Weight loss is always a common topic amongst folks; women above 50 find it particularly difficult to lose extra pounds, this is often due to factors that come with ageing. Some of these factors may be due to a decline in the metabolism rate, muscle degeneration, less exercise, but mostly it is pre and post-menopause.
There is a lot of weight losing techniques available but the Ketogenic diet has gained more popularity, especially over the last few years. The Keto diet has been reported to boost weight loss and also helps with cravings, making it a very attractive form of weight loss. So the short answer Yes it does work and more especially for the older women
NB Medical Disclaimer. Please seek advice from your Doctor or Medical Practitioner before commencing any change in your usual diet. I am not a medical professional and therefore the advice is for informational purposes only.
What is Keto Diet?
The term keto diet simply refers to diets that trigger the production of ketones. The Keto diet is effective in losing weight because it facilitates the body to burn the already stored body fat.
A typical keto diet should contain high protein and very low carb at a ratio of 75%, 20%, and 5% respectively. So very High Protein and low carb, looks a lot like the Atkins Diet which was very popular in the 90s and millennial noughties
Different studies have revealed that ketogenic diets can be an effective way to lose weight and also beneficial for general health. Largely because you are cutting out the white carbs.
Notably, some people have confessed that they shed unwanted weight with the Keto diet and without strong cravings.
If you are confused already, by the use of ratio and what this might mean, then hopefully I will provide some clarity and help. In fact, there are whole websites specifically for this niche. We will provide a short explanation and source of support to get you on the Keto Road
How Ketogenic Diet Works
Now that we’ve talked about what Keto is, it is also important to explain how it works in our bodies.
To start with, ketosis (a process that stimulates the production of ketones) is the ultimate aim of the keto diet.
Starchy foods and sugar from carbohydrates – glucose is generated when carbohydrates are broken down in the body. The body uses glucose which is the end product of carbohydrates as its primary energy source.
Ketones, on the other hand, are fuel molecules produced by the body as an alternative source of energy. Ketones are produced as alternative energy when the body has low blood sugar.
Or put differently, the body produces ketones when the concentration of carb is low in the body. Ketones are produced from the breakdown of fatty acids which are eventually used as an alternative fuel in the body.
As the concentration of glucose in the body reduces, it automatically switched to using ketone for energy instead of glucose. So in essence, your body starts using stored fat. This process causes a dramatic increase in burning the already stored fat which results in weight loss. In addition to burning fat, it also helps to reduce cravings.
Is Keto Diet Recommended for Older Women?
Whether keto is right or not for older women, depends on some factors. For older women with no underlying health challenge, a keto diet can be beneficial, mainly for weight loss.
Most research indicates that it is difficult to stick to ketogenic diets. So, the best practice is to have an eating practice that gives you a result. Don’t be afraid to try out new things till you get what suits you.
I find what works for me is the 5-2 approach, 5 days of normal eating and 2 days of fasting, or as in this case, eating high protein and low carb diet. It has really worked for me and I have lost over 2. stone (or 28lb for the US readers) I started my weight loss journey 21st April 2020 (when we went into the first lockdown)
To be fair even on the “normal eating day” I will substitute lunch with a very low cal salad or protein shake. It really hasn’t been a difficult journey.
Foods to Cut-off When You Are on Keto Diet
For older women that want to try the Keto Diet to shed unwanted pounds, here are some foods to limit.
- No Caffeine
Older women on the keto diet should avoid consuming caffeine because it can be harmful to the body. This is because caffeine produces an increase of glucose in the body; which is exactly what you wanted to prevent. You can take it sometimes if you can resist the craving, but make sure you don’t do it frequently. I try and keep my coffee to one cup per day preferably in the morning.
- Avoid Eating Excess Fat
The sole aim of the keto diet is to burn your body fat rather than taking in more fat for energy. Your fat intake should be at a moderate level – excess of everything is bad.
When you are starting the keto diet journey, it is recommended that you consume a lot of healthy fat. Consuming an unlimited amount of fat will condition your body to be fully fat adapted. When you can stay a long time without eating, it tells that your body is fat adapted.
Once your body becomes primed to start burning fat, it is advised you limit the intake of excess fat. This will allow your body to burn stored fats. What does any of that even mean?
- Consume Just Enough Protein
How do I know when I have had “just enough protein”? I guess it comes down to moderation.
Moderation is an important factor in almost everything we do. Eating the right quantity of protein is vital in weight loss.
