How to Succeed at Losing Weight After 50
Get you mind working with your body to fail-proof your diet. These are the most effective actions on how to succeed at losing weight after 50.
Losing weight can seem like such a drag, especially when are convinced we’ll probably just fail anyway.
By now, we all have our own personal experience with diets, dieting, trying to eat right, and still weighing more than we would like.
None of this is your fault. We are living in bodies, with brains that last evolved about 10,000 years ago.
Our bodies and brains are doing the best they can with modern food created in laboratories, advertising constantly encouraging us to eat and drink, and all the stresses that come with life these days.
This stuff takes a toll on our bodies and our minds. Even thinking about losing weight feels tiring and discouraging before we even start.
One thing I do want to say here. It’s a myth that losing weight automatically makes you healthier. I know doctors like to tell people to lose weight and most of us believe thinner people are healthier.
The research says differently. Having a few extra pounds is fine. A couple of books that are really great to read are Body Respect and Healthy at Any Size. Also the Big Fat Surprise, which gets into that a little bit too.
I really focus more on eating real food and healthy fats and keeping inflammation down. That all being said, I really enjoy being thin. Oh, and on a funny note about that.
I recently calculated my BMI and I am on the HIGH end of normal. Right on the border of being overweight. Feel free to do some research on BMI. It’s kind of a joke. Don’t let anyone tell you that you’re overweight based on that!
I was overweight and a little chubby through my 40’s and into the first couple of years of my 50’s. I didn’t believe that I could maintain a smaller size. But I did. In my 50’s and through menopause.
I’ve written at least 10 posts on losing weight and they are mostly about the mechanics of what to eat and how to eat it. This post is about mind strategy.
Your brain is your most important tool in knowing whether you are going to succeed or fail.
Here we go with my 9 tips on how to succeed at losing weight!
You Aren’t Going to Diet Every Again
This first tip supersedes all the others. Instead of thinking of it as a diet or losing weight, think of it as a way of eating that will restore you to a natural weight.
If you do something that helps you lose weight and you get to a size that feels really good BUT you go backing to eating like you did, you will put the weight back on.
So, the key here is to take your time, do the mental work, and find a way to eat that is good for YOUR body and that you can do forever.
Figuring this out takes time but is so worth it. I want you to begin to imagine and believe that you could live your life without worrying about your weight or ever going on a diet again.
You can learn to just eat in a way that fuels your body and maintains the size you are.
Create a Vision of Yourself at Your Ideal Weight
When you are at your new and permanent weight, what will your life be like?
Will you have more energy?
Will you be out dancing on the weekends?
Will you be wearing sexy dresses?
Will you move with strength and confidence?
Get out your journal (you all have one, right?) and start writing down what you’ll be like when you are at that new weight.
How are you going to be thinking about yourself?
How are you going to feel?
What will you be doing then? What won’t you be doing anymore?
Really try and connect with this future self.
Now take it a step further. In your journal (I use composition books that are all on sale right now with back to school—buy a bunch and use them throughout the year!), in your journal, write a letter from your smaller, successful-at-losing weight self to your current self.
Ask her to tell you what your life will be like, why what you did was so amazing, and how grateful she is to you. Keep this letter somewhere you can refer to when the going gets tough.
Set a Weight Loss Goal
Now, let’s set a goal if you want to succeed at losing weight. Setting a goal, gives you a place to go.
You wouldn’t just get in your car and start driving with no idea where you are headed, right? Decide how much you want to weigh and write it down.
This is now your goal.
Writing something down is so powerful (and maybe a little scary). It is your commitment to yourself. It is an ideal that you plan to achieve and you aren’t going to quit until you are there.
Now, I know, when you first set a goal, it can seem impossible. Your mind will probably bitch and moan that it’s going to take forever and maybe even longer.
Your brain will give you all kinds of reasons why that goal is so impossible.
I’m too old.
I’ve never stuck to anything like this.
I don’t even know if it’s possible.
It’s going to take a long time.
