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Avoid the ‘Middle Age Spread’ – How to Lose Abdominal Fat
One of the most common claims, and one that most middle-aged people don’t want to be associated with, is “midlife spread”—a term that refers to the picture fat deposits that form around the midsection of the body when we hit the midlife mark. This is not the look some people want to take off their shirts. Years ago, this was just considered a normal indicator of a sedentary middle-age stage, accompanied by a more stable career and a relaxed family lifestyle. However, this is now a false theory as we now better understand how excess belly fat can lead to various health problems as we age.
Extensive medical research has concluded that excess belly fat is clearly linked to conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes (type 2) and even various types of cancer, as well as various problems with internal organ function.
So, with all these factors in mind, we should use the above factors as good motivators to improve our appearance while trying to lose body fat. There are two types of belly fat: the subcutaneous fat type, which you can grab around your waist just below the skin line (the love handle), and the type called visceral fat—the fat around the intestines and abdominal organs. Internal organs are more damaging to your body and can lead to many of the diseases listed above. Therefore, excess fat around the waist is usually a good indicator of excess internal fat — visceral fat.
Fortunately, it’s easy to lose both types of fat with a proper diet and a good fitness program. Simply by changing what and how much we eat, our bodies begin to burn excess fat stores.
Adding to this exercise does two things to increase belly fat burning – 1. revs up our metabolism (i.e. starts using more fat to burn for energy) and 2. develops, grows more muscle tissue, which also requires more More energy to function, which triggers more fat burning. So you can see that exercise plays an important role in reducing both types of belly fat.
diet to lose belly fat
One thing many people do wrongly is go on an overly calorie-reducing eating plan thinking it’s the fastest way to lose weight and keep it off forever. It’s not, it actually backfired. When we eat much less than usual, the body responds to this reduction by entering a state that diet experts call “starvation mode.” So this means our bodies go into a state of reaction to burn fewer calories by slowing down the body’s metabolism and then store more fat as full starvation can be very close – think of it as the body’s “backup”.
Keeping the points above in mind, it is a smarter approach to cut calories to just below maintenance levels. On average, this calorie reduction is normal between 1,800 and 2,000 calories. It’s important to keep a food log or diary so you can keep track of what you’re eating — it’s the only way to make sure you keep an accurate record to see your calorie intake. To prepare for this, keep track of your fat-loss diet for a week, then cut calories based on just below the minimum needed for your personal maintenance.
Another important habit to start with is not eating “bad” carbs or oils. Simple carbohydrates like refined or processed sugars, starches, and grains can hinder your meal plan and slow weight loss. Avoid flour bread, pasta and white rice. Stay away from consuming prepared/processed foods, i.e. those that can be reheated or warmed before eating. Nine out of 10 foods were of these types, and most of them contained corn syrup—a major fat-burning blocker.
A fat-burning meal plan should include plenty of fruits and vegetables (fresh), unprocessed meat, poultry, and fish. Alcohol consumption should be kept to a minimum, and if you are serious about losing body fat, abstain from alcohol altogether. At the end of the day, alcohol is just empty calories that our metabolism converts to sugar, so your chances of burning fat while drinking are pretty much zero.
Limit your carbohydrate intake when you first start a diet to help your body burn fat and start losing weight. The usual safe level is about 50 to 100 grams per day, depending on body weight (to help you shop your calorie and carb counters). Then you should slowly increase your carb intake until you stop losing belly fat. Once you reach your goal weight, you can start eating normal levels of carbohydrates. Reaching this target point indicates that you have reached the maintenance point.
Once you start exercising, protein intake can rise to about 25 percent of your total calorie intake. Good food sources of protein include: eggs, organ meats, red meat (unprocessed), chicken, turkey, pork, fish (preferably salmon and tuna), beans, and other legumes.
In general, soy is not considered a good source of protein because it does not biologically match human muscle tissue. To match it properly, a high intake of soy-based food sources is required to gather all the essential amino acids needed for muscle tissue building and mobilization of fat stores.
Exercising Your Way to Lose Belly Fat
Lifting weights or resistance training builds muscle and increases the calorie burn you need to start burning more fat. That’s because muscle burns far more energy than fat — 3 times as much as fat, to be exact. A lot of people are terrified of putting on too much muscle when they start a weightlifting workout. They think they’ll get too bulky or “muscle bound.” Building large muscles requires eating large amounts of food and lifting extremely heavy weights every 3 hours. It takes about 25 lbs of muscle tissue to really start looking muscular or bulky (depending on your height or natural build), and all you really need is about 5 – 10 lbs of muscle to help burn fat. With this amount of muscle growth alone (which occurs once excess body fat has been burned off), you’ll have the added benefit of a leaner, toned athletic appearance.
In general, it’s a good idea to sign up at your local gym or fitness center and have a personal trainer design a resistance training program for you aimed at building enough muscle to promote fat burning. Avoid cardiovascular workouts while trying to lose body fat as they won’t help you actually burn a lot of fat and you’ll just end up getting injured and losing valuable muscle tissue. About 30-40 minutes of steady walking every 2 days is ideal (treadmill or outside).
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