If you think it gets harder to lose weight after you turn 50, you're right.
After women turn 50, their hormones change. Studies show rising levels of the hormone cortisol, which tries to store fat for emergencies and puts it on the thighs and stomach.
"As women age, lean muscle mass will start to decline and the reason that’s important is that muscle is then replaced by fat," said Dr. Adrienne Youdim, medical director of the Cedar Sinai Weight Loss Center.
Julie Landholt, 52, watched helplessly as her weight crept up over the years.
"I honestly thought it was impossible for me to lose weight again," she said.
After trying different diets on her own, she finally joined the weight-loss program at Cedars Sinai Medical Center.
There, she gets a personalized calorie plan based on her body mass index (BMI) and she takes group classes with a nutritionist. She learns recipes for shakes and meal plans.
"You learn how many calories you need to have, how much protein you should have, what does a normal portion look like," Landholt said.
Dr. Youdim offered these tips for losing weight after age 50:
- Beware of caloric beverages (alcohol is big culprit)
- Use meal replacements strategically to restrict calories
- Join a group to get support and accountability
- Do strength training and weight-bearing exercises that build muscles
"For the health benefits of exercise, not a lot is necessary. Studies that show 30 minutes of walking a day, five days a week is enough to prevent certain disease states," Youdim said.
Landholt has been in the program for 13 weeks and has lost 27 pounds so far. She plans to keep going.
"I feel very different now. It's a big improvement," said Landholt. "And it only gets better."