Don’t Weight: A Senior’s Guide to Shedding Extra Holiday Pounds

A Senior’s Guide to Shedding Extra Holiday Pounds

Some say that the best part about Thanksgiving is the extravagant array of food. Between the stuffing, potatoes, corn, rolls, and pies, this carb-fest makes it easy to put on a few pounds. If you had to unbuckle your belt by a few notches this Thanksgiving, it’s time to step on the treadmill. According to Lisa Moskovitz, R.D., founder of The NY Nutrition Group, Thanksgiving dinner can rack up 4,000 calories or more. Accordingly, you can expect to see a weight gain of two to four pounds. (1) On top of that, eating lots of leftovers for the rest of the week can pack on even more weight.

With Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa on the way, many can look forward to another feast in December. Therefore, it is important to tackle your weight gain right away. When you knock those extra pounds off right away, you’ll be in better health heading into the New Year.

Effective Weight Loss Techniques

If you are ready to shed those Thanksgiving pounds, there a variety of senior health solutions to try. Choose your favorite activities so that you can stay motivated and consistent.

Burn those Calories

Walking and Running

Walking and running are among the most common forms of exercise. They get your heart pumping and your blood flowing so that you can burn calories. Runner’s World states that a 30-minute run burns around 396 calories while a half hour walk burns around 228 calories. (2) The exact number of calories you burn depends on many factors, including your weight, your metabolism, and your pace.

Walking and running don’t require any special tools or expensive equipment, other than sturdy sneakers with cushioned support. Otherwise, you simply need to get up and start moving forward. There are many great places for you to go for a walk or run. You can visit a park, walk laps at the local mall, or simply cruise around your neighborhood. You can also include your loved ones or listen to music to make exercising more fun.

While you are out exercising, an on-the-go Alert1 medical alert necklace can also help provide you with protection. If you happen to fall or experience an emergency of any kind, you can instantly contact an emergency response agent who can help you at the press of a single button. You may also want to consider a fall alert button for seniors. It includes a fall detection sensor that can automatically call for help when it registers a fall. If you can’t talk to the emergency response agent for any reason, they will still send you assistance right away. Another mobile option to consider is the emergency alert wrist watch. This device looks like a normal wrist watch and can also track your steps and report the weather. This can be extra helpful when trying to meet your fitness goals.


Lifting light weights keeps your muscles strong while you burn calories to lose weight. Medical News Today reports that, “In general, weightlifting for 30 minutes can burn between 90 and 126 calories, depending on a person's body weight.” (3) While light weightlifting does not burn quite as many calories as cardio exercises, it does provide extra benefits such as reducing your chance of falling and your chance of injury by strengthening your body. Weightlifting is also a great indoor fitness activity for days when the weather is bad.

Gentle Stretching

If you prefer a calm fitness activity, gentle stretching may be the best option for you. You can clear your mind while you lose those extra pounds. According to Harvard Health, 30 minutes of stretching exercises can burn about 120 – 168 calories. (4) Similar to weightlifting, these exercises can reduce your risk of falling and injury as they improve your flexibility, balance, and circulatory health. You can follow a stretching routine on your television or computer from the comfort of your own home, or you can sign up for a public class.

You may find some peace of mind in wearing a communication device for seniors. If you plan on exercising in the comfort of your own home, the in-home emergency alarm button will likely meet your needs. On the other hand, if you plan on taking a public class, an Alert1 mobile personal alarm button or on-the-go emergency medical wrist watch may suit you best. You can also get a package that includes both medical alert pendants with built-in fall detection capabilities.

Reduce Calorie Intake

Eat Healthier Foods

Eating foods with empty calories increases your risk of developing weight-related health conditions. Choose nutrient-rich foods that provide your body with the energy it needs rather than consuming empty calories that get stored as fat. Some great foods choices include:

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Leafy Greens
  • Lean Meats
  • Salmon
  • Tuna
  • Whole eggs
  • Whole Grains
  • Soup (not cream-based)
  • Nuts

Including these foods in your meals will improve your overall senior health and wellness, help you maintain your weight, and give you the energy you need to power through the next set of holidays.

Eat Smaller Portions

While the holidays are a great time to splurge and enjoy yourself, you may want to consider reducing your portions. When you limit excess calories, you will make more progress with your weight goals.

It is important to note that you should not go overboard with reducing your portions. Your body still needs enough fuel to help you perform daily tasks and continue to exercise. Drastically reducing your portions or not eating at all can lead to other health problems. You may find it helpful to consult a senior health and nutrition counselor to formulate the best diet and exercise routine for your personal goals and needs.

