Home Q&A Wednesday Q&A Wednesday: Harder To Lose As We Age?

Q&A Wednesday: Harder To Lose As We Age?

by Erika Nicole Kendall

Good grief… the two topics no woman wants to address: age and weight loss. [insert image of me hiding under my desk screaming “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!”]

Q: Are there any eating or exercise tips on cutting the inches off below the waist?  I did it before by walking every other day and cutting back, but I was in my 30s at the time.  I’d always heard it was harder to lose after 40 – I wasn’t a believer then, but I am now.

It’s harder to lose after 40, because our metabolism decreases every year, by an average of .5% each year. So every year, you lose .5% of your ability to burn the calories you’re taking in. It’s not all about numbers, but the numbers are awfully important. So if you’re eating the same way you ate at age 30, and you’re 40 now… you’re going to start gaining weight. Period.

That means… yes. You have to start eating less. [insert echoes of loud groans]

The body collects fat in the hips because its supposed to – it’s supposed to protect your reproductive organs. It’s a survival premise… which is why men (who aren’t brainwashed by the “ultra thin is in” meme – no offense to thin women) tended to favor women with fuller hips… it meant that her good stuff was better protected, and she was more likely to be healthily fertile and capable to reproduce. Not until recently with the ultra thin fetish we have, did this become different.

You’re going to have to alter your eating habits to levels appropriate for your height/weight/age combination. You’re also going to have to go hard in the paint – or the treadmill – to get rid of those hips, and a little weight lifting/training/calisthenics wouldn’t hurt, either. You can build a shape for your skin to conform to, but you certainly have to work to get it there. Besides, for each pound of muscle you carry, your body burns 3 times more than it does for each pound of fat you carry… so as a woman enjoying her 30s and 40s, a good solution to a decreasing metabolism IS building and maintaining a little more muscle. (That is, if you don’t want to change your diet… [insert eyebrow raise])

There. That’s several answers to the same question, lol. In short, go hard, go long, eat clean, enjoy life, build muscle, get fit (not just thin). The end. 🙂

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Larissa July 25, 2010 - 1:43 AM

So, I am turning 40 next year and I have Thyroid disease. SO, my metabalism is running kind of crazy sometimes it is on full speed and other times it is slow as a Molasses. This is some very good information and now I am addicted to the blog. I would like to be 100lbs lighter by next September 20, 2011 my 40th.

Michelle April 20, 2011 - 12:52 PM

The decrease in metabolism is directly related to the decrease in muscle mass (according to my dad, the 63yr old fitness fiend) so yes..if you want to eat the same, you definitely need to get your fitness level UP! Great post!

Whitney April 20, 2011 - 5:00 PM

This is so true…I’m 48 and it’s been some work to get this weight off, but I am doing it. I exercise 5 times a week because of my age, eat less and I eat more fruit & vegetables, a lot more! I just tasted sushi for the first time at the hair salon today! We must be willing to try different things when we are changing our eating habits, cook at home, and get up off that behind my sistas and move!

Sheretha Edwards April 20, 2011 - 6:13 PM

I am 40 and while I have been inactive for the last 14 years, what I am finding now that I have to learn to love to exercise and make sure that I decrease my trigger foods. Like the others by this time next year I would like to be a little less me in a one piece without embarrassment. One day at a time, one pound at a time.

Sandi May 18, 2011 - 4:44 PM

Shaking my head…. I wondered if that is what was taking some of these pounds a while to disappear… Thanks for the heads up… Heading to the GYM!

milaxx May 20, 2011 - 5:34 PM

PREACH! I had to have a hysterectomy shortly after my 40th so I also got premature menopause adding to the slower metabolism adding to the mix. I’m 47 now and working like a dog to get this weight off.

Marion@affectionforfitness July 14, 2011 - 11:36 PM

I’m 43. My teenagers think it is so funny how much less food I eat than them and still have some pudge on my middle! I exercise quite a lot and it is still *definitely* harder to lose weight than 10 years ago! And the wrinkles are the frosting on the cake!

😀 Marion

Michele August 10, 2011 - 10:57 AM

I’m in my mid-40s and I’m going through this same thing. For years, I could eat whatever I wanted and I never gained a pound! Once I hit 40 my body started to change and I was like, “What??” I’ve modified my diet (slightly) but regular exercise definitely allows me to maintain.

linda April 17, 2012 - 8:27 AM

I’m fifty-five and I can only agree with every single poster—exercise is hugely important.

My weight-loss goals have definitely changed as I age. The stuff I’m interested in now—-to keep my “Up and at ’em” attitude and energy levels, to preserve my physical strength, to keep my posture upright, to stay flexible—have less to do with my ‘twenties and ‘thirties preoccupation with pants size and my looks and more to do with a living and energetic and expansive life (though I’m still pretty vain. Wrinkled, but vain!)

Erika, have read any of the stuff about how “sitting is the new smoking?” ( http://news.discovery.com/human/is-sitting-the-new-smoking-120301.html ) I’d love to hear your thoughts…


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