If you’re like many middle-aged Americans, you may become frustrated every time you step on the scale. You think back to your younger self and how easy it seemed to maintain the figure you wanted, or how a few weeks of diet and exercise was all you needed to lose those last 5 pounds before a beach vacation or special event. But now, a few decades, a sedentary job, and a hectic family life later, you need a bit more than just a quick slim-down to get back in shape. Why is it so much harder to lose weight as we age?
No, It’s Not a Myth
The challenge to lose weight in your 40s and 50s isn’t all in your head; it’s in your hormones. For women, a natural decline in estrogen production, associated with menopause, is the culprit. Testosterone is the major hormone that decreases in men, leading to lower energy, muscle mass and strength. Men and women experience a dip in adrenal and thyroid hormones as well as decreased production of hormones related to metabolism. Both genders can attribute an increase in belly fat to these hormonal changes.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. Aside from the lifestyle changes we’ll outline below, many middle-aged men and women are good candidates to add a Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) routine to their anti-aging efforts. HRT treatments such as the BioTE® bio-identical hormone pellet therapy deliver a consistent dose of estrogen and/or testosterone to help you regain energy, increase muscle strength, and tip the scales in your favor for weight loss.
We begin to lose muscle mass as early as our 30s. Studies show that up to 1% of lean muscle mass deteriorates each year! As the body’s muscle decreases, so does its ability to torch calories, since muscle burns calories faster than fat. Further, lack of muscle makes our aging bodies more susceptible to disease, weight gain, and falling. This percentage is higher in those who are physically inactive, making it even more critical to stay in shape.
How to Fight It
The good news? We can prevent the accumulation of fat and weight gain as we age by being more mindful of our lifestyle choices. Set yourself up to lose weight (and become happier and healthier!) with these simple tips:
- Reduce stress. The hormone released by stress, cortisol, later becomes stored as fat in the body. Combat this by living as stress-free as possible. Learn your stress triggers and find ways to reduce or avoid them, or practice techniques to alleviate stress, such as meditation, yoga, and other forms of regular exercise.
- Get moving! It’s understandable that after a daily commute, long day of work, and running a full household, exercise is the last thing on your mind. But repeated studies have shown that exercising 30 minutes a day, 5 times a week, maintains cardiovascular health and can contribute to maintaining a healthy weight.
- Add weights to your workout. Actively resist the inevitable loss of muscle mass. Aside from regular cardiovascular exercise, add weight training into your fitness regimen. Little by little, work to gain muscle, increase balance, and prevent other aging ailments like osteoporosis by conducting strength training a few times each week.
- Select a nutrition plan that works for you. Crash dieting isn’t going to produce the results you want the way it did when you were in your 20s. It requires an overhaul of the way you think about food and fuel your body. It’s essential to give your body the nutrition it needs. The Ideal Protein protocol is a great way to get started with a nutritional lifestyle change. The meal replacements, beverages, and snacks, along with dedicated teaching and support from health coaches to help you make the right choices in your everyday eating, help you lose weight and keep it off.
- Stay hydrated. Drinking water is a secret weapon against weight loss. We’re more prone to dehydration as we age, which means it’s especially important to drink enough water each day. Drinking a glass or two of water before a meal helps us feel fuller faster, consume less calories, and aids in digestion. Reaching for a bottle of water when we think we’re hungry may also prevent snack binges when cravings or boredom strike.
While the natural changes you experience in your 40s and 50s may initially seem disheartening, remember—it’s the only body you have! By taking care of your body through a healthy lifestyle, you can gain control of your aging, help reduce weight gain, and make the most of your bright future.
If you’d like to learn more about the Ideal Protein protocol anti-aging treatments available at Plantation Wellness Center, the premier weight loss center in South Florida, contact us today.