Most people report weighing at least 15 pounds more than they did 20 years ago. If you fall into that category and feel motivated to lose a few pounds, you begin to consider a diet strategy. You may have investigated various programs that have worked well for women over 50. You may also consider incorporating some of the things that have worked in the past to help you lose a few pounds. However, have you considered that for women over 50, some diet mistakes will make you look older? The eagerness to shed the extra weight may leave you disappointed in your results if you ultimately don’t like what you see after your weight loss success.
Following is a list of common diet mistakes that will make you look older, followed by what you can do instead to maintain a healthy and vibrant appearance.
As with any exercise, doing too much cardio can lead to injuries. There’s a difference between minor pain and soreness vs. injury. A bit of pain and soreness is expected with any exercise, but injury causes more distress on your overall system leading to longer-term inflammation. This leads to more of your body’s resources going to heal the injury rather than fueling and protecting your body. This can have an aging effect. Also, too much cardio makes you lose muscle mass, and this mistake slows your metabolism. As we age, we lose the firmness and plumpness of our skin. Pushing your body with too much cardio, which in turn equals loss in muscle mass, will make you look older. In effect, too much cardio tends to wither people and, like anything done in excess, it will age you.
Be active. Incorporate some cardio but do it in shorter bursts. Since longer duration cardio over time can cause damage to your cells and can speed up the aging process, consider resistance training or weightlifting instead. Here’s an excellent 5×5 Muscle Building Workout to get you started.
There’s a lady I’ve known for over 30 years, and since I’ve known her, she has always been a small woman. I came to realize that she had an absolute obsession with being small, and she’d do regimented cardio every single day. She was in her 30s then, and now in her 60’s, she looks frail. Frailty and lack of agility age you. The way you walk, move, and carry yourself can make you look older or younger. If being skinny is the only goal, then you should be advised that “too skinny,” while lacking muscle tone, can age you ten years or more over your peers. Think about it this way: the skin and muscle tone of youth is plump and firm. As we age, we lose fat pad in our face and in other places that lend to youthful curves. An overall “skinny” appearance may seem like a healthy objective, but it can make you look older if not done in moderation.
Focus on being lean and strong. Find the delicate balance of a nutrition plan that can help keep you focused, along with an exercise program that concentrates on building muscle while encouraging balance and posture. Weight loss alone can leave you looking frail and dehydrated, both of which age you tremendously. When you move confidently and with purpose at a lean but healthy weight, you can restore a youthful, vibrant look.
Often, when dieting, the focus becomes eating less and exercising more, both of which can lead to dehydration. When a person is eating less in general, you may be forgetting to go the extra step of drinking more water to help satiate and replenish the body. In addition to that, if you’re also exercising and losing water through excess sweat, you can start seeing the effects of dehydration in your skin, which can cause an aging effect. When dehydrated, your body will pull water from the tissues in your skin to maintain the concentration in your blood. When it does that, your eyes will look sunken, and your skin will look and feel dryer. Dehydration makes your skin less elastic, which is something that naturally happens with age. Dehydration will compound that natural process and, in turn, make you look a lot older.
If you’re on a calorie-reduced diet, make sure you’re still eating foods that hydrate you but are still low in carbs—for example, strawberries, cantaloupe, cucumber, lettuce, and skim milk. Focus on drinking a lot of water, possibly more than you’ve been used to doing. This is an excellent, new healthy habit to go hand-and-hand with a healthier diet in general. The US Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine have determined that an adequate daily fluid intake is about 11.5 cups of fluids for women. The good news is that coffee and tea count too, but still, make sure you’re also drinking plenty of plain water!
A good rule of thumb is to also drink plenty of fluids before or after any workout. Here are 7 Tasty Ways To Stay Hydrated if you need some ideas to keep you motivated to hydrate and optimize a youthful appearance as you work toward the leanest, healthiest version of yourself.