As I grow older, I find it is even more difficult to manage my weight, and at the new year, everyone is looking to join the health club. However, I found the reasons may be a bit different from my original thinking. A recent study challenges the conventional wisdom I thought about metabolism across the lifespan.
Rather than slowing down in middle age, human metabolism seems to remain stable from 20 to 60. That’s according to a groundbreaking study last year at Duke University.
So, it is not about increasing our metabolism, but actually decreasing the amount of calories we take in – and I’m BAD about eating way too much! I love to eat! And yes, the pandemic has not helped with that at all. What do you do in quarantine? EAT MORE!
OK, so what am I going to do about it.
I’m still a big proponent of a system my sister is big into, and that is Xyngular. I am not writing this as a sales pitch for the system. I’m just saying that you need a plan to stick with and follow, and the Xyngular plan works for me.
Aging affects your body weight. Increases in insulin resistance lead to excess sugar being stored as fat. Hormonal changes play a role too, especially for women after menopause. On top of that, your lifestyle may become more sedentary.
Using these strategies in your plan can help:
1. Choose whole foods. Satisfy your hunger with natural foods rich in nutrients and fiber and low in added sugar and salt. Smart choices include vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats.
2. Drink water. It’s easy to confuse thirst with hunger. Staying hydrated will enhance your digestion and help you feel full.
3. Limit alcohol. Many cocktails contain a lot of empty calories and any alcohol can lower your resistance to junk food. If you drink, practice moderation.
4. Sleep well. Getting 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night is important for your overall wellbeing. Stick to a regular bedtime that allows you to wake up naturally feeling refreshed. (I use XR2 that has done wonders for my sleep.)
5. Weigh yourself. The average adult gains 1 to 2 pounds each year. Using a scale or tape measure at least once a week gives you a chance to make easy corrections before the doughnuts add up.
6. Move around. This is the one that gets me! How many hours a day do you spend sitting? In addition to regular exercise, take a break to stretch and walk around each half hour anytime you’re at your desk or watching TV.
7. Seek support. Changing your habits is easier when you have your family and friends on your side. Invite your loved ones to join you in preparing nutritious meals at home and sticking to a workout program.
8. See your doctor. If you need more help, talk with your doctor about your personal situation. For example, a thyroid screening can catch issues that cause weight gain, fatigue, and depression in many adults over 35.
Increasing Muscle Mass
While metabolism may remain strong for decades, muscle mass starts decreasing sooner. The average adult loses about 3 to 5% every ten years after they turn 30. While some change is inevitable, slowing the process down can help you stay lean.
Try these tips:
1. Use resistance. The key to building strength is contracting your muscles against external resistance. Experiment with machines, free weights, and body weight exercises to see what works for you.
2. Train heavy. For faster results, make your workouts more intense. Use a weight that allows you to just barely complete your last repetition.
3. Consume adequate protein. Current guidelines recommend getting 10 to 35% of your calories from protein, and many experts prefer the upper range. Some studies suggest that eating a protein-rich meal or snack within 2 hours after working out is especially helpful.
4. Schedule rest days. Your muscles grow while you’re recovering in between workouts. You can take it easy or do easier activities like hiking.
Staying slim after 40 takes a little effort, but the benefits are huge. You lower your risk for many serious health conditions and increase your chances for living a long and active life.
So, back on the wagon for me. I’m going to work smarter. Train harder. And avoid the donuts . . . come on – just one chocolate covered . . .
Click HERE for the book by Duke professor Herman Pontzer
And click HERE if you want to explore the Xyngular System.