As the birthdays go by, it can be a struggle to keep the weight off like you used to.

How many times in your 20’s did you go out all weekend and not gain a pound?

But now you seem to gain weight just looking at a bar of chocolate.

It can start to be a struggle even just to maintain your weight, nevermind lose some as well.

Well, there is some science behind why this is…

...it’s because you’re getting older.

So how is weight gain related to ageing?

Muscle Loss

One of the main factors in why you gain weight more easily and struggle to lose it is muscle loss.

As you age, your body naturally starts breaking down your muscle (if it remains mainly unused) so you end up with a lower muscle mass.

The problem with that is muscle burns more calories and so, the more of it you have, the more calories you burn.

That means you don’t need to consume as many calories every day because your body is not burning as many.

So if your diet stays the same, but you’re burning fewer calories, you are going to be eating more than you need which eventually leads to weight gain.

Lifestyle

As your getting older your lifestyle changes.

Often it’s not just you that you have to work around anymore.

What with your kids, pets, family, work and everything else that is going on, the amount of time you used to have to go to the gym and be active has now dramatically changed.

Generally, when growing up you end up with more and more on your plate, so staying active and going to the gym regularly starts to take a backseat as other things come up.

And since you’re less active you aren’t burning as many calories, so the weight starts to creep on little by little.

Also with work and everything else going on, you are likely to have higher stress levels which isn’t going to do you any good for your waistline.

Change in your hormones

Hormones in both men and women start to change as you get older and can be one of the reasons for the dreaded middle-aged spread.

These changing hormones often mean it’s easier to gain weight and put on fat around the mid-section.

They also play a big part in your mood, so if they are making you feel unhappy or down, you might use food to make you feel better.

Hormones making you eat more and store fat more easily is not a good combination.

Your metabolism is slower

Yes losing muscle reduces the number of calories you burn.

However, our metabolisms are affected too and they get slowed down as well.

As you get older, you naturally become less active and so burn fewer calories.

Pair this with stress, you may have trouble sleeping and not drinking enough, and your body won’t be working at it’s best and so, won’t be burning as many calories as it could be.

To speed up your metabolism you should try to:

  • Drink more water

  • Get enough (good quality) sleep

  • Build/ maintain muscle mass

What can you do to stop all this?

It may seem that there are a lot of things going against you and your weight as you get older.

However, this isn’t an excuse to give up and let your weight spiral out of control.

Weight loss after 40 doesn’t have to be impossible.

So what can you do?

Exercise

If your muscles slowly waste away as you get older meaning your burning fewer calories, why not stop it and even reverse it?

It means you could boost your metabolism and start burning more calories again.

Plus the extra activity will help you burn more fat and improve your health.

Exercise will also help with your stress levels.

More exercise has been shown to reduce stress levels, which will help you get better sleep and generally help your body work better.

That means it will start burning more calories again, so the weight will be easier to lose or just maintain.

Eat different food

Since your body is now burning fewer calories than it used to, you are going to have to eat fewer calories too.

However, that doesn’t have to mean you eat less food.

Improving the quality of what you eat will naturally mean you consume fewer calories.

Try eating more vegetables, which will replace the other, more calorific, sides you may be having and will easily reduce the calories you’ll consume.

That way, even if you are burning fewer calories than you did a few years ago, you’ll be matching it with what you eat.

That should minimise any weight gain as you won’t be eating more calories than you burn.

Weight loss harder when older

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