Do you need to lose weight or, more importantly, get healthy? Here are ten lifestyle changes for better health over 50.
Writing about weight loss gives me a lump in my stomach. Perhaps I should write about it more often so I wouldn’t have room for as much food. 😉 As much as I’d like and need to lose weight, I cannot focus on that because it triggers me to shut down. But I need to take my health in hand so I’ll be adding these lifestyle changes to help me take control of my health this year, and who knows, I might shed a few pounds too.
Many of you are joining me in starting this new year by reading Losing Weight God’s Way by Cathy Morenzie. Despite what the book title says, I doubt I could ever lose the weight I need to lose. I’ve gained over 100 pounds since I got breast implants 20+ years ago, so the task seems undoable even if I only lost a portion of it. Yes, I’m Doubting Thomas, and what am I doing trying to encourage you?
You can read my post on Recovering from Breast Implant Illness here.
Well, I figure, I can’t be the only one overwhelmed with the weight of it all. (Pun intended.) However, we can take it in small bites and focus primarily on health. It works better in my head, and I believe it’s a more successful route in the long run. Today I’m sharing my health goals, including the lifestyle changes I’m adding this year, and my thoughts and fears for this season of my life.
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THE WHAT & WHY OF MY HEALTH & FITNESS GOALS
Before you embark on any health journey, I highly recommend writing down your health goals and why you need to make those changes. Like a spending freeze, having reasons for why we’re making sacrifices is essential to our success. Writing it down on paper or in the notes on our phones makes it like a contract with ourselves; we may have to refer back to it often.
As I was jotting down my “WHYS” for wanting to change my lifestyle, I realized they could also be construed as my goals. Since the purpose of this post is to share my goals, as well as to have accountability and to encourage you at the same time, I combined them for the sake of brevity. I trust that you can decipher other reasons these goals will improve my life (and yours if you choose to use them as inspiration for your health plan too.)
Weight loss will help me accomplish some of these goals, but as I said, I can’t make that the primary or only goal. Perhaps Cathy Morenzie would say I’m not committed and haven’t been specific enough, but it adds too much stress to my process. And I’ve told you before, I’m not interested in dieting, counting calories, eating weird foods, or eating replacement bars or shakes.
Maybe somewhere along this journey, God will break that stronghold or the rebellion in me, and my methods will change because the Losing Weight God’s Way plan stresses the importance of letting Him guide you. But for now, my goals include a nonspecific weight release “number.”
Reduce my diabetes risk and lower my A1C to 5.8 or lower. My dad is an insulin-dependent diabetic with terrible neuropathy in his feet, and I want to avoid the same fate.
Lose enough weight to get out of the obese category.
Eliminate joint pain.
To feel better in my clothes.
Reduce my total cholesterol.
Have more mobility and am more physical with my grandkids.
How will I get there now that I know what I hope to accomplish?
10 LIFESTYLE CHANGES FOR BETTER HEALTH OVER 50
We’ve heard Benjamin Franklin’s quote, “By failing to plan, you are preparing to fail.” It is similar to Winston Churchill’s statement: “He who fails to plan is planning to fail.”
Quite honestly, we can have a food plan written out for us, but diets fail because a food plan has nothing to do with making lifestyle changes. My plan doesn’t have as much to do with food as it does with creating new habits and disciplines that I hope will become second nature. It’s about changing mindsets.
WHAT MAKES THESE HEALTHY HABITS SPECIFIC TO WOMEN OVER 50?
The lifestyle changes I’m including would be healthful for anyone of any age. But if you’re over 50 and your hormones are out of balance, it’s better to take a more gentle approach to weight loss and health changes. Restrictive diets, hard-core workouts, and crazy health trends can quickly sabotage us and cause more hormone and adrenal issues.
A BIG PLATE OF PLANS CONSUMED ONE BITE AT A TIME
You’ll notice this list is quite long, but I’ll make these changes over time and without a perfectionistic mindset. Lasting change doesn’t come with an all-or-nothing attitude because we will quit altogether when we don’t meet the standard.
At the top of my list is to be gentle with myself and pray that as I make an effort, God will renew my mind and make these changes second nature.
THEN I WILL…
Let God guide my plan by meditating on His word and listening for his goals and plans for me. I’ll do the Losing Weight God’s Way 21-day devotional (as often as I need it).
Give myself grace and time for each lifestyle change—one step at a time.
Eliminate soda. (This is the hardest thing for me because this is my coffee.)
Eat mainly whole foods cooked at home.
Prioritize protein at each meal and snack.
Honor my hunger and eat intuitively.
Prioritize water and endeavor to drink a minimum of three of the 40oz Stanley tumblers of water each day.
Add some movement or weights five days a week (even if it’s just 5 minutes.)
