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Obesity After 50, Why it Happens and What to Do

By Edited Sep 25, 2016 1 0

Dangers of Being Overweight

The Weight Problem After 50

Overweight Statistics in America

The statistics speak loudly. Two-thirds of adults are overweight in America.  One-third not so proudly qualify as obese.  Although some overweight adults over 50 tell a story of a life-long struggle with weight, some look at age 50 as a turning point on gaining the extra pounds.  Why

Weight Loss Stories
 after age 50 do the pounds tend to pile on.  Why are those pounds so difficult to lose?

Snapshots of overweight Americans over 50 often show that weight dangerously found at the waistline. Excess visceral fat around the waist  indicates all too often fat and plaque in the arteries as well.  Hidden dangers lurk there.  No matter a person's overall weight, excessive weight around the mid-section increases the risk of many ailments  including cancer, lung diseases, diabetes, and heart disease.  

Taking steps to lose that weight allows the  person to feel better, look better, and often truly start enjoying life.  Everyone at some point falls into the trap of the "what ifs."  What if I could lose the extra pounds?  What if I had a better body?  What if I had a better metabolism?  What if I felt vivacious enough to go on a few fun adventures?  Break free from the bondage of a what if attitude.  Look at what causes the weight gain and make losing excess pounds a priority.

Set Up to Fail?

The diet industry is a multi-billion dollar one.  Commercials and advertisements offer gym memberships, sweat to the Oldies music, gadgets galore, pills to pop, a plethora of books, etc. Looking at only one path to weight loss spells failure.  Yes, exercise is important, and the gym can handle that.  The sweating the Oldies music might make time spent there easier.  A pedometer qualifies as a gadget and a good one at that.  So, this is not to say the product offerings oft the advertisements offer do not work.  Get a few background food for thought items, and then put together a plan that works for you.  It might include gadgets but it might not.  Perhaps a gym membership is in the future, but perhaps it is not.  The buyer dooms himself or herself to failure if the path followed is not one that fits for them.  That failure is also imminent should the person not understand a few things causing weight gain particularly after age 50.

Background Food for Thought on Weight Gain Causes

The easiest explanation of weight gain says that taking in too many calories and burning too few in exercise are the culprits.  Few will argue valid truths told in that story.  Three more causes need examination to add to the tale.

  1. Muscle mass burns more calories than fat tissue.  Muscle mass decreases with age.  Women have a harder time controlling this loss of muscle mass after menopause.  A woman's metabolism slows 5% per decade after age 50.  Eating the same amount as one did at age 30 potentially packs on added weight after age 50 due to the metabolism changes.  Menopause is a really whammy on this.  Not only does muscle mass start to decline, but fatigue and depression also often come along for the ride through these years.  The fatigue and depression spark sugar cravings.  
  2. Sugar cravings deserve notice as weight gain after age 50 sparks interest.  People have sugar cravings and potentially do not know it.  When one thinks of sugar cravings, candy, pie, cake, make up the mental images.  Think again though.   A typical American consumes over 140 pounds of "sugar" a year.  Perhaps it is not all their fault.  Keep in mind that sugar lurks in not only these items, but in all items with flour which includes most processed food items.  Excess sugar links to diabetes, cancer, heart problems, irritable bowel syndrome, immune deficiencies, and fibromyalgia just to name a few.  Sugar is addicting.  Rats addicted to cocaine, once subjected to sugar, became more addicted to it than to the coca
    ine.  That is a powerful addiction. 
  3. Insulin resistance rears its head here.  Eating sugar contributes to obesity and weight problems.   A real worry is that insulin resistance often occurs in overweight people and those who eat too much sugar. Insulin resistance is a precursor to type two diabetes.  Again, keep in mind that sugar is not only things classified as sugar but all white flours as well. 

One last background bit of information bears sharing.  Simple diet and exercise strategies WILL lead to effective, long-lasting weight loss.

    Losing Weight After Age 50, Making Use of the Background Information

    1. Do not take big steps, but rather little ones.  Set five or ten pound weight loss goals versus larger ones.  The rewards of reaching the smaller goals motivates for further determination. Rather than setting out to run a marathon, set out to make smaller goals such as walking for ten minutes a day, increasing the time each week until the walk time is longer.  Aim for a two mile walk if possible as the longer goal. Consider the HOWWW plan at  which tells the story of successful step by step weight loss.
    2. Remember the important fact that muscle uses more calories than other types of tissue.  Consider a regime of activity to build muscle mass.  A quick look online tells a story of easy exercises done with weights or resistance bands to do just that. 
    3. Beat the sugar addiction.  Health food stores offer supplements that help lower blood sugar, but a reminder is to eat less sugar and refined flour.  Remember the little steps.  Should sugary soft drinks be the current drink of choice, consider developing a liking for green tea or sparkling water with a slice of lemon, lime, or orange.  Try to never take anything away without putting something back that is enjoyable as a replacement.  Make finding that replacement an adventure.  In working through a sugar addiction, the problem of insulin resistance comes under attack as well.
    4. A visit to the health store offers possibilities for a few items to control the hormone needs.  Remember though, eating the right food is the best medicine.  
    5. Pick a plan that works for cutting calories and increasing activity.   When it is all said and done, the need for doing so remains a basic of losing weight.  The plans abound.  Weight Watchers, Nutrisystem,  and Jenny Craig are but a few of a wide array of plan
      Walking(50298)
      s offering healthy eating plans.  Just chose a cost-effective plan that appeals. Few activities rival good old walking as great exercise.  
    6. Integrate exercise into the total day, even considering exercises easily done at work.

    Fat is unattractive.  More importantly, fat is unhealthy.  Reaching a goal feels great.  Make getting fit a top priority and take little, measurable steps. Do not forget the friendly doctor and the great role that he or she can play in the weight loss plan.  At the least, check with a physician before embarking on any weight loss and exercise plan. Remember the old saying, "nothing tastes as good as being fit and healthy feels." 

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