Weight loss takes time and patience, no matter how old you are. But you may discover that if you thought that weight loss was difficult when you were 30, now 10-20 years later, it is almost impossible. So you start wondering – why is it that you cannot lose weight or even maintain your weight now that you are older. The truth is that there are many factors that always have and always will influence your weight loss process, especially now that you are growing older and older.
That is exactly what brought us here today – To explain the seven common reasons that may influence your weight loss journey, causing it to become more and more difficult as time passes. What we will also be sharing are some easy, effective ways that will also help you lose weight and improve your health in the long run.
7 reasons why it is harder to lose weight as you get older
What will follow are seven common reasons that often prevent adults and the elderly to lose weight efficiently and later maintain those very same weight loss results. You may recognize the reason that has led to weight gain in your case, but not to worry – as soon as we are done discussing the reasons, we will be bringing some quite effective, natural methods that are meant to help shred those extra body pounds as soon as possible and enhance your health.
You are not getting enough sleep
It seems that as we are growing older, getting at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night is an impossible task. First, there are children that keep you up at night; then, there is also an office that is awaiting you at 7 a.m. There is also stress or certain medications that cause you to be restless and in an endless battle against insomnia. Well, when everything adds up, you have an equation that leads to weight gain and almost an impossible weight loss.
The truth is that many scientific studies have confirmed the link between lack of sleep and obesity, and they are all telling us the same thing – make the time to get enough sleep, or you will be looking as the numbers on the scale are increasing and increasing (1, 2). Create a sleep schedule and respect it and teach your children to respect it as well by going to bed early as you do. You will feel more energized, in a better mood, and refreshed each day, plus you will be losing weight in no time.
You are stressed out
Bouncing between children, a career, and taking care of your home can be quite stressful and can have a big toll on your health – both physical and mental. But stress can also reflect negatively on your weight management as well, preventing you from losing weight and maintaining a healthy weight.
There have been many researchers trying to explain the link between having high cortisol levels – which is the stress hormone, and weight gain. One study, for example, published in the International Journal of Peptides, has explained that with the increase of your cortisol levels, you are also experiencing an increase in your ghrelin levels (3). Ghrelin is often referred to as the hunger hormone because it is known to stimulate your hunger and appetite while also promoting fat storage (4).
And what do you do when your ghrelin levels are high? You tend to overeat, especially when it comes to junk food, thus increasing your weight. So take a step back and try to relax. Give yoga, meditation, massage, acupuncture, or anything else that may relax you and reduce your stress levels and with that, keeping you away from overeating and weight gain in the future (5). Plus, your whole body will benefit from the lower stress levels, which is always a good thing.
You are not moving enough
How often do you find yourself thinking about the life that you have had five years earlier or even 10? Can you remember the days where you would spend at least an hour at the gym or in spin class? Maybe you would wake up earlier and get a good workout before you head to the office, or maybe you would do some yoga at home over the weekends. And now – How much do you move nowadays?
Physical activity is essential for the process of weight loss and weight management, while it also plays a great role in maintaining our good health, both physical and mental health, that is (6, 7). But somehow, along the way, many of us forget about the importance of physical activity and tend to adapt to a more sedentary lifestyle.
Even if you do not have the time to hit the gym, maybe you have the time to take a walk during your lunch break. Or take the stairs instead of the elevator. How about biking to work instead of driving? Or simply gathering the whole family to play in the local park is a great way to get some physical activity in your life (8). Think about more ways through which you can be more physically active and move around more instead of being a couch potato and gaining more and more weight as time flies.
You are experiencing age-related muscle mass loss
According to the researchers that have published a paper in the journal Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition & Metabolic Care, after the age of 30, we face a natural decline in muscle mass by 3 to 8 percent (9). This is a condition called sarcopenia, a naturally-occurring condition that influences our weight. The muscle mass decline is even greater in those who are less physically active because of an age-related health issue such as arthritis, or suffered through an injury or underwent surgery. These are all factors that influence the level of physical activity in your life.
But why are we telling you all of this? You see, having a greater muscle mass means that your body will burn more calories as compared to how many calories do your fat cells burn (10). So if you are less physically active and still eat the same amount of calories as you did before when you were spending an hour or two at the gym, it is normal to experience weight gain.
