Get back on track with your New Year’s diet resolution

Feb 24, 2023
Healthy eating tips to help you achieve your New Year's resolution diet. Source: Getty

Now that we’re into the second month of the year, how are your New Year’s resolutions going?

If you were one of the many who picked losing weight or eating healthy as their aim for 2023, you may not be going so great. We don’t say that because we doubt your willpower, but because the research shows you’re very unlikely to have stuck to your best intentions.

CSIRO has set out the stats that back up that supposition; 9 out of 10 Aussie adults have attempted to lose weight at some time, 5 in 10 have tried more than six times to do the same, and almost one in five has tried more than 25 times!

So, where do we go so wrong?

How do I start a weight loss journey and stick to it?

As we age, our metabolism slows down, and losing weight becomes more challenging. However, with the right approach, it’s still possible for those over 60 to achieve their weight loss goals. First and foremost, it’s important to adopt a healthy, balanced diet that is rich in nutrient-dense foods, such as fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and whole grains.

Portion control is also key, as older adults often require fewer calories to maintain their weight.

Research director at the CSIRO, Manny Noakes, also says that dieters have always assumed that losing weight was just about picking the right foods when behavioural science was needed to help people stick to their diet and sustain their weight loss, part of which is being aware of your diet personality type.

The CSIRO‘s scientists studied 4,000 people to learn how Australians diet, which helped it identify five distinct “diet personality types”, all of which have their own particular pitfalls. The science agency believes that although eating healthy will help people lose weight, each personality type has its own Achilles heel when it comes to staying on the diet wagon.

Source: Getty

Understanding your “diet personality type”

The Thinker- makes up 41 per cent of all dieters. These people are goal-oriented and analytical, but they overthink their diet and worry about it, and that can lead to anxiety and stress that kicks off over-eating, derailing the best of diet plans.

The Craver – at 25 per cent of all dieters, loves yummy food and finds it hard to stop eating, particularly in tempting situations.

The Foodies – 15 per cent – are the most likely to be in a normal weight range, despite enjoying making, eating and experiencing food.

The Socialiser – 15 per cent – needs flexibility. They won’t let a diet restrict their social life.

The Freewheeler – 4 per cent- is a spontaneous and impulsive eater, which makes planning meals hard for them.

It’s also important to be aware that for women over 60, hormones can also impact your ability to lose weight.

Your body’s hormones operate in unison in a delicate balancing act that controls functions such as metabolism, sexual function, reproduction, and mood. However, when this balancing act falls out of whack, your hormone levels change it can sometimes result in a very stubborn type of weight gain.

As you get older, the most effective way to ensure you get your hormonal weight back on track is to understand which hormones are responsible for the imbalances.

Why it’s important for over 60s to maintain a healthy weight?

For individuals over 60, excess weight can lead to an increased risk of chronic health conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes, and certain cancers. Additionally, carrying extra weight can put a strain on joints and lead to mobility issues, which can further impact your quality of life.

Maintaining a healthy weight can also improve energy levels, sleep quality, and overall well-being. By making lifestyle changes to achieve and maintain a healthy weight, older adults can potentially reduce their risk of health problems, increase their longevity, and enjoy a higher quality of life in their later years.

While gaining a few extra kilos is considered a normal part of ageing, it’s important for our health and longevity to maintain a balanced diet and a healthy weight overall. Thankfully, nowadays, there is plenty of research and expert advice to help us keep the weight off and fuel our bodies with the nutrients needed to stay healthy and energised.

Principal Nutritionist and Director of Sydney City Nutritionist and Food Intolerance Australia, Jennifer May explains that “for people over the age of 60, nutrition is especially important for maintaining overall health.”

“Eating a balanced diet and staying hydrated are key components to ensuring that seniors get all the nutrients they need in order to support optimum health.”

Am I at a healthy weight?

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the Body Mass Index (BMI) is a great tool to use to better understand and calculate the ideal weight for your age and physique.

The standard ranges for BMI are:

  • Underweight: BMI that is less than 18.5
  • Normal weight: BMI between 18.5 and 24.9
  • Overweight: BMI between 25 and 29.9
  • Obese: BMI over 30

However, it is important to keep in mind that while BMI is a globally recognised and respected system, the numbers only tell part of your body’s story. A healthy weight will look different for older adults so it’s important to always consult your doctor before trying to lose or gain weight.

Source: Getty

What should I do to lose weight?

A combination of healthy eating habits and regular physical activity is often the most effective way to achieve weight loss goals. Older adults should aim for a balanced diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and whole grains while limiting processed and high-fat foods. Portion control is also crucial, as older adults typically require fewer calories to maintain their weight.

Older adults can adopt the following habits to assist in their diet goals:

  • Choose a diet that works for your health: When it comes to the food you eat, research has found the Mediterranean diet is one of the best to follow for good health. This way of eating is based on whole grains and legumes, a wide variety of fresh vegetables, cold-pressed extra-virgin olive oils, nuts and seeds, some fish, little red meat and dairy products.
  • Avoid mindless snacking: According to research published in the online journal BMJ Open, slowing down the speed at which you eat could help you to shed kilos. The research also found that avoiding after-dinner snacks and not eating within two hours of going to bed helps maintain a healthy weight.
  • Set realistic goals and keep track of them: A study published in Obesity: A Research Journal found that adults who check their weight daily are more likely to lose or maintain their weight, than gain extra kilos. And of course, daily exercise is also important with experts recommending at least 30 minutes a day of physical activity.

Though sticking to your healthy eating goals for the New Year can be a bit of a challenge it’s never too late to get things back on track. By making sure you’re making realistic and helpful changes to your lifestyle, you too can reap the benefits of having a healthier and improved quality of life. But before you start making changes to your health, always remember to consult your doctor for the safest approach.

IMPORTANT LEGAL INFO This article is of a general nature and FYI only, because it doesn’t take into account your personal health requirements or existing medical conditions. That means it’s not personalised health advice and shouldn’t be relied upon as if it is. Before making a health-related decision, you should work out if the info is appropriate for your situation and get professional medical advice.

What kind of dieter are you? What are your biggest pitfalls to healthy eating?

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