Calories for Weight Loss for Women Over 50 Years

Regardless of age, you have to cut calories to lose weight. However, after age 50, your metabolism slows, which might make weight loss more difficult. The hormonal changes that occur as you near menopause also contribute to weight gain as you get older. Reaching a healthy weight is important because it reduces your risk of several health conditions, including diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

Calorie Needs

Your specific calorie needs won't always be the same as a friend or family member of the same age. Activity level plays a large role in how many calories you need per day. Your doctor is a good resource for determining an appropriate intake for your health status and weight-loss goals. In general, women at age 50 need 1,650 to 2,100 calories each day to maintain their weight. To lose weight, cut 500 to 1,000 calories per day, which allows you to lose 1 to 2 pounds per week.

Cutting Calories

Calories in a Slice of Whole-Grain Bread

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Reading food labels is a good way to estimate your calorie intake. Keep track for a few days to see what your normal average is; this will allow you to see where you can make cuts for weight loss. Eliminating high-calorie foods that have little to no nutrition is conducive to weight loss, but it also ensures that you satisfy your hunger and get an adequate intake of essential nutrients. Limit fast-food, soda, candy, chips, cookies, cake and frozen entrees.

Food Choices

Eating a variety of foods from each food group covers your nutrient needs and fills you up, but many choices are low in calories, allowing you to drop unwanted pounds. The National Institute on Aging suggests that women over age 50 get 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 cups of fruit, 2 to 3 1/2 cups of vegetables, 5 to 10 ounces of grains, 5 to 7 ounces of protein and 3 cups of low-fat dairy each day. Of particular importance is fiber, which digests slowly and keeps you feeling full for longer. Fruits, vegetables and whole grains are good sources of fiber.


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Cutting calories from your diet is the best way to lose weight, but adding some daily exercise increases your calorie burn. Women over age 50 need at least 30 minutes of exercise each day for health benefits and weight loss. Include a couple of strength training sessions each week as well, which helps you build lean muscle. Lean muscle speeds your metabolism, allowing you to burn more calories, even at rest. Avoid severe calorie restriction, which has the opposite effect and slows your metabolism, keeping your body from burning as much fat with exercise.