We all have noticed with age, losing weight becomes a challenge. Midlife Weight Gain is a concern for many. With age, our body undergoes a lot of changes. The critical factor that decides one’s weight gain rate is the basal metabolic rate, affecting how many calories we burn. It goes down with age and starts to dip around 40. Post that, the way our body burns calories or weight loss or gain rate will never be the same.
Insulin Resistance - With age and weight gain, the body begins to ignore the insulin. This hormone holds the key to regulating blood sugar levels in our body. As a result, blood sugar levels go up, and our cells wouldn’t absorb the blood sugar levels with insulin resistance. High blood sugar levels cause hunger pangs and food cravings, leading to weight gain and increasing the risk of Diabetes.
The key to avoiding this vicious cycle is to curb carb intake and include more fat and protein in our diet. Then, with the right amount of macronutrients and a controlled intake of carbs, our body won’t get a sugar crash.
Sticking to a healthy diet regimen can prevent blood sugar levels and keep us healthy against cancer or other diseases, including heart diseases.
Many relate hormone imbalance to women, but the truth is it affects everyone. How it affects is different, but both men and women see a shift in their hormone levels. Women generally begin to experience difficulty with weight loss when they hit or near 40. Around this time is when women fall into perimenopause followed by menopause, and it varies with every individual. They begin to gain weight, experience mood swings, and many changes happen in their body.
In men around the same age is when their testosterone levels begin to shift. They begin to gain weight around their waistline, chest and their calorie intake needs become considerably less. Also, their routine will change, and they might probably have a less active lifestyle comparatively. Their careers and personal life take a significant role, and their emotional and stress health will depend on how it affects them. Their muscle mass also begins to drop during this time.
Two hormones, namely leptin and gherkin, let us know when we’re full or hungry, respectively. But, unfortunately, these two hormones begin to fluctuate. In other words, with age, the receptors that govern these hormones start to fluctuate. So our body becomes resistant to them, and in turn, our hunger levels go up. So it’s not because our body requires those calories, but due to hormone changes, we’re hungry.
It’s good to keep a food diary to track our food intake and cravings or dietary habits. It helps get a handle on them and adjust our portion sizes or calorie intake accordingly. A track record of the food intake will also help determine the nutrient intake and what needs modification.
Over 40, both men and women experience a change in their sleeping patterns. However, women mostly find it hard to sleep and wake up feeling fresh even after a whole night’s nap. As for men, sleep apnea is a common problem.
Other contributing factors that affect sleep include hot flashes, night sweat, etc. All these mean we don’t wake up well-rested, and in turn, our calorie-burning capacity takes a hit. Wondering why? With fewer energy levels, there’s less energy for exercise or even our everyday functions. That means calorie burning will be lesser too.
It’s a good idea to have a set sleep routine and avoid using mobile phones or other electronics close to sleeping time. Listening to soothing music, having natural relaxing agents, avoiding caffeine or alcohol close to bedtime help get a good night’s sleep.
It’s a good idea to reinvent yourself and make changes according to your changing body requirements. Middle age is also an excellent time to work on our emotional and mental health, as many say stress affects weight levels considerably.
Find an exercise routine that works for you, and make it a point to stay physically active doing things you love.
Avoid skipping meals to lose weight or going on a drastic diet. Instead, concentrate on counting calories and portion sizes, eating a healthier and balanced diet and consult a physician to work out a nutritional regimen that works best for you.
Go for cardio activities over high-intensity workouts or strenuous exercises. For example, running is a good activity that does not require excessive preparation time, helps you experience the outdoors, improves your mental wellbeing and makes you a more confident person. In addition, it's the most enjoyable way to get in the physical workout.
Do not compromise on your sleeping time. Try to get 8 - 9 hours of undisturbed sleep.
Please work with your body clock, not against it. That’s really the key to fight midlife weight gain and keep those excess pounds off.
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