As we age, our bodies naturally start responding differently, and one of the most frustrating aspects can be difficulty losing weight. Aside from jokes about “youthful metabolism,” it’s true that as we age, our bodies respond to both nutrients and exercise in different ways. If you are struggling to lose weight, here are some things to consider that might be affecting you:
Change Up Your Routine
Habits are really important to maintaining a healthy lifestyle, but if you’ve been doing the same exercise day in and day out, your body will adapt to it. If your exercise is regular trips to the gym for high-intensity interval training, a meandering walk or gentle hike (which might sound easier) may produce soreness and fatigue that will surprise you.
The fact is, human bodies are fantastic at finding more efficient ways to do work—which means they will burn less calories. Doing different types of exercise, focusing on different body parts, actions, and intensities—activities that keep your body guessing, so to speak—will help you to maximize the impact of your workouts.
Eat Different, Not Less
If you’re in your 40s or 50s, that means you spend much of your youth and adult years being bombarded by diet marketing that focused on calorie restriction. Meanwhile, decades of science have shown that calorie restriction is terrible for our overall health and only promotes short-term weight loss.
While any dietary habits can be unhealthy (physically or psychologically), steps like increasing your consumption of vegetables and reducing your consumption of refined sugars can make a huge overall difference in your health and energy levels.
Rethink Your Goals (and Throw Away the Scale)
Why do you want to lose weight? Sometimes we may focus on the number on the scale or measuring tape because it is easily quantifiable, or perhaps because when we were 25 that’s what we weighed or what size we wore. But in reality, you may be looking to FEEL the way you did when you were 25 … which is likely not tied to that number! Focusing on measurable goals is a great way to build and maintain habits, but consider goals like what’s the weight of the dumbbell you’re doing curls with, or how many miles you can walk/run.
Also, don’t forget that muscle is denser than fat! Even if in the end you do lose overall pounds, a healthy exercise routine may involve a weight gain before that happens!
Give it a Rest (Literally)
Don’t forget to give your body time to rest and recover. This is important on two fronts: your nightly rest, and rest days/easy days from the gym.
Getting enough sleep is absolutely essential for your body to function properly, and as many as one third of Americans don’t get enough sleep. Prioritizing sleep is going to help with overall good function as well as recovery from physical exertion.
Rest days are also vital, especially if lifting heavy weights are an important part of your exercise routine. In addition, if you make a habit of working out every single day, when you inevitably have to take a break due to work commitments, illness, or another reason, it can feel like a huge failure, which makes getting back on the horse more difficult. Making breaks, followed by a return to your routine, a part of your physical habits can help you maintain exercise for the long haul.
Consider Your Hormones and Body Chemistry
The occasional plateau is totally normal, but if you feel like you’ve tried everything and your body doesn’t seem to be responding, a hormone imbalance or other physical issue might be the culprit. For example, testosterone therapy can help some people with low T increase their physical abilities, which can lead to fat loss and more productive exercise.
As frustrating as it can be to have those stubborn few pounds that you can’t quite lose, maintaining overall healthy diet, exercise, and rest is the best thing you can do to maintain overall health, so don’t give up! Want to find out if a supplement might be what you need? Book an appointment with us to learn more!