According to FamilyDoctor.org, the average age for menopause is 51. The changes in your hormone and physical activity levels throughout your 40s and into your 50s can leave you with unwanted pounds. Fortunately, your age has little to do with your ability to lose weight. By focusing on your goals and understanding how weight loss in your 50s works, you will be able to lose the weight you desire.
Achieving a healthy weight during your fifties can reduce your risk of breast cancer, according to the American Dietetic Association. Other benefits include keeping your heart healthy, reducing your risk of developing diabetes, maintaining correct cholesterol levels and possibly avoiding high blood pressure. As you lose weight with diet and exercise, you put less pressure on your joints and build back muscle lost as you age. More lean muscle in your body speeds up your metabolism, which can help you maintain your weight loss.
In order to lose weight in your fifties, you must reduce your caloric intake. As you age, your caloric needs decrease. To maintain your weight as a sedentary female 51 years or older, you need 1,600 calories per day. If you are moderately active, you need 1,800 calories and if you live an active lifestyle, you can eat between 2,000 to 2,200 calories per day. Reduce the amount of calories you eat by 250 to 500 per day. If you normally eat 1,800 calories per day, eat between 1,300 and 1,550 calories to create a calorie deficit and lose weight.
Eat a wide variety of natural, healthy foods to lose weight. The Cleveland Clinic recommends a balanced diet that includes foods containing calcium, iron, fruits, vegetables and fiber. Eat smaller portions of even healthy foods to limit your calories. Choose fat-free dairy and lean meats. Fill most of your lunch and dinner plate with raw or lightly steamed vegetables and leafy greens. Eat two servings of fruit and at least three servings of vegetables each day. Keep your fat intake below 30 percent of your total calories, and eat a low-sodium diet.
A 2010 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association led by I-Min Lee found that middle-aged women need 60 minutes of exercise or activity every day just to maintain their weight. Lose weight by setting a goal of 60 minutes of activity or exercise each day in conjunction with lower-calorie eating. Perform 30 minutes of dedicated cardiovascular activity in the morning, such as taking a brisk walk or riding a stationary bike. Throughout the day, find three more 10-minute segments of your day to walk in place, lift light weights, work in the yard, do housework or walk up and down stairs. Set a goal of participating in several charity walk/runs each year to stay motivated and fit.
- Family Doctor: Menopause: What to Expect When Your Body is Changing
- American Dietetic Association: Eating Right During Menopause
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005
- Cleveland Clinic: Menopause: Staying Healthy Through Good Nutrition
- Journal of the American Medical Association: Physical Activity and Weight Gain Prevention