The “quick fix” has always been an appealing option for women. “Lose 10 lbs. this week!” or “One pill a day can make your skin more firm!” Headlines like this are designed to make you click on them.
Why is this a problem? Because the more of these quick fixes you try, the more harm you’re likely doing to your body. If you’ve tried a lot of them, by the time you’re 50, you might start looking older than your age.
Around mid-life, women often start getting serious about their health. Their doctors are prescribing more medication, and they realize that the “quick fix” isn’t going to help. Peri-menopause, or menopause, causes changes in a woman’s body chemistry, and losing weight and staying healthy becomes more challenging.
Go Back to Basics for a Healthier Lifestyle in Mid-Life
At one time, women followed a few basic concepts to keep the pounds from creeping up on them and to feel healthier. They drank more water and less pop (including diet sodas). They ate regularly. Taking time to do leisurely activities wasn’t selfish.
One of the best things women in their 50s can do to start feeling and being healthier is getting back to some simple concepts. If you follow these, you’ll feel better now and in the future, too.
Eat in Moderation and Eat Regularly
Today, it’s pretty common to hear a woman say, “I haven’t eaten yet today,” like it’s a badge of honor. Then they get home and eat like they are feeding an army. Often, they eat easy food that isn’t good for them. Stop that!
If You’re Hungry, Eat
Buy groceries. When you go to work, bring healthy food from home for snacks and for lunch. The key is to have healthy options available when you need them. Don’t fight it off until you get home.
Eat out less. But eat more often. Find fruits and vegetables you love. Add more fiber to your diet. These things will make you healthier overall. Plus, you won’t be starving and eager to eat whatever is easiest when you slow down.
Denial can make your cravings worse, even when you crave something that is “bad” for you. A scoop of ice cream once a week will make it easier to avoid eating the triple-scoop banana split with extra whipped cream.
Eating in moderation and at regular intervals will decrease your desire for unhealthy options. It’s also good for metabolism, which gets slower as you age.
Drink More Water and Milk
Ditch the pop. All pop is bad for you. Even sugar-free sodas are very unhealthy. One of the major health concerns for women over 40 is type 2 diabetes. As you get older, gain weight, and your metabolism slows, your risk for type 2 diabetes increases. Diet soda increases your likelihood of gaining weight and developing type 2 diabetes (pennmedicine.org/updates/blogs/health-and-wellness/2017/march/diet-soda).
What Should You Drink When You’re Thirsty?
Start with two glasses of milk a day. Studies have shown that women who drink more milk lose weight easier (webmd.com/food-recipes/news/20100922/milk-drinkers-may-lose-more-weight), and the calcium in milk helps prevent osteoporosis (pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11052048/). You don’t have to add a lot of calories to your diet. Skim milk tastes great, has fewer calories and fat, and has more calcium, too.
You can drink more water, too. Water will quench your thirst much faster than any soda. If you’re tired and craving snacks, you may be dehydrated already. If you are used to the taste of sodas, it might take some time to get accustomed to the simple taste of water. Keep drinking it, and you will likely want to reach for the water bottle more often.
People have become increasingly inactive in the last 50 years. This is especially true for women who now spend their days in offices instead of chasing after children or standing in a kitchen. Women, like everyone, spend more leisure time watching television or in front of a computer now than they used to.
If you attempt to find other things to do that involve moving, you’ll soon find that you have even more energy. Start slow if you need to. A walk around the block after eating dinner can be enough to get you started.
As you feel more energetic, you can consider trying a new sport or taking long walks. You might even enjoy getting out your old bike or going for a swim.
Figure Out Your ‘Why’
No matter how hard you try to implement these basic healthy lifestyle habits, you won’t succeed if you don’t know why you’re doing it. Why do you want to be healthier? You have to know your “why.”
Once you figure out why you want to feel healthier in your 50s, focus on that. Put a picture over your desk that reminds you of your purpose, or find a mantra that you repeat in your mind when you are tempted to backslide into bad habits. Knowing why you’re putting in all this effort will keep you on the right track and help you have a healthier lifestyle in your 50s.