Limit Desserts

Eating too many desserts or sugar-laden sweets is a common cause of weight gain and obesity. While it is okay to enjoy holiday treats every now and then, you should try to limit your dessert frequency and portion sizes. It’s obviously not ideal for our waistlines or our general health and wellness to consume excess calories, fat, and sugar. You can also try choosing healthier desserts such as:

  • Fruit
  • Baked apples with cinnamon
  • Toasted nuts
  • Oatmeal bars
  • Frozen yogurt (non-fat, low sugar)

Drink More Water

Drinking more water can help with your weight-loss goals in multiple ways. Medical News Today lists six: (5)

  • Suppresses appetite
  • Increases calorie burning
  • Helps burn fat
  • Aids in removing waste from the body
  • Aids in body movement and joint function during exercise
  • Zero calorie intake compared to other drinks

As a rule of thumb, it is a good idea to shoot for about eight (8 oz) glasses of water per day. However, weight, gender, and activity levels can affect these commonly recommended levels. If you are overweight, male, or exercise often, you may want to increase your water intake by a glass or two.

Why Seniors Need to Watch Their Weight

Watching your weight is important for everyone, but seniors need to be more vigilant in their weight management. Keeping your weight within healthy levels helps ward off other diseases and conditions such as:

  • Type 2 Diabetes – According to the Harvard Gazette, “Today, roughly 30% of overweight people have the disease, and 85% of diabetics are overweight.” (6) An increase in levels of fatty acids and inflammation can lead to insulin resistance. If this persists long enough, it can develop into Type 2 Diabetes.
  • High Blood Pressure – If you are obese, your body requires more blood to supply oxygen and nutrients. This can cause high blood pressure.
  • Heart Disease – High blood pressure is a common cause of heart attacks and other heart diseases. When obesity causes high blood pressure, it can also lead to heart disease.
  • Respiratory Disease – Excess fat can restrict your lungs’ ability to function. This can lead to respiratory diseases such as exertional dyspnea, asthma, sleep apnea, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and more.
  • Joint Problems and Arthritis – More weight can put extra pressure on your joints and damage them. The Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons explains, “Every pound of body weight places four to six pounds of pressure on each knee joint. Individuals with obesity are 20 times more likely to need a knee replacement than those who are not overweight.” (7)
  • Skin Conditions – Common side effects of obesity such as water retention, changes in hormones, high blood pressure, and blocked sebaceous channels can lead to various skin conditions. Some common skin conditions include acne, stretch marks, rashes, dryness, and delayed healing.
  • Some Cancers – Obesity can change your body in a variety of ways. These changes can lead to some cancers. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists 13: (8)
    • Adenocarcinoma of the esophagus
    • Breast (in women who have gone through menopause)
    • Colon and rectum
    • Uterus
    • Gallbladder
    • Upper stomach
    • Kidneys
    • Liver
    • Ovaries
    • Pancreas
    • Thyroid
    • Meningioma (a type of brain cancer)
    • Multiple myeloma

Assistive technology devices for the elderly aren’t just for falls, you can call for any emergency you may encounter. Whether you feel like you are having a heart attack, are having trouble breathing or start to experience joint problems, emergency medical alerts are a dependable solution. Emergency response agents are available to you 24/7/365. These agents will help keep you calm and stay on the line until your loved one or a medical professional arrives.

Get Motivated

Once you know what type of weight-loss methods you want to use, you can create a plan to shed those pesky holiday pounds. Every person is different, so some weight-loss solutions may work better for you than others.

The best way to get started is to hold yourself accountable. Figure out what motivates you and be consistent. You can try creating a chart to visually track your progress, exercising with a loved one for support, or rewarding yourself with a non-food treat for every few pounds that you lose. Consistency is also key to losing weight and keeping it off. Holiday feasts can be enjoyed, in moderation. As always, please consult with your medical doctor before commencing any new diet or exercise plan.




1 Eat This, Not That! staff. Nov. 2020. Holiday/ Thanksgiving. Eat This, Not That! How Much Weight Could You Actually Gain on Thanksgiving?

2 Mateo, Ashley. Nov. 2021. Nutrition and Weight Loss. Runner’s World. How Many Calories Are Burned Walking vs. Running?

3 D’Souza, Gillian. May. 2021. Newsletter. Medical News Today. Should You Do Cardio or Lift Weights?

4 Harvard Health Publishing staff. March. 2021. Diet & Weight Loss. Harvard Health Publishing. Calories Burned in 30 Minutes for People of Three Different Weights.

5 Huizen, Jennifer. June. 2018. Newsletter. Medical News Today. Can Water Help You Lose Weight?

6 Powell, Alvin. March. 2012. Health & Medicine. The Harvard Gazette. Obesity? Diabetes? We’ve Been Set Up.

7 American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons staff. March. 2015. Position Statement. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. The Impact of Obesity on Bone and Joint Health.

8 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention staff. n.d. Cancer. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Obesity and Cancer.