When hitting the 40s and 50s, most adults tend to lose muscle mass and put on weight. Why is that? Well there are a few reasons that contribute including stress, hormones, overeating, and lack of physical activity. HOWEVER, hormones only contribute to about 2-5% of weight gain in midlife (Shucks). So what are the real reasons and how can I prevent this from happening? Two words: Exercise and CaloriesJ
Here are some fascinating statistics and problem solving tips:
- Metabolism decreases 10% during every decade after your teens – This statement means that as we age the calories our bodies burn everyday decreases, therefore we need to eat less! We are surrounded by enormous portions everywhere we go, and the reality of what is actually a portion size is long forgotten. So yes, take out that scale, measuring cups, etc. You will not have to use them forever, just long enough to review how much you are eating versus how much you actually need. You may be quite shocked! Also, stop buying the junk food. If you don’t have it, you can’t eat it (out of sight, out of mind). Pack healthy snacks with you in your car, purse, at the office etc. It’s quite hard to find a variety of healthy options in vending machines.
- The average person gains 10-15 lb between the ages of 30-40!!!! – Exercise is extremely important as we get older. Drop the excuses, and make time for yourself. You must take care of you and your body in order to take care of your family. Try and aim for at least 5 days per week. You will feel so much better!
- As we get older, we lose ½ lb muscles mass and gain ½ lb of fat each year – You have got to lift weights! Aim for strength training 2-3 times a week. Weights are great for many reasons including not only looking better, but being stronger, more mobile and achieving better bone density.
- Cutting out 2-3 cans of soda a day can result in 1 lb weight loss per week – Try and cut out 250-500 calories per day. A can of soda has 180 calories and almost ¼ cup sugar!!! Examine your eating habits and I bet you can find easy fixes to cut of those excess calories.
Estelle L. Benoit, RD, LDN