Prioritize sleep by creating a better evening/sleep routine and eliminating screens one hour before bed.
Stop eating after 7 pm.
Follow the Glucose Goddess Glucose Hacks to help correct my insulin resistance.
WHAT ARE THE GLUCOSE GODDESS GLUCOSE HACKS?
The glucose hacks I mention above I’ve learned from The Glucose Goddess, Jessie Inchauspé, on Instagram. She has just released a book, The Glucose Revolution, but most of this information is accessible on her Instagram account for free. Following these practices can help reduce or eliminate spikes in our glucose.
I’m not diabetic…yet, but with my family history of diabetes, it’s my priority to reduce my fasting glucose and A1C. So this science intrigues me because I firmly believe that we can heal ourselves with food!
Check her out, but here are two of her infographics you may be interested in saving:
THE COST OF NOT MAKING LIFESTYLE CHANGES FOR MY HEALTH
One of the exercises on day four of the 21-day LWGW devotional was to complete the sentence, “The cost if I don’t release the weight is _________________________________.” seven times.
And you know what? It hit home!
What happens if I don’t start making these lifestyle changes?
Is my mobility going to get worse and worse?
Am I going to suffer the embarrassment of being the obese woman on the grocery store motorized scooter for reasons I could have avoided had I made my health a priority?
Will I be alive to see my grandkids raised?
How much larger will I get, and what size clothes will I have to wear?
Will my toes be removed, like my relatives, because I’ll develop uncontrolled diabetes?
If I have to be hospitalized, how many people will it take to move me from bed to bed?
Will I have a heart attack?
Can I do what God calls me to do if I don’t take care of myself?
Friends, what are your costs if you don’t make health changes? Are you like me and feel doubtful you can lose much weight or any at all?
Being positive in this area is a struggle for me, but I believe that with God’s help and if lifestyle changes, not food elimination, are our primary goal, we can make great strides in our health and weight.
Let me know your thoughts. What are your goals or strongholds as you take steps to achieve better health this new year?
Get out every day for a walk. There is no such a thing as a bad walk….only bad walking clothes. We walking goals . ie. three big blocks or 1/2 hour. Do same route every day until you notice the same route is easier and you’re back quicker. Time your route…set up some mini intervals ie. go as fast as you can (waking) from one telephone pole to another or for 15, 30, 45 seconds. Do this routine every second day until that becomes easy. Doris on moving each day and the food takes care of itself. I’m a chubby 78 year old who walked off 55 lbs and became a walking (power walking) coach . Step one in becoming powerful and setting up a healthy lifestyle.
Those are great tips Karin. I used to be a voracious walker but was sidelined from inexplicable inexplicable full body hives when walking outdoors (they have since stopped after I had my implants removed), then a dislocated shoulder from fall on ice caused me great fear here in the Midwest winters, and now my knee issues make walking intolerable. However, my goal is to pick it back up after I have surgery. It really is the best thing for making you feel better!
Hugs & Happy Walks,
Oh this. is. real. and vulnerable. and raw. Thank you. I needed this to help me get serious about the necessity to get healthy — a much better way to approach food.
Thank you so much Kim. I was kind of scared putting this out there… would people say? What is this day girl doing giving us tips for health or weight loss! 🤪
Let’s do this one baby step at a time and stop freaking out about the outcome.
You’ve totally got this ❤️ Know that you have a bunch of people who will be praying for and cheering you on as we adapt some of the things you’ve shared here for our own lives! Something that has made a huge difference for my own journey is to remind myself that ALL I have to do is make one small change at a time and practice it consistently… I don’t have to do it perfectly, just with excellence and consistency. THAT I CAN manage, it’s not overwhelming. I too believe God will guide you and show you what change to focus on as it’s time….. I’m down 40 pounds and have a bit more to go, God even walked me through a freak out, I had no idea I felt unworthy to be so close to my goal weight. Keep taking one step at a time, and you WILL get there, you can’t be defeated if you refuse to quit. Love you, will be praying for you!!
Heide, first, CONGRATS on your success! That’s a big deal. Second, THANK YOU for the encouragement. I too feel like we get so freaked out about outcome… will I?, won’t I? How much? How long? Already worried about failure…. So many things. But you are so very right, one change at a time.
You are a blessing to me. Love you too.
The struggle is real! I`m in the same boat with needing to realize the possibilities of what neglected health can lead to. I am making changes with my husband. Some are easier than others, but they have to get done. Thanks for the real conversation.
