Because older women require fewer calories for weight maintenance than younger women, it’s often difficult for women over 50 to lose weight. In addition, women who gain weight at age 50 may increase their breast cancer risk by up to 30 percent, reports MayoClinic.com. Losing weight and maintaining a healthy body weight after age 50 requires calorie control and healthy food choices.
All women are different depending on the amount of muscle mass you have, activity levels, etc but the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010 estimates that women over age 50 need 1,600 to 2,200 calories per day to maintain a healthy body weight, depending on their activity level. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reports that for weight loss, diets containing 1,000 to 1,600 calories per day are usually appropriate for overweight and obese women, depending on their current body weight and activity level. To effectively lose about 1 to 2 pounds per week, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics encourages you to reduce your current energy intake by 500 to 1,000 calories per day.
Meeting your daily fiber needs can help you lose weight if you’re over age 50, since high-fiber foods tend to help you feel full for longer periods of time. The Institute of Medicine recommends women aged 50 and older consume at least 21 grams of fiber every day. High-fiber foods include whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds.
Consuming plenty of protein can help you lose excess body weight and reduce loss of lean muscle associated with aging. High-protein, low-carb diets are often effective for weight loss, according to a study published in a 2007 edition of the “Journal of the American Medical Association”; however, MedlinePlus reports low-carb diets may increase your risk for inflammation. The Institute of Medicine recommends all women consume at least 46 grams of protein every day. A 2008 study published in “Clinical Nutrition,” however, reported that consuming 1.5 grams per kilogram, or about 0.68 grams of protein per pound of body weight, can help improve strength, muscle mass and function in older individuals. High-protein foods include eggs, poultry, fish, seafood, lean meats, seitan wheat protein, soy products, legumes, dairy products, nuts and seeds.
Doing plenty of strength training can help keep your muscle mass and build new muscle. Having a higher level of muscle mass not only keeps you strong but helps burn fat even when not exercising!