Monday, June 21, 2010

I read an article in USA Today recently that talked about weight plateaus, and how as we age, they get harder to break through. According to the article, when those older than 50 go on a diet, they will lose 5 percent to 10 percent of their weight in the first 3 to 6 months of the program. To go beyond the 10 percent mark, you need to make some serious lifestyle changes. Aging really does suck.

And why is it harder? It cites five reasons:

  • loss of muscle mass;
  • lower overall levels of physical activity as aging occur;
  • poor eating habits;
  • hormonal changes as a result of menopause or andropause;
  • genes.

And, of course, women tested after menopause burned an average of 100-150 calories less per day – and all were still doing their normal schedule. If they were less physically active, they burned as much as 200 calories less per day. The lack of estrogen is also being blamed for an increased appetite for specific foods containing carbohydrates and fats.

Strength training can help, because it tones the muscles, minimizes muscle loss, and makes muscles more efficient at burning calories. And exercise, although it might mean muscle aches in the beginning, will eventually minimize the aches and pains we all feel as we age. Plus, it really does make the weight come off faster – not to mention help keep the weight off.

OK – so what can we do? We all know. It’s all about developing an action plan, and then following it daily. The following list is how successful dieters lose – and then keep off – the weight. Everything on the list needs to be a priority.

  • Add 45 minutes of aerobic exercise 5 days a week;
  • Eliminate unhealthy habits/foods and substitute healthy ones;
  • Limit calories to 1200-1800 a day;
  • Write down what you eat;
  • Weigh and measure what you eat;
  • Prepare food at home instead of eating out;
  • Make yourself a priority, even with all your commitments;
  • Take a short break from your diet if necessary, maintain the weight you lost, and then go back at it again.

Absolutely nothing new here, which is so discouraging. I am still searching for that magic pill. And we all know how well that's working for me!


  1. Oh my. I'm depressed.

    But one good thing. If you're still writing about this and we are still reading it, it means that we have not yet said "who cares. I'll just be the way I am" and give up completely.

  2. Great post! Mine opinion on how to break through a plateau is just keep keeping on. Stay on your plan and don't stray. Add 45 mints of exercise 5 days a wk and taking a break from your diet? That seems crazy to me!