Weight loss often becomes difficult by age 52, simply because your metabolism decreases with age. Sticking within an age-appropriate daily caloric allotment and getting regular exercise, however, will help you lose weight after you reach this point in life -- and keep the weight off long-term. Using a meal plan makes it easier to control your overall caloric intake for effective weight loss.
At age 52, most women need about 1,200 calories daily -- and many men require about 1,600 calories daily -- for effective weight loss. The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute suggests that 1,200- to 1,600-calorie diets are appropriate for weight loss in adults, and Harvard Health Publications points out that women need a daily minimum of 1,200 calories and men at least 1,500 calories daily unless under medical supervision. Active 52-year-old adults need more calories than those who are sedentary. If you’re losing more than 2 pounds weekly, slightly boost your intake.
Using meal plans included in the publication "Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010" is an excellent way to stay within your weight-loss calorie allotment. The 1,200-calorie plan includes 1.5 cups of vegetables, 1 cup of fruit, 3 ounces of protein-rich foods -- such as lean meats, egg whites, seafood, soy products, poultry, nuts and seeds -- 4 ounces of grains, 2.5 cups of dairy foods and 4 teaspoons of oils. The 1,600-calorie plan consists of 2 cups of vegetables, 1.5 cups of fruit, 5 ounces of protein foods, 5 ounces of grains, 3 cups of dairy products and 5 teaspoons of oils daily. Both of these meal plans allow for 121 additional calories from foods of your choice.
Sample 1,200-Calorie Menu
For breakfast, try 1 cup of oatmeal, 1 cup of plain Greek yogurt, 1/2 cup of strawberries and 1/3 ounce of sliced almonds. A healthy mid-morning snack might include 1.5 ounce of reduced-fat cheese and 1/2 cup of sliced apples. At lunchtime, go for 2.5 ounces of grilled chicken, 1/2 cup of brown rice, 2 cups of leafy greens and 1 tablespoon of Italian salad dressing. Snack on a cup of low-fat cottage cheese, five whole-grain crackers and 2/3 ounce of peanuts in the afternoon. Make a dinner of 2.5 ounces of grilled salmon, 1/2 cup of quinoa and 1/2 cup of steamed broccoli.
Sample 1,600-Calorie Menu
A nutritious breakfast might include 1 cup of ready-to-eat, whole-grain breakfast cereal, 1 cup of low-fat milk, 1 cup of honeydew melon and three egg whites. For a morning snack, try 1 cup of Greek yogurt, 1/2 cup of blueberries and 1 ounce of mixed nuts. A small turkey burger on a whole-grain bun, one slice of reduced-fat cheese and 1 cup of tomato wedges topped with 1 tablespoon of Italian salad dressing adds up to a healthful lunch. Pop 3 cups of popcorn for your afternoon snack. A nutritious dinner might include 3 ounces of grilled chicken, 1 cup of cooked asparagus, 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil and 1/2 cup of whole-grain couscous.