If it seems like it’s getting harder and harder to take off pounds as each year passes, it’s not your imagination. It really is harder to lose those extra pounds as we age. But, don’t beat yourself up too much about it, there are some legitimate reasons that you may not have thought of as to why this is the case.
You’re not sleeping enough
Sleep is a funny thing. Getting enough of it won’t help you lose weight, but not getting enough will prevent it from coming off. As we age, sleep becomes more elusive, with physical ailments, hormone changes, and certain medications as just some of the causes. Getting adequate sleep is essential to the hormones leptin and ghrelin which are responsible for hunger and the feeling of satiety. So, when those hormones are out of balance, we tend to eat more and pack on pounds.
You’re actually hungrier
Don’t think you’re imagining things when you start to feel hungrier as you get older; it’s actually true. After the age of 40, estrogen levels drop and causes changes in the body, including factors that affect appetite. Plus, muscle mass also drops at this age. The combination of the two means increased calorie consumption and less calorie burning, which equals unwanted weight gain.
It’s unfortunate but true; your metabolism decreases with age. In fact, according to Dr. Oz, it slows down 5% every decade after age 40. Since metabolism is what’s responsible for converting calories to energy, so when it slows down, calories aren’t burned as efficiently or quickly. A good way to combat this problem is by eliminating 100 calories from your diet every day. The likelihood of hormone-based metabolic disorders increases as we age, so if you’re fearing a thyroid or other metabolic issue, see a doctor sooner rather than later.
Loss of muscle mass
Muscle weights more than mass so it seems counter-intuitive that losing muscle mass makes us gain weight, but it’s true. That’s because muscles help to burn calories. Since aging results in a drop in testosterone levels, it’s difficult to maintain an adequate amount of muscle mass. The decrease in muscle mass makes us burn calories more slowly and less efficiently, hence we gain weight. To combat this problem, we need to continue to exercise as we age. It’s particularly helpful to add some strength training to your exercise regimen to keep muscle mass from dropping too much.
Eating at the wrong times
When we eat is as important as what we eat. When we eat later in the evening, we are more likely to pack on pounds. However, if you eat a good breakfast, your metabolism will get a good kick-start in the morning. Eating breakfast is a sure way to keep some pounds off. Studies have shown that people who eat breakfast at least five days a week have an easier time losing weight and maintaining the weight loss than people who skip the first meal of the day in an effort to save calories.