Weight problems are a common occurrence among adults who are middle-aged and older. In 2010, the Journal of the American Medical Association reported that almost 70 percent of adults over age 60 were overweight. Between changes in your body’s endurance, your energy level and your slower metabolism, it almost feels like you’re doomed to be overweight as soon as you reach age 60.
This leaves many Americans struggling to decide which diet plan will work the best to remove excess weight and reduce their chances of diabetes, heart disease and death. According to CNN, it’s been estimated that as many as 80 percent of overweight people who lose weight gain some or all of it back within one year. That’s a disappointing statistic that can make all the effort put into a weight loss program seem futile. But really, it’s empowering to understand this because it gives you an edge that others may not have. It lets you know that the battle ahead isn’t just to lose weight—it’s to keep it off.
5 Steps to Losing It—and Keeping It Off
- Consult your doctor. Whether you’re on medication, have chronic medical conditions, or are in perfect health, you should always see your doctor before you start any weight loss regimen. He or she may have tips that will be especially helpful based on your health and age.
- Be Realistic. You can’t expect to lose weight quickly. You probably won’t even be able to take it off as quickly as you put it on. One of the best ways to have a successful weight loss journey is to accept that from the start. This will keep you from becoming discouraged if progress is slow and help shift your focus to being positive about any progress at all.
- Ignore the shortcuts. There are a number of weight loss programs—more like schemes—that people fall for every day. These shortcuts promise fast and effortless weight loss. Most, if not all, of these rapid weight loss plans undermine your health and energy level, expect unrealistic eating habits and will not generally give you sustainable results. Worst of all, fad diets encourage you to eat in an unhealthy way.
- Understand how calories work. According to Science Daily, two of the top reasons that diets fail is because people underestimate the amount of calories they’re eating and overestimating the amount of calories burned while exercising. It’s important to understand how many calories you can eat each day in order to promote weight loss and to track your actual calorie intake to ensure that you don’t exceed that number. When allowing yourself a small treat in exchange for burning calories exercising, it’s vital that you find out exactly how many calories you actually burned. Remember that a 20-minute walk at 3 miles an hour, for a person weighing 150 pounds, will generally only burn 75-100 calories—enough to earn a low calorie cookie.
- Make a lifetime commitment. Once you reach your goal weight, the only way to maintain that weight is to continue to monitor your calorie intake and ensure that you don’t consume more than the daily allotment for your new weight. This takes a lifetime commitment to tracking calories in order to keep that weight off.
With the help of your doctor and a dedication to being healthy, you can lose weight and keep it off. It may take more time than you want it to, but a lifetime of being trim and healthy is well worth the wait.