Hello, Health

Three tricks to help you lose weight as you get older

As we get older, weight loss gets a little harder too. But not anymore.

 |  Hello, Health  |  4-minute read |   05-01-2019
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When a new year begins, we all celebrate, and make new resolutions. Among other goals, weight loss figures on the list of most people. But the fact is that with each new year we all get a little older too, and as we get older, weight loss gets a little harder too.

Why’s that? Well, our body changes as we get older, and these changes can make it conducive for our body to gain weight. The reasons for this lie buried in the way our body ages. But that said there are many people who stay in the best shape of their lives even as they get older. So how do they do it?

They do it by tackling the changes head-on. You can do it too. Let me take you through them step by step.

weight-copy_010519105626.jpgThere are many people who stay in the best shape of their lives even as they get older.(Photo: Facebook)

First, as we get older our metabolism dips. That is because we lose muscle as we get older – it’s a natural process called sarcopenia. The amount of lean muscle mass we have determines our metabolic rate. In other words, the more muscle mass we have, the more calories we will burn.

The muscle mass naturally begins to decline around age 30 and accelerates further around age 40. This lost muscle mass is usually replaced by extra fat, which is a double whammy! Slowing metabolism means that the probability of us over reaching our required caloric intake for the day increases manifold, and the extra food we eat with time shows up as tyres around our waist. To top it all as we get older, we get busier and busier (or plain lazy) and our activity levels decrease too.

Solve it

You can actively protect and build up that lean muscle. A protein-rich diet that includes quality protein (complete amino acids), plenty of sleep (gives the body time to repair and rebuild muscle) and regular exercise including cardio and some weight training is the way to go.

Second, as we get older thanks to the way we abuse our body, the toxic stress we undergo, the junk we eat, and also the pollution onslaught we face day after day, our gut really suffers. The imbalance between good versus the bad bacteria worsens, and thanks to that there is more inflammation in the body, one offshoot of which is weight gain too.

Solve it

It is important to actively reverse this imbalance and ensure more good bacteria in the gut. This involves getting more in tune with what your gut says. Your gut tells you about what works for your body and what causes it to bloat, making you feel out of balance, and gain weight. You just need to listen in.

Focus on probiotic foods; the good bacteria will help to restore the balance of your gut flora. Take a probiotic supplement if necessary. Eat at least one fermented food every day (kimchi, pickles, yoghurt, dhokla, sauerkraut, tempeh, buttermilk and miso etc). As we get older our gut can do with a little hand holding.

weight1-copy_010519110012.jpgInsulin is the body’s sugar regulator. Lack of it can seriously make you fat. (Photo: Facebook)

Third, with age, our hormones turn troublesome too. When some of the hormones racing in our body go out of whack, they can stubbornly refuse to let your scale tip to the left. The most common is estrogen imbalance. Both deficiency and overload can turn you into a weight gaining machine, and often shows up as abdominal obesity.

Insulin is the body’s sugar regulator. Lack of it can seriously make you fat. Thyroid hormone is responsible for keeping your metabolism in shape, and lack of it again can lead to weight gain. And usually, the main culprit to weight gain is stress, which causes high cortisol, one of our body’s key fat-storage hormones. When cortisol hormone levels rise, it makes our body hoard fat as it encourages conversion of blood sugar into fat for long-term storage.

Solve it

To keep your horses in line, follow these simple steps: eat less meat, more fibre (read vegetables and fruits), keep processed foods out of the pantry, try not to eat a just carbohydrate meal – always pair it with a protein source to keep levels stable – include good fat sources like olives, avocado, fatty fish, nuts and seeds in the diet and get enough B complex (whole grains, seeds, banana), selenium (mushrooms, tuna, eggs, seeds) and score enough vitamin D by going out in the sun enough. The important thing to understand is that all our hormones are interconnected, and interact and work together synergistically. Even if one is out of whack, it can start a bad cascading effect. Don’t let that happen.

So, you see it is possible to beat the weight gain, as long as you are prepared and actively thwart the reasons that may lead to it.

Also read: How ginger battles winter illness and fatigue 


Kavita Devgan Kavita Devgan @kavitadevgan

The writer is a nutritionist, weight management consultant and health writer based in Delhi. She is the author of Don't Diet! 50 Habits of Thin People (Jaico) and Ultimate Grandmother Hacks: 50 Kickass Traditional Habits for a Fitter You (Rupa).

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