The holidays are over, the decorations put away, and the New Year is here. Unfortunately, along with presents and good cheer, the holiday season has also left you with a few more pounds than you care to admit. Sound familiar?
Holiday weight gain, which research has shown starts in October with Halloween and runs through the end of December, can take up to 5 months to lose. But not all is lost; with a little bit of patience and a lot of commitment to making some lifestyle changes weight loss after the holidays is not only possible, it’s also achievable.
The Dangers of Weight Gain For Seniors
While you may shrug off a pound or two that you pick up over the holidays, continued weight gain can be detrimental to senior health. Maintaining a healthy weight is critical for seniors since obesity in the elderly increases the risk of developing serious chronic health issues, as well as limiting mobility. Overweight seniors have higher mortality rates than their thinner counterparts and are more likely to suffer from diabetes, heart disease, and respiratory dysfunction.
As we age, however, it becomes increasingly difficult to lose weight. This is due, in part, to both metabolism changes and decreased muscle mass. So, even if you continue to eat the same amount of calories and get the same amount of exercise each day, you might not see results when it comes to weight loss. As you age your muscle mass decreases and your fat ration increases, which means that you burn fewer calories per day and have to work even harder to lose excess weight.
Health Tips To Help You Lose Weight
If losing those holiday pounds is high up on your list of New Year’s Resolutions, these health tips can help.
Getting in daily exercise greatly reduces your chances of losing mobility and helps prevent life-threatening diseases. However, the concept of dedicating to structured exercise can be overwhelming. Don’t stress yourself out with the idea that you need to be at the gym every day for hours. Start with a brief ten-minute walk outside. Enjoy the fresh air and get your heart rate up a little bit. Over time, try to increase your stamina, until you are walking for 30 to 40 minutes at a time.
Since the loss of muscle mass is one of the biggest deterrents to weight loss for the elderly, focus on activities that will help you build more muscle. This doesn’t mean you need to start bench pressing at your local gym. There are many exercises you can do from home that will help build muscle. Invest in resistance bands or small hand weights. A mixture of arm and leg exercises (like squats, lunges, arm curls, and push-ups) will help to build back some of the muscle mass that has been lost through the aging process.
Adopt Healthy Eating Habits
Often the holidays are a time to indulge in rich foods and sweet desserts. To help you trim off those extra pounds, focus on the basics. Plan a diet that is rich in protein, fruits, and vegetable, with limited fats and refined sugars. A healthy diet usually requires a little more preparation, but the reward is worth the extra effort. Giving you more energy, better sleep, and improved health, a diet rich in nutrient-dense, fresh foods will help you feel better every day, while also attacking your weight loss after the holidays.
Be More Accountable
Weight loss, around the holidays and in general, is hard, making it easy to get off track. Being accountable to someone else will greatly improve your chances of losing weight. Have a friend or family member be your "weight loss buddy." Check in with each other, encourage and inspire each other, and help each other through the rough patches. Try not to let an entire week go by without talking to one another and getting reinvigorated for the next week of successes and challenges. Victory will be so much sweeter when you have a friend with whom to share it.
Starting a diet or healthy eating plan is very common, but sticking to it, even for three months in a row, is much less common. It is easy to become discouraged while trying to lose weight and to fall off track for a meal, day, or week. The much sought after "Holy Grail" of weight loss is the power to remain consistent, every meal, every time. When you find consistency, you will begin to lose weight. It is human nature to make a mistake here and there, but you can’t let this derail your progress! Jump right back on your path, not letting one meal turn into a whole day or weekend of bad choices.
Healthy Seniors At Home
Weight loss is more than just a diet, it can also be a whole new approach to life for many people. Though the adjustment may seem difficult at first, the renewed sense of energy and positivity will soon make the changes feel like second nature, and Medical Guardian is here to help you on your weight loss journey.
In addition to our health tips listed above, a medical alert device can keep you safe while you adopt a new exercise routine and diet. Any time you make changes to your regular routine, you run the risk of injury or medical emergency and Medical Guardian will always be there for you if you fall.