It’s hard to believe that you can simply gain weight due to age. You can stare all day into your food and wonder what is it that you are eating too much that is leading to weight can. However, the post-40s rung of age brings weight gain to you without any apparent culprits. But, there are culprits as always. Only, they aren’t visible with the most common culprit being a hormonal imbalance.
Here is a look at some chief causes of weight gain after 40:
- Hormonal imbalance
The most substantial reason for adding more pounds after 40s is a disturbance in the hormonal levels. Hormones are chemical messengers that play a crucial role in numerous bodily functions. Any disturbance in their levels correlates to weight gain, acne, and mood swings too. These are also responsible for PMS that drives most women crazy.
When it comes to the 40s though, the body shifts its gears into pre-menstrual phase. In this stage, the ovaries limit the production of estrogen. With a reduction in the estrogen levels, the body is more likely to retain fat. This leads to gain in your weight.
- Less active
This one is a no-brainer. All of us including both the genders slow down with aging. This means you are less agile and there is lesser physical activity scheduled in your routine. After 30s, the body also commences loss a bit of muscle mass every year. This is known as sarcopenia.
With lesser muscle, your body is likely to exhibit slow metabolic functioning, which results in weight gain. You also lose aerobic fitness as the body ages, which means that the body’s ability to use energy for exercise declines. This means you burn fewer calories even when you exercise. After your 30s, it even takes long for injuries to heal.
- Insulin resistance
If your diet is packed with multiple processed foods and excess white sugar, then your cells tend to become insulin resistant. Insulin is critical for transporting glucose, the primary energy source, through cells. However, after 40s, your body becomes resistant to insulin by and by. Consequently, your body stores excess glucose as fat that culminates in an increase in your weight.
- Increased appetite
Drop in energy levels and hormonal changes result in more hunger and an increased appetite. This means that you will eat more than your normally do. Subsequently, this leads to weight gain. Overeating can also result in weight gain.
Stress is an important factor that leads to weight gain. In a stressful situation, your adrenal gland secretes a hormone called cortisol. The hormone makes it difficult to reduce weight. This is because your body misinterprets stress as a threat. And, as a means to survive it, the body starts hoarding calories. Stress can enter into the picture via numerous ways including crash dieting, emotional stress, fluctuating weight, and more. In case of chronic stress, your body can develop a metabolic disorder called adrenal fatigue. Subsequently, you may start overeating.
One of the leading downsides of aging is the slow functioning metabolism. As a consequence, your body burns fewer calories and you end up with fat reserves around your belly. So, aging is another source of weight gain after you strike your 40s.
Lots of people suffer from numerous health problems as they age. This leads to intake of prescription medication. Most of these, mainly corticosteroid and anti-depressants, however, encourage weight gain. This constitutes for another reason for weight gain.
Foods and nutrients to include in your diet as you age
It is essential to make necessary dietary changes to maintain good health as you enter your 40s. Some key food items include:
-Eat fish: Heart diseases and declined cognitive performance are common as you age. Fish is packed with omega-3 fatty acids that help promote good heart and brain health. These also boost brain power. Preliminary research indicates that fish oil helps prevent breast cancer as well.
-Take more calcium: Since estrogen declines in your pre-menstrual phase, your bones absorb less calcium. Hence, after 50s, your body’s demand for calcium goes from 1000 mg in a day to 1200 mg daily.
-Limit alcohol intake: Alcohol commonly aggravates symptoms of menopause. JoAnn Manson, MD, chief of preventive medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, in Boston adds to this. She points out, “One drink a day has been linked to an increased risk of breast cancer… So while it has been linked to a reduced risk of heart disease, it really is a trade-off for women.”
-Have less sugar, refined grains, and processed food: As per UCSF’s science department, sugar is added to 74% of the packaged food. You need to minimize the consumption of pasta, bagels, bread, white rice, and the like. You need to take this essential step to keep insulin resistance at bay. This will also help lower the risk of developing diabetes as you age.
-Other steps: You also need to take the following measures for healthy aging and preventing weight gain after your 40s
- Exercise regularly even if you don’t feel like
- Handle bloating which is a common complaint in the pre-menopause phase
- Include probiotics to improve digestion
- Eat anti-inflammatory foods
- Add proteins to your diet
- Sleep more
- Take less stress
Wrap up thoughts
There are several reasons behind weight gain as you age. However, you can always slash the risk and maintain a fit body by taking preventative steps such as healthy eating, sleeping well, managing stress, and exercising.