Seven Secrets to Losing Weight After 50
Most of what we’ve been taught about losing weight is wrong and what worked in our younger years, just doesn’t work now. Here are seven secrets to losing weight after 50.
Losing weight after 50 requires a compassionate and educated approach. It probably seems like your metabolism has slowed down and it’s harder to move the number on the scale than ever!!
Diets don’t work long-term and most of us are tired of the endless cycle of overeating and deprivation. Not only that, but dieting can mess up your metabolism in the process. Not good.
We’ve been taught to consume fewer calories but managing your weight is about so much more than that. It might seem odd, but most women need to eat more of the right things at the right time rather than focusing on fewer calories.
Some clients come to me, truly not eating enough because they keep eating less and less. And when they don’t see the scale going down, they cut back even more. The result is being hungry, deprived, and still overweight.
I’ve been researching, writing about, and working with clients on the subject of losing weight after 50 for the past five years. Most women tell me that weight gain after 50 is a big problem for them.
July 2023 Update: I turned 61 recently and while I wrote this post two years ago, these “secrets” still are the backbone of my own diet and what I teach my clients.
Secrets to Losing Weight After 50 is a companion piece to 7 Tips to Lose Weight After 50 that I wrote a couple of years ago.
Obesity is still on the rise and while gaining weight after 50 is considered normal, it doesn’t have to be.
I used to focus more on the “how to” in the past, but as a life coach, I know that it is our mind that is the most important part of losing weight.
So, this isn’t your younger self’s kind of diet!
Also, I take into account the whole person. By 50, many women have hormonal changes, going through or through menopause, and experiencing things like lack of sleep. These can all affect your metabolic rate.
And I also want to point out that eating in a way that is good for you isn’t just about losing weight, it’s about taking care of your body for the next few decades.
Most diets only concentrate on the mechanics of losing weight. But our weight is only one thing about us. We also have a body to take care of that needs some love and nutrition.
If you have been trying to hate yourself into losing weight, that just isn’t going to work for long-term results! Weight gain does not have to be a normal part of getting older for you.
The other thing is that I don’t tell anyone what to eat. You don’t have to eat broccoli, beans, salads, or avocado if you don’t want to!
While most women probably don’t lose weight after 50; it’s not because it isn’t possible. I have clients that are almost 70 and they can lose weight. It isn’t age–it’s the approach most people use.
It’s because they are trying to lose weight with the same mindset and diets that perhaps worked when they were younger.
Those outdated methods just don’t work, especially when you are over 50. Our diets after 50 need to be more nutritious and consistent than we were able to get away with in our younger years.
You can still look great and feel great at any age though if you are willing to try a different approach.
The Three C’s of Weight Loss After 50
What does work to help you lose weight after 50?
Compassion for yourself
I’ll go into this more later in the post, but you have to be compassionate with yourself to be successful.
It’s a big change to challenge old thinking. It’s going to be a challenge to not use food as entertainment or a way to cover up feelings.
Be compassionate to yourself as you navigate this new way of thinking and living. You can’t beat yourself into submission and be successful for the long-term.
And also by compassion, I mean accepting that that your body is worth taking care of no matter how slow you are losing weight or even if you aren’t.
So often, we have little to no compassion if our body needs time to heal, for bad eating habits to resolve, and for you to learn to trust your body.
Commitment to the process
Your body isn’t a machine, and you cannot control how much weight you lose in a certain period of time. You can’t exactly control when your body starts to burn fat as opposed to storing fat.
You might lose weight easily. You might not. There are things that generally work for most people and will probably work for you.
That is worth trying!
While you can’t control the speed of losing weight; you can control what YOU DO.
You have control of:
- What you eat.
- When you eat.
- How much you eat.
Committing to those things every single day is your commitment. Your body will respond best to consistent effort.
You don’t have to be perfect. In fact, perfect eating is a myth and not anything to strive for.
Celebrating every success along the way
When I work with clients, they usually begin a session telling me how much they messed up during the week.
When we break it down mathematically, it usually turns out that they only went off plan for a fraction of the week.
Most of the time, they did really great. They ate most of their meals, the way they planned. They took walks or worked out. They said no to cake at the office.
It’s crucial to look at all the ways that you were successful each day. By identifying and celebrating all your wins, this shows you that losing weight isn’t a fluke.
You are doing the work! Celebrate that my friend.
7 Secrets to Losing Weight After 50
I promised you seven secrets to losing weight after 50 and here they are. This is the backbone of a successful process to lose weight or to maintain your ideal weight after 50.
This is also the secrets to eating in a way that supports you for the rest of your life. This isn’t a magic get thin quick and then gain it all back plan.
I don’t believe that you have to be thin to be healthy. I do believe that most women are not eating enough nutritious food.
So, usually I have to have women eat more of some things! Losing weight is not just about cutting out food it’s often about adding the right kinds of food into your diet.
