I found a frog in my bathroom sink the other morning. And no, that’s not some sort of secret code.
I was about to brush my teeth and did not yet have my contacts in. So when I saw a large, brown thing on the side of the sink, I thought it was some massive winged creature about to swoop up and bite me on the face.
I did the only logical thing: I jumped about three feet back and yelled for my husband.
If I were living alone the house would’ve been on the market within the hour.
Thankfully, my husband captured the little guy in a Tupperware container and let him loose in the garden.
We don’t know how he got in the house, let alone in my bathroom sink, but suspect it was through a gap in our front door (which has now been, thankfully, sealed).
Kermit brought to mind an important point: We’re never prepared for everything life throws our way.
In the Instruction Book of Life, you won’t find a chapter on How to Handle Amphibians in Your Bathroom Sink.
You’re on your own to figure it out. Unless you’re here, then you have my words of wisdom to ponder.
Same goes for losing weight and getting in shape. Nearly every day you hear of another “perfect” workout guaranteed to be All You Need for the rest of your life.
Therein lies the problem. No one solution works for everyone. In fact, a routine one person loves can land another person in the ER. Or at least not seeing results.
I get this question quite often: I’m 50+ and need to lose weight. Where do I start?
This is a HUGE question, but here’s my very simplest response, which includes a few tips on the biggest, most important issues…
1. Clean up your diet
If weight loss is your goal, you need to first know where you’re starting. This requires tracking your food for a few days or longer to uncover areas that need adjustments.
Spoiler alert: The excess calories probably won’t be the most obvious ones. If you’re sitting down with an entire pizza or carton of Chunky Monkey, you know where those calories are coming from.
Most of us don’t do that. If you do, it’s easier to start making changes, either cutting back on portions, saving splurges for the occasional weekend night, or eliminating it altogether until you can keep these trigger foods under control.
Instead, it’s the stealthy calories you don’t know about or the ones you ignore that stresses out your pant seams.
It’s the extra pat of butter, the handful of whatever on your way out of the kitchen, the forkful (or two or three…) of macaroni and cheese off your grandchild’s lunch plate that make you say, “I’m doing everything and the weight’s still not coming off!”
I know it’s seriously not fun, but tracking your food makes you come face-to-face with the absolute truth about the eating habits that keep you stuck.
It’s only by addressing these issues will you ever see the weight loss you want.
Exercise also helps, obviously, but it’s what you eat that will make or break the results you see.
It’s simply easier to cut out 300-calorie doughnut than to try and burn it off with exercise. Once you’re halfway through that hour-long walk you’ll more than agree with me.
I suggest using an app such as LoseIT or MyFitnessPal. Both are super simple to use and will calculate the calories you’re eating versus what you need to lose weight.
Studies show women over 50 can lose weight best at around 1,300 calories a day. (Note: my Ageless Army plan includes several of these meal templates.)
2. Pump iron 2 to 3x a week
The American College of Sports Medicine defines resistance training as: A form of physical activity that is designed to improve muscular fitness by exercising a muscle or a muscle group against external resistance.
This may be your own body weight (push-ups, pull-ups, planks, etc.), or the use of dumbbells, kettlebells, fitness tubing, sandbags, barbells, buckets of water or cans of soup.
Whatever it takes, as long as you include all major muscle groups (chest, back, shoulders, arms, legs, glutes, core) and work beyond your comfort zone a bit.
Reps: 12 to 15 for two to three sets
3. Get your cardio on 5+ days a week
Strive for five to six days a week of 30 minutes of activity. You don’t need to do a full half hour at once; you get the same heart health benefits in three, 10-minute mini bouts of cardio.
If you don’t have time to do a structured walking workout, for example, park 10 minutes from work and you can count the walk each way for ⅔ of your workout. Just add another 10 minutes at some point and you’re golden.
You can also mix cardio and resistance training, but you’ll need to keep moving to maintain a cardio level heart rate.
(Ideally, you want to get in one or two interval workouts as well. But I said I’d keep this simple so I’ll leave it at that.)
4. Bend and stretch 7 days a week
Everyday. Yes, I said it. Stretching while watching TV or otherwise sitting around is the perfect time to get it done before you know it.
You don’t have to stretch every muscle every day, but if back pain is an issue, for example, a few daily stretches — takes maybe two, three minutes — makes a HUGE difference. My back muscles give me grief unless I do a few targeted stretches every night.
Specific recommendations depend on many factors, but that’s the gist of a solid, overall fitness regime.
Are YOU new to the game? Do any of these tips help you? If so, please drop me a line below. I’d love to hear from you!
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Your Ageless Body Coach,
Linda Melone is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, certified trainer and award-winning health and fitness writer. She specializes in helping women over 50 get in shape and lose weight.