Susan Welter, RDN
(As seen in the Sun City Independent and Surprise Today)
Is it harder to lose weight the older you are?
Although it’s possible to lose weight at any age, several factors make it harder to drop the pounds as we add years.
First, research shows that we begin losing muscle mass in our 30s. Muscles burn more calories than fat (about three times more), so less muscle translates to a slower metabolism, the means by which our bodies convert food into energy. When metabolism slows, it’s harder to burn calories. Compounding these effects are declining levels of the sex hormones estrogen and testosterone in women and men as we age. If we don’t cut back on calories, we start gaining body fat, especially in the mid-section.
Second, the older we are the more sedentary we become. The aches and pains common with aging can make it more challenging to stay physically active.
Fight back by eating healthier. Aim to trim about 100 calories a day from your food plan. It’s not as hard as it sounds. Replace creamy, high-calorie salad dressings with some balsamic vinegar. Choose low-fat or fat-free creamer in your coffee or tea. Switch from junk food to foods rich in fiber and protein. And, get physical. Activity can increase your metabolism and help burn more calories.
As fitness guru Richard Simmons once said, “Love yourself. Move your body. Watch your portions.”
Susan Welter is a registered dietitian nutritionist and certified diabetes educator at the Sun Health Center for Health & Wellbeing. For info, call 623-832-WELL or visit sunhealthwellbeing.org.
(Originally published April 25, 2017; last updated Jan. 12, 2019.)