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Weight Management Tips for Older Adults

200x265_2082_support.jpgLet’s face it – we all know we burn fewer calories in our 50s, 60s, or 70s then we did in our 20s, 30s, or 40s.  The solution to this is better weight management which includes adjusting what you eat and when you eat it, exercising, and understanding why you tend to gain weight more easily as you get older.

Here are a few tips that might help.

Exercise
It’s important to find some way of staying active.  It doesn’t have to beat  the gym; it can be as simple as walking around your block with a neighbor.  Mix it up by swimming (water aerobics are great), taking a yoga class, or lifting weights.  Get the family involved by playing tennis or going for a bike ride.  Just adding small amounts of activity every day will help.

Make nutrition-dense food choices
As we age, we’re more vulnerable to diseases that can be affected by too little or too much nutrients.  The downside is that as we age we also lose our ability to absorb the nutrients in certain foods, so it’s even more critical that we make healthy food and beverage choices.  For some seniors it may be more difficult to digest all the types of foods that are good for you; it’s a matter of finding what works for you as an individual.  Getting the appropriate amount of vitamins and minerals in your diet is very important and at times, you may have to take a supplement to ensure you’re getting the recommended amount.  Water is one of the most important nutrients that our bodies need.  It is a key factor in maintaining a healthy body weight.  Water is also good for your complexion, keeping you looking younger longer.

Reduce your stress levels
We all know that stress can often be a common reason for overeating.  Try to pay attention to when you overeat.  Is it when you’re managing your checkbook or when the grandkids are struggling at school?  You may not be able to eliminate the stressful situation, but try to become aware of it.  To help reduce stress, be sure you’re getting enough sleep.  Try listening to classical music to relax your brain and body instead of eating.  Yoga is a great way to bring you peace of mind, not to mention it is also a great exercise for losing or maintaining your weight.  Laugh.  It will release endorphins that can improve your mood and make you smile.  Laughing is also another way to burn a few calories. Laughing increases both  the heart rate and calorie expenditure by up to 20 percent.  So don’t just strive to live a stress-free life, live a happier life as well.

Keep a food journal
Understand what you’re eating every day and how many calories you’re consuming.  You don’t know what you need to change until you take a good look at what you’re eating.  Don’t edit it, be honest and write down everything you eat.  From there you can start your diet remodeling program.  Figure out a few small things to cut back on every day. 

Plan your meals
Remember that weight loss and weight maintenance is all about a combination of calorie reduction and increased calorie usage.  Portion control is also very important.  It’s surprising to see what an actual portion size is.  Don’t skip meals, this often results in larger portions during your next meal.  Three small meals a day is recommended. When eating out, ask the server to only put half the meal on your plate and the other half in a take-out container. 

Disconnect with the scale
It is not always productive to focus on a number, instead try to focus how you feel or the way your clothes fit. Remember, muscle weighs more than fat so the number of the scale might not be an accurate number of fat loss.