You’re welcome Jodi. It’s good that your husband is doing it with you, it has to be easier than going it alone. You’re right, some changes are easier than others. When I had my implants out, my surgeon did a genetic test that showed I had an MTHFR gene mutation that, in short, makes it harder for my body to process synthetic folate (folic acid). I had a consult with someone at the lab to help me understand the dietary changes that would help this and when I was freaking out about the things I couldn’t have, she suggested to not worry about elimination but instead, focus on what I needed to add to my diet that was beneficial. Just that one mindset tweak was so helpful in taking the panic out of change. I think the same can be done here. Still not always easy, but we have time and not everything has to be accomplished in a week.
Hugs & Healthy Thoughts!
Absolutely behind you on this!! I’ve lost about 1/2 what I need to lose using one of those shakes and bars programs and I need to find something more sustainable. I’ve started incorporating some Trim Healthy Mama (another Biblically based program) recipes into rotation but I love the idea of a bible study/devotional for support. I picked the book up on Kindle so I’ll be reading/studying along with you. I’m 56, my mother shortened her life and experienced so many unnecessary health problems due to obesity, and my first grandchild was born in 2022 so I strongly connect with what you’ve written above. We got this!!!
Congrats on the weight loss Rene. And I agree, a sustainable approach is the way to go. It’s fun and motivating to lose weight quickly, but we of course, we want to keep that off and live normally.
I’m still trying to figure out how we might do this study together and am getting closer so I’ll keep you posted.
Oh Paula, you are SO not alone in your weight loss struggles! I think God has given you a wonderful platform to share your struggles, as well as being able to hear from others (we are all in this world together!) as they go through their journeys too. I have always been overweight. Nine pound baby, happiest when eating, sneaking cookies and chips all throughout my childhood. I was teased terribly in school and you’d think that would have been the catalyst needed to put me on a healthy eating path. Nope. Just went home and ate more to make me happy. But of course, it didn’t make me happy. And that’s been a pattern for my life. The most weight I ever lost was 60 lbs. And I’m sad to say I gained it back over time. Now I’m having success on WW mobile app and I’ve lost 33 lbs. I know WHAT to do; it’s a matter of making these healthy changes PERMANENTLY in my daily life. And that’s so hard. But I pray about it, and trust God to give me the strength and peace of mind to continue on. I am also working with a nutrition coach (my daughter-in-law!) to help me with the mental health struggles concerning food.
Thank you for the info from the glucose pro- those are great tips and I think they can help me when I’m feeling that need to eat the “junk” I love! I love the thought of wrapping the carbs in protein- that is very do-able! Hang in there and definitely keep the faith that you CAN get healthy! I am doing this for me, but also to see my grandchildren grow up and be able to do all the things I want to with them!
Blessings and many supportive hugs!
The glucose hacks are totally doable, aren’t they. Check out her other tips, they are so good and backed by science. And let’s let Jesus do the rest.
Hugs & Healthy Thoughts!
This was an excellent article! So much of what you said really resonates with me. One of my “goals” would need to be learning to like more vegetables! And I totally get that soda thing! So much good stuff today! I find it really hard to be consistent with anything. There is just so much other stuff I am dealing with right now, and sitting in my chair with a donut doesn’t take any effort at all… But I am starting to feel the effects of aging, so I need to get it under control! Maybe one thing at a time… I always appreciate your openness and perspective on things. You are a blessing to me 😊
I get that too Julie. The other day my friend and I were talking about this while O was writing the article and she said to me, “You have so much going on right now with Matt moving and your moms cancer.” But then I, yes, I think we have to acknowledge that sometimes it’s okay to comfort ourselves with a treat. But on the other hand, we need to be healthy enough to do what is required of us in these seasons. That’s where grace comes in, and allowing God into this area of our lives and making a habit of seeking comfort from Him.
That’s where my thoughts are right now, anyway. You are a blessing to me too, Julie.
Good for you! I joined WW again but will discontinue. I hate tracking and although I need to be more mindful I know how to eat. My blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol have been high for years except for the 2 years that I have been more mindful of exercise, water and food. I had gotten out of the overweight category and now a, back into it. I just feel better when I am taking care of myself.have a friend who is obese, probably morbidly and although she is 83, I think, she has pretty much lost her mobility and says often that it didn’t have to be that way. My cousin also
You are on the right track and I’m going to be following those glucose ideas. Good luck to both of us.
I feel the same Maggie. I hate tracking calories. It depresses me. Perhaps it’s a stronghold, but there are plenty of people who can lose weight without that and I believe if we are strategic and mindful, we can too!
Let’s think about our health and make those positive changes first!
Love ya lady!
I wrote this little poem to help me:
Give me the wisdom to make wise choices
And not listen to negative voices
Help me to choose foods that are nutritious
But when I fall, help me not be vicious
And give myself a little grace
Because we all have demons that we face
Help me build a set of skills
And help me stay within your will.
