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Weight Loss for Men Over 50: Here’s How to Act

7 min read
Melissa Mitri post Reviewer Melissa Mitri post Reviewer
Verified by Melissa Mitri
MS, Registered Dietitian, Former President of CT Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics

Table of Contents

Reaching 50 is an important milestone, often accompanied by changes in lifestyle, metabolism, and overall health. Your metabolism tends to slow down when you reach middle age, resulting in a few extra pounds—often around your midsection. 

What’s more, hormonal changes that occur as you age, as well as certain medications you take, can exacerbate the situation.

Weight gain in the 50s can increase the risk of various health issues, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and fatty liver disease. Particularly in middle-aged men, there is an increased risk of heart attacks, gallbladder inflammation, and gout due to weight gain [1]

So, what is the best way to lose weight when you’re over 50? In this article, we talk about the basics of weight loss for men over 50 and will offer some tips to make the process easier and more seamless.

Weight Loss for Men Over 50: 7 Basic Rules

Men over 50 may face many challenges in their weight loss journey. However, achieving and maintaining a healthy weight is entirely feasible with the right strategies. The following basic rules of weight loss still apply even when you are over 50. 

1. Achieve a calorie deficit

Creating a calorie deficit is a fundamental principle for weight loss. A calorie deficit occurs when you consume fewer calories than your body burns, prompting it to use stored fat for energy. 

You’ll need first to determine how many calories you need to maintain your current weight)and then consume fewer calories than that amount. 

This number depends on various factors such as your age, weight, and activity levels so your calculations will be individualized. You can determine your personal calorie needs with the help of online calorie calculators. Still, you can also ask for the guidance of a professional dietitian if it’s too overwhelming. 

You can create this calorie shortage by reducing portion sizes or by choosing low-calorie alternatives over high-calorie foods (think swapping low or nonfat milk for whole milk). 

Again, if you’re unsure how to do that and when, you can always get professional help. 

Although you might get tempted to try t very low-calorie crash diets that promise overnight weight loss, it’s better not to go that route. These quick weight-loss fixes can do more harm than good, increasing the risk of gallstones, muscle loss, and weight regain [2].

Another important part of the calorie equation is the number of calories you spend via exercises and non-exercise activities—which will be discussed soon.

2. Keep an eye on your diet

What you eat and how much you eat directly determines how much weight you gain.

You need to add more nutrient-dense foods to your meals such as fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins. In addition, you’ll want to cut down on nutrient-poor, calorie-dense foods such as processed meats and sugary drinks. 

These nutrient-rich foods, such as whole grains, legumes, fruits, and lean meat, provide you with essential nutrients and keep you full. This helps control your overall food intake.

Furthermore, you’ll need to focus on your protein intake, as protein is essential to build muscles and can help counteract the natural loss of muscle mass that occurs with age.

3. Work out regularly

As we said, exercise is also important for maintaining a calorie deficit. The best strategy is to combine cardiovascular exercises with a strength training routine to burn calories and build muscle [3]

This not only aids in weight loss but also improves overall strength and mobility. You can add some flexibility training to the mix to enhance joint health and reduce the risk of injuries. 

Check out the best workouts for men over 50.

4. Sip on water throughout the day

Drinking water is a simple and effective strategy that can support weight loss. Water can create a sense of fullness, leading to reduced calorie intake during meals. It is also a better alternative to keep you hydrated than sugar-laden cola or juice. 

Water has also been known to boost metabolism, thus aiding in weight loss [4]

5. Sleep Well

Quality sleep is often underrated in the weight loss journey. Lack of sleep can disrupt hormonal balance, thus increasing food cravings and slowing metabolism [5]. Plan to get 7-9 hours of quality sleep each night to improve your weight loss results.

6. Set Realistic Goals

Having said all that, it’s crucial to set achievable and realistic weight loss goals. Instead of focusing solely on the number on the scale, consider other markers of progress, such as improved energy levels, better sleep, and increased physical fitness.

9. Stay Consistent

Weight loss is a gradual process, and you must keep your efforts consistent. Avoid crash diets or extreme workout regimens that are difficult to sustain in the long run. Sustainable lifestyle changes yield lasting results.

Additional Tips for Faster Results

In addition to these basic rules, here are some bonus tips on how to lose weight after 50: 

Get tested for underlying conditions that may contribute to weight gain

Men over 50 may be more likely to have chronic health conditions that can affect weight, such as arthritis or cardiovascular issues. These conditions may limit physical activity, making weight loss more challenging. In addition, thyroid dysfunction can also slow down metabolism, thus leading to weight gain [6].

In such cases, you will need to get yourself checked and enlist the help of a healthcare professional to sort out any underlying issues.

Learn to manage your stress levels

Chronic stress can contribute to weight gain. Studies confirm that chronically high levels of the stress hormone cortisol can make you gain fat—especially around your belly [7].  

Practice stress-reducing techniques such as deep breathing, muscle relaxation, or yoga to reduce stress levels. If it’s too hard to manage stress alone, seek professional help.

Increase your daily movement

It’s not just scheduled exercise that burns calories; non-exercise activities such as walking, standing, moving around, and even fidgeting can help you burn calories and lose fat [8]. These daily movements are known in the exercise world as “NEAT” exercise.

Therefore, being active throughout the day instead of sitting or lying down can contribute to your weight loss efforts. 

Benefits of Losing Weight for Men Over 50

Achieving weight loss for men over 50 goes beyond aesthetics: it plays a major role in improving health and well-being [9]. Here is a list of benefits associated with weight loss in men over 50:

  • Improved cardiovascular Health
  • Enhanced blood sugar control
  • Optimized mental health
  • Reduced risk of certain cancers
  • Better sleep quality
  • Improved joint health and mobility
  • Increased longevity
  • Better quality of life

Keep in mind that these apply to those who are overweight or obese, and if you have a healthy BMI, you most probably don’t need to lose any weight. You can, however, practice the rules we mentioned to maintain an appropriate weight. 

Is it Harder to Lose Weight for Men Over 50?

As men age, hormonal changes, a slowing metabolism, and lifestyle factors can contribute to the accumulation of fat—especially around the midsection—which can cause serious health risks.

Metabolism usually slows down with age, leading to increased fat storage and decreased muscle mass. On top of that, testosterone levels begin to dwindle, one reason for the increase inbody fat and a reduction in muscle mass [10]

Additionally, low activity levels and higher stress levels can make the struggle to shed those extra pounds more challenging. 

Although combining these factors can make losing weight more difficult for men over 50, it’s certainly not impossible. Particularly, losing belly fat after 50+ for men can seem daunting, but it can be done by embracing the right diet, exercise routine, and stress-busting activities. 

Wrapping up

Here are the key takeaways of this article to help you in your weight loss journey:

  • Losing weight can become more challenging for men over 50, but it’s certainly achievable with the right strategies and commitment.
  • A calorie deficit created through diet and increased activity is key to losing weight.
  • The best diet for weight loss over 50 is balanced, sustainable, and tailored to individual needs.
  • It’s also essential to increase your activity levels through exercise and non-exercise daily movement to burn calories. Small, consistent changes in daily activities can improve overall health and weight management.
Disclaimer This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!

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