Are you having more trouble losing weight these days? Maybe you're having to put more effort into your diet than ever before, or you never struggled with maintaining a preferred weight but now the struggle is real.
There could be a very simple - and scientific - reason why this is happening: The older we get, the less our bodies respond to our efforts for losing or maintaining weight.
Even more disheartening is that it's common to gain 1 or 2 pounds every year starting in your twenties. Those pounds can add up over the years!
Of course, that doesn't mean you're guaranteed to be overweight as you age, but it certainly plays a factor.
Is there anything you can do to stop this? Yes! In fact, we have 5 helpful tips for keeping the weight off as you age.
Before we start teaching you how to keep the weight off with age, let’s discuss why it’s so difficult to lose weight in the first place. Our bodies change significantly as we get older, which means old tricks might not work like they used to:
The loss of muscle mass as we age, which is formally known as sarcopenia, is natural and begins around age 30. It's common to lose about at least 3 percent of lean muscle each year, though it's possible to lose as much as 8 percent.
Age-related health conditions - like arthritis - and injuries or surgeries that accumulate over the years can also contribute to our loss of muscle. Individually, these factors don't amount to much, but they combine to have an impact on your body over time.
You might be thinking, "Muscle weighs a lot. Why could we gain weight if we lose muscle mass?" Lean muscle requires more calories than fat. Unless you commit to exercises that build or at least maintain muscle, your body won't need as many calories on a daily basis. If you don't make changes to your diet as you lose muscle mass, weight gain is very common.
Another side effect of a decrease in muscle mass is a subsequent decrease in your metabolism. Metabolism is what converts the calories you consume into energy, so having less muscle and more fat will result in fewer calories being burned.
It's also common for people to become less active as they get older, which will also contribute to a slowed metabolism. Of course, age isn't the only determining factor for your metabolism. Your sex, body size, and any health conditions you may have can also play a part.
Women and men experience hormonal changes as they get older which can be a cause of weight gain. Women, obviously, experience menopause which drops estrogen levels and can result in some extra weight in the abdomen. It's primarily a shift in fat storage, but this shift may make any weight gain more obvious and can increase the risk of high cholesterol, heart disease, high blood pressure, and even type 2 diabetes.
Estrogen levels can also fluctuate in the years leading up to menopause. These fluctuations impact mood, which makes it more difficult for many women to maintain diet and exercise regimens.
For men, testosterone levels begin to decrease around age 40. Testosterone is most notably related to muscle mass and strength, but it also impacts fat distribution. The more a man's testosterone declines, the more trouble his body has burning calories.
It's easy to forget how much life in general can impact our bodies. Many people go through major lifestyle changes during their thirties - starting a family, for example. When you settle down, your values change and the way you spend your free time (if you have any) changes. Instead of making time for the gym, you may be spending time with your children.
You'll also have to find time for homework, play dates, and myriad other events and details that will demand your attention. When you don't have time to yourself, it's easy to let your diet and exercise habits fade into the background.
In addition to your (lack of) free time, time spent at work can also play a part in weight gain as you get older. Years of long commutes and sitting at desks can directly lead to extra weight. Plus, our work days are often too busy for a walk or exercise break. These busy days may also lead to poorer health choices, like grabbing something from the work vending machine or ordering some takeout.
With less free time and busy, long work days, higher stress levels are also common. It's believed that higher stress levels result in higher levels of the hormone ghrelin, which controls your hunger. That's why so many people fall victim to stress eating.
Although weight gain is common as you age, it doesn’t have to be that way. Here are five great tips for managing your weight even as your body makes it more difficult:
As we stated above, most of us don't consume fewer calories as we get older even though our bodies require fewer calories. Making a change to your diet is imperative to maintaining your health the older you get.
Start by decreasing your intake of sugar, fast food, and pretty much any processed foods. Instead, focus on adding healthy whole foods to your diet. Veggies, fruits, legumes, and nuts are all great choices. Whole foods that are high in fiber are great choices because they help you stay fuller longer. Centering your diet on whole foods makes it so much easier to control your caloric intake.
If you think getting more veggies and fiber in your diet will be a challenge, we have the perfect solutions!
Our Organic Pressed Greens are perfect for anyone who struggles to get enough vegetables on a daily basis. Each glass contains 20 organic superfoods and ingredients designed for optimal daily health. Don't settle for a greens juice that tastes like lawnmower clippings. Our Greens juice features delicious hints of real pineapple, apple, carrots, and citrus with no added sugar!
You can also try our Pineapple Chia Cleanse, which is full of 15 superfood fibers that combat bloating and keep food cravings under control. In addition to cutting your cravings, our Pineapple Chia Cleanse also acts as a daily mini-cleanse to gently remove waste and supports the healthy elimination of toxins.
It can be difficult to adjust as your body lowers its caloric needs. You may not be able to adjust overnight, but work on cutting 100 or 200 calories from your diet and make adjustments depending on how your body responds. This might seem like a relatively small change, but it can make all the difference.
Since stress and stress eating go hand-in-hand, finding ways to de-stress is important. You might feel like you simply don't have time, but even five minutes can make a difference. Whether you do short increments of meditations or sneak away for a yoga class or two, you'll notice the benefit.
Sleep is closely connected to ghrelin (hunger hormone) and cortisol (stress hormone) levels. When you get a good night's sleep, your ghrelin levels stay more balanced and your body produces less cortisol. Managing a proper sleep schedule can give you a lot more control over your hunger hormones and may be the key to keeping your weight down.
Believe it or not, it's common for people to confuse the sensations of thirst and hunger. Staying hydrated has several benefits, one of which is boosting your metabolism. Additionally, when you're properly hydrated, it's easier for your body to breakdown fat.