sugar and junk food from their diets.

Most of my clients also allow themselves some types of these foods on occasion. But to change your body inside and out, you have to take a realistic look at sugar and understand that large amounts are detrimental.

This one can feel so hard to do if you feel like you are addicted to a particular treat that is a part of your self-comfort.

Yet, it is entirely possible. Everyone I work with is not only able to quit overeating sugar, they don’t even miss it.

Here’s how this works.

You eat plenty at your meals, especially in the beginning. You want to rule out hunger as a reason to eat sugar.

Eat food you enjoy.

When you feel the craving for the food, check in with yourself. Are you hungry? If the answer is no, then ask yourself, “What am I hungry for?”

Sit with the craving for a couple of minutes. Then check in and see if you still want it.

If you are hungry, then have a non-sweet snack, like a boiled egg or two, nuts, cheese, protein, veggies and dip, olives, or avocado. If I am hungry between meals, I like to do a mini meal with protein and fat.

This takes care of the hunger without creating more cravings.

If you are eating sweets 7 days a week, anything less is progress and something to celebrate.

Quit Snacking

Most people don’t need snacks if they eat enough at their meals. I believe our incessant snacking is because of the marketing of snack foods and it contributes to overeating and weight gain.

When you eat around the clock, your body is always trying to digest food.

I also believe snacking is a product of our low-fat craze. When you don’t eat fat and you eat lots of processed food; you ARE always hungry. It’s a never-ending cycle.

Advice for not snacking is the same as not eating sugar and processed foods. Eat enough at your meals. Eat food you enjoy at your meals.

If you want to have a snack, check in and see if you are hungry. If you are, eat something like I recommended above. If not, see what it is you want.

Being hungry between meals might mean you aren’t eating enough at your meals. When you finish eating a meal, ideally you will feel satisfied and not overly full.

After a few hours, you will gradually get hungry and that is how you know it’s almost time to eat. Feeling crazy hungry just a couple of hours after you eat means you need to either eat more or eat different kinds of food.

Eating protein, complex carbs, and good fats will help make meals more satisfying and make it easier to resist snacks.

Use Time Restricted Eating

This goes by a couple of different names: Time-restricted eating and intermittent fasting. You can read my post How to Get Started with Intermittent Fasting for more information and cautions.

I believe that this alone has been a contributing factor in maintaining my weight for years.

It’s really not a big deal. If I have my last meal by 7PM, then I don’t eat until 7AM. 12 hours is effortless.

More often I go for 12-15 hours without eating. Instead of breakfast, I have coffee. Sometimes black, but more often with some half and half.

Then I eat a great lunch and dinner. Sometimes I’ll have a small breakfast. Sometimes on the weekends, I’ll have a big breakfast for fun.

For the record, everyone fasts while they sleep! That takes care of most of the fasting. If you are not snacking after dinner, 12 hours is easy to achieve.

Here’s where I may differ from some intermittent fasting proponents. I don’t go by a set time.

If I am truly hungry after 12 hours, I eat. If I’m not, I eat later. My usual length of time is about 13 to 14 hours. If I’m just a tiny bit hungry, I might push it out a little longer.

There’s a lot of good research-backed reasons to not eat for a period of time. This can also help regulate your insulin response.

If you like three meals a day, you can do that.

Your hunger can change from day to day and that is why I like to use hunger as my guide, instead of an arbitrary time.

Aim for not eating at night after your last meal. Make sure to eat enough protein, vegetables, and healthy fats to keep you satisfied (not stuffed) after you eat.

How to Eat Carbohydrates to Lose Weight

Carbs are an entire nutrient group. Personally, I don’t feel great when I don’t eat enough carbohydrates. I do include some at each meal.

Some people track their carbs. An extremely low carb diet, such as keto might recommend as few as 20 grams of carbohydrates a day.

There may be some medically reasons for that; but in general, that is very restrictive. When I eat that low, I don’t have as much energy, and I don’t sleep as well.

That being said, If I eat too many processed carbs, I can start seeing changes in my shape and in my face. I look and feel puffier.

Figuring out the right amount is unique to you and your body.

Let’s talk about carbs

Many types of foods fall into the carbohydrate family.

  • Grains: wheat, corn, rice (these can be whole grains or flour used for many products)
  • Grain flour-based products: bread, pasta, tortillas
  • Sugars: sugar, honey, maple syrup
  • legumes, beans, lentils
  • Fruit
  • Vegetables

You can see that while they are all carbohydrates; they can be very different. Here is what 15 grams of carbohydrates looks like in some common foods.

