Lose weight before the holidays: 7 Tips for older adults

You may have noticed the holiday decorations are already on display in many Kansas City stores. Although it seems a bit early yet, in all reality, the holidays really aren’t that far away. And I don’t know about you, but that’s the time of year I usually start to pack on the pounds. So every year, I try to lose a little weight before the holidays so I can enjoy a few holiday treats without worrying so much about calories.

But the older I get, the harder it is to take off that pre-holiday weight. That’s because when we age, our metabolism slows, and we just don’t burn as many calories. Which doesn’t make weight loss impossible. We just need to work a little harder. Here are some tips that can help:

  1. Eat lots of fruits and veggies. People often say this, but how much is “lots”? According to the Food and Drug Administration, your plate should be half full of fruits and vegetable. The other half should be whole grains and lean proteins. Then add a small portion of low-fat dairy.
  2. Load up on protein. Protein helps build muscle mass, which increases your metabolism, so you’ll burn more calories with less effort. Multiply your body weight (in pounds) by .36 to determine how much protein you should be eating daily.
  3. Drink lots of water. Older adults often don’t drink enough water because thirst can be mistaken for hunger. Drinking eight glasses a day can help keep you from snacking and boost your metabolism.
  4. Use a smaller plate. Portion control is a key to weight loss; eating on a smaller plate is a good way to control portion size.
  5. Do strength training. In addition to doing some sort of aerobic exercise (e.g., walking, swimming, bicycling) each day, you’ll want to do strength training (e.g., hand weights, push-ups, resistance bands) around three times each week.
  6. Embrace technology. To lose weight, you need to burn more calories than you eat. If you have a smart phone, you might consider investing in an activity tracker (e.g., Fitbit, Garmin). The activity trackers sync to your smart phone so you can see how many steps you’ve walked and how many calories you’ve burned. Some will also allow you to track how many calories you’ve eaten (or drank) each day.
  7. Get help if you need it. If you’re unable to fix nutritious meals or exercise due to impaired mobility, you might want to enlist the help of  a Kansas City home health agency.