What is the best healthy way to lose weight?

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Losing weight and keeping it off is not easy. If it were, you probably wouldn’t be reading this article.

I’m going to describe some strategies that will make it more likely that you will be successful when you decide you are ready to lose your excess weight. I don’t think it’s helpful or healthy to keep repeating strategies that have not worked for us or most other people in the past, so you may be surprised to read this article. It’s not a quick and easy answer to one of life’s more complex common dilemmas.

So, what is the best healthy way to lose weight? Read on and I’ll give you some strategies and tactics that will improve your chances of success over almost everyone else who has ever tried to lose weight in the past.

What do you want?

setting your goal

This is really about setting your goal. We have previously looked at how to estimate your ideal healthy weight and waist size, so it may be that you already have a weight goal in mind. If not, reading the previous post will help you find your healthy weight range so you have a goal you are working towards.

It’s important when we set a goal that we think about our goal in the right way. We are setting the goal because it is something we really want aren’t we?

What do you think are the chances of success in achieving a goal if you’re doing it because you should do it? Higher or lower than if you want it? What about a goal you need to achieve? Higher or lower than if you want it?.

If you want to be successful in achieving your goal, wanting to achieve the weight you have set as your goal is vital. Telling yourself you should lose weight or that you need to lose x pounds is much less likely to work. Wanting to do anything is very different from feeling you should do it or you need to do it, or even you must do it.

Losing weight and keeping it off is not something that most people find easy and it is not instant. You are likely to be changing habits and behaviors that you may have had all your life. Are you more likely to achieve your weight loss goal if you don’t really want to?

Are you going to be able to sustain all the good decision-making you will need to lose your excess weight if it’s something you think you should do, not something you really want to do?

Similarly, what about saying to yourself that you need to lose weight? It still says it’s something you think you ought to do.

Feeling obliged to do something is not the same as wanting it! It doesn’t matter that you know it’s a good idea to be lighter, if you don’t want it for yourself, you’re much less likely to make it happen.

You need to be specific about your goal, so your mind knows what you are working towards. For example I would like to weigh x pounds, I want to lose x % of my body weight (so my surgeon will replace my arthritic knee), I want to lose 10% of my body weight (so my physician doesn’t need to start me on medication to control my blood pressure, or to lower my risk of Type 2 diabetes).

Your goal must be measurable. Picking a goal weight makes measuring quite straightforward as it needs bathroom scales. If you are aiming for a particular waist measurement, a tape measure will do the trick. If your goal is to fit into clothes you have expanded out of, those clothes are your measuring tool.

 

Write your goal down

There is ample evidence that setting a goal is important. Newer evidence from Neuroscience tells us that writing that goal down is even more important.

Put that piece of paper somewhere you can see it frequently. Perhaps you could take a picture of it and use it as a screensaver or a background screen. Stick it on your bathroom mirror or inside your locker door. Keep a copy in your purse or wallet. Read it often. Focusing on your goal will make you more likely to achieve it.

Why do you want it?

Why you want to achieve your goal is the reason that you will keep going when it would be easier to go back to doing what you always used to do. Why needs to be something important enough to you that it keeps you focused.

 

 

Why is really the key to achieving your goal

 

 

 

Perhaps you can hardly walk anymore because of your knee pain and you want to lose the weight your surgeon has told you will help make a success of the operation and your recovery.

Perhaps you want to be able to play with your grandchildren and it’s impossible if you can’t get up and down from the floor or you get too puffed to run around with them.

Perhaps you are sick of having a wardrobe full of clothes you can’t fit into and enough is enough!

Maybe you want to plan a trip where you will be walking in the heat, or swimming, or skiing and it won’t be nearly as easy or nearly as much fun if you’re carrying your excess baggage with you every step of the way.

Keep your reason in the front of your mind too

Whatever your big reason is, hold on to it. It is very important to you and keeping it in your head, or on a note on your bathroom mirror, or on the screensaver of your computer will help keep you going when you just might not feel like it.

What and Why

So, we’ve looked today at setting your goal and the reason you want to achieve that goal. We’ve also discussed why it’s important that you have these ideas firmly in your head and in front of your face before you start to take any further action.

By having a definite goal and a reason why you want to achieve it you are already setting yourself up for more success than most other people who say they want to lose weight. And very importantly, the focus those two things bring will make you more likely to stay at your goal when you achieve it.

What comes next?

Next time we’ll start looking at how you can start working towards your goal by looking at the actions you can take towards healthy weight loss.

