10 Best Weight Loss Consumer Reports 2019 – Top Rated

“Your metabolism gradually slows down,” says Steven Heymsfield, M.D., a researcher at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. Sarcopenia, a decrease in muscle tissue that occurs with age, is a likely cause—but not the only one. “People generally become less active as they get older, even more so if they have orthopedic or other painful health issues,” Heymsfield says. “When you’re not burning as many calories but still eating the same amount, you gradually gain weight.”

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Small Changes, Big Benefits

You probably don’t have to lose as much weight as you think to improve your health. Simply maintaining a healthy weight—or dropping just a few pounds if necessary—can be worthwhile.

“Losing just 5 to 8 percent of your weight [about 11 to 17 pounds for a 220-pound person] improves your health and how well you function,” Heymsfield says. The effect can be considerable. A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that people who lost just 7 percent of their weight had a 58 percent lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Getting Started

It’s important to know how to lose weight the right way from the very start. First tip: You can’t just cut calories. “Unless it’s coupled with an exercise program, weight loss will result in muscle loss,” Heymsfield explains.

That’s why the best strategy combines calorie-burning, muscle-building exercise along with diet changes. In a study in the journal Obesity, half the people who took a similar approach kept off at least 5 percent of the weight they lost for eight years.

To eat more healthfully, consult our healthy meals for weight loss plan or follow the MyPlate for Older Adults guidelines from Tufts University: Half of every meal should be fruits and vegetables; one-quarter should be grains, such as brown rice, oatmeal, and whole-wheat bread; and one-quarter should be protein (some of it dairy). Use oils and other fats, such as butter, sparingly.

Meet Goals for Nutrients

“As you age, your body needs more protein to stimulate muscle protein synthesis,” Houston says. Shoot for 0.6 to 0.7 grams of protein per pound of body weight daily. To hit the target, eat beans, dairy, eggs, fish, lean meat, or poultry at each meal. (A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that protein from any source—including plants—was associated with improved muscle health.)

Vitamin B12, vitamin D, and calcium are also important. Vitamin B12 helps maintain red-blood and nerve cells, and assists in the production of neurotransmitters (chemicals that relay signals between your brain and other parts of your body). It becomes more difficult for the body to absorb B12 with age. For vitamin B12, fortified cereals, seafood, and meat are good sources.

The Exercise Connection

Aerobic activity, such as walking or cycling, is tops for burning calories. For example, walking for half an hour torches about 140 calories, depending on your weight.  Strength training, however, may actually be more crucial for keeping weight off as you age.

“After midlife, you lose 5 to 10 pounds of muscle per decade, which dramatically reduces how many calories your body burns,” says Wayne L. Westcott, Ph.D., a professor of exercise science at Quincy College in Quincy, Mass. “Resistance training helps offset that loss, and research shows that your resting metabolic rate stays elevated 5 to 9 percent for up to 72 hours after a session.”

Design your plan. Choose three lower-body moves (legs and glutes); three for your upper body (back, shoulders, arms, and chest); and two or three for your core (abs and lower back). In Westcott’s research, people did the following exercises: leg extensions, leg curls, leg presses, chest presses, lat pull-downs, shoulder presses, abdominal curls, low-back extensions, and torso rotations. A trainer can guide you or you can design a routine by using the online library of the American Council on Exercise.

Choose your resistance. Bands, medicine balls, strength-training machines, and free weights such as dumbbells all work equally.

Use enough weight. Do eight to 12 repetitions of each move. If you can’t do eight reps, you’re using too much resistance. When you’re able to do more than 12 reps, add 5 percent more weight.

Repeat the suggested reps of each exercise once. Rest 90 seconds to 2 minutes, then do another set. Do the workout twice a week.

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