Does it seem like you aren't getting the workout-related results you used to get now that you're aging? Does your waistline look wider despite going as hard as you did in your twenties? You're not alone.
We all would like to grow old and live life to the full, but aging comes with its downsides, and the difficulty of losing weight is one of them. Perhaps, you never had a problem burning off excess fat when you were younger. All you had to do was cut down your calorie intake and hit the gym, and voila! Those rock-hard packs and biceps come popping off. Now, it just seems your body is working so hard to frustrate you.
Well, it may give you a sigh of relief to know that it's all natural. Difficulty in losing weight is a natural -- however undesirable -- sign of aging. In fact, the average person will gain 1-2 lbs yearly as they age.
But why is that? What is the reason behind your difficulty in losing weight now that you're older?
Your hormone levels are falling
Hormones regulate almost every process in the human body. From how happy you are to how hungry or sleepy you feel, it's all your hormones. Certain hormones such as estrogen and testosterone contribute to muscle building and fat burn.
For women, estrogen levels drop as the body prepares to enter menopause. This drop in estrogen allows extra fat to be stored in the abdomen. In short, the prime place where older women store fat is in their bellies. Sadly, belly fat is not only unsightly but increases one's risks of type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and cardiovascular diseases.
In men, age comes with a drop in testosterone. Low T levels result in difficulty in losing weight, loss in muscle mass, and decreased libido, among others. None of this is desirable. However, you can supplement your dwindling hormones through estrogen or testosterone replacement therapy (TRT). These days, telemedicine makes obtaining online TRT easy.
Growth hormone (GH) also declines with age, leading to a lower metabolism (slower calorie burn), ultimately leading to more fat and less muscle mass.
By replenishing these dwindling hormones, losing weight can become almost as easy as when you were younger when those hormones were present.
Age-related muscle loss
The human body loses about 3-8% of muscle mass every decade after age 30, a natural process known as sarcopenia.
But why does it matter?
When you were younger and fit, your lean muscle made up the bulk of your entire weight. Now, lean muscle consumes more calories than fat.
As your muscles begin to break down and disappear, it means fewer calories will be burnt. So unless you're doing more exercise now, you'll gain weight if you continue eating the same number of calories as when you were younger.
Again, this natural process can be checked by getting TRT, which can help reduce natural muscle loss.
You're now more sedentary
Staying inactive as you age will further promote weight gain and muscle loss. And that is precisely what happens to most older adults.
As we age, our body subtly tells us we need to take things easy and rest our weary joints. We become slower and less physically active, leaving the hard work to the younger generation. We become confined to our homes. But that's doing ourselves in..
On the other hand, most people in their 40s and 50s are at the peak of their careers; some become business executives who sit behind a desk for hours on end. Sitting for long hours is detrimental to your health and a precursor to weight gain. Furthermore, you may get too busy that you do not find time to cook a healthy meal. What do you turn to? Sugary snacks!
Staying active does wonders to our bodies regardless of age. So whether you're 20, 40, or 60, do not give in to a sedentary lifestyle if you have a phobia of weight gain.
Your metabolism is now slow
Older adults tend to have slower metabolic rates than the younger generation. This means that your body starts burning fewer calories per time. So if you continue to eat the same amount of food as you've always done, fatty tissue will come knocking.
Knowing your reduced metabolic rate, it's time to downsize your portion. However, ensure you're not cutting down excessively on essential nutrients like protein and vitamins. Besides, it would be best if you were getting more of those to promote muscle gain, vitality, and healthy skin through antioxidant-rich foods.
Now that you know why it's been difficult to lose weight and what to do, it's time to take action. Whether it's by getting more active, getting TRT, or downsizing your portion, looking fit will help you feel better and more youthful even as you age.