The punchline is “get a divorce!”
Cute, clever and maybe a bit true in some cases, but for the older women who aren’t married, or who want to stay married, here is some advice that really works.
Start with a realistic goal. Meme Roth and her wedding gown challenge be damned! Many older women will never, nor do they ever, need to wear the dress in which they were married.
Don’t worry about a weight that used to work in your 20s, 30s, or 40s. With age comes wisdom. You may have several unsuccessful weight loss attempts behind you and you learned that it’s futile to try to roll back the number on the scale by 20 or 30 years.
A realistic goal may be 10% of your current body weight. If you weigh 180, a 10% loss is 18 pounds bringing you to 162. Maybe it’s not going to give you a cover of Sports Illustrated swimsuit body, but it can effectively lower your blood pressure and the LDL level of cholesterol in your blood. You’ll wear clothing two sizes smaller, and you’ll get compliments. You’ll feel good and look better.
Go slowly by taking it easy. There’s no need to turn your lifestyle upside down. You don’t need to drastically alter your eating and exercising. Just a few nudges in the right direction is all you need.
- Fill your plate with more vegetables.
- Snack on fruit.
- Experiment with lightening your cooking. Don’t substitute butter and sugar for lower calorie alternative, try reducing the amounts of butter and sugar you use while maintaining the taste and texture of your food.
- Take smaller portions.
- Read labels. Pay attention to calories per serving.
- Cut back on bread and sauces with meals
- Bake and broil more, fry less, deep fry (or eat deep fried foods) very infrequently
- Replace half of the beverages you’re drinking with calories for the original no-cal beverage – water!
Take the same nice-and-easy approach to physical activity. Getting active helps to lose weight and keep it off. I’m not talking about a killer gym workout 4 or 5 days a week. I’m talking about simply moving more doing things that work large muscles groups rhythmically such as walking, hiking, and dancing. Breaking up long periods of sitting – getting up and walking for every hour sitting – helps to keep your metabolism working more efficiently.
Laundry, vacuuming and moving furniture (either for vacuuming purposes or to rearrange the furniture to give a room a new look) are good for weight loss. They provide resistance to your muscles. That’s essential for maintaining muscle mass. If you increase your resistance exercise you can build muscle mass. Muscle burns calories, even at rest. Maintaining muscle mass, or better yet, building muscle mass is very important for older women. It helps maintain weight and it helps to prevent bone loss.
Two often overlooked areas that make it hard for older women to manage their weight are stress and lack of sleep. We’re just starting to understand how much those things affect weight. It’s not just a matter or emotional eating, or staying up late to snack and watch TV. Stress and lack of sleep affect hormones in the body that drive hunger and satiation.