Have you been counting calories or points ever since you can remember and still struggle with losing weight after 50? In reality, being overweight has much less to do with calories than it has to do with food choices.

Let me explain. When you look at money, $1 is one dollar, no matter how many ways it is constructed. It may be four quarters, 20 nickels, one hundred pennies or one paper bill. Whichever way you have it, it still adds up to $1.

Calories are different. The way they are metabolized is completely dependent on what they are made of. Therefore, you will either burn them efficiently, burn them too quickly, or store them as fat.

For years, conventional thought was that if you count your calories and stay within a certain parameter, you will maintain your weight. Scientists knew that food made of fat had more calories than food made of simple sugars, so they steered us away from fat.

In the 80s, cardiologists said that all fat was unhealthy for the heart. They said it was better to eat simple sugars, not fat, because sugar burns quickly. They thought you would maintain your weight and prevent heart disease.

Many foods that formerly contained fat were reconstructed and processed so that the fat was pulled from them and sugar was added instead to make them tasty. The calorie count was reduced, but the results have been disastrous to the waistline.

Why? Because you need a lot of sugar to feel satisfied. Sugar makes us want more because it burns off quickly. Moreover, sugar can be quite addictive. Clearly, sugar is the enemy, and if you have any doubt about that, here is a detailed list of 78 ways sugar harms us.

Fats, on the other hand, metabolize slowly and give your body a sense of feeling full for a much longer time, especially when they are paired with protein.

Losing Weight After 50: It’s Not About Will Power

Hunger has nothing to do with lack of will power. It simply comes down to biology and metabolism. When you get hungry you eat. When you eat more sugar based foods, you repeat the cycle. Over and over.

Unfortunately, that’s exactly what happened to me. I ate a lot of sugar, and as a consequence, I was hungry a lot. And tired. But worst of all, I had very high triglycerides, a precursor for heart disease, and I was only in my 40s.

That all changed when I replaced refined sugar foods with fruit and sweet vegetables. Also, the results didn’t delay, convincing me that our bodies can heal when we give them the right nutrients.

Next Steps for Wise Weight Loss After 50

Now you know all calories are not equal. Change your focus to food choices high in nutrients. Toss your low fat and lite products away, and eat small amounts of quality fat (nuts, olive or coconut oil, fish) mixed with protein.

Combining your fat and protein foods with copious amounts of the complex carbohydrates found in vegetables will make you feel full with less, and your body will metabolize these foods effectively. Forget about points. You and your food are much more than points.

Get Slender, but Not Too Slender

Make sure your focus is less on being a size 6 and more on being a healthy weight and having plenty of energy. When you eat well and get to a healthier weight, you will be able to maintain that weight with your new, good habits.

It’s important to be patient when dealing with weight loss! We don’t gain excess weight all at once, so it should not come off rapidly. If it does, it’s likely to come back on.

A better approach is to crowd out the damaging foods with fresh foods that you like. Then watch your energy rise and the number on the scale go down.

Some Specific Food Tips

Replace white potatoes, French Fries and white rice with sweet potatoes, baked green beans and brown rice.

Drop the white flour foods like bagels and breads made of 100% enriched flour for whole or sprouted grain breads.

If you are accustomed to eating meat every day, drop it from one night a week, then 2 nights a week, until you are only eating it occasionally.

Replace store bought cookies with homemade cookies and have them only occasionally. I make a batch 2-3 times a year and give most of them away.

What do you think are the secrets to maintaining a healthy weight after 50? How would you feel if you shifted from calorie counting to quality food? What do you think are the keys to losing weight after 50? Please join the conversation below!

Peg DoylePeg Doyle is a healthy eating and lifelong wellness expert, recording artist, motivational speaker and author. She is passionate about the impact of quality food and a balanced lifestyle on women’s health. Her mission is to make healthy eating easy and appealing, using nourishment as a powerful tool for preventing the so-called diseases of aging. You can visit her website here.

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