I put this on the frig & on the bathroom mirror.
I found out I was a diabetic December 2021 right after losing my Mom & having Covid. Since then I have lost quite a bit of weight by trying to eat right & walking & jogging a little at least 4 to 5 days a week. In July I had my blood work done again & everything had gone down! My doctor was happy & so am I! Now I pretty much eat what I want just not much of it. With me, trying to lose weight starts in my head. If I am not in the right frame of mind I’m just not gonna do it. Sometimes I will get the eating right but not exercise or I will get exercise right but not eating. It’s hard for me to do them together…
Prayers for getting healthy!! 🙏 ❤️
Good for you, Malisa! Small sustainable lifestyle changes can work wonders and yes, it all starts in our minds.
this is so awesome that you shared. Thank you for being real. I have struggled with my weight. Going up and down as I try (loose weight) then forget to try and gain it back. The mindset is definitely what needs to change. You bring up such a good point. Plus I too struggle with self image. But I know I need to rest in that God loves me all the time, because no one is perfect.
I love the plan Trim Healthy Mama. It resonates with me and works when I stick with it. Its not the plans fault I am not good with sticking to it. I am trying to make good choices. And this post gave me some new ways to look at doing that!! Thanks
The devotion book may be good for you too, Kristin. It really dives into trusting God with the journey. I’m going to share a couple of more devotions within the YouVersion Bible app that have spoken to me too early next week. They do a great job of putting the practical and the spiritual side together.
We can do it!
I think it would be awesome if we could zoom. I am in an online weight loss program but without much progress. I maintain between 3 and 5 pounds and never seem to lose any permanently. I believe I need more personable interaction with people in order for weight loss to be obtainable. There are no programs in my small town to attend, which leaves me to travel to a program. That makes it too easy for me to skip especially since I wouldn’t be going with anyone.
Thank you Paula for being so real and honest with your on going journey, and willing to “travel” with anyone who needs to go along on this ride with you.
Thanks Friend. I’m working on figuring that out. I found out that to do the Weight Loss Gods Way as a group “study”, I need to register our group online whether it’s in person or virtual. I’ll try to wrap up the details this week. We could always start in February when everyone else is loosing steam on “resolutions” – we could just be kicking it into high gear. 😄
Could you do a daytime Zoom or would it need to be evening?
Hugs to you,
Paula, I feel you in so many ways. Diabetes runs in my family…two of my three siblings are diabetic. One is on insulin. I am not diabetic nor pre-diabetic yet I definitely have peripheral neuropathy and had it when I weighed 40 pounds less. I also know what you mean when you talk about the stress of dieting. I don’t do well when someone is looking over my shoulder. I attended a few WW meetings and just couldn’t go back. Those women were too happy! I did do WW online and lost the 60 pounds. But, they keep changing the program (the new one is a joke when white potatoes are zero points for me just because I like white potatoes).
Here’s what will happen if I don’t lose the weight:
I will continue to despise myself every time I look in the mirror.
I will continue to have a closet full of clothing that doesn’t fit.
I will continue to feel like I am eating bad foods when few foods are truly bad.
I will continue to have knee problems to the point I really need that knee replacement.
Here’s what will happen when I lose the weight (notice I said when):
I will be healthier.
I will be happier.
I will have so many clothes that fit again.
I will have so much more energy.
I will probably still need the knee replacement, but recovery will be easier.
If nothing else, please know I’m pulling for you (and me and everyone else here on your blog)!
Goodness, I do not believe that I could lay myself so bare for all to see. Kudos to you for telling your truth. I feel certain that all of us that have tried and failed and tried and failed.. yada yada(lol) can totally relate to your words. A friend of mine started a reset on her health( not weight) 6months ago. Every month , she focuses on one area that needs to be conquered. Example.., no sausage biscuits on the way to work!! The next month…. No ice cream. By not making a humongous list of no no’s… she has found success. Then she added walking. No focus on weight.. just strength. As one that can make a million excuses not to move, I was impressed. I’m going to try her strategy starting Sunday.. because every dieter knows you don’t start on Saturday!!. Blessings to you on your new journey! Thank you for your vulnerability and here’s to hoping ( and praying) I can join you in this quest for a new and improved “us!” We owe it to ourselves and to all that love us and would miss us deeply if we weren’t around.
I am right there with you! I have struggled with my weight for years. I tried every diet out there. Recently my blood pressure has been high and I have lots of inflammation in my joints which causes pain. I am currently following the golo diet plan. I have to say that it’s the first plan that I feel like I can do long term. You eat good healthy foods and stay full. My blood pressure is down and I’m sleeping better too! Might want to give it a try. Blessings to you in your journey!
Good for you Bev. Keep going!