Your mind will try to convince you to not even try!
Your brain isn’t your enemy though. Your brain is trying to do what it does best—take the easy way, avoid pain, and be efficient about it.
If you just give up now, it will save you a lot of trouble, right?
But here’s the thing. If you set a goal and take the steps I’m sharing with you, you will be somewhere in a year that you aren’t right now.
In a year, you could be at your goal. You might be half-way to your goal. But you will not be sitting where you are now.
If you read this and keep doing what you always do, in a year, you’ll weigh the same, or you might even be heavier.
So, when your brain says it’s going to take too long or whatever, realize that it’s just trying to save you some time and trouble.
But you know a secret now. You get to be in charge of the goal.
Create a Plan
You’ll want to pick some kind of plan.
I started with doing a Whole30 to learn to eat real food. Once I was eating real food, then I experimented until I found a plan that helped me lose weight. I use a combination of eating real food and intermittent fasting, supplemented with bone broth.
To start, your plan could be to simply eat three meals a day and not snack in between.
Your plan might be to not eat sugar or foods that act like sugar in your body, except when you specifically have a plan to do that. Perhaps for a special occasion.
Your plan is as unique as you.
One thing I know, if you are overweight, you are eating in a way that is not allowing your body to access its fat storage. You are holding onto excess pounds and not losing them.
The old saying, eat less and exercise more, however, does not address how specific foods work in your body. You can be a person who doesn’t overeat and still gain weight or not be able to lose weight.
It will take some experimentation to get it dialed in for yourself. This sounds like a pain, but it truly is the secret that will help you lose weight and keep it off for good.
You create a plan and give it a few weeks to see how your body adapts. If you begin losing weight, you know you are on to something!
Weight Yourself Daily and Write it Down
This is key to keeping track of what is happening with your body. But so many people say the scale is bad. What’s with that?
The scale isn’t bad. Weighing yourself isn’t bad.
That little piece of metal on your floor, is just a way to track data.
Yet, we give it so much power. We give it power over our whole day! Good days start with a good weight. Bad days start with a bad weight.
And raise your hand if this is true. When you’ve gone for a long time without weighing yourself and all your clothes are tight, or maybe you’ve had to go buy some new ones, you really HATE getting on the scale!
In fact, I now know that when I dread weighing myself, I know I’ve been indulging for too many days and just don’t want to see that represented with a number on my scale.
Yet, weighing myself daily, is KEY to maintaining my weight loss. I just get on the scale in the morning, look at the number and write it in tiny print on my calendar. The end.
When you have set a goal and created a plan, you have to have a way to track the data. Seriously, what you see on the scale is just a number. Some days it will be up even though you stuck to your plan the day before.
No big deal. Daily fluctuations will not be a cause for feeling bad about yourself anymore.
Your numbers on your calendar, will show you what is happening in your body. Over a month, a few ounces here and there can really add up!
Track What You are Eating
Again, in your journal, or have a separate one for food, keep track of everything you eat, every day. Write down every single bite and everything you drink. You could also record your weight in here too.
This isn’t some exquisite form of punishment. You need data to figure out what’s working or not working.
I remember when I was tracking my food and had a period where my energy was really low. I looked back over the previous week or so, and I realized that I was not eating enough higher carb vegetables like sweet potatoes. I started adding half a sweet potato with my meals and I felt better.
If you aren’t losing weight, you can look at what you’ve been eating for a few weeks and see if there are any places where you could adjust your plan.
Finally, tracking your food will help you become more conscious about what you are eating.
Especially at the beginning, just track without trying to change anything. Get used to recording anything you put in your mouth.
Then when you are more comfortable with that, look it over and see what you could adjust. Keep on tracking and weighing and see what happens.
Plan for Exceptions
Here is some good news. You can eat pretty much anything you want. You can’t eat everything you want all the time though.
In the beginning, I do think it’s easier to not have meals that show up as a couple of pounds every week.
If you are trying to lose, you want to get your body into the losing weight mode before you add in too many exceptions.
