Overweight and Over Sixty
Why taking the pounds off can be more difficult but well worth it.
Extra weight can make diabetes control more difficult. But as you get older, losing weight safely becomes more of a challenge. Even so, it's worth doing. If you are overweight, losing between 5 and 10 percent of your body weight can help improve your blood sugar numbers and bring your blood pressure down.
Lose Weight, Lose Strength?
Our bodies change as we age. We lose muscle mass and gain body fat. We also lose some of our bone mass, and our metabolism slows down. We need fewer calories than we used to, and when we gain weight it's harder to lose again.
Dieting for weight loss can reduce bone mass even further in some older people. For that reason, sometimes doctors don't recommend it for older adults. They worry that you'll lose so much muscle and bone that you'll become frail.
Fortunately, recent studies have shown that combing diet and exercise can help older adults lose weight while increasing their strength and balance.
If you have joint problems such as arthritis, losing weight can often help improve pain and mobility. And if you do safe exercises — water aerobics, for example — while you are losing weight, your weight loss will happen faster and you'll gain strength at the same time.
Dieting and Bone Loss
Older women who lose weight by dieting may lose bone mass in their hips. When considering a weight loss plan, the risk of a fracture needs to be balanced against the benefits of weight loss for your diabetes and other health problems. Protein, calcium, and vitamin D in your diet can help keep muscles and bones strong. Before you start dieting, talk to your doctor about your bone density.
Lose Weight Safely
If you decide to lose weight by changing your diet, talk to your doctor first. Because your metabolism is slower, your need for calories is lower. Older adults need to get enough protein, fiber, potassium, and calcium. You also need to make sure you're getting enough vitamins D, E, K, and B12. To get the nutrition you need, you should use your daily calories on foods that are high in nutrition and low in carbohydrates. You should also talk to your doctor about the need for supplements.
Reviewed by Susan Weiner, RD, MS, CDE, CDN.
- Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. Intentional and unintentional weight loss increase bone loss and hip fracture risk in older women, http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/465927. (Accessed 05/08/13.)
- Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. Protection of bone mass by estrogens and raloxifene during exercise- induced weight loss, http://jcem.endojournals.org/content/90/1/52.full.pdf. (PDF) (Accessed 05/08/13.)
- JAMA. Caregiving as a risk for mortality: the caregiver health effects study, http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=192209. (Accessed 05/08/13.)
- The New England Journal of Medicine Weight loss, exercise, or both and physical function in obese older adults, http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1008234#t=article. (Accessed 05/08/13.)
Hot Fruit Compote Pureed Butternut Squash Soup Chicken and Pesto Rolls Filet Mignon with Mushroom Wine Sauce Roasted Tomato and Pasta Soup Pickled Crab and Melon Salad Beef-Barley Stew Vegetable Gumbo with Shrimp and Sausage Bread Bowl Fondue Cajun Vegetable Stock
As I mentioned in an earlier post, one of the benefits that made it cost-effective for me to go with the real healthcare (HSA) plan rather than the phony (HRA) plan is that my company is now covering "preventative" medicines at $0 copay. The formulary for these, as stated by CVS/Caremark (my pharmacy benefits provider), covers all test strips, lancets, and control solutions. I dutifully get my doctor to write up prescriptions for all of my testing needs, submit...