Posts Tagged weight loss after 60

“Age Appropriate” Weight Loss

untitled.pngowMost women enter perimenopause, the period that signals the end of our reproductive years, somewhere in our forties and fifties. Perimenopausal and menopausal weight gain is common. Low estrogen levels can cause hormonal imbalance during this time in our lives. Because estrogen is stored in fat, when we approach menopause, our bodies hold on to fat cells in an effort to boost falling estrogen levels. This is an excellent time to recommit to making our optimum level of health a priority and seek out useful nutritional, medical and emotional support.

As this transition in our lives stabilizes, so may a new bodyweight. Having arrived at a middle or more mature age, trying to get back to our high school or college weight doesn’t always make sense. Our post-reproductive longevity affords us opportunity to make some challenging but gratifying upgrades, improvements and remodeling as we seek to mature gracefully. Even the physical changes our bodies undergo as we mature (which our culture works so hard to deny) are essential preconditions to reaching a productive and happy old age with less conflict, gracious surrender and welcome.

We can be healthy, active “seniors.” We can even move comfortably into a larger size. The fact that we once wore a size 6 or 8 and have added an extra digit to the number on our labels is not catastrophic. If we are decidedly overweight and losing a lot of weight all at once is too difficult to achieve or maintain, it is important to keep in mind that losing excess weight in stages is also beneficial.

No matter what your weight loss goal is, even a modest weight loss, such as 5 to 10 percent of your total body weight, is likely to produce health benefits such as improvements in blood pressure, blood cholesterol, and blood sugars. You can also expect to see improvements in your energy level, physical mobility, general mood, and self-confidence. Starting off with a more modest weight loss goal makes it easier to maintain it and may motivate you to take more weight off later on, at your own pace.

Whether you’ve always had trouble with your weight or struggled anytime along the way, take heart. You can start wherever you are right now. It’s never too late. Your body wants to be healthy and will ultimately benefit from your efforts to feed it well, regardless of the extent to which its performance, functioning and form have been compromised. Your amazing body manages a legion of complex human functions and interactions to maintain its balance and health with loyalty and resilience. You can depend on your body to make courageous efforts to compensate for physical and psychological maladies as they occur as long as you make more healthy choices and decisions about its care.

getty_rf_photo_of_three_women_exercising We can successfully stabilize our weight and get our bodies fit in our 50’s, 60’s and beyond – perhaps with an advantage we did not have available to us when we were younger. An African proverb says: “The death of a very old person is like the loss of a library.” Our knowledge base builds intellectually and emotionally as we age. Experience gives us greater wisdom in seeking out more creative strategies and effective resources for dealing with the issues we face.

It makes sense that the care and preservation of our bodies would become even more important to us as we acquire a deeper understanding of our own mortality. Along with the realization of the utter preciousness of life, we gain insight into many of those youthful, naïve, intense interpretations of reality. “Some day” is “right now” and our “prince” is decidedly in the past.

We transition from having to have a fit and healthy body to really wanting one. We can stop pushing our bodies to more extreme physical limits and begin to respect those limits as they change. We can care more about our relationship with our bodies than what they look like. Most importantly, we understand how precious our health is to the quality of our lives. And so, we nourish our bodies responsibly, lovingly and with great enthusiasm because we want to fully enjoy every moment.