Even if you have always worked out regularly, eaten a well-balanced diet and maintained an optimal weight and BMI—you may begin to struggle to maintain an optimal weight as you age. You might not notice it much at first. Maybe you gain 2 to 5 pounds one year which isn’t of much concern but multiply that 2 to 5 pounds over a 10 year period and the difference is substantial. Here are just a few reasons why it gets harder to maintain and lose weight as you age.
There are a variety of factors at play but hormones have a lot to do with the weight that slowly creeps on—or why it is more challenging to lose weight than it used to be. Research shows that glucose and insulin production begin to shift as early as 25 years old. With this shift comes a gradual decrease in the rate at which you metabolize your food, and therefore burn calories. With a 2 to 4 percent decline each year weight can slowly begin to creep on. This means you may need to tweak your diet to eat more metabolism-boosting foods.
If you notice that it takes significantly longer to fall asleep than it used to your body may not be producing an adequate amount of the sleep hormone melatonin. Since sleep is an often forgotten factor to healthy living your lack of sleep could be affecting your weight—and more. In addition, you may simply require more sleep to thrive than you did 10 or 20 years ago. An increase in stress or anxiety could also be negatively impacting your sleep.
Growth hormone is something that our body produces until about the age of 30. It is responsible for helping us grow into strong and healthy adults. Once we hit 30 we have no more growth to achieve so our body naturally begins to produce less. The reason this is essential is that with the decrease in growth hormone comes an average loss of half a pound of muscle mass each year. It might not sound like much, but over time this adds up. While exercise is only about 10 percent of the weight loss equation, to get the full 10 percent you will need to increase your strength training. As an added bonus this will help to boost your metabolism.
While it may not feel like you have made any major lifestyle changes in the last few years, odds are there are a few that have gradually shifted somewhere along the way. Maybe you work a desk job when you once used to spend more time on your feet. With your family’s busy schedule you may be eating dinner far later in the day than usual. Due to injury, interest or availability you may have abandoned a calorie-burning extracurricular activity. You may have far more stress in your life than you did 10 years ago. These are all changes that can lead to weight gain and all changes that once identified can be adjusted.
Understanding the contributing factors to gradual weight gain is essential to making the changes required to counteract these factors. The good news is, by refining your nutrition, workouts, and lifestyle to support the natural aging process you can get back to your goal weight. Since nutrition is 90 percent of this equation it’s the most important change you can make. Reach out to PNC today to learn more about the benefits of personalized nutrition!