Every calorie counts once we reach our 50s. But most of us tend to keep eating like we’re 25.
That’s a problem because our metabolic rate has decreased … as much as 5 to 8 percent every decade. To lose weight, we have to adjust to this slower metabolic rate. That doesn’t mean counting every pea, but it does mean every calorie counts.
Another concept Baby Boomers need to embrace is healthy eating doesn’t equal weight loss. If you’re thinking, “I have cut out all processed food. I eat organically and I mainly eat salmon and olive oil, but I’m not losing weight.” You could be organically growing your waistline.
It’s important to note that a serving is a serving. A half cup of brown rice is the same as a half cup of white rice when it comes to measuring portions for weight loss. Will the brown rice pack more power in terms of fiber and other benefits? Absolutely! But will it make you lose weight faster? No. And can you eat more of it because it’s healthier? No.
This is an essential concept to grasp because so many people assume eating heart-healthy foods like salmon, olive oil, avocado, brown rice and sweet potatoes means free rein to eat unlimited portions. But it’s all about portion control, no matter how heart-healthy, low-fat, organic, gluten-free or low-carb that food may be.
A hormone called ghrelin controls hunger and drives our appetite. If we don’t understand, monitor and control our ghrelin, we can forget about losing weight.
Ghrelin is one of our bodily survival tactics–a hormone secreted in the stomach to ensure we eat. Research now shows that ghrelin spikes due to lifestyle behaviors like delaying and skipping meals, lack of sleep, after exercise (especially in females), avoiding carbohydrates and the act of losing weight.
To keep ghrelin in control and lose weight, remember to:
- Eat breakfast within an hour of waking. It’s the most important meal and drives your entire day. It determines how much you’re going to eat at 4 p.m. It will control ghrelin and set you up for success.
- Do not skip meals. You need to eat every three to four hours to control ghrelin, so depending on how many waking hours you have, you may need four meals or you may need six.
- Try to combine carbohydrates and proteins at every meal or snack. This way, you get the optimal blend of nutritional elements to fight cravings, control hunger, gain energy and stimulate fullness. Protein increases your metabolism while carbs lower ghrelin, help with brain function and decrease cravings.
For lunch, try a salad with chicken or fish. Add a carbohydrate such as quinoa, garbanzo beans, lentils or brown rice. Snack on an apple and a piece of turkey, low-fat cheese or a hard-boiled egg.
- Don’t focus on the time you stop eating. Instead, follow the 70/30 rule, which means you should eat 70 percent of your calories before dinnertime and 30 percent at dinner, whatever time that may be. Just make sure you have 90 minutes to digest so you can sleep comfortably.
- Stay hydrated. You’ve heard it a million times, but drinking water is essential for keeping energy up, aiding metabolism, burning fat and more. It’s the fluid your body needs for life, and it’s an instrumental part of weight loss. Other fluids can be useful, but water is obviously the best choice because it is calorie free.
But you can forget the whole eight glasses a day thing. Just relax and remember to have a healthy amount of water whenever you think of it. Thirst can confuse your sense of hunger so make sure you stay hydrated.