Can You Lose Weight After 50?
Can you lose weight after 50? The short answer is YES, you can lose weight after 50 and even during menopause.
July 2023 Update: I feel like this post changed MY life. When I first wrote it, I was only trying to provide some hope to women who had given up hope.
I didn’t even know if I could sustain my weight loss but I was determined to learn what worked and what didn’t. Oh, and I was also determined to never diet again!
In the years since, I have learned more and spent hundreds of hours talking to women about food, their weight, and their bodies.
I am a professional life coach who specializes in helping women over 50 lose weight without dieting, restricting, while eating the foods they love. It is possible my friends.
My clients range from 48 to 70 and they are all losing weight while still enjoying desserts, pizza nights, and going out.
Is it Harder to Lose Weight in Midlife?
Losing weight at ANY age can be difficult—our bodies fight us on it. But when you work with your body, you can lose weight and still enjoy amazing food!
I originally wrote this post eight years ago. After having been a size fourteen for a decade, I lost about 25 pounds and was suddenly in a cute body.
In some ways, I look better after 50 than I ever did–I’m 61 now. I went from being a woman that didn’t wear a bathing suit, a dress, or even shorts for 20 years, to someone who is comfortable in her body.
In the time since I’ve turned 50 and I lost weight, I have maintained that weight loss for almost eight years. In addition, my face is smooth, my hair is luxurious, and I have much more energy and zest for life.
Losing weight after 50 was not just about being thinner; it literally helped me create a life I love!
Key for me has been finding ways to
- creating healthy eating patterns
- reducing or eliminating cravings
- nourish my body in a way so that I rarely feel hungry
- only eating foods I like
- not trying to be perfect
Losing Weight After 50
I’ve never been a dieter. In fact, the few times I managed to lose weight, I started gaining it back almost as soon as I reached what I thought was a good weight.
Not only that but I usually gained a few extra pounds after going back to my original weight!
I’m sharing my story because I had accepted that I was never going to lose weight and had made peace with that fact. I still ate good and exercised but I had no plans to ever diet again.
I had done Weight Watchers about 17 years ago and that was the LAST TIME I ever planned to diet.
While I did get thin with WW, by the time I was at my goal weight, I never had enough points to eat REAL food!
I was living on fake, no-fat foods and I was always hungry.
I quickly put all my weight back on! And there I stayed for 10 years or so.
That all changed when I was 53. I had been a healthy eater for decades and I wasn’t even an overeater but the weight stayed on. I couldn’t seem to budge it.
Then everything changed. I finally cracked my personal weight loss code.
Why Weight Loss is Difficult?
Our bodies and our weight are such huge issues for us women. I wish we could just BE.
But unfortunately, because of our current food culture and the American diet, it’s almost impossible for people to have a normal fit body.
Add to that, there is so much information and misinformation that confuses the whole thing.
The fact that people order “diet” drinks or low-fat food in an effort to be healthy is just sad. These foods aren’t healthy and they don’t help with weight loss. At all.
How I Eat to Maintain My Weight
To some extent, I eat and drink what I want. That doesn’t mean it’s a free-for-all in the eating department.
Despite all the things I do allow myself, I also restrict a few things and I did that long before I ever lost any weight.
I’m careful about what I eat because I want to not just look good; I want to feel good. I feel like I’m in the prime of my life and I want to enjoy every moment!
I detail my process in this post: 10 Powerful Tips to Lose Weight After 50. But here is the basics of what I do.
- No snacking
- Eliminate as much sugar and processed food as possible
- No eating at night
- A 12-15 hour break from eating each night. From dinner to first meal of the next day.
- Eat balanced meals of protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats.
- Waiting to eat until I’m hungry, stopping when I’m full.
How I Lost Weight After 50
Several years ago, I was heavier. I was heavier through most of my forties and the first couple of years after turning 50.
I really believed that my weight was at the lowest it would ever be and the best I could hope for was to not get any bigger.
Boy, was I wrong.
It happened in the beginning by accident. Living alone the pounds began to drop off. Since I wasn’t dieting and I wasn’t weighing myself, I didn’t even notice it at first.
It wasn’t until I had to buy new pants that I realized I must have lost a significant amount of weight. That was in January 2015.
I was surprised to have lost the initial weight but I didn’t hate the fact that it had happened.
I hadn’t thought that I would ever be a size eight. In fact, I had never been that size since high school.
So, I began to pay attention to what I was doing in the hopes of keeping the weight off.
Thin Doesn’t Mean Healthy
Truthfully, I suspect that being too thin is as bad as being too heavy. There is a wide range of healthy weights and sizes for sure.
