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New Tricks For Fitness Excuses

If you're trying to lose weight, don't let age stand in your way. In her second week of the monthlong series, The Great American Weight Loss, CBS News Health Correspondent Dr. Emily Senay explains how to stay fit at any age.

If you're over 50, you probably think that nature dictated that you'll gain weight and there is nothing you can do about it.

The Excuse of the Day: I'm never going to be thin because I'm older.

This is one of the most common excuses. However, being "thin" or "skinny" should never be the goal of someone trying to lose weight.

"Thin is a four-letter word," says Dr. Pamela Peeke, a nutrition and metabolism specialist who is also an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Maryland. "The real goal always has to be fitness and health."

Although it's true that as people get older, their metabolism slows down, Peeke says that staying active can cut down the physical effects of aging. Many women incorrectly believe that menopause triggers weight gain. In fact, many people eat the same amount of food they once did, but are not as active as they once were.

Peeke gives examples of two 50-year-old men:

  • A moderately active 50-year-old man consumes 2,000 calories a day. He burns 1,940 calories a day, leaving 60 unused calories. What's left over is 6 1/2 extra pounds a year.
  • A 50-year-old couch potato consumes the same amount of calories, but doesn't exercise. He burns 1,800 calories a day, and keeps 200. He accrues 73,000 extra calories a year, which adds up to 21 pounds.

"A simple thing like walking can chew up those 200 extra calories and keep you even," Peeke says.

The Great American Weight Loss Tip of the Day is: Don't focus on words like "skinny" or "thin." Focus on "healthiest" and "fittest."

If you focus on those words, you can lose weight at any age.

People who want to maintain a healthy weight don't have to run a marathon or even go to a gym, Peeke says. Walking shoes are all the equipment needed to keep in shape.

Reported by Dr. Emily Senay

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