  • 2 Tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 Tablespoons of sugar
  • 1 piece of bread
  • ¼ cup of granola
  • 1 small apple
  • 1/3 cup of cooked pasta
  • 1/3 cup of cooked beans
  • 1/3 cup of cooked rice
  • 1 cup raw vegetables (can vary)
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 5 vanilla wafers
  • ½ bagel

The other day, I was eating a little candy bar and it had 11 grams of carbohydrates!

Carbohydrates are also in foods that have proteins as well such as milk, beans, and nuts.

Among vegetables, there are many that have extremely low amounts of carbohydrates. These are your leafy greens, lettuces, green beans, zucchini, and cucumbers.

These are typically considered foods you can have as much as you want.

Other vegetables have a higher carb count. These include corn, carrots, winter squash, beets, and potatoes. Some people avoid these because they are higher in carbs.

However, they offer so much nutrition. I almost always include a serving of one of these with my meals. Most people are not overweight because they eat too many vegetables!

Fruits are also a great source of carbohydrates.

Carbohydrates are an essential nutrient. As you can see, there is so much variety but not all carbs add nutrition.

Okay, there are people that will argue about this. What is different about eating 30 grams of potato chips versus eating a whole potato?

Well, here’s the big difference. The potato chips were created in a laboratory to taste as delicious as possible, to make it hard to stop eating, and to create more cravings in the future.

For me, once I’m eating chips it is hard to stop! Plus they don’t have the same nutrition as an actual potato.

I love baked potatoes, but I rarely sit around distracted by craving one.

One of the reasons I suggest everyone eat more real food is because real food doesn’t mess with your brain as much.

Those foods from the snack aisle or from the drive through are literally made to mess up your brain and override your hunger.

One of the things that is important to me, is to eat as many foods that are nutritious as possible. I can eat treats, but I know they aren’t really providing anything essential.

I don’t count my grams of carbs in a day. I eat a mix of high and low carb vegetables and fruits daily. That being said, I have clients that do track carbs and can still lose weight eating around 100 grams of carbs a day.

I occasionally have things that are rice or corn based. I avoid almost all junk food and fast food. Most rarely I will have bread, pizza, or pasta.

My rule of thumb is to avoid as many processed foods as possible and eat as much real food as possible.

I also wrote a post about carbs back in 2016. Apparently at that time, I was only eating fruit and vegetable carbs! I eat more variety now but it’s fun to see how many times I mention the word banana.

Eat More at Meals

Almost every person that I work with needs to eat more real food at their meals.

What I often see is meals that include insufficient protein, vegetables, and healthy fats.

Here’s my favorite template for a meal. I learned it in Whole30 and adapted for my use. It’s also super simple and offers ENDLESS variety.

  • Protein: 4 – 6 ounces or about the size of your palm
  • Vegetables: as many low carb ones as you want, a small serving of higher carb vegetable or fruit
  • Healthy fats or oils, 1–2 Tablespoons at EACH meal: olive oil, coconut oil, butter/ghee, avocado oil, nuts, olives, avocados. This is in addition to what you use to cook your food.

That might sound really restrictive. Here’s the thing. I can’t eat as much as I did when I was younger, so ideally every bite needs to count.

I’m a real person though, so I eat pretty much all the foods. I just limit how often I eat the ones that are not great for my body or mind.

Eat Healthy Fats and Oils

The fat and oils you eat make a difference. Stick with the basic healthy oils as much as possible, especially at home.

Most restaurants rely heavily on the not-so-great oils, so I try to stick to better oils at home. Calorie-wise they are the same.

Oils to add

  • Olive oil
  • Coconut oil
  • Butter/ghee
  • Avocado oil
  • Avocados
  • Canned coconut milk

Oils to avoid

  • Seed oils such as canola
  • Corn oil
  • Vegetable oil
  • Margarine

I first wrote about eating healthy fats in 2016. I believe that not only has this helped me maintain my weight but has also supported my skin. Read Eat More Fat to Lose Weight here.

How to Use Hunger as Your Guide

I used to be afraid of being hungry and carried snacks around all the time.

Once I learned to eat more fat and enough at meals, that was no longer a problem. However, I was still eating on a timetable rather than based on hunger.

