Like many of you, I struggle to manage my weight. I was born with a healthy appetite, one that appreciates a good hearty meal chock full of carbs and delicious savory sides. In this post, I share what I’ve learned about managing my weight after age 50. Over the years, I’ve tried a myriad of methods for losing weight, some with more success than others. What I’ve finally learned is that, for me, a hybrid eating plan, evolved from several different eating styles works best for me.
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To be clear, I’m not a nutritionist or medical professional of any kind. But, I am a middle aged woman who is over 50 and Hypothyroid, so losing weight is not easy for me. I have studied, read and tried first-hand the eating style outlined in this post and personally attest to its effectiveness. As always, please consult your doctor or nutritionist before embarking on any serious dietary changes.
The Diets I’ve Tried
It’s quite impossible to list all the different diets I’ve tried. However, here is a short list of those I’ve found most effective for me:
- Atkins Diet
- Dukan Diet
- Keto Diet
- Clean Eating
There are similarities and differences in all of these, but the one common characteristic is that they are all free of processed food and very low in carbs.
The Hybrid Eating Style That Works for Me – 5 Easy Steps
- Eat Clean. Eat only natural and clean foods. In a nutshell, if it comes in a box or a package, don’t eat it. There are some exceptions that can be found in organic grocery stores, such as Whole Foods, but even still, avoid most processed food. Eat organic, natural meats, dairy, fruits and vegetables.
- Restrict Carbohydrates to 10% of Your Daily Food Intake. I’m not kidding, when I keep my carbs at 10% or less of my daily food intake, the weight comes off… every time. This is not easy, and I find it particularly hard to do EVERY day. It basically means you mostly only eat fish, meat, eggs, a little dairy and low-carb (mostly green) vegetables.
- Restrict Your Calories. I know that many modern eating plans claim that it’s not how much you eat, but what you eat. And, I agree that there is some truth to that. But, for me, calories absolutely matter. Use an app such as My Fitness Pal to help you determine the right number of calories for you to lose weight at a healthy pace, and stick with it. For me, that’s 1,200 calories a day for weight loss. If I’m just trying to maintain my current weight, 1,500 calories will work fine. For many of you, that may be too low. But, for me it’s just right.
- Eat as Much Fat as You Need to Accomplish numbers 1, 2 and 3 above. The 80s and 90s lied to us, folks. Eating fat will not make you fat. In fact, fat is absolutely essential for healthy human functioning. Read my post “5 Myths from the Last 30 Years About Health and Weight Loss” for more information about this.
- Take Intermittent Protein-Only Days. Wow, right!? I learned this from the Dukan Diet, which some criticized for being too extreme. But, boy does it work!! One to three days a week while you’re trying to lose weight, only eat protein. You will be absolutely amazed at what happens. Want to break through a weight loss plateau? Take an Intermittent Protein-Only Day. Don’t do it more often than three days in one week though, your body absolutely needs the nutrients and fiber from vegetables. And while it may be hard to believe, you will be craving a green salad like nobody’s business! Tip – don’t try three days in a row of eating protein only. Instead, make it easier on yourself by alternating with days where you also eat other things.
Tips for Losing Weight Successfully
- Stock up on clean foods for meals and snacks. This way, you’re always prepared when hunger strikes. See my post, 30 Tasty Low Carb Things to Eat When You’re Craving a Snack for some of my favorite ideas!
- Don’t drink you calories. Alcohol presents special challenges for those trying to lose weight, especially those over 50. See my post, Holiday Cocktails That Won’t Ruin Your Eating Plan, to learn what drinks you might consider while trying to lose weight. While this post does have some holiday recipes, it also has lots of good general information.
- Get an app for tracking your food. It’s easy to do on an eating plan like this one, since all of your food is whole and natural. You won’t have to guess at the ingredients in your food. I like the paid version of My Fitness Pal because it also shows me the “macros” (short for macronutrient). Macros are the three major categories of food that you eat the most that provide you with energy: Carbohydrates, Fats and Proteins.
- Consider purchasing a kitchen scale. If you’re not already in the habit of logging your food, you’ll probably want to invest in small kitchen scale so you don’t have to guess at the quantities you’re eating and logging.
- Get in the habit of completely eliminating sugar from your diet. It will be difficult at first, but after a while you won’t even notice it. In fact, eating a sugary treat after you’ve been sugar free for a while literally goes straight to your head. You’ll feel it and be bouncing off the walls like a little kid on Halloween.
- Accept that you don’t actually need to eat many grains. As long as you’re eating your vegetables, you’ll get fiber. You might also consider adding a natural fiber supplement to your daily regiment like I do.
- Reserve eating at restaurants for special occasions. Restaurant food is generally high in all the wrong categories of food and very high in salt. More importantly, it’s hard to log restaurant meals. Since you didn’t cook it yourself, you don’t know what ingredients are contained in it. Make a list of restaurants near your home and office that have healthy options that will fit into your eating plan and keep it in your phone. This will make it easier to think of a healthy restaurant when you need one.
- Plan in “Treat Days.” I don’t like to call them “cheat days” because that implies that you’ve done something bad. Treat days are days every once in a while where you allow yourself to eat whatever delicious item comes to mind. Birthday? Eat the cake. And, don’t beat yourself up about it afterwards. Just don’t allow that one day to become an excuse to fall off the wagon for longer periods of time. Tip – if you eat a lot of carbs on your treat day, be aware that you’ll be craving carbs for a day or two afterwards. It’s good to know it’s going to happen so you can be prepared for it.
- Try some Keto recipes. Keto recipes are terrific, but there is one thing to be aware of. Keto doesn’t typically limit your calorie intake, and all that fat can be high in calories. Just be aware of this as you’re choosing your recipes and have fun!
- New Atkins for a New You: The Ultimate Diet for Shedding Weight and Feeling Great Fast
- Dr. Atkins’ New Diet Revolution
- The Dukan Diet: 2 Steps to Lose the Weight, 2 Steps to Keep it Off Forever
- Keto Diet: Your 30-Day Plan to Lose Weight, Balance Hormones, Boost Brain Health, and Reverse Disease
- The Obesity Code: Unlocking the Secrets of Weight Loss (The Wellness Code (Book 1))
- The Obesity Code Cookbook: Recipes to Help You Manage Insulin, Lose Weight, and Improve Your Health (The Wellness Code)
- Jason Fung Collection 3 Books Set (The Obesity Code, The Obesity Code Cookbook, The Complete Guide to Fasting)
- Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It
- Primal Fat Burner: Live Longer, Slow Aging, Super-Power Your Brain, and Save Your Life with a High-Fat, Low-Carb Paleo Diet
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