Weight loss in women over 50 is similar to weight loss in younger women, except when it comes to calories. As women age, their metabolisms tend to slow down, requiring fewer calories to sustain everyday natural body functions and activities. Women who are over 50 may need just 1,200 to 1,500 calories daily to drop about 1 to 2 pounds per week. Your individual calorie needs may be more or less than this depending on your size, activity level, and metabolism.
The majority of fad weight-loss diets work well and short term but are not sustainable for a lifetime. That is because these kinds of diets lack sufficient essential nutrients needed to maintain high energy levels, prevent deficiencies, and stay healthy long term.
As you grow older you might already be at risk of low bone density, weight gain, fatigue, and menopause symptoms, so eating a well-balanced diet is especially essential to maintain optimal health. You can use some of the concepts from well-known weight-loss diets when following the best diet plan for women over 50. But use caution when considering a diet that is severely restricting certain food groups or only allows you to consume too few calories. Here are the best diet plans for women over 50 for weight loss and the advantages and disadvantages associated with them.
Raw Food Diet
Raw food diet is a mostly plant-based diet that focuses on eating raw and unprocessed whole foods. The raw food diet plan might contain 75 to 85% of raw foods, which is quite high. The foods you’ll eat include raw fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds, soaked or sprouted grains and legumes, dried fruit, dried meats, plant milk, cold-pressed plant oils, and fermented food like kimchi. You’ll need to avoid processed foods, added sugars, cooked foods as much as possible, roasted nuts or seeds, refined oils, salt, pasteurized dairy foods, and juices, coffee, tea, and alcohol.
The purpose of the raw food diet is to preserve as many nutrients as possible in raw foods, as cooking can reduce the vitamin, enzyme, mineral, and other nutritional content of the majority of the foods. The benefits of a raw food diet are you’ll get a lot of nutrition from whole, fiber-rich foods and eliminate junk foods associated with weight gain. You’ll probably lose weight when following a raw food diet plan. But eating a diet consisting of mainly raw foods is hard for many people to maintain long-term.
The paleo diet is like the raw food diet but you can eat cooked foods when you want to. Paleo’s diet focuses on foods that early humans, or cavemen, probably ate. When following a paleo diet you’ll need to avoid processed foods and replace them with fruits, vegetables, lean meats, nuts, seeds, fish, and oils.
The paleo diet does not include grains, potatoes, legumes, dairy foods, processed foods, salt, or refined sugar. You’ll probably lose weight when following a paleo diet because it’s a whole food diet free from processed foods and other junk food that is very unhealthy. However, the Paleo diet is very restrictive, difficult to follow long term for a lot of people, and can put you at risk of several nutrient deficiencies if you don’t carefully plan meals.
Very Low-Calorie Diets
Very low-calorie diets or popularly called as VLCDs recommend 800 calories or less for total daily consumption. VLCDs often include liquid nutrition shakes as meal replacements. You might be able to drop up to 3 to 5 pounds per week when restricting your calories this much. However, it’s not feasible to maintain a very low-calorie diet long term as you will be at risk of nutrient deficiencies, fatigue, hair loss, and gallstones during rapid weight loss.
Furthermore, Very low-calorie diets or VLCDs don’t seem to be more effective for weight loss than low-calorie diets (LCDs), especially in the long term. Studies show that subjects following VLCDs containing 500 calories daily or LCDs providing 1,250 calories per day experienced just the same amount of weight loss after a nine-month follow-up. VLCDs are generally only safe under medical supervision.
Well-Balanced Low-Calorie Diets
The best weight loss diet plan for women over 50 is a well-balanced, low-calorie menu containing 1,200 to 1,500 calories per day. Well-balanced means eating a variety of fruits, whole grains, vegetables, legumes, chicken, fish, seafood, tofu, seitan, eggs, nuts, dairy foods, oils, and other healthy fats.
Try filling half of each plate with non-starchy vegetables, one-fourth of each plate with protein, and one-fourth of your plate with nutritious carbohydrates like whole grains, legumes, sweet potatoes, corn, peas, or fruit. Consume dairy foods or plant milk like almond milk 2 to 3 times daily and add oils or other healthy fats to each meal or snack.
Low-Carb and Ketogenic Diets
Lowering your carbohydrate consumption enhances weight and fat loss, according to numerous studies. But eating too few carbs can lead to fatigue and difficulty concentrating. Lowering carbohydrate-rich refined foods, such as sweets, sugary drinks, white bread, and white rice, is an excellent and applicable weight loss strategy for women over 50.
To avoid the unpleasant side effects of very low-carb diets, including ketogenic diets that contain just 5% of your total calories from carbs, eat at least the carbohydrates recommended dietary allowance of 130 grams daily for adult women. Choose fiber-rich carbs like whole grains, legumes, fruits, and starchy vegetables.
Studies show that low-fat diets are just as effective as low-carb diets for weight and fat loss. But because your body needs dietary fat to feel full, function properly, and maximize heart and brain health, avoid weight-loss diets that are very low in fat.
The Institute of Medicine recommends adults get 20 to 35% of their daily calories from dietary fat. Fat provides 9 calories per gram. If you’re following a 1,200 calorie meal plan for weight loss, aim to consume 26 to 47 grams of fat daily and avoid dropping less than 26 grams per day. Foods that are rich in healthy fats include oils, avocados, nuts, seeds, olives, fish oil, and fatty fish.
Vegetarian and Vegan Diets
Vegetarian diets do not include meat, poultry, fish, and other seafood. Some vegetarians eat eggs or dairy foods while vegan dieters eliminate animal foods entirely. Studies show that vegetarian diets, especially vegan diets, can effectively enhance weight loss in overweight adults. Eliminating meat is a simple weight loss strategy for women over 50 and a method for disease prevention.
There are several weight loss diet plans for women who are over 50, it is up to you which one to choose. It is essential that you consider all the advantages and disadvantages of each diet plan. The best diet plan would be the one that you can sustain for a long period of time. You should also ask your doctor before starting any diet plan. If this article helped you in choosing the best diet plan that you can implement in your lifestyle, please feel free to share it with other women over 50 who are also looking for a diet plan that can benefit them. Thank you and best of luck in your journey to achieve optimal health.