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What’s different about keto for women over 50?
Losing weight and getting in shape is something millions of people struggle with, and it’s an even more challenging process for women in their fifties, sixties, and beyond. As you age, your metabolism naturally slows, making losing weight extremely difficult.
Many women over 50 find that following a ketogenic diet helps keep their metabolisms speedy and aid in weight loss. Below, we’ll discuss why losing weight as you age is challenging, how a keto diet can be a good solution for women over 50, and how to use a low carb diet to stay in shape, even as you age.
Why Is It So Hard to Lose Weight At 50+?
Women who hit 50 years of age will naturally find it harder to build muscle and stay toned, primarily because of hormonal changes. Specifically, estrogen levels naturally decrease in women as they age. By the time you hit menopause, your estrogen levels plummet, as do your chances of staying visibly fit.
Also working against you is muscle degeneration, which begins for most people in their mid-40s and carries on throughout the rest of their lives. Not only is it more challenging to build muscle after 50, but your muscles naturally lose volume as you get older.
Although building muscle for women after 50 is challenging, weight loss can seem all but impossible. The difficulty to lose weight comes mostly from your slowing metabolism rather than a hormonal imbalance. Our metabolisms slow as early as our thirties, so women in their fifties will typically find it very difficult to stay satiated and still lose weight.
What Should a 50-Year-Old Woman Eat to Lose Weight?
The best thing to do to lose weight as a middle-aged woman is to limit processed foods as much as possible, sticking to a low carb diet of whole foods whenever possible.
Filling your plate with meat, fish, eggs, low carb cheese, veggies, and a small amount of fruit daily is an excellent place to start. You can supplement with nuts, nut butters, seeds, oils, and low carb or no-sugar dairy products to meet your calorie goals.
This low carb diet with a higher ratio of fat and protein is followed by millions of people across the country, many of whom have found success, even after they have turned 50 years old.
Does Keto Work for Middle-Aged Women?
There is a lot of research to substantiate the efficacy of keto for women over 50, but most of it is not geared toward its usefulness for losing weight. Researchers and even doctors recommend keto diets to treat various ailments and conditions, but little scientific research has studied its effects on weight loss.
However, there is an abundance of circumstantial evidence to support that a keto diet can help you lose weight, even when you’re over 50.
When you restrict carbohydrate intake and maintain a state of ketogenesis, your body naturally turns to fat as its primary source of energy. If you also maintain a caloric deficit while on a keto diet, your fat stores will be the primary target for fuel instead of carbohydrates, ultimately leading to weight loss.
As such, many people who struggle to burn that stubborn belly fat find that a keto diet works wonders to prepare their bodies to pull energy from their stored fat.
A study published in the Journal of Women’s Health found that keto for women over 50 is safe and effective and can aid in weight loss. The study involved over 65 women averaging 54 years old. After 12 weeks of following a strict ketogenic diet and eating at a caloric deficit, 60% of the participants lost at least 10% of their body weight.
Is Keto Bad for Women’s Hormones?
Some women believe that following a keto diet can influence their hormones and create unhealthy imbalances. In fact, there is some research to support that a low carb, high fat diet can create hormonal imbalances. Other research suggests that other things, like a low fiber intake, are to blame for these problems.
The bottom line is that some female keto dieters have linked hormonal imbalances to their ketogenic lifestyle. There is no research to substantiate that a low carb diet is the direct cause of these problems. In fact, many women over 50 find that their inability to lose weight — which is sometimes caused by lower estrogen levels — is most easily overcome using a keto diet.
If you’re concerned about how a ketogenic diet might affect your hormone levels, you should consider consulting your doctor before beginning keto, as well as several months afterward, to confirm any changes via blood tests.
How Women Over 50 Can Make Keto Work
It is possible to lose weight and burn fat after you hit 50. Many women your age have succeeded in their weight loss goals, and you can too. So, how can you make a keto diet work for you if you’re a woman over 50 years old? Your success is contingent on several things.
Follow a Healthy Keto Diet
First, and most importantly, your diet will have a significant impact on whether you lose weight, gain weight, or maintain your current body weight and BMI. Many experts believe that diet is the most crucial factor when it comes to getting in shape, so you can begin your journey in the kitchen!
Following a keto diet to lose weight is really as simple as limiting your carbohydrates, eating healthy fats, and consuming adequate protein to facilitate muscle maintenance and even growth.
Most people on a keto diet consume fewer than 25g of net carbs per day, with some going as low as 10g or even 5g. You’ll have to find what works for you, as everyone is different. You can use keto test strips to confirm that you’re in a state of ketosis. These strips detect ketone bodies in your urine, which are a clear sign of ketosis.
Don’t Forget the Fiber!
Most experts maintain that women over 50 should consume at least 20g of dietary fiber daily. Fiber doesn’t count toward your net carb total for the day, so look for high-fiber foods that are still low carb.
Focus On Healthy Fats & Protein
Instead of getting your carb fix at each meal, you should seek to consume your daily calories in healthy fats and protein.
Before you run out to load your fridge with bacon, low carb cheese, and other desirable, fatty foods, take note of the word “healthy” before “fats!” Saturated fats and trans fats are generally unhealthy and can contribute to heightened bad cholesterol, weight gain, and a myriad of other issues. Do your best to stick to unsaturated fats from foods like meat, avocado, nuts, and seeds.
Maintaining around 1-1.5 grams of protein for every 2 pounds of body weight is ideal to limit muscle loss. Maintaining muscle mass is a healthy way to burn fat naturally and without any additional effort, something that comes in handy for middle-aged women especially.
Enjoy Leafy Greens
Most people know that vegetables are good for you: they provide vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. What you might not know is that some vegetables, like potatoes and corn, can pull you out of ketosis and potentially cause you to gain weight.
Feel free to stock up on leafy greens as a middle-aged woman, including kale, spinach, and arugula. These provide a whole host of benefits and contain very few if any, net carbs.
Get Your Blood Pumping
Finally, experts believe that supplementing your keto diet with exercise three to four times a week can drastically improve your quality of life and sleep quality, as well as help women over 50 lose weight and burn fat. Regular exercise for middle-aged women can increase muscle mass, which in turn stimulates metabolism naturally.
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Losing weight as a woman over 50 can seem impossible. However, thousands of women just like you have found wild success by following a low carb diet, focusing on healthy fats, protein, and dark green veggies, and getting ample exercise to keep their metabolism elevated.
If you’re at all concerned about how a keto diet will affect your energy levels or hormone levels, consult a doctor for a blood test before beginning your diet and exercise routine.
If you have any questions at all, feel free to leave a comment down below!