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How to Tip the Scale at a Healthy Weight

How to Tip the Scale at a Healthy Weight

Change is an unavoidable aspect of life, particularly as we age. From a weight perspective, the challenge comes in the form of a slower metabolism. A slower metabolism not only opens the door to weight gain, but it also makes losing weight more difficult.

The math is straightforward. Older adults should consume fewer calories than in their younger days. According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, adults in their 60s and older should vary their calorie intake based on activity level. If you don't exercise, calories shouldn't exceed 1,600 per day. If you exercise at a moderate level (which is defined as walking between one and one-half to three miles per day) 1,800 calories are recommended daily. If you fall in the active category (defined as walking three or more miles daily) calorie intake can increase to 2,000 per day.

In recognition of National Healthy Weight Week, which starts on Jan. 20, ATRIO Health Plans is sharing tips to help tip the scale at a healthy weight.

Healthy Weight Tips

Losing weight is never easy, so put the weight-loss odds in your favor by following these tips:

  • Drink more liquids–As we get older, there's a tendency for your sense of thirst to decrease. To combat this, drink water often. Low-fat or fat-free milk, as well as 100-percent juice also helps you stay hydrated. Limit beverages that have added sugars or salt.
  • Be purposeful about what's on your plate–Populate your plate with a variety of foods. According to the National Council on Aging, a healthy meal should include a lean protein, fruit, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy.
  • Plan ahead–Planning a week's worth of healthy meals is a good way to stay on track to reach your healthy weight. If you're feeling especially ambitious, prepare all of your dinners for a week, and then freeze until needed.
  • Don't automatically reach for table salt–If your sense of taste has decreased as an older adult, don't automatically add table salt to increase the flavor of meals. As reported by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, consuming too much salt can lead to high blood pressure; in turn, high blood pressure can lead to heart disease, stroke, and kidney disease.
  • Switch to herbs and spices–Instead of seasoning your food with salt, opt for fresh herbs and spices. Healthy, flavorful choices include; cayenne pepper; basil; sage; rosemary; and turmeric.
  • Scour nutrition labels–Before tossing packaged and canned foods into your grocery cart, carefully review the nutrition labels, with an eye toward spotting added fat, sodium, or sugar.
  • Decrease sugar consumption–Sugar unquestionably can send your good-diet intentions off the rails. Refined sugars are loaded with empty calories that won't help you reach your healthy-weight goal. Commit to significantly reducing sugary treats in your diet, and instead start eating naturally sweet foods, such as fruits, sweet peppers, and yams.
  • Reach for healthy fats–Not all fats are inherently bad and should be banned from your diet. Instead, focus on eliminating saturated and trans fats. Fats that fall into the healthy category include olive oil, avocado, nuts, and fish high in omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Talk to your doctor about supplements–Consuming fruits and vegetables is the best way to fuel your body with the nutrients it needs. Sometimes, however, that's easier said than done. If the latter applies to you, consider talking to your doctor about taking supplemental vitamins and minerals to maximize your overall health.

If you're not yet at your healthy weight, make 2019 the year you reach that goal!