Your hunger is truly a gift. It is how your body was designed. Hunger is there to tell you it is now time to eat.

Modern food though, overrides our natural hunger cues (hormone-based) and gives us cravings instead. Also, modern foods can leave us hungry way too soon.

Using hunger is simple but takes practice.

Don’t eat until you feel hungry. Stop eating when you are full.

The beauty of waiting to eat until you are hungry is that it is much easier to tell when you are satisfied.

This is so good for your body!

Hunger becomes something pleasurable as well. It’s the signal that your body is ready to process more food. It feels great to get that signal.

As you practice, you’ll also want to pay attention to when you feel comfortable. This is usually just a little under being “full.” In the beginning, don’t stress about it. Check in with yourself to see how you feel.

I think it’s better to be a little too full than leave the table wanting more. As you get more comfortable paying attention to hunger and fullness it will be easier.

This skill is will also pay off when you are eating a treat like a piece of cake or pizza. You really can trust yourself if you know you’ll stop when you feel satisfied.

You can always remind yourself that nothing is totally off limits.

Just a little note here about wasting food. Food you eat when you are not hungry is no less wasted than food you throw away. I’d rather have it in the trash than stored in my body as fat.

Plan for Special Occasions and Travel

Holidays, family get-togethers, and vacations do not have to be a problem. Yet, we often think they are going to mess things us.

First of all, think proactively about the occasion coming up.

I always recommend aiming to not gain weight. Plan to have the foods you truly enjoy. I promise if you allow yourself to have the ones you really want AND pay attention to your hunger and fullness, you will do fine.

My clients usually make a loose plan of how they will handle special occasions, conferences, vacations, and holidays.

They plan for what they want to eat. They plan to skip the less satisfying foods. They plan how to connect with other people. Look at the overall picture and come up with a game plan that feels good to you.

These situations do not have to be an excuse to eat everything in sight.

Your enjoyment comes from so many other things than food. Focus on that part. The people, the sights, the learning, the fun can all be enjoyed without worrying about food.

Physical Activity

You don’t need high-intensity endurance workouts to support your efforts to lose weight. But physical activity is a great addition to all your efforts.

Strength training, cardio, interval training, and stretching are all your friends. Any kind of movement that you enjoy can be helpful and boost your weight loss efforts.

Your exercise routine is up to you. I find that a mix of consistent cardio workouts, such as walking outside are essential. I aim for 40 minutes each time, three or four times a week.

In addition, I love to use resistance training and workouts that include yoga, pilates, and barree in them.

I am a huge fan of gentle workouts because they also help reduce stress. And most important I feel better! One thing I love about my gentle workouts is that I feel more connected to my body and I can feel the parts that are being used.

Walking more is also a great place to start. I notice a huge difference in my waist circumference when I’m walking on a regular basis versus when I’m not. 

How to Use My Best Tips to Lose Weight After 50

If you are here, you’ve read them through. Keep in mind that putting them into practice can take weeks. Maybe months.

I work one-on-one with women to help them navigate this process. The reason having a life coach helps is because you can know the steps but it can feel scary to eat more and change the way you eat.

It is a game changer to take care of your body instead of trying to hate it into losing weight!

This isn’t a race or even a marathon. This is simply life without being obsessed by food and what you eat.

Creating peace around food takes time and compassion for yourself.

If you bypass the foundation work, you are simply doing another diet. It’s the mindset work that teaches you how to relate to food in a healthy way.

Being a person that just eats, is one of the best feelings in the world. No longer fearing food feels amazing. Eating foods that you enjoy is one of the great joys of life.

Give yourself tons of love, compassion, kindness, and time. Losing weight is great but peace and calm around food is a gift too.

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I'm a certified life and weight loss coach who helps women feel better and get the most out of their lives! The process of life coaching teaches you to love yourself and gain self confidence in a safe effective way.

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  1. Lisa on February 28, 2023 at 8:16 pm

    TY for this helpful information! Can’t wait to give it a try! It was great advice for a healthy and happier way to live 🙂 Lisa (over fifty)!!!

    • Sara on March 3, 2023 at 8:46 am

      It’s definitely a happier way to live! Sara

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Hi, I'm Sara Garska and I'm so happy you're here! Big changes can happen with a shift in thinking. Over time, you transform your life into the one you always dreamed of having. As a certified life coach, I can help you create a life you love. Visit my life coaching page here.