Are you struggling with losing weight, or you have concluded that all your weight loss efforts are not yielding any fruits? There may be age-related changes that may be making it a monumental task to lose weight. Our bodies tend to respond less to weight loss as we grow older.
The average person will gain up to 1kg every year, and while this figure may seem insignificant, that could come to about 10 kg per decade. But if you eat healthily and exercise regularly, you can cut this weight gain by half or even more. However, not all individuals are predisposed to becoming overweight as there are bodyweight is highly influenced by their genes. Regardless of genetic makeup, most, if not all, will struggle to maintain or lose weight as they age.
Here are ways that age may be preventing you from losing weight.
You lose lean muscle
You naturally begin to lose lean muscles by 3 to 8 per cent per decade once you have clocked 30 years old. The process is called sarcopenia. Inactivity or less muscle activity due to age-related conditions can speed up the process of losing muscle. Age-related health conditions such as arthritis can significantly reduce activity. Although these conditions do not individually contribute to the decline, they can cumulatively.
Lean muscle mass matters because you need them to burn more calories than fat. So, consuming the same amount of calories as you did at a younger age will make you gain weight since you have lesser lean muscles to burn them.
Hormonal changes are part of ageing for both men and women. According to CDC data, the prime time for adding kilograms is at middle age. Hormonal changes are normal.
For most women, menopause occurs between the ages of 45 and 55 years old. And this is usually accompanied by a drop in estrogen. The decrease in the production of estrogen can cause an accumulation of fat around the belly. This fat accumulation makes the weight gain more obvious.
On the other hand, men begin to experience a drop in testosterone from 40 years at 1 to 2 per cent per year. Testosterone is related to muscle size, strength and distribution. And since there is a decline, muscle mass reduces, and the body cannot burn calories as it used to. If you do not reduce your calorie intake, your body will store the excess as fat.
When you are younger and still growing, your body requires more energy for various processes such as muscle development. But as you grow older, you become less active, and your rate of metabolism dwindles. However, age isn't the only factor at play; sex and body size are also factors to be considered. Health conditions may also play a key role.
Your stress levels increase, and you are more sedentary
Depending on the type of job, you are likely to be more stressed and sedentary when you are 40 years old. There is so much at stake in your career that your stress levels may increase, and worse if you do not follow a healthy lifestyle.
An increase in stress levels can force the production of ghrelin, a hormone that is also called the "hunger hormone". This hormone will make you eat more, and as a result, you gain more weight.
Strategies that can help
If you are trying to lose weight while ageing, then try these strategies.
- Focus on reducing your portion size: Learning to adjust your diet to reduce calorie intake is one of the best ways to fight weight gain.
- Eat healthy foods only: increasing certain nutrients in your diet can help you maintain a healthy weight as you age. Eat lots of fibre, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and beans.
- Workout often- : Although you may be in your 40s or 50s, you can still engage in strength training. You will give your body a fighting chance to rebuild lost muscles due to ageing. You want to maintain your muscle mass as much as possible as you age, as you will be able to burn more calories.
- Engage in activities that make you move: There is no health benefit from sitting for hours behind your desk. Take some time to move around your office. Better still, incorporate walking, jogging, or swimming as part of your daily routine.
- Get quality sleep :You need sleep to rest your organs and to wake up feeling re-energised. 6 to 7 hours of sleep is sufficient to give your body enough rest.
- Use a fat burner: Using a fat burner alongside a good exercise and diet plan, will help you lose fat sooner and more than you expect.
Ageing is just one of those things in life that are beyond our control but do not be discouraged if you are trying to lose weight. With a healthy diet, quality exercise and sleep, you will maintain good health and achieve your desired weight goals.