You’re eating the same kind of foods, eating about the same amount of food, and exercising about the same amount you always have – but suddenly, you notice that it’s harder to keep the weight off or to lose those few extra pounds. You tell yourself that nothing much has changed — except you’re a bit older. Starting in our early 40s, our bodies go through a series of changes that affect the very core of our being.
Thanks to hormonal and other changes, the very growth rate of our cells slows down. Some of these changes are the result of the natural aging process. It’s just something we have to learn to work around. Sometimes, though, something’s gotten off track, metabolically speaking, and there’s an underlying medical issue that needs to be dealt with before the usual weight-loss measures will have any effect. Here’s a ten-step plan for understanding the challenges that prevent weight loss over 40, and for learning how to overcome them.
1. Get to know your body’s new biological rhythms — and adjust to them.
In long-ago times, older didn’t necessarily mean plumper. But today, those of us over 40 face a twofold challenge: We’re living longer, and we’re no longer out there doing physical labor.
When it comes to burning calories, it’s a fairly simple equation. What goes in must be burned off, or it sticks to our ribs. Acquiring weight is absurdly easy — eating just 100 extra calories a day (100 more than what your body burns) will lead to a nine- to ten-pound weight gain over the course of a year, experts say. How much is 100 calories? Not a lot: A can of Coke contains 155 calories, a chocolate bar more than 200. Of course, that cola or chocolate chip cookie is no problem if we’re walking or running it off. But after 40, our activity level tends to decline…
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