For many of us, managing our weight is a struggle that seems to have no beginning and no end. It’s never easy to put down the pastry, and exercise is difficult by its very nature.
As we age, the struggle to lose or maintain weight may feel even more difficult. Is that a product of getting older, or is it all in the mind? Unfortunately, the answer is both.
Between the ages of 29 and 39, men and women typically put on weight as their body’s metabolisms slow down, and losing that weight becomes more difficult. But why? More importantly, is there any way to combat weight gain as we get older?
Why We Gain Weight as We Age
When we enter our thirties, we start losing muscle mass with each passing decade. Even if we exercise regularly, our muscle begins to be replaced with fat.
Muscles are the primary way that we burn calories and, therefore, lose fat. With less muscle, we are burning less calories and preserving more fat. Fat requires very few calories to exist. That means our metabolism is less potent with age.
In addition to losing muscle as we age, we also face other hormonal changes that make losing weight harder than it was when we were younger.
Around the time of menopause, women experience a loss in estrogen that often leads to an average of 15 pounds of weight gain. Men, on the other hand, experience a drop in testosterone levels that further diminishes muscle mass.
Lifestyle Changes Affect Weight Loss
On the other side of our age-based weight gain is the way that our lifestyles change as we get older.
As we have children and face greater demands from our careers, our free time becomes more limited and we participate in less activities outside of our obligations. That means we’re spending less time exercising and we’re burning less calories.
On top of getting less activity, we also have less time for making healthy meals and generally more money to spend on going out to eat at restaurants. Our diets can easily become less healthy and fats, sugars, and grease take their toll on our bodies.
While we age, sometimes our bodies acquire new aches and pains that make it more difficult to get exercise, and we spend more time being stationary. This allows muscles to decline even faster and weight loss becomes all that much more difficult.
What Can We Do About It?
While we can’t stop our bodies from aging, there are steps we can take to compensate for the changes that our bodies experience.
One step is to begin planning and cooking our meals. Plan meals for several days at a time, and be sure to include a healthy distribution of proteins and vegetables. Make large healthy meals that will last more than one day so you can refrigerate the leftovers and have something prepared to eat the following day.
While fast foods are convenient, they are often lacking in nutrients and very high in calories. Restaurants are usually focused on providing the best tasting food possible in large portions rather than healthy and nutritious foods. Cooking our own meals allows us to control exactly what we’re eating.
Lifting weights and doing weight-bearing exercises will help us build and maintain muscle to compensate for the muscle mass we lose through aging. By building muscle, we enable our bodies to burn more calories and make losing weight as easy as possible.
Lastly, be sure to monitor caloric intake. By keeping track of the calories that we’re putting into our bodies, we’re able to lessen excess calories and slow weight gain through our diet.
Maintaining a healthy weight is a great way to both look and feel younger. For all your other aesthetic services needs, get in touch with our experts at Starks. We have a team of specialists capable of answering all of your aging-related questions and more.
Starks currently provides age management solutions in clinics located in France and Italy. Please click below to read this article in one of these languages.