Why you’re struggling to lose weight in your 50s – and what to do about it

Why you’re struggling to lose weight in your 50s – and what to do about it
Why you’re struggling to lose weight in your 50s – and what to do about it

As midlife units in, sustaining a wholesome weight typically turns into tougher. Tricks that labored up to now, like reducing down on wine or sugar, now not appear to work, both.

Even slender Samantha Cameron, now 50, has apparently been affected. In her 30s and early 40s, staying in form was simple, she mentioned lately, “however then I hit 43, I simply placed on three-quarters of a stone. Suddenly you don’t fairly match any of your issues and I acquired actually bloated.” 

At first she tried doing the 5:2 food plan – consuming usually 5 days per week, then having simply 500 energy on the opposite two – however “I simply couldn’t do it, I actually couldn’t converse within the night, I needed to go to mattress at 7pm.”

She has lately discovered an answer: the 5:2 rules, however with 800 energy on the “quick” days, and says she’s “loving it” and “the bloating’s gone”. Alongside three weekly exercises, she says it’s serving to to maintain her trim: her purpose is “to hit my 50s in virtually as good condition as I hit my 40s.” 

If you’re struggling to take care of your weight and health post-50, right here’s why – and what to do about it:

Muscle mass

Every decade after the age of 30, we on common lose three to eight per cent of our muscle mass. At first, this won’t be noticeable, however by 50 or 60, will make a substantial distinction. This is dangerous information if you wish to reduce weight, as a result of muscle burns on common 3 times extra energy than fats per day, even at relaxation. 

What to do:

Incorporate resistance training into your weekly routine to reduce muscle loss. The NHS recommends two periods of energy coaching per week, which might embrace actions as various as gardening or lifting weights. Don’t underestimate the nice that train can do: a 2018 research exhibits that common exercisers over the age of 55 saved up their muscle mass significantly greater than inactive individuals.

Staying lively

In England, half of 16 to 24-year-olds are doing the really useful quantity of weekly train, however just one in 10 individuals aged 65 to 74 are doing so. If accidents have accrued, and your work and social life is much less busy than it as soon as was, you might be main a extra sedentary life-style than you realise.

The position of train in weight reduction is much-debated, however it may be essential in sustaining your weight. A well-known 2016 research adopted members in American weight reduction competitors The Biggest Loser throughout and after filming, and located that almost all regained a variety of weight after the cameras stopped rolling as a consequence of a better urge for food and slower metabolism. However, a follow-up research in 2017 discovered that the contestants who saved probably the most weight off have been those that had remained dedicated to a health routine. This was notably attention-grabbing on condition that extra train didn’t equal extra weight reduction through the present, when those that misplaced probably the most targeted on food plan over understanding. 

What to do:

Try to stay to the NHS tips on train, which advocate 150 minutes of average train per week, or 75 minutes of vigorous train, or a mix of each. Make certain you’re doing one thing applicable on your physique, too. As we grow old, high-impact exercises like operating could place undesirable stress in your joints, so take into consideration decrease influence choices like swimming or biking. 


Menopause adjustments the place fats is saved on the physique. Higher oestrogen ranges within the fertile years trigger fats to be saved in your legs, hips and behind, however after oestrogen drops, fats can transfer to your center, even for those who stay precisely the identical weight. This may be a difficulty, as fats round your trunk is extra prone to contribute to Type 2 diabetes, hypertension and coronary heart points than fats in your hips and legs. 

Men are affected by hormone adjustments as they age, too: after the age of 40 they lose roughly one per cent of their testosterone a 12 months. This issues for weight, as testosterone is linked to the quantity of muscle you may have and the place you retailer fats.

What to do:

For girls, a number of research recommend that HRT can help to stop the shift of fat out of your backside half to round your center as you undergo menopause. An Italian research adopted two teams of equal weight post-menopausal girls for a 12 months, placing half of them on HRT, with the remaining going hormone-free. At the top of the 12 months, the HRT group stayed virtually the identical weight, and hadn’t placed on any additional fats round their middles or arms. In the untreated group, issues have been totally different: they’d placed on three and a half kilos, and had elevated the quantity of fats round their waists and arms. HRT isn’t appropriate for everybody, so be sure you think about your choices and talk about along with your physician first. 

In males, hormones are linked to a wide range of life-style elements, together with physique fats and waist measurement, which might improve the quantity of oestrogen in your physique. Keeping lively can also be very important for males’s hormones: a 2018 research discovered that common cyclists aged 55 to 74 saved their testosterone ranges up in contrast with inactive males.

Your sleep can also be a partial predictor of your testosterone ranges: many of the hormone is launched whereas we doze, so for those who’re not getting sufficient hours in mattress, your physique has much less likelihood of boosting its shops. Getting enough sleep is key for sustaining your weight for different causes, too: not getting sufficient is proven to make you gravitate in direction of candy meals, and muscle progress happens largely whereas we’re resting at night time. 

More stress

For many, juggling taking care of kids and caring for folks with work can imply life post-50 requires navigating an enormous quantity of stress.

Even for those who eat precisely as you probably did earlier than, stress may cause weight achieve. In 2015, American researchers discovered that after consuming a big meal, girls who reported extra stress in the day before today burned 104 fewer energy than girls who weren’t pressured. Stressed girls additionally had increased ranges of insulin, which is linked to gaining fats. This could not sound important, however burning 100 fewer energy a day might result in a lack of 10lbs of fats over a 12 months. 

What to do:

Reducing stress is usually one of many hardest life-style adjustments to make, as you will have little management over the problems at work or house. However, you’ll be able to change the way you react, which might cut back your stress ranges even with out something altering in your exterior setting. 

Exercise is an extremely efficient method of reducing cortisol levels, in addition to burning energy, which might result in a double impact in your weight. There can also be sturdy proof that merely slowing your respiration can dramatically cut back stress in each the quick and long run, in addition to giving a variety of different advantages like higher sleep. “Slow” counts as something lower than 10 breaths a minute, and 6 breaths is even higher. The NHS recommends inhaling for as much as a rely of 5, then exhaling for a similar size of time. 

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