You’ve probably noticed that the pounds come on easier – and harder to lose – as the years go by. Indeed, the situation is changing: the hormones, as well as the metabolism, the rate of movement and the process of preserving fat in the body.
Even if you still feel like you’re in your 30s, there’s no denying that physiological forces are at work behind the scenes, especially when it comes to losing weight.
Take metabolism, as an example. It experiences a slowdown of about 1 to 2% every ten years, due to the decline in muscle mass and the increase in fat. Muscles expend calories while fats are metabolically inactive, so we see a slight increase in weight, without eating more.
That doesn’t mean you have to wave the white flag of renunciation. Instead, consider these small, doable tweaks:
You don’t have to join a gym full of muscular athletes to enjoy the benefits of bodybuilding. However, it would be wise to gain weights and dumbbells, since you also lose muscle mass after 50 years. If you are physically inactive, this decrease can amount to as much as 3% to 5% per decade. A good strength training program can help boost not only your metabolism, but also your strength and function.
Include plenty of fruits and vegetables in your diet.
Eating fruits and vegetables provides essential nutrients and fills you up using less fat and calories compared to other foods. Be sure to incorporate them into every meal and fill half your plate with a varied side dish rich in vitamins and proteins. Plus, they even satisfy cravings for sweets (berries, watermelon, etc.) while providing far fewer calories (and guilt) than cookies.
Don’t forget breakfast.
Growing up, were you always told that breakfast was the main meal of the day? This is still the case, for many other reasons now that you are fully mature: By eating good meals in the morning, you give a good rhythm to your day and you reduce the risk of overeating later. Also, it helps maintain healthy blood sugar levels and boost your energy.
Choose good food.
Try to find ways to avoid unnecessary fat and calories, including barbecuing, baking, and roasting instead of stir-frying or frying. Remember that olive oil and other oils may be healthy, but they are definitely not low in calories: one teaspoon provides about 120 calories, use in moderation.
Practice an adequate sports discipline.
With age, our joints become more and more susceptible to wear and tear. Consider replacing some heavy exercises with lighter exercises that are gentler on the body. For example, walk on the treadmill instead of running, or alternate between the two. It is better to be realistic about your abilities than to give up exercise altogether because of pain or injury.
Control your stress.
Permanent stress can lead to fat. The result of a new study when researchers relied on people suffering from permanent stress whose reasons remain multiple. They revealed that these subjects experienced a significant increase in cortisol levels, released into the blood during times of stress, also had a larger waist circumference and a higher body mass index.
Make sure you get enough sleep.
The hunger regulating hormones ghrelin and leptin are solely responsible for weight gain. These hormones usually kick in when it comes to an imbalance stemming from lack of sleep. That’s why you have to make sure you give your body time to rest and regain its energy. A duration equivalent to 7 hours of sleep for men and 8 hours of sleep for women could be of great added value to the functioning of your body.