While I am the thinnest I’ve been as an adult, this time I eat plenty of fat and real foods. I am solid. I don’t feel frail. I lost the weight evenly and proportionately.
The basis of my success is working with my body so that it doesn’t get hungry, cravings are reduced or eliminated, and I can have splurges now and then.
For the past three years, I’ve also been life coaching and working with women one-on-one to help them have a great relationship with food.
Foods that Help with Weight Loss
I truly believe that eating a real food diet is key to staying healthy and functionally fit. I also eat the way I do in the hopes of preventing diabetes or other diseases. And I didn’t want to get any bigger!
Foods I eat for weight loss
- Proteins: grass-fed beef, chicken, eggs, some pork and turkey
- Vegetables: all non-starchy kinds, as much as I want
- Vegetables: starchy kinds, a little with my lunch or dinner
- Fruits: one or two small portions a day
- Healthy fats: coconut oil, olive oil, grass-fed butter, avocado, nuts, at least 1 TB per meal plus what I use for cooking
- Extras in limited amounts: grains, beans, nuts, and sugar
Foods I Avoid to Lose Weight
I avoid wheat and sugar as much as possible. This means very little bread, pasta, crackers, cake, cookies, candy, bagels, etc.
When I discovered how good I felt not eating wheat–I gave it up for good. In addition to being irritating to the body, wheat also acts like sugar in the body.
Like sugar, wheat spikes your insulin, causes inflammation, and feeds cravings. I avoid most other grains as well.
Each woman I work with is different in how many of these types of food they can eat. There isn’t one amount that works for everyone. Your body will let you know as you learn to work with it.
Also, I avoid eating or drinking artificial sweeteners, diet drinks of any kind, or low-fat products. These things don’t provide nourishment and are damaging to the body.
Perfect Will Not Help You Long-Term
There is this idea that we have to eat perfectly for our weight loss efforts to work. I will say, based on my experience, aiming for perfect usually backfires.
How many times have you tried to lose weight and when you give in and have something off your plan, you go off your plan for the rest of the day, the week, or even forever.
Here’s what is way better than perfect.
Eating foods you like. Eating real meals that fill you up. Planning for special occasions, vacations, busy times at work, and other times that come up.
In my process, we plan for not perfect eating.
Here’s the thing, you will have more peace and success when you allow for and welcome the not perfect aspects of your eating.
Exercise to Help with Weight Loss
Okay, the first one isn’t really a secret. Everyone knows that you need to exercise. But here’s what you might not have known.
It doesn’t have to be unpleasant and you don’t have to run. I love to walk and that is my favorite exercise.
In addition to walking, I like to do shorter high-intensity workouts about three times a week to tone up everything else.
I walk two or three miles a few times a week. I don’t run or even walk particularly fast. However, I am very consistent.
In addition, I do some toning and stretching a few days a week. Again nothing heavy duty, just some exercise routines I did that I enjoyed that made me feel good.
Exercise should never be used to punish yourself for overeating or to earn the right to eat. Exercise should and can be a pleasure, a way to release tension and be fully in your body.
How to Time Eating
In the list of tips I always give for weight loss, the timing of eating is the most important action. All this means to me is no snacking between meals and no eating after dinner.
Most women over 50 can get enough nutrition in their two or three meals to get them through the day. In fact, if you struggle with snacking, I recommend eating more at your meals. Eating more means more protein, more vegetables, and more healthy fats.
So before you decide to give up any of your snacks, look at your meals first. It’s so much easier to say no to a snack or resist a craving when you aren’t hungry.
Speaking of being hungry, another big tip is to not eat until you feel in your body, the signals of hunger. You will get that empty feeling and that will be your sign that it’s time to eat.
When you don’t eat until you are hungry it is much easier to stop when you are full.
In the beginning don’t stress too much about how much you eat at your meals. If you eat when you feel hunger, stop when you are satisfied, and don’t snack, you’ll be fine.
You may lose weight just with that. You may not. But mostly likely you will not gain. And in my book, not gaining is a WIN!
Can You Lose Weight After 50?
Can you lose weight after 50? Definitely.
Weight aside, exercise and eating real food just makes sense. I love real food and I’m passionate about cooking and eating it.
But you don’t have to eat perfectly!
Perfect is not the goal here. Besides, perfect doesn’t exist and trying to eat perfect can cause its own problems.
Working with your body and not against it is definitely key to a healthy body weight.
To make changes like this, it is helpful to get help and support. I love helping women change how they eat and create lives they love!
You don’t have to change everything overnight either. Gradual changes over time will add up to habits that will last a lifetime.
Keep showing up my friends,
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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 and weight loss coach, I can help you create a life you love. Click here to schedule a free 50-minute coaching session.