Getting in shape seems like a daunting task at any age: it requires a commitment to yourself, making time in your busy schedule, and sometimes overhauling your lifestyle completely. It seems even harder as you get older when your energy levels dip, your metabolism slows down and aches and pains are an everyday occurrence. But through hard work and determination, it is possible. Just take these real-world examples.
Whether they were looking to drop a few pounds or train for an intense competitive event, these people didn’t let being over the age of 50 slow them down. They made a major change in their life and shed the weight once and for all. Looking to make a change yourself? Check out our list of 40 Weight Loss tips for Over 40.
Training for a Tough Mudder
“66 is not typically the age at which people begin training for a 10+ mile, military-style obstacle course. But that’s exactly what I did. My journey started in December of 2015. Weighing 198 pounds at just 5’1 and knowing my family’s history of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and more, my future wasn’t looking good. As a wife, mother, friend, business partner, and CEO of Dryer Vent Wizard International, I was responsible to many people and being healthy to fulfill these responsibilities was necessary. I decided to stop eating sugar, white flour, white rice, and to reduce my sodium intake.
“Then, when a colleague asked me to participate in a Tough Mudder race for charity, I was intrigued. I started working out with a personal trainer 6 days a week, and soon enough I had committed to the race. Since then, I have lost over 70 pounds. At 66 and just nine months into my journey to get fit, I completed my first Tough Mudder race with my colleagues at Dryer Vent Wizard and have never felt better. I was not able to complete all of the 20 obstacles in the race, so I will train for another year and complete the Michigan Mudder again next year to try to conquer all of the obstacles. I will continue to improve my fitness level and look for other opportunities to push myself outside my comfort zone.” —Terry Reuer, 66
Combining Cardio and Weight Training
“I lost the weight through diet and exercise. My diet went to the Atkins low carb that many diabetics follow. I changed from beer to Jim Beam and lost 35 pounds. I quit drinking entirely and lost another 24 pounds. I burned the fat through a combination of cardio and weightlifting.
“My cardio started as walking and turned to hiking. I found that climbing elevations really burned the weight and opened the lungs. I also climb the stairs at nearby Red Rocks Amphitheater. I started with five-pound weights and 100 reps per session. Now I have 45-pound dumbbells and do one rep for every year of my life or 56 reps. If I can’t complete all 56, I break the reps into sets until I get to 56 total.” —Scott Deuty, 56
Turning My Life Around After a Loss
“I’ve always had a bit of a weight problem, in my teens and early 20s, I kept it under control. In my 40s, I started being the full-time caregiver for my mom who was ill, and I spent 10 years doing that and working. I don’t regret it, I did that because she had been a good mom and had taken care of me. When she passed away in 2010, I kept eating whatever I wanted. I got up to 262 pounds. I was pre-diabetic. My doctor told me she was worried. She wanted me to go on meds and I said, ‘wait, please let me try and do this on my own first.’
“I started on a food program called Diet-to-Go. It is healthy, portion-controlled food that I don’t have to cook. I started out on about 1,400 calories a day and am now at about 1,200 calories a day. At about the same time I started my weight loss journey, I rescued a puppy from our local shelter who was very high energy and needed long, twice-daily walks which jump started my exercise program. I now walk the dog twice a day and go to the gym about three times a week.
“I started in January 2016. For me, it was about health. I’m not getting any younger, it’s not going to get any easier. It’s got to be now or never. I ride a Harley motorcycle. I ride with a group. I’m 54, and I started riding in my early 20s. The bike feels a lot bigger since I lost the weight. I have more stamina.” —Tina Marcus, 54
With No Quick Fixes
“I wasn’t getting any younger and I knew if I kept going the way I was living I would likely not live to play with any future grandchildren. The shape that I was in made me feel old. My mind doesn’t feel old and my actions aren’t that of an old person, I needed to get my body in align with my brain and my thoughts.
“I knew I needed to find a way to live a healthy life that was sustainable, my thought was if I can’t live this new way for the next 40 years then I am not going to do it. No gimmicks, no quick fixes, no replacement shakes or meal plans. I wanted to eat real food from the grocery store and exercise moderately 3-4 days per week. If I could figure that out I knew I could sustain that for the rest for my life. Losing weight is simple, it’s just not easy. I ate 300-400 calories per day under my basal metabolic rate (BMR) and total daily energy expenditure (TDEE). I use strength training as my exercise as it is the most beneficial for your body, muscle, and bone health.
“Whatever you do, make sure you can eat and live this way for the rest of your life. Get your nutrition and exercise right about 85% of the time do not try to be 100% all of the time. It’s about being consistent, not perfect. By all means, eat real food.” —Mike Ferreri, 55