The Challenge of Losing Weight After 40
One common theme I hear in my medical weight loss practice is woman telling me they have a much harder time losing weight after age 40! I see it almost daily! Well, there is some truth to it! Once we reach a certain age, we do have to practice more mindfulness.
MUSCLE MASS BEGINS TO DECLINE
After age 30, we begin to lose lean mass at a rate of 3% to 5% per decade. Remember, muscle is your metabolic engine. The more muscle you have, the better caloric burner you are. When we begin to slowly lose muscle mass over time, we also decrease our caloric needs and therefore need to be mindful of how we eat.
However, even worse than the potential weight gain we we age is the loss of physical strength and stamina that comes with losing lean mass. As this happens, we may notice joints getting lax, bones losing density and suddenly you may struggle to lift things or even climb stairs. Losing muscle can truly impact your quality of life.
You can do something about this. I suggest exercise daily. It does not have to be a crazy amount of time. Even 12 minutes daily of gentle weights or even a combination of body weight exercises such as lunges, squats, sit ups and push ups can bring your fitness and metabolism to a whole new level. The old saying “use it or lose it” rings true here.
Hormones Begin Changing
Hormones also begin to shift in the mid-30’s. In the mid-30’s we begin to see testosterone decrease in females and this will contribute to a loss of lean mass. Then, estrogen begins to decline. A decline in estrogen and testosterone can create changes in mood, energy, appetite and physiology of muscle building and fat storage.
Lower estrogen levels also causes a change in the way the body stores fat. Many of my peri-menopausal patients begin to notice that they start to carry less weight in the thighs, hips, and butt, and more in the abdomen. No one is a fan of this change!
In the peri-menopausal and menopausal years, we find hormone optimization to be an amazing benefit to so many women. To learn about how we approach bio-identical hormone optimization at The Natural Path using low dose Testosterone pellet therapy, click here! We also help our patients to balance hormones by reducing stress, getting enough sleep, eating lots of leafy greens, while simultaneously reducing consumption of caffeine, alcohol, and red meat. If you feel that the hormonal shifts you are experiencing are out of the ordinary, talk to your doctor about hormone testing and potential hormone optimization therapy.
Metabolic Decline After 40
I never wanted to believe it … but, there IS a metabolic decline that happens over 40! You can try to fight it … but, it is normal! It happens to us all. The best thing you can do is accept it, eat clean, exercise and take the best care you can of your one and only body! Most people also notice a decrease in appetite as they age to accommodate the naturally lowering metabolism.
We also live in a world where food is readily at our finger tips and with the natural addictive potential of our human brain — we could be in a recipe for disaster! The best we can do is eat really clean, dial into a resistance training routine and love and accept your beautiful, aging body.
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