Losing weight over 50 is HARD! Here is what actually worked for me.
Are you over 50 and have you decided you just can’t lose weight?
Are you tired of diets because most of them require you to give up bread or bananas or beans or brisket or birthday cake … or any number of foods and food groups?
Do you feel like because of your age, you are stuck with the extra pounds?
Oh, friend, I know exactly how you feel.
Every year since I’ve turned 40, I’ve put on 2 pounds per year.
That means I gained 20 pounds between my 40th birthday and my 50th birthday.
I was 48 in this picture. I actually put on more weight after I took it. I stopped taking pictures the bigger I got.
To be honest, it is hard for me to look at myself in this picture.
Not just because of the weight – but because I remember how tight my pants were. They cut into my midsection every time I sat down. I couldn’t let the waistband string out any further, so it burrowed into my fat roll.
My 20-pound weight gain happened even though I went on the paleo diet, did a total sugar detox, participated in several Whole 30s, tried intermittent fasting, followed an intense weight training program, took CrossFit classes, and literally climbed mountains.
Throughout my 40s, I chased every trendy diet in the hopes of finding the one that I could actually stick with, and the one that would finally stop the gradually addition of pounds!
Unfortunately, chasing fads led to yo-yo dieting.
I’d be on a restrictive diet, be tempted by “bad” food, and before I knew it, I’d start “cheating.” And sure enough! The weight would all come back – and then some.
Losing Weight After 50 is Difficult
My primary concern with my weight gain was I gained most of it in my belly.
If you’ve read anything about weight gain, then you know that belly fat is the most deadly fat.
So at my last doctor’s appointment, I discussed my weight gain with my doctor.
My doctor told me that in order to lose weight, a “woman of my age” had to eat half as much and work out twice as hard.
I left the doctor’s office in tears.
No one wants to hear they have to eat half as much and work twice as hard!
My doctor’s advice made me feel like I destined to eat only salads and celery.
To be honest, I like food.
There is so much pleasure in tearing off a steaming hot piece of bread and slathering it with butter and chasing it down with a bold red wine.
And at age 50, I don’t want to live a life where I could never experience that again.
Dieting in the past always meant giving something up.
In some cases, I gave up entire food groups.
No dairy or bread on Keto.
No beans or grains on Whole30.
No steak or shrimp when Vegan.
These were all diets I tried, lost some weight, then failed because they were too restrictive.
As I mulled over what my doctor told me, I came to this conclusion:
I am 50, dammit, and I want to live a life where I can enjoy bread, butter, and Brie.
I refuse to ever give up beer, bananas, or BBQ ever again.
In my 50 years on this earth, I’ve spent too many years saying no to slices of birthday cake.
For the rest of my days, I want to say yes to the cake and join in the celebration.
So how can you lose weight while still saying “yes” to all your favorites?
You do what I did.
I started counting macros.
Losing Weight After 50 Success Story
I owe my weight loss success to my friend Kara.
Kara is a yoga instructor and personal trainer.
She is also trim, fit, and healthy in her 60s.
On one of our Wednesday morning hikes, she explained to me how instead of having her clients count calories, she has them count macros.
As soon as I got home, I started researching losing weight while counting macros.
What is the difference between counting calories and counting macros?
Counting macros goes beyond just counting calories. You actually track how many grams of protein, carbohydrates, and fats you consume within your calorie goal.
Why does counting macros work?
Counting macros works by maintaining a balance of protein, carbs, and fats that keep your body both fueled and satisfied.
Getting adequate protein throughout the day ensures you are losing fat, not just weight. It promotes lean muscle mass by supporting muscle growth.
Counting macros also means you are eating a balanced diet because all food is permitted.
Remember, I made the decision that I don’t want to be hungry, and I don’t want to sacrifice the nutrition of whole food groups ever again in the name of losing weight.
Here’s why I finally had success losing weight after 50:
- I viewed counting macros as a marathon, and I was determined to finish every last step. Therefore, I set my calorie goal as high as I could while still losing weight – even if it was just 1/2 pound a week. My goal was to never be starving and to never feel deprived. Slow and steady wins the race!
- I tracked my macros at every single meal. It took me 15 weeks to lose weight. I figured 15 weeks out of 50 years of life was a drop in the bucket! You can do anything for that short a time – especially when you are getting amazing results.
- Because I tracked every meal, I became a portion-size ninja! I can now confidently eat anything I want because I know how to eat a sensible portion. This has meant that not only did I lose the weight – I’ve kept it off! And while in maintenance mode, I don’t track my food at all. I can eyeball 2 ounces of chicken and be almost spot on every time.
- The most mind-blowing part of this journey was I had desserts, I celebrated the 4th of July, during the lock-down I grabbed take-out dinner and margaritas, and I could do all of that because counting macros set me free – free to make choices within my macro count.
By tracking macros, I lost 15 pounds in 15 weeks and have kept it off – and now I’m ready to tackle the last 5!
And I have no doubt I will be successful because I’ve learned how to eat, enjoy, and not worry.
If you are new to the concept of counting macros, check out What Is Counting Macros.