Friday, September 9, 2016

Is Your Metabolism Really Slowing Down or Is it You?

I've had conversations with friends lately about managing the extra pounds that seem to magically appear once we hit our 30s.  When we were younger, we were told "once you turn 30, you'll put on weight."

Worse, yet, it's expected that we'll gain even more once we celebrate our 40th birthday.  And it's all downhill from there.  It seems inevitable and there's nothing we can do.

Getting older = Weight Gain 

But, after reflecting on this phenomenon, I've come to the conclusion that there's one important contributor to those extra pounds that we overlook.
I believe age related weight gain doesn't simply happen because we've celebrated another birthday.  It happens because of the shift in lifestyle from our teens/20s vs our 30s & 40s.  All you have to do is observe human behavior and you'll see why.  As an adolescent, we're almost constantly active.  Children seem to run more than walk.  They'll spend all day playing outside if they had their wish.  They are moving non-stop!

Next time you see an adult and child trying to cross the street, you'll notice that the child will instinctively want to run across.  Running, to children is just as natural as walking.  The only time I randomly run is when I avoid being late.  As teens, we might play on a sports team or we dance for hours to our favorite songs. We plan activities for the weekend.  We tend to take on jobs that require lots of movement like working at a retail store or in food service.  As youths, we're more active and active individuals burn more calories than those who aren't.

Once our mid thirties roll around, our lives begin to change. We settle into sedentary careers.  We have reliable transportation so we're less likely to walk or bike.  After a long, stressful day at work, we just want to decompress and watch our favorite shows.  Our salaries are decent so we can afford to eat out more.  Social interactions revolve mainly around meeting for lunch or dinner.  Rarely do friends call and invite us to activities that require physical exertion. Back in the day, my friends and I would walk the mall for hours or we'd dance all night. Nowadays, I only get invited out to eat.

Simply put, as we age, we become ineffective at "energy management."   You consume more calories than you burn.  When that happens, you put on weight, even if your diet isn't all that "bad."  There's no other way around it.  Maintaining your ideal weight is a matter of consuming the right number of calories the body needs to function based on your level of activity.  Unfortunately, we don't realize how much less active we become as time passes.

We have to consciously increase our level of activity as we age.  Physical activity is a natural part of life when we're younger but, things change.  Unless you are purposely increasing your activity level, you will become another statistic.  You will think your metabolism is slowing down when really it's your lifestyle that's to blame.

My default lifestyle is very sedentary, so I have to go for long walks, jump rope, or visit the gym to keep my weight in check.  If these things don't happen, I'm 100% certain that I will put on pounds.

 Let's not sit idly by and allow middle age weight gain to happen to us.  It can be completely avoidable.  Sure, there are physiological changes that impact our body's functions as we get older, but experts agree that middle age spread is something that we can address with a change in lifestyle.

And if you really want to rev up your metabolism be sure to check out this post on the best type of exercise to do so.
  1. I like this theory A LOT!!! Never actually thought about it, but it's true! No wonder JLO looks like she does, she dances like 3 hours every show, plus rehersals, workouts and my lunch is probably what she eats in a whole day. My metabolism has always been slower than most people, even in my teens I had trouble losing weight. Now i'm 25 and eating better except for the sugar that I love. Apart from that I don't drink. I'm 11 pounds overweight. I intend to lose them slowly until the end of the year. So far I havent been exercising #guilty lol

  2. I actually lost weight when I hit thirty and am still in shape with only gaining three pounds when I had a problem to become a permanent factor with my leg. My mother, on the other hand, has gained weight and while I worked with her to help her lose weight she has slowed down again and gained it right back. She loved working out while she was losing the weight and then stopped once she lost it. I find people who do that, no matter their age, will always gain weight and tend to push it off on "getting older" when in reality it is that they are not doing anything to maintain a healthy weight.

  3. Great timing as always, I needed this extra bit of motivation!