Also, with the aging process, testosterone production declines. As you may know, apart from being the main male reproductive hormone, testosterone also plays a part in maintaining and increasing muscle mass. Testosterone promotes muscle growth and muscle strength through different mechanisms of action, so naturally, when its levels decline, it is expected that muscle growth will decline as well (11).
Your metabolism has slowed down
If we have learned anything about weight loss is that the faster your metabolism is, the more calories you burn, thus losing those annoying extra body pounds. Unfortunately, as we grow older, our metabolism slows down. According to the famous Dr. Oz, our metabolism tends to slow down 5 percent with each passing decade after the age of 40 (12). Well, that is just unfortunate, is it not?
There are many reasons as to why our metabolism slows down. First – it is considered to be a normal reaction to the aging process. It also happens because of the lower physical activity level and the loss of muscle mass as well. Certain health issues, such as hypothyroidism, which are common among the elderly, tend to hurt our metabolism as well, resulting in a slower metabolism and unexplained weight gain. Not getting enough sleep, being stressed out, and eating too little food with bad quality can also affect your metabolism, so these are all factors that need to be considered (13).
You are experiencing hormone imbalance
Even if you are eating healthy and working out, you can still experience trouble when trying to maintain a healthy weight. The reason for that might as well be the normal hormonal imbalance that happens with the aging process.
We already mentioned one hormonal imbalance referring to the decline in testosterone production in men. As for women, the major hormonal imbalance that tends to have a negative impact on their weight is the period of menopause during which the production of hormones such as progesterone and estrogen naturally declines. This specific hormonal imbalance in women can increase the risk of a variety of health issues, including diabetes type 2, high blood pressure, depression, anxiety, heart disease, and even obesity (14).
Your body fat levels have increased
As we age, not only are we more susceptible to a variety of health issues, we are also more susceptible to major changes inside the body. The rapid loss of muscle mass is one great example, with the increased retention of fat being the second one. These two major changes combined increase the risk of overweight and obesity.
You may know that there are two different types of fat cells in the body. There are helpful brown fat cells, and then there are the fat white cells. The brown fat cells generate heat, and with that, burn calories, thus helping us to better maintain our weight. And then there are the fat white cells that have the function to store extra calories. With the aging process, the levels of the brown fat cells decline while the levels of the fat white cells increase. This also contributes to the slowing down of metabolism and weight gain (15).
Effective ways that will help you lose weight
Faced with such major changes, we are left desperate to find a solution that would allow us to lose that extra weight. If some of us do it as a way to improve their body image and self-confidence, others may do it simply for their health, since obesity is so often linked to a variety of health risks (16).
That is why, in the following, we will be sharing some simple yet effective weight loss tips that are meant to increase your energy levels boost your metabolism, improve your mood, and allow you to live a long, happy, and healthy life. You will notice that most of these methods refer to improving the quality of your lifestyle, thus helping you maintain your weight at an optimum level for a long time.
- Aim for at least 8 hours of sleep each night;
- Keep moving and find ways to be more physically active throughout the day;
- Relax by using some effective relaxation methods such as breathing techniques, massage, and yoga among others;
- Go for a quick walk each day;
- Get yourself a dog that will keep you active;
- Have a healthy breakfast each day;
- Engage in outdoor sports with your children and/or grandchildren;
- Wake up at least 30 minutes earlier and do a quick workout and/or have breakfast;
- Intake enough fiber and protein with each meal;
- Take a quality multivitamin;
- Cook more often;
- Eat lots of fresh fruits and veggies;
- Stay away from processed food;
- Limit your carb intake;
- Limit your snacking;
- Do not forget about Omega-3 fatty acids;
- Drink at least eight glasses of water each day;
- Reduce the amount of work if possible;
- Sign up for a fitness class that seems both fun and effective such as spin class, Pilates, Zumba, yoga, etc.;
- Stop smoking;
- Limit your alcohol intake;
- Consult a professional such as nutritionist or professional fitness trainer if needed;
- Ask for professional psychological help if needed as well, etc.
As we grow older, we suddenly discover that we are more exposed to common health issues such as arthritis, high blood pressure, heart disease, cancer, etc. than ever, including obesity. And unfortunately, that is right – there are a lot of things that make weight loss harder than ever. But does that mean that you can simply give up? No, it does not because, with the weight loss methods that we shared with you today, you are looking to improve many aspects of your health and life, including your weight.