Best Diets for Women Over 50: What to Eat and Avoid
- As you near 50, your body starts to change and your metabolism slows down. This can make it hard to lose weight, but there are specific diets that are designed to help you as you transition into this next stage of life.
- Here’s a look at the best diets for women over 50, including low-carb, paleo, vegetarian and more. Which one is right for you?
- Learn about their pros and cons so you can make an informed decision about which will work best for your body.
Know Your BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate)
Whether you’re a woman or a man, after age 50 it becomes increasingly important to know your basal metabolic rate (BMR). Your BMR is simply how many calories you burn per day when your body is at rest.
This can be an especially important number for women over 50 because metabolism naturally slows as we age. If you don’t know your BMR, it can be hard to track how many calories you’re eating on a daily basis.
To calculate your BMR, take into account that women generally need between 1,600-2,400 calories per day while men require anywhere from 2,000-3,000 calories per day.
Start Out Slow
The best diets for women over 50 are balanced in nutrition and allow a woman’s body time to adjust. When we take on too much too fast, there is a negative reaction with our body because it doesn’t know what’s going on, says Rocio Yabut, RDN, LD of Rocio Wellness.
Start by easing into a new diet rather than making any drastic changes right away. Once you have adapted to it, you can make more adjustments in your eating habits. Here are some examples of some of our favorite diets for women over 50. Remember that these are only guidelines.
Keep Focused on the Big Picture
Looking at a diet in isolation is a mistake, one that can make it seem like you have to be perfect 100% of your time. Dieters often say they feel guilty when they stray from their eating plan or cheat on their workout schedule.
But when you step back and consider all of your goals—not just dieting but also fitness, family life, friendships, etc.—you’ll realize you’re not being too rigid or unreasonable.
Sometimes it’s okay to enjoy a slice of cake (as long as it doesn’t tip off any health issues). And then get right back to following your healthy eating habits!
Try Intermittent Fasting or Low-Carb Plans
Intermittent fasting—also known as time-restricted feeding—has been gaining popularity lately, but there’s nothing new about restricting calories for part of a day.
There are many ways to do it, from skipping meals one or two days a week (or more) to eating fewer calories every day. Research suggests that some methods work better than others.
A 2014 study published in Nutrition Journal showed that obese women who followed an intermittent-fasting plan lost 6 percent of their body weight over 12 weeks.
These findings were confirmed in 2015 by another study in Obesity Reviews, which concluded that people who practiced daily fasting also saw significant reductions in body fat over time—though not everyone received the same results.
Exercise for Fun, Not Punishment
Many women over 50 tend to make exercise a punishment, especially when they feel like they’ve let themselves go. Instead of seeing yourself as having let yourself go, think of exercising as an opportunity for self-exploration.
Whether you hike or take yoga classes, make it something that makes you happy. Find something that challenges you and explore your capabilities in new ways with each passing week.
Losing weight is more important than ever—but don’t get stuck with a negative mindset about exercise. If you do, it will impact how successful your diet is!
Consume Lots of Protein in Moderation
The key is moderation, so don’t load up on steak every day. Choose lean cuts of meat and round out your meals with lots of fruit, veggies, whole grains, nuts, seeds, beans and legumes.
In fact, studies have shown that eating plenty of protein at breakfast (this means eggs or a dairy-based protein shake) helps stave off cravings later in the day—which can lead to easy overeating.
A study published in Appetite found that women who snacked on an egg-based meal ate fewer calories over 10 hours than those who had an equal amount of calories from carbohydrates like crackers or pretzels.
Those who opted for whey consumed fewer calories than those who ate egg whites alone. The reason?
Track Progress with a Diet Log
If you’re just beginning a weight-loss plan, you’ll want to start tracking your calories. By knowing how many calories you’re consuming, you can adjust how much food your body needs.
You can also see whether or not your exercise plan is working. Writing down what you eat will also force you to reflect on what—and how much—you eat at each meal and snack throughout the day.
Keeping a food journal is an easy way to make sure that as your diet progresses, so does your health. And yes, it works!
One study found that women who kept daily journals lost twice as much weight as those who didn’t keep track of their diets!
Don’t Starve Yourself or You May Regret It
You might think that dieting is about starving yourself. But, in reality, if you eat too little your body slows down its metabolism and continues storing fat.
That’s why it’s important to choose a plan that isn’t so restrictive that you feel hungry or deprived of your favorite foods.
Instead, look for a diet plan with plenty of protein as well as complex carbohydrates like whole grains and legumes. They are filling, have many health benefits—and will keep your weight loss on track.
Drink Plenty of Water
Water helps our bodies process all of our nutrients properly, and so many Americans don’t drink enough H2O. Even though you don’t technically need water, it’s incredibly important for your health. Also, drinking enough H2O will help keep you from feeling hungry.
Don’t believe us? Carry a water bottle with you all day long—you may find that you feel less hungry as a result of drinking more H2O. Note that coffee, tea and carbonated beverages do not count!
Stay Motivated with Accountability
You’re probably going to have good days and bad days when it comes to staying motivated. You may find that, on some days, you do every exercise without fail.Or maybe you’ll feel like giving up halfway through a run because your body hurts so much.
But if you want your diet and exercise plan to work well over time, you’ll need some type of motivation—and most people require regular reminders from others in order to stay motivated over time.
Some people benefit from accountability partners who can help keep them on track; others do better with self-imposed deadlines or rewards. Accountability helps, but how you go about being accountable is entirely up to you!