Different studies have proved that consuming moderate and high protein foods can facilitate weight loss and also decrease hunger. Conversely, low protein diets do not reduce hunger and slow down weight loss.
Additionally, eating a small amount of protein over a while can result in frailty and poor muscle growth. This shows more reason to consume adequate protein.
- Be Conscious of Carb Creep
Following a keto diet lifestyle requires discipline; so watch out for a possible creep-in of carb into your diet. It could creep in form of fruits, sauces, nuts, and condiments. However, once you get your head around the concept and the right mindset, (all about the mindset) you will find it much easier than you imagined. As mentioned I have lost 2 stone over a period of 10 months and it really wasn’t difficult.
I will attach a YouTube Video here with some recipe ideas and a shopping list. Having a food shopping list was a game-changer for me and in fact, I ordered my groceries online ready for the week ahead. This ensured I wasn’t distracted by special offers or foods outside of my diet.
This is a really watchable YouTube video with a full list of ingredients.
My all-time favourite Keto and low Carb recipe was actually found on Exante Diet web site, however, they have some great recipe ideas. Click on the link for my favourtie.
If you are experiencing a decline in your weight loss, take a close examination of what you are eating lately. If need be, you can cut back your net carb intake a little.
Nuts like pistachios, almonds, and cashews have enough carb that can mitigate weight loss. For instance, pistachios contain up to 21 grams of carb. The challenge with these nuts is, they are so easy to overeat thereby accumulating more carbs.
- Cut Down Alcohol Intake
Taking a glass of wine occasionally is permissible for people on a keto diet. However, if you notice some weight gain, it is advised you cut off all alcohol till you start seeing changes. Consuming few drinks continually can still hamper your weight loss progress.
- No Ice Cream
If possible, avoid ice cream. It can be tempting to avoid ice cream but you just have to be disciplined to see the result.
- No Milk
Instead of cow milk, use coconut, almond milk, or soy as an alternative. Most people are still oblivious to the fact that cow milk has carbs. I absolutely love Oat Milk and have found the Barista Oatly is thick and creamy and perfect on my porridge. (not so good in tea, here I do have a little Goats Milk
- Limit Processed Meat
There is nothing wrong with meat, but processed meat should be limited. For the keto diet, fresh meat is recommended over processed meat. Most processed meat contains chemical preservatives like sodium nitrite, which has been linked to increasing the risk of colon cancer. Once you start to eat lean and or clean, you will find cutting out the processed meat is easier than you imagined.
- Limit Keto Baked Foods
There are lots of blogs promoting keto baked foods. Be careful with such foods as most of them can make you hungry because of the sweeteners they have. When you are hungry, you are prone to consuming more calories.
Once you start consuming more of these keto-baked foods, you won’t be able to restrict your calorie intake. The keto diet should
be perceived as a drug.
- No Bread, Cookies, Rice, Soda, Chocolates, or Candy
The above-listed foods and snacks contain a reasonable amount of carb. The key to the keto diet is to stay away from carb-heavy foods. Once you begin to consume more carb through foods or snacks, you are no longer in ketosis.
- Be Guarded of Spices and Ketchup
Most ketchup and spices do contain some amount of hidden sugars. Don’t be shocked to see sugar as the first ingredient on the list of any of these food spices.
I will add a link and YouTube video for some recipe ideas, together with an easy to read book to get you on the way
Foods to Eat While on Keto Diet
After reducing or completely putting off macronutrients like carbs, you might be questioning what else is left to eat. Don’t forget that our priority is to eat foods that are high in nutrition but low in carbs.
These foods include fish, poultry, cheese and eggs, coconut oil butter, mayo, and of course fat. Once again, the key is to eat a lot of balanced vegetables, unprocessed carb, and lean meat. Focusing mainly on whole food seems to be the best means of eating healthy meals because it is a doable technique.
Veggies with low carbs are also a great option. They include:
- Brussel sprouts
Avoid veggies like tomatoes, corn, and carrots because they have high carbs which could easily get you out of ketosis.
I have found a very good YouTube Video called “10 Keto Foods You Should Keep In the Fridge” its a short snappy video and will give you a good idea
How Safe is Keto Diet for Older Women?
If you are over 60 years and worried about the safety of the keto diet, you don’t need to worry as it has been proven to be safe for older women.
These are the exact words of Dr. Tan. On the safety of the keto diet for older women, “I think the keto diet is fine for 60-year-old women.” She further posited that “the problem with the keto diet is there’s a bad reputation. People think fat will clog your arteries, but that’s not the case with the keto diet.”
