As you get older, it can be a struggle to shed body fat and stay lean. Don’t make it worse by committing to bad habits that severely limit your progress and sabotage all the hard work you’ve put in. Unfortunately, some of these mistakes are quite common; but in your 50s and beyond, you can’t afford to spin your wheels and get off track. In this article, we’re breaking down 10 of the worst habits that destroy your weight loss progress after 50, along with what you can do instead to turn the tide and encourage healthy weight loss that lasts.
Keep reading to learn all about the bad habits that destroy your weight loss progress and how to address them head-on. And for more weight loss inspiration, check out 15 Ways To Lose Weight & Keep It Off After 40.
1. You’re skipping workouts.
To stay lean, the most important word in fitness is “consistency.” As a matter of fact, according to research, following a consistent exercise routine—especially in the morning—helps support healthy weight management.
If you regularly skip workouts, you will not achieve good results that last. Instead, find ways to improve your adherence—find a workout partner, invest in coaching, or even pack your gym bag the day before so it’s ready to go and you won’t have any excuses the next day.
2. You’re too strict with your diet.
While it’s good to eat healthy most of the time, if you completely avoid treats like cakes, French fries, or burgers, that isn’t good either because it’s too rigid and unsustainable. Research shows that occasional “cheat meals” can actually improve your hormone levels, increase your adherence, and give you a mental break from dieting. Eat healthy 80% of the time and enjoy yourself from time to time.
3. You’re taking long breaks away from exercise.
Taking long breaks severely hurts your progress. Once you come back, it takes a while to return to your previous levels and it can feel like you’re starting from scratch. Always avoid long pauses. If life gets too hectic, instead of stopping exercise altogether, just dial down to one or two times a week. It might not seem like much, but it’s a lot better than zero.
4. You’re skipping sleep.
Sleep is one of the most vital things you can do not only for your overall health but also to support your weight loss. It’s when your body recovers from your training and heals itself. When you shortchange your sleep, it can lead to all kinds of health issues as well as unwanted fat gain. For instance, a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition directly linked sleep deprivation to snacking late at night, which can result in unwanted weight gain. What’s worse, the participants were much more likely to opt for snacks high in carbs.
According to the Sleep Foundation, adults should aim to get a minimum of seven hours of solid rest each night.
5. You’re not lifting yourself up.
We all make diet or exercise mistakes occasionally—it happens to the best of us. But it’s important to avoid getting down on yourself, because if you ruminate and get frustrated, it’ll make everything more challenging and could lead to worse behaviors.
Establish what Psychology Today calls “motivation from within,” which calls for you to fully believe in your end-game success and stand by your goals. Learn from any roadblocks or curveballs, and get right back on your normal diet and exercise routine, because you’ve got this.
6. You’re trying to do it all yourself.
If you’re consistently struggling with your weight loss, it might be time to admit your approach isn’t working. Consider hiring a professional to give you the coaching and support you need. Whether it’s a certified personal trainer or a registered dietitian, having an expert create a roadmap for you can make life easier and ensure great results.
7. You’re only doing cardio.
Cardio is great for your health, but at the same time, it’s vital to add strength training to your exercise program after you hit 50. Why? Because strength training is the absolute best way to strengthen your joints, bones, and muscles and also enhance your power and stability. Aim for 30 to 45 minutes of resistance training two to three times per week.
8. You’re going too extreme.
While it’s great to exercise and push your body to improve, it’s vital to show judgment and avoid movements and exercises that can harm you. High-impact training can put a lot of stress on your joints and ligaments, which can eventually lead to injury and force you to take a prolonged break from exercise, which is never a good thing. Avoid doing activities that your body can’t handle, and always work your way up.
9. You’re not warming up or cooling down.
As you get older, your flexibility and mobility gradually decline so, if you warm up as you did in your 20s, you could put yourself at risk for injuries and aches. Instead, do a good, thorough warm-up. For example, try foam rolling and a full range of dynamic exercises to open up all your joints and muscles so you can feel your best and perform your best. Then, once you’re done, make sure to stretch and maintain your muscle flexibility.
10. You’re using poor technique.
We’re wrapping up these habits that destroy weight loss by using poor technique. No matter what your age, bad exercise technique can massively hurt your progress as well as your body because it’s inefficient and can compromise your safety. Even with lower-impact exercises like jogging, you still need to master the proper technique and good posture. Get a coach to teach you the correct technique whether it’s swimming, lifting weights, or playing sports. All of it makes a huge difference as you get older.
Anthony J. Yeung