I hope this has been helpful. I’d like to know what you think. I’d also like to hear about your goal setting and your reason for wanting to lose your excess weight. It’s an important journey for each of us.

 

Please contact me by email Louisa@anappetiteforhealth.com

Look forward to hearing from you.

How much should I weigh at my age?

Before you decide on your weight loss goal, there’s one other thing
to consider. There is some evidence that being heavier when you are
older can be healthier than being thin. Middle-aged spread might not be
all bad!

Being overweight when you’re older

Being overweight when young is the greatest weight related health risk

 

Medical evidence shows that the real damage from being overweight
(with a BMI over 25) is done when you are younger, putting you at risk
of ill health and premature death.

 

 

 

When you’ve lived beyond your late 60s, a
higher BMI can reduce your chance of dying prematurely.

It can be healthy to be heavier in older age

People with a BMI of 27, definitely in the “overweight” range, live longer lives than people with lower or higher BMIs.

What is more risky when you’re older is being too thin. A BMI below
23 is in the healthy weight range for younger adults, but as you get
older your ideal BMI is likely to be higher.Thinner people in older age are at greater health risk directly because of their lower body weight.

What this means is that your ideal BMI might be in a range where
people might think you’re overweight but your health might just be
better for it as you start to get older. Of course, if your extra weight is contributing to health problems shedding a few of those extra pounds is likely to be helpful and healthful.

The evidence is telling us that your weight isn’t the only piece of the puzzle you have to look at. Losing weight might not be the healthy option.

Just don’t keep getting heavier!

The real issue about your weight as you get older is that you are
likely to be healthier if your weight is steady. Staying steadily
slightly overweight is healthier than starting your senior years at a
“healthy weight” with a BMI of 18.5 to 25 and gaining weight even if the gain keeps your BMI under 25.

Don’t keep getting heavier

 

However, this doesn’t mean that being obese as we get older is OK for our health.

 

 

 

If your BMI is over 35 and you continue to gain weight you are
increasing your risk of health problems more than any of the other
situations we have discussed here. There is no doubt that a sensible approach to losing some of your excess fat will contribute to improving your chances of a healthier older age.

So, how much should I weigh at my age?

It seems pretty clear that being very overweight or obese is not good for any of us at any age. Being too thin as we get older is also unhealthful. Exactly what is the Goldilocks answer? For our senior years a steady BMI around 27. So find a weight that you are comfortable with in that BMI area and hold your weight steady. That little bit of extra padding is actually protective in older age.

The evidence is telling us that your weight isn’t the only piece of the puzzle you have to look at.

I hope this has been helpful. I’d love to see your thoughts or comments about how I’ve reached this conclusion. I’d also be very happy to have your suggestions about topics you’d like to read about as together we learn more about healthy weight loss in our 50s and beyond.

Contact me by email Louisa@anappetiteforhealth.com

Thanks for joining me and best wishes.

What should I weigh?

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For any of us, starting to talk about healthy weight loss is likely to begin with trying to work out how much weight we need to lose. This can be a difficult question to answer accurately but we’ll make sense of the information so your answer makes sense for you and your own situation.

What should I weigh?

I’ll explain below why it’s not easy to come up with an exact number for each of us and that personalizing the answer to your particular body is a good idea. I’ll also use some examples so you can work out your own personal answer to the question. You’ll also see that what was ideal for you in your youth may no longer be your ideal now.

Please remember that there are no weight police here! I’m writing to help you decided what’s right for you in your own particular situation.

Body Mass Index – BMI

If you ask a health professional for their advice about healthy weight, it’s highly likely they will refer to the BMI.

This chart will show you your BMI and whether your weight is considered to be healthy for your height.

BMI Chart with Height and Weight

What does the chart mean?

Follow down the column for your height until it meets the row with your weight.

The number where the column and the row meet is your BMI. The color coding on the chart is a guide to how healthy that BMI is.

  • If your BMI is under 18.5 you are considered underweight
  • a BMI between 18.5 – 25 is viewed as the normal weight range
  • between 25 and 29.9 takes your BMI to the overweight range
  • and 30 and over is a BMI in the obese range.

How does the BMI look?

So, using your BMI you now know if your weight is outside the “normal weight range”.

If your BMI is above 25 you can use your height column on the chart to find the weight that will take your BMI to 25 and into the normal weight range for your height. This might be a useful initial goal if you have a bit to go to achieve a BMI of 25.

Let’s look at some examples

Ms Average American is 5 feet 4 inches tall. To fall into the normal weight range, the chart shows us she should weigh between 145 pounds and 110 pounds. If she is comfortable with her weight, that may be the answer she needs.

