Losing weight after 50 – why is eating right so hard?

In discussions about losing weight after 50, the issue that comes up most is how difficult it is to keep to a sensible, nutritious plan that will enable us to reach our weight loss goals.

The quest for a healthy diet has always felt like an uphill battle for me. I have managed to master the exercise bit, doing strength training, high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and mobility, which I find really energising and uplifting. But, despite access to an abundance of nutritional information, countless diets, and an ever-growing health and wellness industry, I often find myself faltering and wondering why it’s so hard to eat right.

It is hard to eat right because it’s not just about making simple choices.  It involves a combination of physiological, psychological, social, and environmental factors that create a complex maze of decisions and actions (or, in my case, non-actions).

Let’s investigate these dynamics to understand why eating right can be such a challenging endeavour.

The Paradox of Choice

One significant reason eating right is so challenging is the plethora of choices that we are faced with in today’s supermarkets and restaurants. This abundance can lead to decision fatigue, making it difficult to make healthy choices. When faced with too many options, we often opt for convenience over nutrition, falling into the trap of fast food and processed meals that are often high in calories, sugar, and unhealthy fats.

Conflicting Nutritional Information

Nutritional information is readily available but is also highly confusing and conflicting. One day, a particular food is touted as a superfood; the next, it’s deemed harmful. The constant stream of contradictory dietary advice can leave us feeling lost and unsure about what constitutes a healthy diet. This uncertainty can lead to making poor nutritional choices or simply giving up on trying to eat right altogether.

Emotional Eating

Eating is not just a biological necessity; it’s also deeply connected to emotions. Emotional eating is a significant barrier to maintaining a healthy diet. When stressed, sad, or anxious, I, like many of us, often turn to comfort foods, which are usually high in sugar and unhealthy fats. Who has not finished a whole tup of salted caramel in one sitting after a particularly stressful day!!! This emotional attachment to food can make it challenging to make rational, health-focused choices when it comes to eating.

The Convenience Factor

In today’s fast-paced life, convenience often takes precedence over nutrition. Fast food, pre-packaged meals, and snacks are designed for easy consumption, making them readily available and tempting. The supermarket aisles are full of these, and I actually find it hard to find ‘whole’ fresh foods. The convenience factor is particularly problematic, as busy schedules now leave little time for meal preparation or thoughtful food choices.

The Influence of Marketing and Advertising

Food companies invest vast amounts of money in marketing and advertising their products. These efforts are often geared towards making unhealthy foods seem desirable, even glamorous. Marketing strategies exploit our sensory and emotional triggers, making it difficult to resist the allure of unhealthy choices. The influence of advertising can be especially problematic, and I often succumb to the appeal of these marketed products, even though I know better!

Socioeconomic Factors

Your income and where you live have a big impact on the food you can get and the choices you make about what to eat, especially considering how expensive things are today. People often need more access to affordable, nutritious food. In some areas, it’s hard to find stores that sell fresh and healthy food. It means that many people don’t have easy access to affordable and nutritious food, making it really tough to eat healthily. The rising cost of living is also driving people away from more whole foods to cheaper processed alternatives.

Cultural and Social Norms

Cultural and social norms deeply influence food choices. Family traditions, regional customs, and peer pressure can all impact what we eat. In many cultures, people come together over meals. It’s not just about eating; it’s a way to bond and share traditions. Refusing to eat with others in these situations might seem rude. The food served is often high in calories, which can make it hard for us to stick to our healthy eating goals. So, finding a balance between respecting our culture and trying to eat better can be tricky.

Lack of Time and Cooking Skills

An important aspect of supporting a healthy diet lies in making nutritious meals at home. However, many people often lack the time and culinary skills to prepare nutritious dishes. Today’s world is fast-paced, with a multitude of responsibilities and limited time. The convenience of ordering takeout or dining out usually wins out over the effort needed to plan, shop for, and cook healthy meals.

Temptation Everywhere

Unhealthy food choices seem to be all around us, lurking in various places like the vending machines at our workplaces or by the train station and the tempting snacks served at social gatherings. These convenient sugary snacks and soda can be particularly tempting during long and tiring days. When we’re socializing with friends or attending events, there’s often an array of delicious but unhealthy treats within arm’s reach. The struggle to resist these temptations is real, as they tap into our natural cravings for salty, sweet, and fatty foods.

Unrealistic Dieting Expectations

The diet industry is famous for selling us the idea of losing weight quickly on extreme diets. They make it sound like a miracle fix, but in reality, most of these diets are unsustainable. I’ve talked to many people, especially women, who’ve tried these diet fads that promise the moon and stars but end up letting them down. These diets lead to a frustrating cycle. When we can’t meet these unrealistic goals, we often feel discouraged and end up going back to our old, unhealthy eating habits.

