Best Diet For Women Over 50: Finding What Works For YOU!

Written by: Erin Coleman,

B.S. - Nutritional Science, R.D., L.D.

Writer, The Fit Mother Project

Written by: Erin Coleman,

B.S. - Nutritional Science, R.D., L.D.

Writer, The Fit Mother Project

best diet for women over 50

Looking for the best diet for women over 50? It does exist! But there are special considerations you need to be aware of.

Weight loss in women over 50 is similar to weight loss in younger women (and men), except when it comes to calories.

As men and women age, their metabolisms tend to slow down, requiring fewer calories to sustain everyday functions.

While men over 50 require about 1,500-1,800 calories daily for weight loss, women of the same age may need just 1,200-1,500 calories daily to drop about 1-2 pounds per week.

Your individual calorie needs may be more or less than this depending on your size, metabolism, and activity level.

Ready to learn more about the best diet for women over 50? Keep reading!

Achieving weight loss after 50 can be daunting. Start with these 6 tips!

The Best Diet for Women Over 50: Calorie Needs

When you’ve reached your goal weight, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020 estimate the following weight maintenance calorie needs for various age and physical activity categories:

Sedentary Adults

  • Women age 19-40: 1,800-2,000 calories
  • Women age 40-60: 1,600-1,800 calories
  • Women over 60: 1,600 calories

Moderately Active Adults

  • Women age 19-40: 2,000-2,200 calories
  • Women age 40-60: 1,800-2,000 calories
  • Women over 60: 1,800 calories

Active Adults

  • Women age 19-40: 2,200-2,400 calories
  • Women age 40-60: 2,200 calories
  • Women over 60: 2,000 calories

Some fad weight-loss diets work well short term but aren't sustainable for a lifetime.

That’s because these diets lack sufficient essential nutrients needed to maintain high energy levels, prevent deficiencies, and stay healthy long term.

As you age you might already be at risk of low bone density, weight gain, menopause symptoms, and fatigue, so eating a well-balanced diet is especially important to maintain optimal health.

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Popular Weight Loss Diets

You can use some of the concepts from popular weight-loss diets when constructing the best diet for women over 50, but use caution when severely restricting food groups or calories.

Below is a list of some common weight-loss diets and the pros and cons associated with them.

Raw Food Diet

The raw food diet is a mostly plant-based diet that focuses on eating raw, unprocessed whole foods.

Your raw food diet plan might contain 75-85% raw items, for example.

Foods you’ll eat include raw fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds, soaked or sprouted grains and legumes, dried fruit, dried meats, plant milk, raw nut butter, cold-pressed plant oils, and fermented foods like kimchi and sauerkraut.

You’ll avoid processed foods, added sugars, cooked foods as much as possible, roasted nuts or seeds, refined oils, salt, pasteurized dairy foods, juices, coffee, tea, and alcohol.

The purpose of the raw food diet is to preserve as many nutrients as possible in raw foods, as cooking can reduce the vitamin, mineral, enzyme, and other nutritional content of your favorite foods.

The benefits of a raw food diet are you’ll get plenty of nutrition from whole, fiber-rich foods and eliminate junk foods associated with weight gain.

You’ll probably lose weight when following a raw food diet plan.

But eating a diet consisting of mainly raw foods is difficult for many people to maintain long term.

Paleo Diet

The paleo diet is like the raw food diet but you can eat cooked foods when you want to.

It focuses on foods that early humans, or cavemen, probably ate.

When following a paleo diet you’ll avoid processed foods and replace them with fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, lean meats, fish, and oils.

The paleo diet does not include grains, legumes, potatoes, dairy foods, processed foods, refined sugar, or salt.

As with the raw food diet, you’ll probably lose weight when following a paleo diet because it’s a whole food diet free from processed foods and other junk food.

However, it’s very restrictive, difficult to follow long-term for many people and can put you at risk of nutrient deficiencies if you don't carefully plan meals.

Very Low-Calorie Diets

Very low-calorie diets, or VLCDs, contain 800 calories or less daily and often include liquid nutrition shakes as meal replacements.

