You rack your brains, ask yourself many times and look in the photos for reference. You are wondering when and how did you put on this weight suddenly. 10 years back you could run after you child at ease, now you heave after 10 quick steps.
If you too have put on 5-10 kilos of weight in the late 30s, then you are not alone. Weight gain between late 30s and early 40s is pretty common. As common as it is, we find ourselves unable to grapple with this change that comes when you are older. We were the fashion diva or sports fanatic but we don’t look the part anymore and it really frustrates us.
It seems to be too early to grow old. And that is indeed true, according to doctors it not age to blame but poor lifestyle choices that make us gain weight quickly. So rather than blame the genes, or the hormones let’s make some smart choices and get rid of this unwanted flab.
How did it come here?
As we grow old our calorie needs decrease. We require the highest amount of calories in our mid 20s but require 2-4 percent less every 10 years.
Even if our need decreases, we hardly alter our appetite accordingly. We eat as we always have but by that age our activities have also be limited…
An average woman in her forties will require about 1500-1600 calories if she is exercising and for a middle aged man the figure is 1800-2000 calories.
Your body doesn’t help
For women, as they approach menopause the ovaries produce less estrogen which also affects other physiological factors like mood, blood cholesterol and bone mineral density. Women also start producing estrogen in fat cells in the abdomen area that increases the flab near the tummy.
For men, the levels of testosterone drop which results in the drop in muscle mass and strength. Loss of muscle influences weight gain because more the muscle, faster the metabolism and faster the weight loss, low muscles- slower weight loss.
But remember the hormones alone only lead to 2-4 % of weight gain; the rest is the result of your activity and diet.
Here is what you can do-
Three things are vital when you deal with mid life weight gain- Diet, Stress and Workout.
You here have to be smart and make good choices as to what you choose to eat and what portion size.
- Decrease the intake of white flour, processed and low fiber foodstuff
- Opt for high fiber options
- Eat more fruits, vegetables, salads, whole grain and whole cereals
Do you generally feel good after eating chocolate cake after a stressful day at work, is sitting in front of TV munching on snacks your method of dealing with emotional trouble.
If yes, then you have to change your habits to fight weight gain. Most of us depend on food to comfort us from stressful situations and that loads us with lot of calories while doing nothing to our heart.
Stress not only creates the urge to eat more but the high levels of stress hormone Cortisol makes the body conserve fat.
- So next time if you find yourself eating too much, analyze if it is because of stress or hunger. By going to the root of the problem, you will stop unnecessary weight gain.
For all those have not started working out yet, it is high time you did. With decreasing amount of muscle and increasing amount of fat, this is the time to really go sweating.
But remember that do not only go for one type of workout, your body adapts to it and it takes ages to lose the rest of the weight gained.
So mix cardiovascular exercise like walking, cycling, swimming, or aerobics with strength training which actually promotes the growth of muscles.
Have 5-6 small meals
Having 2 large meals is very old fashioned and certainly not good for you right now. You need to eat lighter small portion sized meals and many times a day to really keep your metabolism up and running. Eat after every 4 hours but do not eat very late at night, remember, later you eat, lighter you eat.
Have plenty of sleep
When you are sleep derived your body produces more of Ghrelin which stimulates appetite and reduces hormones which makes you feel full thus you tend to eat more. Also your stress hormone Cortisol’s level rises that leads to fat deposition.
So sleep well to get that belly in shape.
Don’t skip breakfast
Research by Michigan University showed that women who skipped breakfast are 30% more likely to be overweight. When you starve your body when it requires energy you are just inviting weight gain. Eat healthy nutritious breakfast to give a head start to your day and a boost to your metabolism.
Don’t just believe the scale
Your body weight is the not the best judge of your health. It is the fat muscle ratio that tells if you are really as healthy as you look. An average middle aged person will have up to 40% of his body weight as fat.
You need to decrease this percentage and increase the muscle mass, as muscles are those which aid weight loss by burning up to 300 calories per gram. The only way to gain those muscles back is through working out.
Shake off the extra kilos that you are carrying with the simple tips mentioned and be as young as you feel!