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You’re female? And over fifty?
Then you don’t need me to tell you that losing weight and keeping it off is tougher now than it was when you were twenty, thirty, or forty. In fact, every decade after age twenty, your body burns 150 fewer calories than it did the decade before.
I know. Oh bunny, believe me. I know.
But before you get so depressed you fling yourself headfirst into a box of Krispy Kremes, look at it this way. There are so many reasons that it’s great to be a woman over fifty; it’s only fair that there be a few downsides, right?
If you possessed all the wisdom, experience, confidence, and overwhelming ferocity that you have now and a raging metabolism, it would throw the scales of cosmic justice totally out of balance.
But if you’re a woman over fifty, does that mean your hopes of weight loss are doomed before they begin?
Absolutely not. Most women over fifty can lose weight and keep it off. The situation is not hopeless! But that doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy.
In November of 2017, after a conversation with my doctor, I made the decision to lose weight. At Smart Doc’s suggestion, I went on the Weight Watchers Freestyle Program. Though I have tried a number of diets in the past, including the older Weight Watchers programs, I have to say that Freestyle really was ideal for me.
The flexibility of this program fit perfectly with my road warrior lifestyle. It also nudged me to make better choices while leaving room for foods I love. I can’t say the pounds melted away (remember my over 50 metabolism) but I reached my goal of losing twenty pounds in less than four months. And I didn’t have to subsist on grapefruit and rice cakes to do it.
However, I also credit my success at losing the weight to exercise. At the same time I started Weight Watchers Freesyle, I also started working out vigorously and regularly. For some crazy reason, I decided to channel my ferocity into training for my first Sprint Triathlon. As of this writing, I’m on track to enter a race in August of 2018.
I’m not going to kid you; this is one of the most challenging goals I’ve ever set for myself. But it’s also been one of the most satisfying. Training for a sprint triathlon has not only changed my body, it’s altered my view of what I’m capable of. The confidence I’ve gained from my training has spilled over into many other areas of my life.
That being said, not everybody is physically capable of training for a triathlon. Some might not have access to the necessary equipment or training facilities. And some totally fierce friends wouldn’t run unless a zombie was chasing them.
So? What does that do to the dream of over 50 weight loss? Should you just give up and go back to the donut swan dive?
No way! (You didn’t think you were getting off the hook that easy, did you?) There is one form of exercise that almost anybody can do. And if you’re truly committed it and to a sensible, healthy, long-term approach to eating, it works.
Read on to learn how you can integrate walking into a program that will help you shed pounds and keep them off.
BEFORE YOU GET STARTED
It goes without saying that you should check with your doctor before starting any new exercise program. But I’m saying it anyway. If you’re injured, recovering from an illness, or just not feeling quite right, chat with your doctor to see if the time is right for you to start exercising.
If your doctor gives you the green light, make sure you have a good, sturdy pair of walking shoes before you begin.
I’m serious about this! In order to lose weight, you’ll have to put in a lot of miles. Go to a good running or athletic store with knowledgeable salespeople and invest in some really good shoes. Your feet will thank you. So will your knees.
Good shoes are really the only equipment must have to start walking. You’ll probably also want a lightweight water bottle that feels good in your hand. Staying hydrated is very important.
It’s also a good idea to get a good pedometer so you’ll know how fast and far you’re going. I’ve just ordered a heart rate monitor that fits on my wrist to my track miles, speed, and pulse.
THE NEED FOR SPEED
If you’re serious about walking to lose weight, you’re going to have to do a lot more than stroll. Here’s why…
To lose a pound, you have to burn about 3500 extra calories.
How many calories a person burns per hour varies depending on weight and age. For comparison sake, let’s consider a walker who weighs 155 pounds.
At a pace of 2 miles per hours, basically a stroll, that person will burn 176 calories per hour. They would have to walk almost 20 hours to burn a pound.
At 3 miles per hour, our walker would burn about 232 calories per hour. Better but it will still take 15 hours of effort to lose that pound.
A 4 mile per hour pace would help our walker burn 352 miles per hour. Not bad! Now our friend can burn the pound in a little less than 10 hours. Adding some hills and hand weights to the mix will make that time even shorter.
Here’s the deal. Unless you’re prepared to make walking a full time job, losing weight by walking means you need to break a sweat. A pedometer or heart monitor will help monitor your speed. However, if you’re walking quickly enough so you can talk but would rather not, you’re definitely setting a calorie-burning pace.
PUTTING IN THE TIME. WATCHING WHAT YOU EAT.
As you saw above, even at a very brisk pace, walking off a pound requires a real investment of time. There are some people who can spend 2 hours a day, 5 days a week walking but many more who can’t.
For most of people, a vigorous walking program is a great addition to a sensible and healthy diet or food plan, like Weight Watchers. But isn’t a substitute for that diet. (And – ahem -I’m sure I don’t have to tell you not to use walking as an excuse to eat more, right?)
When you’re dieting, walking vigorously for 30 minutes, 5 days a week can help you lose an extra pound every month. Walk for an hour and you’ll lose an extra 2 pounds per month.
It might not sound like much but two pounds a month can really add up over time.
Think about it. Over the course of year, you’d lose an extra 24 pounds. The average 2 year old girl weighs about 26 pounds. (You see where I’m going here, right?) So adding walking to your weight loss plan could help you lose a toddler per year.
That’s right, an entire little human! Just from walking!
READY, SET, WALK!
Here’s the bottom line, bunny.
Losing weight and keeping it off isn’t easy at any age. Committing to a regular program of vigorous walking can help women over 50 kick their metabolism into high gear! Adding walking to your diet plan will help you lose more weight, more quickly, and keep it off. Feeling your best is a key ingredient of a healthy body image and loving the body you have now.
Added bonus – when you reach that goal, not only will your heart be healthier, the toned new you will look way better in those skinny jeans!
Sound good? I thought so. Let’s do this thing!