Whether it’s excess baby weight that you’ve never tried to shift, or weight gained over a holiday or break from a diet plan, there’s no question that it’s much harder to lose the pounds when you hit your 40s.
For some women, the effects of a slowing metabolism are not very noticeable and for others it can be soul destroying seeing the scales tipping when their diet and exercise routine hasn’t changed one bit. But what are the causes of weight gain and the issues people face losing weight when they hit middle age?
Sleep – When you hit the perimenopausal stage of life, sleep can become a bit of a struggle. Lack of sleep has been linked to increased obesity and higher risk of diabetes in many studies and can make it much harder for your body to regulate. The night-time is when your body usually repairs itself, so if you aren’t getting a good night’s sleep, it cannot fully recuperate.
Comparing Yourself – Men are on average bigger than women, and often women compare their weight-loss to that of their husband or male friends. This means that, even if you both lose the same percentage of your weight, a man will lose more pounds of weight, making it seem like they have achieved more. Women also have a higher percentage of body fat than men, meaning that their metabolic rate is naturally slower, making it a little harder to lose weight.
Metabolism – Perimenopausal women experience a decline in oestrogen levels, which can cause a loss in muscle tone, leading to a lower metabolism, which in turn causes more weight gain. This means that fewer calories are needed in order to maintain the same weight. And if this is not adjusted then weight will naturally start to pile on.
If you’ve been experiencing any of these then there are some things that you can do to tackle a sudden weight gain.
Firstly, it’s important to get moving! Exercising more is one of two things that you should be doing if you want to start losing weight, along with a healthier diet plan. Whether you do an hour of exercise a day, or you go on one extra walk a week, it will all contribute to your weight loss efforts and you should begin to notice a difference. You should try to combine aerobic and weight training exercises, which will help you shift excess pounds whilst building up muscle. Remember, more muscle equals a higher metabolism and in turn a chance to lose more weight.
Consuming less calories is another crucial part of losing weight – you must consume less calories than you use during the day, but the type of food you eat is also important later on in life. Eating more lean meat, whole grains and non-starchy vegetables is going to do wonders for your weight loss journey compared to filling up over-processed and calorific food.
We’re sure that you’ve heard this time and time again, but breakfast really is the most important meal of the day. Skipping breakfast will only slow down your metabolism but do try and keep away from high calorie foods such as bread or sugar-filled cereals and replace them with protein-based food like egg and yogurt. A piece of fruit in the morning instead of sugary fruit juice is always a much better option – a banana or an apple will give you a boost of energy and leave you feeling much fuller for longer.
So, if you’ve hit your 40s and hit a block on your weight loss journey, try not to get too disheartened. Accepting that your body is going through some changes that you will have to adapt to is the first step to getting back on track. We’re sure that once you get into your new routine you’ll see some great results!