What Other Things Can Older Women Do During Keto Diet?
- Reduce Stress
Stress triggers the release of cortisol, which may increase cravings and cause the body to pile up abdominal fats. This is because too much stress tends to cause emotional eating which is inimical to weight loss. So, make a conscious effort to alleviate the stress in your day-to-day activities.
You can try stress alleviation techniques such as yoga, relaxing walks, meditation, or other pleasant hobbies. You can also try a week of slow and cautious eating when you give attention to hunger cues, taste, and textures.
- Get Plenty of Sleep
Getting enough is also an important factor for losing weight and the overall health of older women. Less sleep can cause a spike in the secretion of cortisol; otherwise known as a stress hormone. It plays a significant role in the increase in abdominal fat.
Try these tips to boost your sleep:
- Do not take alcohol before bedtime
- Limit consumption of caffeine and do not take coffee after midday
- Sleep in a dark, cool room
- Use eyeshades and earplugs
- Limit blue light before bed
- Reduce screen time
- Get exposed to natural daylight every day
- Try Intermittent Fasting
As your body becomes fat-adapted due to the keto diet recipe, you may notice a decline in your hunger rate. At this point, you stay without eating for longer periods.
Some people on the keto diet tend to stop eating breakfast because they don’t feel hungry in the morning. The principal rule of the keto diet is to eat only when you’re hungry – so you can try intermittent fasting when you’re not hungry.
Start with the 16:8 fasting which requires that you skip breakfast and eat just lunch and dinner within 9 hours. Or try the 24-hour fasting which requires that you eat only dinner and skip both breakfast and lunch.
My favourite fasting method is the 5-2, I will eat normally for 5 days and fast for 2 of them. By eating a protein-rich diet on the two days tends to keep me feeling satiated (full up) I often find that even on the 5 days I will tend to eat protein-rich foods and reduce the white carb intake, very little sugar, keeping the sugar-rich fruit (like bananas) to a minimum, that said Bananas are a good source of vitamins like Potassium and therefore are good in moderation.
Dr Michael Mosleyy researched and wrote the “Health Phenomenon of our times” I live by this book and have no hesitation in recommending. I think his documentary is still on “Catch Up” TV should you wish to see his and others journey following the 5-2 fasting. Click on the link to purchase. (it will take you to Amazon and is an affiliate link, which means I earn a teeny tiny commission, the price however is still the same to you the purchaser).
It is advisable to keep switching between this fasting routine. For instance, you can do the 16:8 fast for one day, the 24-hour fast the next day. After completing the cycle, you eat your regular meal then start over again.
The psychology behind this trick is to ensure that the body does not get used to a constant stimulus. The reason is that; the human body strives to maintain regular homeostasis – energy balance.
Note that this type of fast is not ideal for long-term purposes. It’s okay to skip meals because you don’t feel hungry while eating keto diets.
But the major concern is when people fast for a long period while ignoring hunger signals. This could cause potential danger in psychological fluid and also electrolyte imbalance due to prolong fast.
It is safe for older women on a keto diet to avoid taking meals for 16 or 24 hours. This type of fast is healthy and safe, as long as it helps you to lose some weight. However, do not fast if you think you are underweight. Again, the rule is to eat only when you’re hungry.
- Do Some Weight Training
Exercise boosts weight loss and is important for the optimal functioning of the body. Exercising doesn’t have to be strenuous; few seconds of the right exercise, twice a week should suffice.
With the right exercise coupled with the ketogenic diet, your body will burn more fats. It also improves your skeletal health, metabolic health and builds body mass.
- Have a Realistic Expectation
The keto diet technique works for weight loss, but it doesn’t just happen overnight. So don’t assume that the diet isn’t working or does not deliver the exact weight loss you want. The Keto diet is not a “magical pill.”
Losing unwanted pounds can be challenging especially for older women. This is because ageing can cause slow metabolism, less time to socialize, and uncontrolled craving. If you have tried other weight loss techniques without success, then give keto a try.
As I mentioned, it’s worked for me and I found that with a bit of flexibility and treats now and again has ensured that my 2 stone (28lb) weight loss, (over 10 months) has not been difficult.
Hopefully, this post will have given you some useful tips. If you found this post useful you may also find “What to Eat After 60 & Foods to Help You Live Longer” click on the link for further information
I would welcome your thoughts and your journey so far.
Please leave a comment below.
If you have made it thus far then thank you and I look forward to seeing you next time.
Founder of Hey Spring Chicken