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Why Is Weight Loss Over 50 So Difficult?

Updated: Dec 14, 2022

Weight loss at any age is complex, if it was as easy as most advertising says we'd all be slim. When you are over 50 we believe the complexity increases and it feels as if your hormones and your body are in cahoots to destroy any plan or attempt you make to reduce your weight.

Too many rapid weight loss programs

Again, we hear so many success stories in the media. The kilograms lost in only a few months. But behind this lurks the sad fact that most people regain those lost kilograms and often add more. Yo-yo dieting, the rapid weight loss and gaining more is really sad and not just that, it's really bad for your health.

Challenges of weight loss

As a naturopath in Perth I learnt a lot about weight loss, the emotional challenges and costs that weight loss programs cause. To illustrate that I have two stories about two different weight loss programs. These ladies were seeing me for other health issues, the weight loss they were doing elsewhere. It gave me the opportunity to learn from their experiences. I discovered the importance of planning and the process of long-term weight loss. This is to educate clients about body composition and the inner physical changes that occur when we alter how we eat and how we move.

Weight loss stories

The complexity that is rarely explained when we undertake a diet is that most rapid weight loss is from non-fat tissue. But what we all need less of is in fact body fat, especially visceral fat around our organs and inside muscles that affect both form and function of these parts of our body.

First story.

Gemma (not her real name) joined a 12-week intensive online weight loss program where I was able to monitor her weight loss during her regular kinesiology appointments with me. I found out why 12 weeks is often the perfect amount of time to monitor your weight.

Second story.

Julie (not her real name) was on a 500 calories and a "magic" herbal, intermittent program. This meant that she would eat normally for part of the time and then she would change to five days of 500 calories per day. One day she told me that she felt she needed to do more weight reduction, as she was feeling overweight, so she did five days of the 500+ magic! Reducing her weight on the normal scales.

Using metabolic scales I showed her that doing 500 calories a day increased her body fat and de-creased her muscle mass. She was not happy, with me, rather than question the weight loss program.

"But, I exercise for an hour every day - how can I lose muscle mass?"

"You mean I've got fatter!"

"I can't have got fatter, as I only eat 500 calories each day"

As I said at the start of this article, weight loss is complicated.

But never fear Charlie is near!

At 50 Plus Fitness we use body composition to explain what is happening inside your body when you subject yourself to diets such as those two women above. You have to make choices, those choices have to be a permanent change, big or small, your way of eating and moving cannot remain the same.

From this idea of permanent changes its obvious you cannot and should not live on protein shakes. Most are highly processed food. We cannot sit around the table with friends drinking protein shakes, and telling stories, emotional stories about the protein shake your grandmother used to make!

Broken Promises of Protein Shakes

Protein shakes can indeed be useful in times of illness but we generally don't advocate these as a part of weight loss. Do you really want to live on protein shakes? Permanently.

It might sound strange that what we eat has nothing to do with our gut, nor our legs nothing to do with exercise as weight loss begins with our thoughts and our readiness to change. Weight loss is about our brains.

Lose Three Dress Sizes In 10 days - Time For My Story

Yes, this is as true story and it can be done. In 2009, February, I was diagnosed with renal cell carcinoma, kidney cancer. I remember my friend and I leaving the office of a keyhole surgeon, moving next door to his colleague as the cancer was the size of a rugby ball. Short story; I had major abdominal surgery, one kidney out, part of a rib and a third of my liver. I ended up with a scar that Charlie and I name the "shark bite" due to its shape and size around my middle. As some of you may have experienced, illness and major surgery is great for rapid weight loss.

Weight Loss Lessons From Major Surgery

My weight reduced to 53 kg and I was slim. My body's focus was on healing and repair and utilised my fat stores for energy to rebuild my body, after what could be likened to an attack by that sabre-toothed tiger of stress response renowned. Image, the joy of putting on a lovely pair of thin-corded corduroy jeans I hadn't worn for over 10 years!

Six months later the dream of the slim corduroy jeans was smashed. In two weeks during December my weight changed rapidly, increasing two dress sizes within that time. This sudden weight gain was followed by a slower increase each year, reaching 72 kg by January 2021 - gain of 19 kg over 12 years.

The most interesting aspect of this story and also the involvement of Charlie and myself in helping other people understand the complexity of weight loss, prior to my operation my weight had never been an issue. I'd never dieted I usually ate whatever I wanted. If I did overeat on holiday I just took it careful for a couple weeks and everything was hunky-dory.

Even if you decide that 50+ fitness is not the place for you to come to tackle your weight loss I hope that you will hear the stories above and it is really, really important to adjust your lifestyle and not do rapid weight loss programs.

Now my weight is 65 kg and Charlie continues to "fight" his Maori genetics.

Our Philosophy For Weight Loss Over 50

We welcome people, both men and women who are ready to make changes in both food and activity. Both being over 50 we recognise the daily challenges, and hormonal changes our bodies undergo. These physical changes as we age require us to make not only adjustments in lifestyle, but to consider dangerous aspects of the pitfalls that await us in the next 30 years. Again, grotty picture!

Now is the time to get educated on body composition, fat loss and disease prevention such as high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, osteoporosis, arthritis and more….

Get in touch with Charlie at 50+ for health and fitness support together with gentle encouragement.

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