You might be able to drop up to 3-5 pounds per week when restricting your calories this much.

However, it’s not feasible to maintain VLCDs long-term as you’ll be at risk of nutrient deficiencies, hair loss, fatigue, and gallstones during rapid weight loss.

Furthermore, VLCDs don’t seem to be more effective for weight loss than low-calorie diets (LCDs), especially long term.

Studies show that subjects following VLCDs containing 500 calories daily or LCDs providing 1,250 calories per day experienced the same amount of weight loss after a nine-month follow-up.

VLCDs are generally only safe under medical supervision.

If you’d like to use a VLCD eating plan on your own, consume 800 calories once or twice a week instead of every day.

Well-Balanced Low-Calorie Diets

The best weight loss diet for women over 50 is a well-balanced, low-calorie menu containing 1,200 to 1,500 calories per day (depending on your physical activity level).

Well-balanced means eating a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, chicken, fish, seafood, tofu, seitan, eggs, nuts, dairy foods or plant milk, oils, and other healthy fats.

Try filling half of each plate with non-starchy vegetables, one-fourth of each plate with protein foods (such as chicken, fish, eggs, or tofu), and one-fourth of your plate with nutritious carbohydrates (whole grains, sweet potatoes, corn, peas, other legumes, or fruit).

We call this the Perfect Plate!

Consume dairy foods or plant milk 2-3 times daily and add oils or other healthy fats to each meal or snack.

Low-Carb and Ketogenic Diets

Lowering your carbohydrate intake enhances weight and fat loss, according to numerous studies.

But eating too few carbs can lead to fatigue, difficulty concentrating, and even bad breath.

Lowering carbohydrate-rich refined foods, such as sweets, sugary drinks, white bread, and white rice, is an excellent weight loss strategy for women over 50.

To avoid the unpleasant side effects of very low-carb diets, including ketogenic diets that contain just five percent of your total calories from carbs, eat at least the carbohydrates recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of 130 grams daily for adult women.

Choose fiber-rich carbs like whole grains, legumes, starchy vegetables, and fruits.

Low-Fat Diets

Studies show that low-fat diets are as effective as low-carb diets for weight and fat loss.

But because your body requires dietary fat to feel full, function properly, and maximize heart and brain health, avoid weight-loss diets that are very low in fat.

The Institute of Medicine recommends adults get 20-35 percent of their daily calories from dietary fat.

Fat provides nine calories per gram.

Therefore, if you’re following a 1,200-calorie meal plan for weight loss, aim to consume 26-47 grams of fat daily and avoid dropping below 26 grams per day.

Foods rich in healthy fats include oils, avocados, nuts, seeds, nut butter, olives, fatty fish, and fish oil.

Vegetarian and Vegan Diets

Vegetarian diets lack meat, poultry, fish, and seafood.

Some vegetarians eat eggs or dairy foods while vegan dieters eliminate animal foods entirely.

Studies show that vegetarian diets, especially vegan diets, can significantly boost weight loss in overweight adults.

Eliminating meat is a simple weight loss strategy for women over 50 and a method for disease prevention, as red and processed meats are associated with certain types of cancer.

Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent fasting means you’ll fast, or not eat, during certain times of the day.

Various forms of intermittent fasting include:

  • Alternate-day fasting: don't eat for an entire day once or twice weekly (on non-consecutive days)
  • Eat only during an eight-hour window each day
  • Follow VLCDs (containing about 500-600 calories daily) on two non-consecutive days each week and eat normally the remaining five days
  • Eat just fruits and vegetables throughout the day except for one large meal in the evening

The rationale behind intermittent fasting is by not eating during specified time periods, you’ll reduce overall calorie intake and increase your chance of successful weight loss.

Studies show that intermittent fasting and intermittent calorie restriction are indeed effective strategies for many overweight adults.

Avoid drastic fasting measures so you can steer clear of side effects like fatigue, overindulging after fasts, hair loss, nutrient deficiencies, and difficulty concentrating.

You don't have to skip meals for an entire day to reap the numerous benefits of fasting.

Eat during an eight-hour window or try alternate day VLCDs instead.

