Why losing weight gets harder as we get older

Energy balance in the body occurs when calorie intake equals the number of calories expended in energy. This means that if your total food calorie intake exceeds your daily use, excess calories will accumulate and be stored as fat and you will gain weight. On the other hand, if caloric expenditure is greater than intake you will lose weight. There are only three ways to produce true weight loss: reduce calories below daily energy requirements (eat fewer calories), maintain normal calorie intake but increase energy expenditure (eat the same, but exercise more), or decrease caloric intake and increase energy use (eat fewer calories and exercise). Reducing calories alone is a tough way to lose weight as the body lowers its basal metabolic rate (BMR) – a survival mechanism. The BMR is the number of calories that your body burns at rest. Two ways to increase BMR are to become more physically active, as activity raises BMR and keeps it up for hours after the activity stops, and to increase muscle mass, as muscle burns more calories at rest than fat. As we get older our BMR naturally decreases. Furthermore, as people get older they tend to gain fat, lose muscle mass and become very inactive. This leads a significant reduction in the number of calories needed on a daily basis. If caloric intake is not also significantly reduced, weight gain will surely occur. To beat the battle of the bulge as we get get older we need to make sure to remain physically active. Going out for a walk for at least 30 minutes can burn an extra 200 calories a day. Taking a parking spot far from your destination and walking is a great way to increase activity levels. Use the stairs instead of the elevator. Doing isometric exercises or lifting weights can help maintain muscle mass and increase BMR. Finally, we are just plain eating too much and taking in too many calories a day. Cutting back on calories and eating food that are less calorie dense will also prevent those extra pound from accumulating.

Author: drjeffgreenberg

Dr Greenberg is a clinical cardiologist who specializes in preventive cardiology, nutrition, exercise, and longevity. He favors using natural methods to improving one's health.

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