All of these secrets are mental and lifestyle changes. We are just changing what you eat. We’re changing the how, what, when, and why.
While most diets are about cutting back; I want you to get more essential nutrients in your diet.
Here we go…
#1 Believe that You Can Lose Weight After 50
There are still so many women that believe it is impossible to lose weight after 50. I used to be one of them!
In fact, in my forties, I believed it was impossible to lose weight. I had the belief that once you had gained weight in your forties and beyond; you would be stuck with it.
Was I ever wrong!
I lost weight in my early fifties and at 60, I am still keeping it off. Being thin in my fifties has been one of the amazing things about life after 50.
But it doesn’t happen by accident. Wishing you were thinner, doesn’t make you thinner.
While most people think age is the reason that they gain weight, it is more complicated than that.
After on and off dieting for 30 years, plus eating the wrong kinds of foods, our bodies are usually a mess on the inside.
Our eating choices don’t just affect our weight; they affect our hormones and our overall health.
Modern diet culture, and pretty much everything we’ve been taught throughout our life has been wrong and it’s been hard on our bodies.
Dangerously wrong. I address all of this in previous posts, so I won’t go into it here. But you can delve into that in my Lose Weight After 50 Guide, that includes my best posts on weight loss.
So, back to belief.
The first step to losing weight after 50, is to believe absolutely, that it is possible.
Not sort of believe. Not hope. But go full in with your belief that you can do this.
To help you with that, I’ll tell you that I did it. I have many coach friends who have done it. And we all have clients over 50 that have done it. It is possible.
Also, don’t look to your past efforts for evidence. Your brain is going to try and tell you that it just isn’t possible or that you won’t be able to keep it off. That’s totally normal. Our brains don’t like change.
Furthermore, it is really common to keep thinking about doing another diet. Women often cling to the idea that a diet is what they need to get this process going.
Diets don’t work, have never worked, and will leave you worse off than you were before!
For now, though, just accept that to make this happen you have to believe that it is possible.
#2 It’s Not a Diet, It’s Forever
Here is another belief you might as well start accepting. Since this isn’t a diet, it’s not something that is going to ever end.
If you want to weigh less, you have to do something different than what you are doing now. What you are doing now, creates your current weight.
That’s why when you diet, you always quit dieting at some point, and you gain all the weight back and more.
I know about that!
Every day was miserable because I just wasn’t able to eat enough. I gained all this weight back after a diet and more. This was the LAST diet I did.
I decided after WW that I was never going to diet again. And I didn’t. Ten years later, I lost my weight through changing the types of foods I ate and when I ate them.
I don’t mind when hunger comes on, but I don’t want to be hungry when I don’t have to be!
The truth is, that all diets come to an end. Diets tell you what to eat but they do not teach you how to use your mind to get long-term success.
So, that leaves you with two choices. Keep doing what you are doing or change your eating in a loving sustainable way.
#3 Love Your Body
I know, that is much harder than it sounds. Trust me, sometimes I am not very loving to my body! I look at the scars, the loose skin, and the fat and feel less than loving.
But that attitude does not get me thin. It doesn’t get you thin.
If hating our bodies made us thin, we’d all be size twos.
- Hating our bodies gets us on diets that will let us down—again.
- Hating our bodies will get us eating junk food, fast food, and all kinds of crap.
- Hating our bodies will create apathy towards our own body.
We then begin to disassociate with our bodies. We kind of hate them, so we don’t look at them, and we ignore what they really need.
The antidote to that is to love your body unconditionally.
To make choices that will lead to weight loss, you have to do it from loving your body, just as it is.
This is counter intuitive. Common belief and diet culture has us punishing our bodies and talking nasty to them.
Stop. Think about your body. What comes to mind? For most of us, it isn’t good things.
What are these thoughts that are keeping you from loving yourself?
First you have to realize how you really think about your body. You might be surprised how hard you are on yourself. But it’s important to acknowledge all the thoughts that create the opposite of love.
Now, don’t beat yourself up about this, just start playing with new thoughts about your body.
Your body has taken a lot of wear and tear during your life, yet here you still are!
#4 Allow Your Timeline to Stretch
You’ll say things like, I want to lose 20 pounds by May. Or I want to lose 50 pounds by the holidays. Your body will mostly likely have its own weight loss timeline.
We’ve all been taught some bad diet math. What do you think is a normal amount of weight to lose?
Some people would say two pounds a week. Others are happy with one pound a week.
Honestly, I’m lucky if my body sheds ½ pound a week.
Here’s the thing. Our bodies aren’t machines, and they don’t know diet math. Your body is designed to not change.
Your body won’t initially even want to lose weight. Your brain won’t want to change the type of food it eats. You will feel feelings that are very uncomfortable.
Your body doesn’t care what the scales says. Your mind though, will care very much!
No matter what your diet math is, go ahead and double the time it will take to reach your goal.