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The benefits of choosing FM30X for weight loss:

  • It's a well-balanced, low-calorie diet plan designed to maximize energy
  • It's effective for women of all ages, including women over 50
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  • It provides healthy weight loss recipes
  • It includes weekly newsletters
  • It offers private fit mom Facebook group access for extra moral support

You can maintain the Fit Mother Project healthy eating plans indefinitely, even after you’ve reached your goal weight.

FM30X is a lifestyle, not a fad diet!

Other Weight Loss Tips and Tricks

In addition to eating right and following FM30X, also known as the best diet for women over 50, try the following tips and tricks to enhance weight loss results:

Have Your Hormones Checked

As women age estrogen, progesterone, and thyroid hormones can fluctuate and unbalanced hormones may hinder weight loss.
Have your doctor monitor hormones regularly to boost your chance of successful weight loss.

Get Enough Sleep

Chronic sleep deprivation can boost your appetite, making weight loss difficult.

Make sure you’re sleeping between seven and nine hours each night.

Take a natural sleeping supplement, such as melatonin, or use a white noise machine if you’re a light sleeper.

Avoid going to bed hungry or very full.

Cut Out Alcohol and Smoking

Eliminating alcohol or cutting back on it is a simple way to nix calories for weight loss over 50, as you might be consuming up to 500 calories or more from alcoholic drinks.

Smoking is another habit to steer clear of, as it can hinder your ability to get a good night’s sleep and drastically increase your risk of cancer.

Control Stress

Reduce chronic stress in your life to control cortisol, a hormone that increases appetite and the desire for high-fat, sugary comfort foods.

To help yourself relax, avoid overbooking your schedule, take vacations, and try yoga, meditation, tai chi, or regular massages.

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Track Food Intake

Tracking calories and food intake is an excellent way to eat less.

Studies show that keeping a daily food journal is associated with greater weight loss, especially long-term, compared with non-consistent food tracking.

Write down what you eat or use a fitness tracker or health app.

Set Goals

Make the commitment to lose weight and improve your health before you begin a weight loss program.

Prioritize looking and feeling great over sweets, fried food, and other junk foods.

Set food, exercise, and water intake goals.

Aim to drink at least 12 cups of water daily and be physically active at least 30 minutes each day.

Set and achieve even small goals to give you a feeling of accomplishment, and motivate you when times get tough.

Reward yourself for achieving your goals!

Weigh Yourself Daily

Regular weigh-ins keep you accountable for what you’re eating and how active you are.

In fact, studies show that daily weigh-ins are more effective than weighing yourself weekly or less often.

Weekly weight loss goals should be 1-2 pounds per week to boost your chance of long-term success.

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Erin Coleman
B.S. - Nutritional Science, R.D., L.D.

Writer, The Fit Mother Project

Erin Coleman is a registered and licensed dietitian with over 15 years of freelance writing experience.

She graduated with her Bachelor of Science degree in nutritional science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and completed her dietetic internship at Viterbo University in La Crosse, Wisconsin.

Prior to beginning her career in medical content writing, Erin worked as Health Educator for the University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of Internal Medicine.

Her published work appears on hundreds of health and fitness websites, and she’s currently working on publishing her first book! Erin is a wife, and a Mom to two beautiful children.

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If you’re a busy mom who wants to finally lose weight, get healthy, and actually keep the pounds off for good, this is the simple program you’ll love sticking to…

Our Fit Mother 30X Program (FM30X) is the answer you’ve been looking for. Inside FM30X, you’ll receive:

  • The simple & delicious Fit Mother Meal Plan with easy recipes for you and your family.
  • The metabolism-boosting Fit Mother 30X Workout (under 90 min/week) to kickstart your metabolism for fast fat burning.
  • VIP email coaching where we’ll personally walk you through the program.
Learn More About FM30X

*Please know that weight loss results & health changes/improvements vary from individual to individual; you may not achieve similar results. Always consult with your doctor before making health decisions. This is not medical advice – simply very well-researched info on the best diet for women over 50.

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Thanks for checking out the blog. We can’t wait to support you toward greater health, energy, and vitality.

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