Dr. Mazhar Jahkro: Tips For Seniors On Weight Loss

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November 22, 2012 12:00 AM

As people grow older their lives become more sedentary and weight gain is inevitable. But it’s never too late to get active again and lose some weight. You will feel much better, lower your risk of contracting a multitude of diseases, increase your health and stamina, and improve your quality of life.

It’s much easier for older adults to gain weight and it’s much harder to lose it. But the benefits of being at a healthy weight makes it worth the hard work.

Plain and simple, overweight seniors should lose weight in order to be healthy and vibrant as they advance in age.

As people age, metabolism slows down. This means weight gain is inevitable, even for those that don’t change their diet or their activity level. It is important for seniors to continue exercising at least five days a week and to eat healthy in order to maintain a healthy weight. If you notice the pounds creeping up, fix it right away by making healthy meal choices and increasing your exercise intensity or exercise more often.

If you feel your aging body is working against you, you might think it is impossible for you to lose weight. But this isn’t so. Here’s what you need to do:

Your calorie intake should be lowered to lose weight, but make sure you don’t lower it too much. You want to determine how many calories a day you should consume at your ideal weight. Women over 50 who get little to no exercise need about 1,600 calories a day. If you have average activity levels, you’ll need to consume about 1,800 calories a day. Very active female seniors need about 2,000 to 2,200 calories a day. Men need more calories than women. Active men over 50 need between 2,400 and 2,800 calories a day. Men who get a little exercise need between 2,200 and 2,400 calories a day. Men that are not active at all require about 2,000 calories a day.

Your foods should be healthy and consist of fiber-rich items like whole grains, vegetables, and fruits. Choose lean chicken and turkey without the skin, fish, and skip hamburger or steak with a high fat content. Consume fat-free or low-fat dairy products. You should also limit or completely eliminate your salt intake. Also limit your fats. And finally, of course, you should drink lots of water. Everyone needs to drink at least 8 glasses of water a day.

The final key for seniors to lose weight is to exercise. If you are not used to moving around a lot, start slow and gradually increase your activity levels until you are working out at least 5 days a week, for at least 30 minutes at a time. Great ways for seniors to get exercise include walking, swimming, washing the car, raking leaves, and bike riding. In no time at all, your exercise will be easy and you’ll probably even enjoy it.

Board certified in family medicine, Dr. Jakhro is part of Southcoast Physicians Group, practicing at Southcoast Health System at Rosebrook, a full-service medical practice in Wareham that brings together over 20 primary care and specialty physicians, radiology and lab services. Dr. Jakhro can be reached at 508-273-4950.

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  1. Reply

    Does Anyone Know Any Good Weight Loss Tips? I’ve been struggling for the past few months to drop the last few pounds I need to fit in my cheer uniform from last year. Does anybody know any good, fast, sufficient weight loss tips that can help me drop 10-15 pounds by at least January? Please help!

      • HealthNut
      • November 23, 2012

      The best advice I could ever give you is losing weight takes time. If you’ve tried and failed many times (which is what I am going through), you have to start slowly. Maybe start cutting out bad things in your diet little by little. You can’t expect to go from eating sugary processed foods and not exercising much to extreme healthy eating and exercising 7 days a week in one day, or even one week. You have to learn to control yourself and that means start small and keep everything under control. Another VERY important thing to remember is to NEVER EVER EVER give up! No matter if you go a whole week eating junk foods and not exercising, that does not mean you have to give up and never reach your goals. Just think, well, next week I’ll do better and get back on track. You have to believe you can do it. You have to want it for yourself and no one else.

      Exercise at least 5 times per week. I suggest strength training and cardio. Let’s say Monday you walk/run for 30 minutes, then Tuesday you would do push ups and sit ups and planks, and squats and then take a break Wednesday and start back up on Thursday.

      As far as your eating you really need to watch what you eat! That is the most important step. Portion control is important. If you normally get a big dinner, then cut the amount of food you get in half and that will help a lot. Another way is to get your plate and only eat 3/4 of the food you have on your plate.

      Eating healthy, lean meats, whole grain breads, and staying away from sugary things and high calorie foods. Always remember that cutting out something bad with something healthy really makes a difference. Drinking sodas and eating candy bars is empty calories. If you replace those things with a whole grain waffle or one small piece of dark chocolate it will really help.

  2. Reply

    Can Somebody Give Me Some Weight Loss Tips? I’m sixteen, six foot one and play Volley Ball like nine months out of the year between School, Club and my Advanced Volley Ball gym class, but I can’t seem to get my weight under 200lbs. I know it’s not terribly bad because of my height but just knowing that I’m over weight puts a real damper on my self esteem can anyone help by giving me some weight loss tips whether they be exercise, healthy foods, or anything else you’ve used to lose weight?

      • HealthNut
      • November 23, 2012

      Of course, physical activity helps lose weight, but do not over exert yourself. Do not skip meals either and do not try and starve yourself! There are plenty of healthy foods out there to eat. You can just stay away from fast foods, fatty foods, foods with lots of sugar and lots of salt. You can stay away from carbonated drinks. Water is really good for you. Do not try and lose a lot of weight in a short period of time, usually a rebound effect will happen and you will gain it all back. So, lose weight in a reasonable amount of time. I’m trying to drop some weight myself. I try not to eat as much, because I love to eat! It is better to eat in smaller portions more times a day than eating 3 huge meals daily. Like you can have a little breakfast, snacks, lunch and dinner but in smaller portions. I like to get on my Wii Fit Plus because it records my weight and the exercises are not that intense. But you can try walking, running if you are in shape for it. Do not do more than you can handle. But while exercising make sure you drink plenty of water but NOT too much water! Just enough. You dont want to dehydrate yourself or overhydrate yourself. Plus it is a lot of online tips out there for weight loss. Hope this helps and Good Luck!

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