It’s similar for Mr Average American at 5 feet 10 inches – the normal weight range is between 170 pounds and 130 pounds

That’s quite a range, so we’ll see if we can find a way to get closer to an exact number.

Waist Measurement – Fine tuning in the normal BMI range

The old height/weight charts that show different weights for small, medium and large frame for each weight seem like an easy answer, but it’s pretty difficult to get an accurate estimate of your frame size without professional measurements. So instead, lets look at another method of estimating how healthy your body is right now and use this information to get closer to your own personal healthy ideal.

  • Take a tape measure and measure your waist – a line with your tape measure midway between your lowest rib and the top of your hips (just above your belly button).
  • Make sure the tape is horizontal all the way round so the measurement is accurate
  • Breathe out gently and pull the tape so it is snug but not tight

Waist circumference can be a better indicator of obesity-related disease risk than BMI. It is a good indicator of visceral fat (also known as belly fat), which poses more health risks than fat elsewhere.

  • If you are a man with a waist larger than 40 inches or a woman with a waist over 35 inches, you are at high risk for type 2 diabetes, dyslipidemia (high cholesterol),
    hypertension (high blood pressure and heart disease.
  • If you are of Asian descent, a waist over 37 inches for men and 31 inches for women puts you at higher health risk.

Waist-to-hip circumference ratio has also been used. This is the calculation that categorizes us as Apple shaped or Pears shaped. It has been found to be no better than the waist measurement alone, and more complicated to measure. Let’s leave the fruit in the fruit bowl, shall we?

Waist to height ratio – The best indicator of all?

Your WHtR measures the distribution of your body fat, particularly abdominal obesity. Higher values indicate you are at higher risk of obesity related cardiovascular diseases.

It is simple to measure – your waist in inches divided by your height in inches

  • If you are under 40 years of age, a number greater than 0.5 puts you at increased health risk
  • for ages 40 – 50 you are at increased risk with a value of 0.5 to 0.6
  • if you are aged over 50 a WHtR greater than 0.6 sees you at increased risk.

So Ms Average at 5 feet 4 inches aged over 50 with a 40-inch waist has a WHtR of 40/64 = 0.65 and is at increased health risk, but if she loses 2 inches from her waist her WHtR drops to 38/64 = 0.59 and her health risk is lowered.

 

Mr Average at 5 feet 10 inches aged over 50 with a 42-inch waist has a WHtR of 42/70 = 0.6 and is at increased risk, but can reduce that risk to a lower level by losing even 1 inch from his waist – 41/70 = 0.59.

So, what should I weigh?

As we’ve seen, an exact answer is difficult to achieve using simple measures. But using your height and your waist measurement we can fine tune that answer.

My suggestion is that your BMI will show you where you are now in your weight loss journey and will give a guide to the range of weights to aim for to be considered a healthy weight.

When you reach the healthy weight range, use your waist measurement and your Waist to Height Ratio to help you decide whether your weight needs to be towards the higher or lower end of the range for your height to see you at reduced health risk.

I hope this has been helpful. I’d love to see your thoughts or comments about how I’ve reached this conclusion. I’d also be very happy to have your suggestions about topics you’d like to read about as together we learn more about healthy weight loss in our 50s and beyond.

Contact me by email Louisa@anappetiteforhealth.com

Thanks for joining me and best wishes.

 

 

About Louisa

Hi and welcome!

Healthy weight loss over 50 is for those of us who don’t want to get any older without improving our health and getting our weight down to where we want it to be. We want to make the best of our 50s and upwards fit and healthy so we can enjoy whatever challenges and surprises come our way.​

It might not surprise you to learn I’m in my 50s. My weight has been a problem to me for most of my life. Now I’m finally making real progress and I’m keen to share with you what I know and what I am learning about healthy weight loss.

I’m stressing healthy weight loss because I don’t believe being thin is worthwhile if we achieve our goals by compromising our health. What I want for you is a healthy start to the rest of your life in a body you are comfortable with.

I believe strongly in sharing knowledge and information.

I don’t believe everyone should be thin! I don’t believe everyone should be fit and healthy if they don’t want to be!

What I am passionate about is that if you want my help to lose your excess weight and improve your health I will support you and make sure you have quality information to make the right decisions to achieve your goals.

I want to share my passion with you!

Being in our 50s is only part way through our journey. If you want to lose weight and improve your health I want this website to be your go-to place where you know you can find reliable information to support your decisions as you too develop an appetite for health.

If you ever need a hand or have any questions, feel free to leave them below and I will be more than happy to help you out.

All the best,