MYTH: It's Hard to Lose Weight as You Age

Is muffin top a given once you've hit the big 4-0? Think there's nothing you can do to combat the inevitable? Think again!

The Truth: Sure, you can blame your excess weight and sluggish metabolism on your age, but the truth is that if you take a few precautions your body and metabolism can snap back into shape.

Blaming your belly fat or those extra five pounds on the fact that you're getting older? Well, now's the time to stop believing that weight gain is an inevitable part of aging. Yes, as we get older our hormone balance shifts in ways that encourage weight gain. For example, testosterone and DHEA levels decline in men, and women's insulin-regulating hormones become less effective. These changes can decrease muscle mass, slow down your metabolism (some reports say by about 2 percent per decade after age 30), and sap your energy while increasing belly fat and insulin resistance. But it’s not hopeless! The more we eat clean, live clean, and work out, the better our hormone balance will be — and the healthier our metabolisms will remain. Here are some tips for mastering weight loss and your metabolism beyond age 40.

Eat more protein. Sarcopenia, or loss of muscle due to age, has been seen as inevitable, but a great deal of its severity is dictated by diet and exercise. Protein can help! One study found that men and women between ages 70 and 79 who ate the most protein lost 40 percent less lean mass than those who ate the least protein. Muscle burns more calories, increases your insulin sensitivity, and keeps your testosterone production higher so that you can help stave off age-related health conditions, such as metabolic syndrome, diabetes, and loss of libido.

Exercise regularly and amp up your intensity. I can't tell you how many people just let exercise slide as they get older; then they turn around and blame their sluggish metabolism on their hormones. I'll be honest — I don't like to exercise. But the reality is, we have to do it. Your body needs exercise the way it needs oxygen and water. It's crucial to maintain muscle mass as you age: A pound of muscle burns three times more calories than a pound of fat does, and muscles scoop up blood sugar and enhance your body's insulin sensitivity. Try to challenge yourself and intensify your workouts by adding 20 minutes of resistance training or by increasing the incline on the treadmill. The main point? Continue to strengthen your muscles so they will help you burn more calories.

Eat clean. Our metabolism gets damaged by the chemicals and preservatives in our foods. Things like pesticides, growth hormones, trans fats, HFCS etc. have all been linked to obesity and have even been labled "obesegens" within the health and wellness community. Consume your foods in their most natural form as often as possible and this will have a huge impact on your metabolism overall.

The Bottom Line: Your body definitely changes as you age — there’s no getting around that fact. Yet if you continue to exercise on a regular basis and eat whole, real food, the effects of aging will be much less severe. Remember, age is only a number!

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