Your Guide To Doctors, Health Information, and Better Health!
Your Health Magazine Logo
The following article was published in Your Health Magazine. Our mission is to empower people to live healthier.
Anne M. Rensberger, LICSW
Obesity Is It Something You Share With Your Grandchildren?

Obesity Is It Something You Share With Your Grandchildren?

Its not just children, but grandparents too, who are getting fatter. Being obese isnt much fun at any age. What are some of the challenges facing my clients 65 and older, who want or need to lose weight and become more fit?

First, you have to accept that you burn fewer calories when you are 60+ doing the same activities that you did when you were younger. Walking may be difficult. Joint problems and medical problems can limit physical activity. Balance issues and fear of street crime are deterrents to walking outdoors.

Diminished taste buds make sweet and salty food the most appealing. Medicines may cause weight gain or make weight loss difficult. For the retired, casual clothes, like sweat pants with those elastic waistbands, may not be the reminder of weight gain ones belt or fitted work attire used to be.

Like their grandchildren, when I work with senior citizens I do not focus on weight loss itself. Rather I focus on behavior patterns that enhance health and longevity such as improvements in cholesterol, blood pressure, mobility, flexibility, and stamina. In addition, while they may not be fixated on their looks like their teenage grandchildren, I have yet to have a client complain when they can tighten their belt or buy a smaller size.

A serious medical situation like a heart attack can be highly motivating. So, what does work when you want to lose weight? That same leisure time spent eating can be used for exercise.

A physical therapist or personal trainer with experience in working with seniors can recommend exercises that benefit aging bodies. Seniors often have a diligence about them that responds well to goal setting and attainment.

Education about the realistic amount of hard work it takes to lose and maintain weight is helpful as is finding a food plan that works for your lifestyle. Noting in a daily journal what you eat, your exercise, and your successes and issues works at any age.

A great first goal is losing 10% of ones weigh. Research has shown losing this much alone produces dramatic health benefits. Once you do that, you can decide if you want to lose more.

If you are senior who has a chubby grandchild, why not make a pact to help one another? They dont even have to live near you to make it work. Use the Internet, the telephone, letters, pictures and post cards. Set measurable, realistic goals, share food journals and support one another to eat healthier and move more. Youll both make the process more fun and will be more likely to find success.

MD (301) 805-6805 | VA (703) 288-3130