Is it harder to lose weight as we get older?
As we get older, our bodies change. Unfortunately, for many, this makes it difficult to lose weight. Those at a high weight lose it less easily than they would have in their 20s. So, what exactly slows down the body’s ability to lose weight and stay at a healthy weight as it ages? There are several factors involved in this answer.
Slower Metabolism As We Age
The first is that, as the body ages, it has a slower metabolism. In fact, metabolism slows at a rate of about 5-8% per decade. Weight gain in previous years can affect your metabolism, even if you are able to lose that weight. You will need to consume fewer calories per day than those who have not experienced a dramatic weight gain and weight loss. After you hit 50, each calorie counts. If you keep eating like you did at 25, your body won’t be able to metabolize the nutrients like it did at that age, and this, of course, can make it difficult to lose weight.
Declining Levels of Sex Hormones As We Age
In addition to your metabolism slowing down as your body ages, your sex hormone levels decrease. Women might find themselves gaining about a pound each year during peri-menopause and menopause. Your body’s changing hormone levels impact your appetite and energy levels. This is when we tend to become more sedentary since we simply do not feel like we have enough energy to get sufficient exercise. Ghrelin (a hormone secreted in the stomach) increases when we don’t get enough sleep, skip meals, or become dehydrated, which can cause us to feel more hungry.
How to Speed Up Your Metabolism
So, how can you counteract that pesky hormonal hunger and keep your body’s metabolic rate at an ideal level? If you are in your 50’s or are a woman who will be starting menopause soon, consider cutting about 200 calories out of your current daily intake. Additionally, you will want to monitor your eating and exercising habits so that you keep your ghrelin level within an ideal range. You can do this by eating within an hour of waking up, not skipping meals, and staying well hydrated.
Hitting middle-age is not a death sentence, although it can sometimes feel like it when you cannot lose weight. There is hope for good health as your body ages though. Keeping your ghrelin levels in check by eating appropriately and getting sufficient exercise can make a huge difference for many people. If you are concerned about your inability to lose weight, talk to your doctor or physician to find out how to proceed with crafting the right diet and exercise routine.