Introducing Diet and Weight Loss Tips for Baby Boomers

Aging well is a science as well as an art carefully blended with a bunch of common sense. That’s my take on these later years. The more I think about it as the older I become, aging well is more than trying to look 10 or 15 or even 5 years younger than how you look.

Anti aging is all about wrinkle creams, botox, fillers and plastic surgery. Aging well is all about staying active so you can enjoy your later years.

It seems to me, then, that there are two simple ingredients to aging well: exercising and eating right. The problem is, however, that what complicates these two simple approaches is our age. As we get older we are prone to more chronic physical issues such as arthritis. As we get older our body has a more difficult time absorbing the important nutrients we require without changing the foods composition so that we tend to gain weight.

Somewhere there’s a myth out there that as we get older we become frail and lose weight. The fact is most of us, as we get older, tend to put on weight. The golden years are the big years – literally. The truth be known, compared to other age groups, adults ages 40 to 59 have the highest figures for obesity and these numbers came from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Today’s elderly are going into older ages heavier today and they seem to be maintaining that extra weight.

One of the reasons why it’s so easy to gain weight as we age is that we gradually lose muscle mass as we get older. Also, most of us are less active and burning fewer calories. If we don’t change our diets to accommodate those two factors, we are going to gain weight as we age. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure that out.

What makes it worse is that as we hit middle age our hormone levels fall and our body fat shifts, primarily to the abdomen. If that weren’t enough, keep in mind the medications we’re now taking for chronic diseases such as diabetes or arthritis. Those meds could also cause us to put on a few pounds.

The problem is a few added inches around our waistlines are not altogether harmless. The amount of fat we have in that area and the amount of muscle are good predictors of how mobile and independent will be in the future.

Cutting back calories is your first step. This is bad news for most of us but your calorie requirement may drop as much as 20 percent between the ages of 20 and 60. My mother used to tell me this 30 years ago and she was no a researcher. “Every 10 years I eat less and gain weight,” she would say. Of course this varies from person to person.

You also have to pay attention to the kind of food you eat. Aging can decrease the amount of stomach acid you secrete making it harder for your body to absorb vitamin B12 which could lead to anemia.

There are also changes in your intake of calcium and vitamin D. After age 30 you start losing bone mass, so eating lots of fat-free and low-fat dairy products to help prevent osteoporosis. If you can’t spend 10 to 20 minutes in daylight and sun then take vitamin D which you need to absorb the calcium.

Then, of course, our senses of taste and smell usually diminish as we age. You may want to think about kicking up the taste of those leafy greens with herbs and spices such as tarragon.

Granted, everything I’ve written here will benefit all adults, of any age, but they are very beneficial for older adults. The good news is it is never too late to start.

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