Statistics indicate that the majority of baby boomers in the U.S. are overweight or obese, despite the news that they’re smoking and drinking less. Sadly, studies have found that the depression rate is skyrocketing in seniors struggling with a weight issue.
So what can be done about it? It’s never too late to institute healthy habits that can lead to weight loss. As when you were younger, the same rules apply: crash diets don’t work, there is no miracle pill to melt off the fat, and stay clear of anything that sounds like a fad. The only real way to lose weight and keep it off is by good old-fashioned diet and exercise. Here’s how to do it the safe way if you’re a senior.
Find An Activity That Motivates You
Not a gym person? No problem. Exercise can be as simple as walking out the front door. If you’re in good enough health, consider getting a small dog to motivate you to take a stroll. As an added bonus, studies have proven that dogs can help alleviate symptoms of depression, so there’s never been a better reason to adopt a furry buddy. If you experience painful arthritis or mobility issues, low-impact exercises like swimming or biking are great options. Weight training is also crucial at this age, as muscle mass begins to deteriorate in your late thirties and early forties at a rate of three to five percent per decade. Along with reversing this situation, lifting weights and doing resistance exercises can help treat or prevent arthritis, depression, osteoporosis, back pain, diabetes, and of course, obesity.
Find Ways To Eat Healthy
Even if you’re on a fixed income, it’s still possible to eat a healthy, balanced diet on a budget. Inexpensive staples such as whole grain rice and pasta, steel cut oats, quinoa, lean proteins, eggs, fruits, and vegetables cost less than you might think, as long as you purchase them at the right store at the right time. Plan your meals around what’s on sale, and stock up on freezables such as meat when you see a good price. Consider speaking with a nutritionist to help you create a plan that meets your specific nutritional needs and goals. Not to mention, it can help to be accountable to someone so you don’t fall off the wagon.
Take Up A Stress-Relieving Hobby
Stress prompts the production of cortisol, which can stimulate belly fat and overindulging. Take up a non-physical activity such as journaling, knitting, drawing, or meditating in an effort to keep stress at bay. Any weight-loss program should include measures to treat the mind as well as the body. Make it a group activity to avoid social isolation during the weight-loss process.
Track Your Progress
A scale isn’t the only way to track your progress, even though new evidence suggests weighing yourself daily can help keep you in line. Increased strength and endurance, decreased stress, improved mobility, better sleep, and more energy are fantastic ways to know you’re on the right track.
While it’s great that you want to make the effort to lose weight, make sure you check with your doctor first — this is particularly important for those with pre-existing health conditions. Equally important is surrounding yourself with positive people who support your efforts, as they’ll be your network when you have successes and slip-ups. Don’t beat yourself up if you get off track. Life is all about balance, so consider it an opportunity to revamp your routine to your advantage.
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