Psychological Factors

Psychological factors, such as stress, depression, and anxiety, often lead to poor dietary choices. For me, my go-to is chocolate. Anyone who knows me will always comfort me with a healthy dose of Lindt chocolate. These emotional states can trigger cravings for comfort foods, often high in sugar and unhealthy fats. Coping with negative emotions through food has become a harmful habit that derails many attempts to eat right.

Lack of Accountability

When it comes to making healthier food choices, accountability serves as a powerful motivator. Knowing that there are people or systems in place to check on my progress encourages me to stick to my dietary goals. It creates a sense of responsibility that transcends personal willpower.

This support can take various forms – it might be a friend who shares the same health goals, a family member who prepares nutritious meals together, or even a tracking app that monitors daily food intake. However, it can sometimes feel like an additional burden, especially when temptations arise or life gets busy. It’s about finding a level of responsibility that supports your goals without becoming overly restrictive or burdensome.

Strategies to Make Healthy Eating Easier

1. Set Realistic Goals
– Begin with small, achievable dietary changes.
– Gradual progress is more sustainable than drastic shifts.
2. Create a Meal Plan
– Plan your meals and snacks ahead of time.
– Make a shopping list with healthy ingredients.
3. Seek Support
– Share your goals with friends or family for accountability.
– Consider joining a support group for encouragement.
4. Manage Stress
– Find healthy ways to cope with stress, such as mindfulness, exercise, or hobbies.
– Avoid turning to food for comfort during stressful times.
5. Find Enjoyable Foods
– Experiment with nutritious recipes to discover foods you truly enjoy.
– A diet you love is easier to maintain.
6. Address Emotional Eating
– Seek support or counselling to deal with emotional triggers for unhealthy eating habits.
7. Stay Informed
– Educate yourself about nutrition basics.
– Avoid getting overwhelmed by excessive information.
8. Reward Yourself Appropriately
– Celebrate your achievements and milestones on your weight loss journey without using food as a reward.

Secret to Success -Patience, Persistence and Perseverance

The secret to success can often be summed up in what I like to call the three Ps of progressPatience, Persistence and Perseverance. In a world that often values quick results and instant gratification, it’s easy to overlook the importance of these virtues.

  1. Patience – an essential virtue on the path to success, for true achievements rarely materialise overnight. Patience allows us to stay committed to our aspirations, even when faced with setbacks or slow progress. It’s about acknowledging that worthwhile goals demand time and dedication. It entails not only enduring the journey but also actively seeking opportunities to learn and grow along the way.
  2. Persistence – Have consistent, steady, unwavering commitment to your goals. It’s the daily effort, the small steps taken consistently over time, that ultimately lead to significant accomplishments.
  3. Perseverance – when you stumble or face setbacks, it’s essential to dust yourself off and embrace the idea of trying again. This resilience is a fundamental aspect of achieving your goals. Rather than dwelling on failures, view them as opportunities for growth. Each new attempt is a chance to refine your approach, learn from your experiences, and inch closer to success. Don’t be disheartened by stumbles; see them as invitations to begin anew, armed with wisdom and an unwavering commitment to your objectives.

Together, patience, persistence and perseverance form the bedrock upon which lasting success is built, reminding us that the journey may be long, but the rewards are well worth the wait.


Eating right is undoubtedly a challenging endeavour for me in today’s world. The complex interplay of physiological, psychological, social, and environmental factors makes it difficult to make healthy food choices consistently. However, understanding these challenges and working to overcome them can lead to a more nutritious and balanced diet. While there is no one-size-fits-all solution to why it’s so hard for me to eat right, awareness, education, and support can help me navigate the obstacles to better nutrition. Most importantly, be patient, persevere and persist. Results will come.

live your best life

About me

Turning 50 was an unexpected wake-up call. Panic surged through every fibre of my being as I wondered, “Is my youth slipping away, leaving me behind”.

Standing at the crossroads, I realized I wasn’t alone in this whirlwind of emotions. Many women over 50 experience similar moments of self-doubt and apprehension. The truth is our bodies and minds undergo natural changes as we age. It’s essential to remember that ageing is a privilege denied to many, and instead of fearing it, we must embrace a healthy and happy lifestyle over 50.

Using the advice we share in this blog, many women, including me, have found relief and are better able to manage this transition of life and feel more fulfilled both at home, and at work.

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