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Why Is Weight Control More Difficult After 40?

Why Is Weight Control More Difficult After 40?

You often hear that life begins at 40; however, what often goes unsaid is that managing your weight can become more complicated at this age. You might find that the same diet and exercise routines that worked in your 30s are no longer effective.

Even those who’ve led a relatively healthy lifestyle might find it increasingly challenging to maintain or lose weight as they pass 40. But why does this happen? 

Certain underlying biological and lifestyle factors come into play. However, Dr. Nidal Hasan and our team at Optimum Endocrine Care in Calumet Heights, Chicago, and Munster, Indiana, can help you get on top of things. Our medically supervised weight loss programs ensure you lose weight in the healthiest way possible and keep the weight off. 

In this article, we delve into why weight control becomes more challenging after 40 and offer practical advice for managing this inevitable life shift.

Metabolism and age

At 40, your metabolic rate just isn’t what it used to be, and age is partly to blame. The basal metabolic rate (BMR), which is the rate at which your body uses energy when at rest, typically decreases by about 1%-2% per decade after age 20.  By the time you reach 40, this decline may become more noticeable. 

Fewer calories being burned while you rest means you’ll need to eat less or exercise more just to maintain your current weight, let alone lose any excess pounds.

To get ahead of this metabolic slowdown, you may need to recalculate your daily caloric needs and adapt your eating habits accordingly. Exercise is also crucial to offset this decline. However, you may find that strength training is more effective in boosting your metabolism than purely aerobic exercises like running or swimming.

Hormonal changes

Both men and women experience hormonal changes as they age. For women, menopause often comes into play, decreasing estrogen levels, which can contribute to weight gain, particularly around the stomach. 

For men, levels of testosterone decrease, which can reduce muscle mass and increase fat storage. These hormonal shifts can significantly affect weight control efforts, making it harder to maintain a healthy weight.

Lifestyle factors

While metabolic and hormonal changes are inevitable, lifestyle plays a massive role in weight management. Stress triggers weight gain for many adults over 40.  Cortisol, the “stress hormone,” can lead to weight gain when produced in excess.

Furthermore, the “busyness” of life — work, raising a family, managing a home — can often lead to poor food choices. Fast food or prepackaged meals might be convenient, but they often contain excessive calories and inadequate nutrients, contributing to weight gain.

Practical tips for weight control after 40

Exercise is crucial for maintaining a healthy weight at any age, but it’s especially critical after 40. Focusing on aerobic exercises and strength training can help offset muscle loss and keep your metabolism up.

A balanced diet rich in protein, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can provide the nutrients necessary to maintain muscle and keep your metabolism functioning optimally. For some, hormone replacement therapy can be a viable solution to counter the hormonal imbalances that come with age and aid healthy weight loss. 

Controlling your weight after age 40 can be challenging due to a mix of metabolic changes, hormonal shifts, and lifestyle factors. However, at Optimum Endocrine Care, we specialize in medically supervised weight loss programs and can provide a personalized treatment plan to help you lose weight healthily and sustainably. Book an appointment with us online today or call 219-732-2231.

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