A common consequence of aging is that it becomes more difficult to lose fat. Here are five times on how seniors can fight fat gain and stay healthy.
By Dawn Flemming
Fat gain is a normal part of aging. Our metabolism goes down and our fat storage goes up. As fat storage goes up, so do the chances of developing debilitating diseases like autoimmune disorders and cancer. Yes you heard me, fat gain and obesity can lead to an increased risk of developing cancer.
But fat loss is not an easy thing, it’s not easy for young people and it’s really not easy for older people but there is a way to make it easier. Here are five tips to help you lose the fat you want without losing the muscle. Remember, fat loss is not always the same thing as weight loss.
Watch the Calories
There are lots of diets going around. From keto to vegan, they all purport to help you lose weight. But in the end, what makes people lose weight is consuming less calories than what is expended. If vegan or keto diets work, it isn’t necessarily the type of food they’re having only but also the amount of calories they are taking in. The keto diet cuts out carbs which is at the root of so many calories and vegans cut out a lot of junk and unhealthy foods which also pack a lot of calories.
The general rule of thumb is to consume 500 less calories than what you expend. For example, if you’re burning 2000 calories a day, you should count your calories and only consume 1500.
If you find reducing your food intake difficult, try eating foods with low calories. Celery for example is very helpful. It is filling but also very low in calories. Celery for example has 16 calories per 100 grams, that’s super low! Broccoli has around 30-40 calories per 100 grams, again, very low!
Eat More Proteins
Did you ever have pasta and feel hungry a little bit later? That’s because white pasta gets digested very quickly and you get hungry again in no time. The good thing about consuming calories through protein is that protein takes longer to digest and it makes you feel fuller for a longer period of time. What’s the net result? You just end up eating less. Eating less means you’re eating less calories.
Eat More Fat
Fat from foods doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to get more fat in your belly. Eating fatty foods not only makes you feel fuller (just like in the case of proteins in the above), but it also replaces other calories you would otherwise consume from carbs. The problem with carbs is that they raise your blood sugar level thereby increasing fat storage.
The problem with cardio is that it makes you burn calories on the spot. Another danger of too much cardio is that it breaks down your muscles to burn calories. So in this case you may be losing weight but it's the wrong kind of weight! Weight lifting is different. Not only does it use fat to burn calories, but as your body is working to build more muscle as a result of weight lifting, you are continuously burning calories. Finally, remember that muscle is the worst enemy of fat. The more muscle you have, the more fat you will burn.
Make Sure You Have Enough Sleep
Last week we wrote an article on the importance of sleep for weight loss. People who sleep less than 7 hours a day stand to gain weight and store more fat. Here is what we said:
Think about it, you have a 55% reduction in fat loss if you are sleeping less than 7 hours a night. So if you lack sleep, you will end up losing maybe 5 pounds in two months while dieting rather than 10 pounds if you slept properly.
Sleep deprivation leads to a disruption in the regulation of insulin in your body. When insulin regulation is disrupted in your body, your body will end up storing more fat, including your organs.
If you are a senior and feel that you are overweight, talk to your doctor on healthy ways to lose weight.
Dawn Flemming is Director of Business Services at Geriatric In-Home Care in Fresno, California.