Young people lose weight more easily, and people over 40 much harder, what is the reason? If you have a constant problem with excess weight, and you are already over 40, you have probably noticed that it is much harder to lose weight than before.
This can certainly be easily noticed by older people whose weight problems are something new.
As we age, our bodies do not “respond” as well to attempts to lose weight.
There are biological explanations for this claim, to which we will pay a little more attention below.
Namely, it has been determined that as we get older, people generally have a tendency to gain weight by 0.5 kg – 1 kg, every following year.
These pounds may not look like much at first, but over time they have the potential to build up and make significant changes in BMI.
And to the extent that they could be freely defined as obesity or obesity (BMI> 30).
Experience and statistics clearly show the incidence or incidence of obesity in the general population increases in the 20s.
While it reaches its peak from 40 to 59 years, and then slightly declines after the age of 60.
This does not mean that every person after the age of 40 will start to accumulate fat.
Because bodyweight is largely defined by genetics, habits, generally for physical activity and nutrition.
However, there is a tendency for the majority of the population to begin to have more serious weight problems after the age of 30 or 40.
There are a number of reasons why this is the case.
As we have already said, there are deep biological reasons behind this “phenomenon”, which we will talk about in the following (only a few of them).
Over the years, the body loses its muscle mass
Muscle tissue begins to lose its volume over time, so it begins to decline after the age of 30.
Estimates are that the decline is 3-8% per decade.
The process is called sarcopenia and is mentioned in a 2004 study published in the Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care.
In addition, insufficient physical activity, a pandemic phenomenon, further contributes to the loss of muscle tissue.
Some common diseases, such as arthritis, also contribute to the decrease in activity in the elderly.
How is the amount of muscle tissue related to unwanted weight fluctuations?
Lean muscle tissue uses significantly more calories than adipose tissue.
Thus, if we are regularly physically active with weight, maintaining muscle tissue will greatly help us burn more calories, even when we are less active.
Hormonal changes that are natural with the aging process
Both men and women go through many changes in hormone levels as part of the natural aging process.
This fact is another explanation why over time maintenance, ie weight loss becomes more difficult.
In the female population, after the age of 45, the menopausal period begins.
This condition causes a significant reduction in estrogen levels, which can potentially lead to the accumulation of fat in the abdomen.
In addition, perimenopausal and menopausal periods significantly affect mood stability.
Making healthy habits less likely, and unhealthy ones, such as smoking and overeating, more common.
As a result, the average weight gain during menopause is about 2.5 pounds.
In males after the age of 40 (1-2% per year), testosterone levels begin to decline.
Among the other functions of testosterone, it is responsible for how fatty tissues are distributed throughout the body, but also how much muscle mass and strength.
We have seen why losing muscle mass has a negative effect on weight as a whole.
Decreased growth hormone levels, which also occur with aging, also have a negative impact on body weight in the elderly.
Namely, one of the functions of this hormone is in terms of synthesis and maintenance of muscle mass.
Metabolism is slower than before
You have probably heard this before.
But what does the phrase mean?
The mentioned decrease in muscle mass with aging will inevitably affect the slowing down of the metabolism – a complex of processes that convert food into energy (among other things).
Having more fat and less muscle slows down calorie burning.
The lower level of activity that comes with age also has a strong effect on slowing down the metabolism.
In addition, some very common health disorders also affect retardation, such as thyroid disorders.
Over the years, a sedentary lifestyle has become more common, as has increased stress
As the years go by, there comes a time when we need to pay more and more attention to more and more important aspects of life – partner, family, children, career….
For ourselves, we have less and less time.
As if we are not aware that if we do not “nurture” ourselves, our loved ones also lose.
The mentioned period usually occurs after the age of 40, together with the previously mentioned numerous hormonal changes.
Which makes us even more susceptible to chronic, uncontrolled stress.
Uncontrolled stress, in addition to being a risk factor for health in itself, also has a relatively indirect effect – on our daily habits.
On life habits: how active we are, how we eat, how many “vices” we have, etc.
Often, in order to save time, we resort to different diets, which not only will not help us but will significantly hinder us.
A huge part of the people who try to lose weight through diets, fall into the so-called Yoyo effect.
What can we do to prevent weight gain/loss after the age of 40?
Just because weight control is difficult over the years does not mean that it is impossible and too difficult to achieve.
In short, achieving this goal requires above all a greater commitment to a healthy lifestyle, compared to the commitment we had in our youth.
It would mean learning what and how to adopt healthy lifestyle habits, what are the basic principles for healthy and permanent weight loss, and perhaps most importantly – mastering techniques that can relieve us of the weight of chronic stress in the long run.
These “techniques” are individual work, ie there are no specifics that apply to everyone equally.