I am maintaining my weight. I’m not trying to lose weight and I don’t want to gain weight. My body tolerates one or two exceptions a week.
Here’s what it looks like and what happens.
I go out to dinner about once a week and I eat whatever looks good to me. I’m sure it’s more calories, carbs, and fat than my usual meals, but I order what I want, and I eat until I’m satisfied.
I don’t polish off the whole plate if I get full before I am done. On the other hand, sometimes I eat every bite.
It shows up on my scale on Monday. Then my body takes the rest of the week to readjust.
My body goes back down a couple of pounds throughout the week. So, overall, I maintain a fairly steady weight.
If you are trying to lose weight, a big exception meal every week might keep you from losing. It might not, you might still lose a pound a week or so. If you do, be sure and track it and see how it affects the scale. No big deal!
Once you are at your goal weight, you can have some exceptions. The key is that it’s just one or two meals a week. Not cheat meals. Not cheat days. Just some meals that you enjoy that feel like a treat.
Don’t Quit Ever
This is super important. To reach your goal weight, you have to decide that you will not quit until you are there. Ever.
No matter what happens. You will always have a plan that you are following and you are writing down your food and weighing yourself.
You will lose weight.
It might not be as fast as you want. Don’t care. Don’t quit.
You might get bored with it, tired of it, and feeling sorry for yourself because you are on this journey.
That’s normal and no reason to quit.
Just don’t quit. Okay?
Take Your Time
I know, we all want that extra weight to just be gone. Like yesterday.
Or at the very least, we want to drop the pounds as quick as possible, starting the day we change our eating.
Our bodies don’t work like that. It takes time for your body to make the adjustment from storing fat to using fat as fuel. It can take weeks for your body to do that, even if you are doing everything perfectly.
Remember, even before you start metabolizing your fat stores, you are improving your health by using food as nourishment and fuel and reducing inflammation.
You are benefiting, no matter what the scales says!
This time you are not looking for a quick fix—you are looking for a permanent solution.
A lot of my clients aren’t just wanting to lose weight. They also want things like:
- To have more energy
- To be able to keep up with kids are grandkids.
- To go on vacation and DO things, not just sit around.
- To be free from overeating and shame about food.
- To be able to think about things other than food or weight.
- To dance or love the night away.
- To feel sexy and attractive.
- To not feel out of control.
- Losing weight is only part of the end result! So many good things come when your life isn’t run by your cravings, hunger, and desire for food.
How to Succeed at Losing Weight After 50
Over the years, I’ve shared so much information on HOW to lose weight. I’ve shared books I’ve read. I’ve shared my experience and what works for me. I’ve shared research I’ve read.
The how-to is all out there for you. I’ve even created a video for you about it.
However, the very best way I can help is one-on-one coaching.
Because losing weight is a mind game too. And your mind, especially in the beginning is going to point out how hopeless it is. It’s going to want you to throw in the towel.
Not because your brain wants you to be overweight or unhealthy. By the way, being “overweight” doesn’t necessarily mean you are unhealthy.
Poor eating habits can lead to low energy and negative conditions in your body regardless of size. Thin people can have poor eating habits and be unhealthy too.
So, getting to thin, is fine. But doing it with crazy diets that you can’t sustain or by limiting fat too much is not good for you in the long run.
That’s a lot for your brain to handle!
But it’s 100% doable. What I really want for you is to have an amazing life, no matter what your size is. I want you to have a great relationship with food and see it simply as nourishment and fuel. I want to remove the drama about your weight, your size, and whatever the scale says.
And when you are able to do that. Then you get to decide what weight you want to be and what you want to do about it!
That’s an amazing life my friends.
Hi, I'm Sara and I'm so happy you're here! My Think Big Life began shortly after I turned 50. Big changes can happen with a small start, an adjustment of thought, or a simple process. Over time, you transform your life into the one you always dreamed of having. As a coach, I can help you create a life you love. Click here to schedule a free 30-minute coaching session.