Dieting is unhealthy. At least the way most people diet is unhealthy. According to Precision Nutrition, four of the most popular dieting regimes can lead people to be deficient in over half of the nutrients they need. On top of that, you get new dieters going all out in exercise programs, putting themselves at risk of injuries. However, it is possible to actually improve your health while dieting; you just need to approach it in a certain way. Here’s what you need to keep in mind.
Make Changes Gradually
It’s good to be enthusiastic, but be wary of making radical changes to your lifestyle very quickly. Your digestive system adapts to the food you regularly eat, and if you change your diet too quickly, you might experience diarrhea, constipation, or stomach pains. Likewise with exercise, if you’ve been very sedentary, the tendons in your joins will have become weaker, and they may not be able to handle regular, vigorous exercise. So, adopt the gradual approach to dieting. Make changes slowly, week by week. One week you could swap out pasta for vegetables. The next week, take a 30-minute walk. After that, switch to low-fat cuts of meat, and so on.
Lose Weight Slowly
The quickest way to lose weight is not the best way. As LiveStrong explains, rapid weight loss can lead to problems like gallstones, liver disease, and fluid imbalance. As seniors are at higher risk of these issues to begin with, it’s even more important to lose weight slowly. On top of that, rapid weight loss can slow your metabolism so that you’ll need to diet harder and harder over time to keep the weight off. This is one reason why diets fail. Aim to lose between one and two pounds each week. If you’re losing more weight than that, you’ve probably cut your food intake back by too much, or you’re exercising too much. Try to add a little extra food to your diet or reduce your activity level a bit.
Make Sure You Get Enough Nutrients
As you learned earlier, people who diet are often deficient in the nutrients they need to be fully healthy. This is because people focus on reducing the quantity of food they eat, but don’t increase the quality. Don’t make this same mistake. Make sure you increase your consumption of healthy whole foods like vegetables, fruit, and nuts. Some people will struggle with this, perhaps because they don’t like vegetables or don’t know how to cook with them. If this sounds like you, use a meal replacement shake. This is your insurance policy because it helps you get a balanced range of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals in a single shake.
Set Up a Home Gym
As we age, our body loses muscle mass in a process that doctors call sarcopenia. Less muscle tissue means a slower metabolism and higher risk of injuries from falls. This makes it harder to go about your normal daily activities. However, dieting also tends to reduce muscle tissue. That’s why for seniors, it’s very important to do some strength training while dieting, which will help you maintain your muscle tissue. The best way to do this is with a home gym. With some dumbbells, resistance bands, and a yoga mat, you’ll be able to perform a range of strength exercises in the comfort of your own home and build up the resistance as your strength improves. Two days a week will be enough; although you might want to start off doing one day a week, to give your body a chance to adapt.
These days everyone is in a hurry. When people start diets, they want to lose weight yesterday with no changes to their lifestyle. Not only is this unrealistic, it can also be unhealthy. If you take a slower, more measured approach to weight loss, you can shed the pounds and keep them off, while actually improving your overall health. What small change can you make today?
- Deficient: https://www.precisionnutrition.com/dieting-deficiencies
- Gradual Approach: https://zenhabits.net/gradual-yum/
- Explains: https://www.livestrong.com/article/35737-risks-losing-much-weight-quickly/
- Strength Training: https://www.onhealth.com/content/1/strength_exercises_for_older_adults
- Home Gym: https://www.redfin.com/blog/2016/04/the-7-pieces-of-equipment-you-really-need-in-your-home-gym.html
- Pexels: https://www.pexels.com/photo/active-bikes-cyclist-elderly-264073/