And then make a decision that you are not going to quit. Because remember, you aren’t going to diet anymore!
You are going to figure out a way to eat in a sustainable way that will get you to a lower weight. Permanently.
#5 Learn the Difference Between an Urge and Hunger
How many times have you thought your appetite was the problem?
Your appetite is actually one of the most important parts of this process. It lets you know when it is time to eat and when it is time to stop.
Your appetite is a healthy and important part of how your body functions.
This is probably the MOST IMPORTANT tip to put into practice. Only eat when you are hungry and stop when you are just full. This skill alone will help you lose weight!
Hunger is a body sensation that is created by your hormones. Modern diets have got your hunger and satiety hormones out of whack.
That’s why you can eat way more than you are actually hungry for. And that’s why you also feel “hungry” when you just ate a couple of hours ago.
Two things are involved.
One is that your hormones are not providing the right information. At this point, they don’t know what the heck is going on and are no help.
This is because by eating way too many inflammatory foods, way too often, your hormones are probably incapable of telling you when you are truly hungry and when you are full.
Fortunately, this can be healed and reversed by the food you eat.
Also, at play is that we often eat for reasons other than hunger.
- You feel bored—you eat.
- You feel restless—you eat.
- You’re angry—you eat.
- You’re sad—you eat.
- Everyone else is eating—you eat.
You get the idea. A lot of times, you eat for other reasons than hunger. This causes you to gain weight.
The solution is two-fold. You have to change WHAT you are eating and how often. That’s the physical part. But you also have to learn to feel your feelings and not eat because of them.
That’s right. You have to feel bored, angry, sad, left out, or whatever and just sit there and not eat.
But this is where the magic happens! Eventually, you begin to feel hunger. You begin to feel full.
You learn to eat only when you are hungry and to quit when you are full.
#6 Make Sustainable Changes
The problem with diets is that they aren’t sustainable. So, like me, you might have figured out that there’s no point in dieting because it’s not going to work long-term.
Yet, deciding to not diet does not mean you can’t decide to lose weight.
You just have to approach it totally differently than you ever have before. Think of it as boosting your metabolism, healing your hormone responses, and rewiring your brain to eat normal.
You can make changes that will lead to weight loss. I have so many tips and suggestions in other posts. You don’t have to do it all at once.
Just make one change every week or two. You may not even lose any weight for a while. But eventually, you will. You’ll feel different. Your body will feel different.
You’ll control your food—instead of it controlling you!
#7 It’s the Process that Changes You
And here’s the best secret of all. We all think that getting to our thin body will make us happy.
I’m not going to lie. I love being thin as opposed to chubbier. I love trying on clothes and being comfortable in my body.
However, it isn’t being thin that makes us happy. If you aren’t working on your mind as well as your body, you are going to drag your unhappy self along for the ride.
So, the best part of all this is the journey!
I know, I don’t even expect you to believe this right now. “Sara, I just want to lose weight, like right now. “
Trust me on this. Learning to feel anything and not eat, will teach you almost everything you need to know about yourself and your life.
You won’t just lose weight; you will learn to feel again. You won’t be burying all your emotions and broken dreams in a bag or Oreos.
You will not be afraid of messing up anymore, because there is no such thing as messing up. You’ll just be eating, and your eating isn’t good or bad, right or wrong, or healthy or unhealthy.
You’re just eating food. And you’ll begin to notice how that food affects you. And you will make choices that support what you want in your life.
And sometimes those choices will include cake, pizza, or a glass of wine.
Since you aren’t dieting, you make your choices based on the big picture of your life. If 90% of your food choices are creating positive results, your body can handle some fun food.
Remember too, if you are eating 90% fun food, then the 10% nutritious food isn’t going to make much difference either.
It is the majority of your choices that make the difference!
The Next Steps to Losing Weight After 50
If you have never experienced eating real food and eating enough at your meals to not feel hungry, then my approach may even seem weird. But it works!
Your food intake is a big part of your overall weight. Many women eat too often throughout the day and this leads to eating too much overall and messing with your metabolism.
Once you realize that you can lose weight, the real work begins. That’s why a coach can be so helpful. Losing weight is only partly about what you do.
You also have to learn to manage your mind in a different way.
Losing weight is a challenge at any age. It often feels like we’re in a battle with our body and our mind. However, with compassion and a solid plan, it is doable for most women.
Being in a body that you love and are comfortable in, feels amazing.Being fit allows me to do things that I didn’t even consider doing a few years ago!
My life’s work is helping women manage their minds around not just food, but relationships, money, work, and themselves.
Get one-on-one coaching with me. I’ve been where you are and I know how to get results for you.
I’m a certified life and weight loss coach and I am interested in the whole person–not just the number of pounds you weigh. Sign up for a free 50-minute consult call.
Learn not just what to do but how to do it. It’s time to quit struggling and start changing! You can change more in a few weeks or months with coaching, things you’ve spent years trying to change.
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.