One big challenge men and women over 40 face is gradual weight gain.
This is pretty much what happened to a lady I met with recently. The creeping started as a pound here and there.
But before she knew it she was two stone heavier than she’d ever been and feeling like “whoa – who’s body is this!”
In today’s post I want to share the struggle she (let’s call her Sam) went through with gradual weight gain and what she could do differently to put a stop to it.
Now, Sam had recently turned 50. Always been relatively slim but recently noticed she’d been gaining weight, particularly around the middle.
At first the extra weight just made her clothes a little tighter.
But overtime it started to get her down.
She felt uncomfortable most days. And anxious because it felt like her body and weight gain had started to get out of control.
After all, she wasn’t doing anything differently food-wise. If anything she was eating less than ever.
And she’d even started walking more each day, like she’d done in the past to lose weight.
But her body wasn’t responding.
She knew that if things carried on the way they were going it was only going to get worse – and potentially start impacting her health – in the years to come.
What’s happening to Sam is not uncommon. In fact, every month I meet at least a couple of people who’re struggling with the same issues; Gradual weight gain that they cannot seem to shift.
So, let’s get into what’s happening in these cases that might make it harder to lose weight as we age.
And if gradual weight gain is happening to you, what you can do to reverse the upward trend.
3 things that are working against us as we age
Today we’re going to address #1 – muscle loss.
Past age thirty we start to lose muscle at a rate of around 1-2% each year.
With this muscle loss (also known as sarcopenia) our energy requirements reduce; we we need fewer calories to sustain us.
But as humans we’re creatures of habit.
So, in Sam’s case she was eating pretty much the same type of food and in similar amounts as she’d always done.
But the gradual muscle loss over the years had subtly reduced her requirement for these calories.
You can probably do the math on this;
As she kept putting the same amount of fuel in – without the machinery (muscle) to burn through that fuel – she was on a one way path to weight gain.
Muscle is the most metabolically active of all tissues. That means it’s responsible for burning up calories day in day out.
The more muscle we have, the more calories we burn. By simply adding 1kg of muscle we’ll burn an additional 50-100 calories each day.
So, one thing Sam could do to impact her metabolism (and weight) is increase her muscle mass.
How could Sam go about preserving and hopefully increasing the amount of muscle she has, rather than losing it?
One simple way is to get some resistance training in her life.
Resistance training (like lifting weights) is one of the safest and most effective methods for slowing the rate of muscle loss as we age.
The challenge presented by regularly stressing our muscles to the point of fatigue encourages the body to – at the very least- keep the muscle we have.
For Sam, doing resistance training on a weekly basis will help her keep the muscle she has and build some more. Which in turn will enhance the calorie burning potential of her body.
We can’t necessarily control all aspects of the ageing process. But one simple element we CAN control is whether or not we’re giving our body a reason to maintain the muscle we have.
A simple resistance training routine ticks the boxes for maintaining muscle, and even building more over time.
The net result is a faster metabolism that burns more calories. And most importantly – puts a stop to the insidious weight gain happening against our will.
If you’d like some support to get you going then we’d love to help.
Call on 07766 808 553 or click the button below to request a complimentary fitness consultation and let’s chat about you, your health and fitness goals and put together a step by step personal action plan to get you started.