Have you noticed that it seems harder to lose weight — and a bit too easy to gain it — after the age of 50? If so, you’re not alone: Many men over 50 find that even if they eat and exercise just as they always have, the pounds still seem to creep on … and are harder to take off. But rest assured that weight loss for men over 50 is possible. By understanding how your body is changing and creating new habits to avoid unwanted weight gain, you can set yourself up for success.
Physical changes in men over 50
As you probably can attest to, as you age, you can no longer eat the same way as you did in your 20’s. That’s because the average, moderately active male aged 51-55 needs 400 fewer calories per day than he did between the ages of 21 and 25.1 This may not seem like a big difference, but when you consider that 3,500 extra calories can cause a 1-pound weight gain, it’s easy to see how extra calories can quickly add up to excess pounds.2
After age 30, men also experience a muscle-mass decrease between three and five percent per decade, with most men losing approximately 30 percent of their muscle mass throughout their lifetime.3 And since more muscle means more calories burned, that muscle loss equates to fewer calories burned — and, potentially, more weight gained.4 Additionally, lower testosterone levels can cause an increase in visceral abdominal fat.5
Even though these changes are part of the natural aging process, it doesn’t mean they are an automatic recipe for weight gain. By following these six weight-loss tips, managing and maintaining a healthy weight as a male over the age of 50 is just a few simple lifestyle changes away.
Tip 1: You don’t need to be overly restrictive
When you notice the numbers on the scale creeping up, your first instinct may be to dramatically cut back on the number of calories you eat or try a fad diet to lose weight quickly. However, you’re likely to see the pounds return because these type of extreme changes are usually not sustainable.
To keep your metabolism firing, it’s important to consume enough nutrient-rich calories each day. A healthy diet for men consists of smaller, more frequent meals to keep your metabolism burning fat day in and out.6 Fill your plate with lean protein such as chicken alongside fiber-rich fruits and vegetables. With portion control and frequent meals in mind, you can keep your metabolism moving.
Tip 2: Eat with the sun
You can leverage your body’s natural processes — like your circadian rhythm — to maximize your metabolism and lose weight even if you're over 50.7 Circadian rhythm refers to your behavioral and physical patterns over a 24-hour cycle.8 Just as you keep busy during the day with errands, meetings and your to-do list, your metabolism is at its peak in the morning and early afternoon. Conversely, your metabolism is less active at night.
By eating in sync with your circadian rhythm and by allowing your body a critical digestion break (12 hours of not consuming calories in the later evening/night hours), you may be able to enhance your weight loss efforts while potentially preserving muscle mass.9,10 Becoming more aware of your body’s internal clock and enjoying nutrient-rich foods during the day and foregoing late-night meals or snacks can help your body work naturally with the peaks and valleys of your metabolism, helping to optimize weight loss.
Jenny Craig’s Rapid Results program is based on this innovative science. Rapid Results works with your natural circadian rhythm to nourish and rejuvenate your body — allowing your cells and body’s processes to reset during sleep and nourishing it when your metabolism is working most optimally during the day.
Tip 3: Rest and recharge
Between the hustle and bustle of everyday life, it can be difficult to get enough sleep. And, as you age, you may find it harder to sleep through the night, which usually means spending fewer hours in a state of deep sleep. Skimping on z’s won’t only leave you feeling groggy the next morning: Increasing research indicates sleep and weight are linked — and not getting enough shut-eye has been shown to have a number of negative effects, including a slower metabolism.11
So, tuck in early or set your alarm clock a little later: The National Sleep Foundation recommends adults between the ages of 26 and 64 aim for seven to nine hours of sleep a night.12
Tip 4: Reach for foods that will keep you full
Stomach rumbling? Use this weight loss tip for men over 50: Eat more fiber. Fiber and protein can help you stay full for longer.13 What’s more, a study conducted by the U.S National Institutes of Health and published in the Journal of Nutrition suggests that a protein-rich diet may help preserve muscle mass and strength in older adults.14
However, not all proteins are created equal. The American Heart Association recommends opting for lean proteins such as chicken, fish or plant-based (like beans) over red meats which are higher in saturated fat and can raise your LDL (or “bad”) cholesterol.15
Tip 5: Pass up sugar-laden drinks
High-calorie drinks such as sugary sodas and alcohol can also add to unwanted weight gain. Instead, try opting for healthier options such as green tea and water.
Not only has research shown that green tea can benefit your health, but it also suggests it may also give your metabolism a slight boost (as can white and Oolong teas).16,17 Try adding lemon slices or a little bit of natural sweetener if you want to add some extra flavor.
If green tea isn’t your kind of flavor, opt for water diffused with some fresh fruit. Water helps maintain your body’s fluids and research indicates drinking water before a meal may reduce your caloric intake.18 By reaching for water instead of a sugary drink, you’ll stay hydrated and on track with your weight loss journey.
Tip 6: Implement a workout routine
Resistance training is good for building muscles, but it’s also an excellent way for you to preserve them, which can counteract natural muscle loss and help keep your metabolism from slowing down.19 If it’s been a while since you’ve picked up a pair of weights, start by using your body weight to build muscle with squats, lunges, push-ups and sit-ups, depending on your fitness ability. As you gain muscle mass and confidence, add weights to the mix — but start slowly to avoid injury. Remember to always consult with your doctor before starting an exercise routine.
Despite the natural body changes that come with age, living a healthy, active life is still an attainable goal. With a few simple lifestyle changes, you can restore your strength and energy while getting healthy and losing weight. Weight loss for men over 50 is absolutely within your reach!
Are you ready to make a change and improve your health with a science-backed weight loss plan for men over 50? View our affordable plans and get started today.
 Longo, Valter D., and Satchidananda Panda. “Fasting, Circadian Rhythms, and Time-Restricted Feeding in Healthy Lifespan.” Cell Metabolism, vol. 23, no. 6, 14 June 2016, pp. 1048–1059., doi:10.1016/j.cmet.2016.06.001.
 Moro, Tatiana, et al. “Effects of eight weeks of time-Restricted feeding (16/8) on basal metabolism, maximal strength, body composition, inflammation, and cardiovascular risk factors in resistance-Trained males.” Journal of Translational Medicine, vol. 14, no. 1, 2016, doi:10.1186/s12967-016-1044-0.
This article is based on scientific research and/or other scientific articles and is written by experienced health and lifestyle contributors and reviewed by certified professionals.
Our goal at Jenny Craig is to provide the most up-to-date and objective information on health-related topics, so our readers can make informed decisions based on factual content. All articles undergo an extensive review process, and depending on the topic, are reviewed by a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) or Nutritionist, to ensure accuracy.
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Elisa is a content marketing manager for Jenny Craig with over ten years of experience working in the health and fitness industry. She loves sharing her passion for living a balanced and healthy lifestyle. A San Diego native and an endurance sports enthusiast, you can usually find her swimming, biking along the coast highway or running by the beach in her free time. Elisa holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from California State University Chico.
Favorite healthy snack: mozzarella string cheese with a Pink Lady apple.
Edited by Elisa - Jenny Craig