The metabolism slow down that occurs as we age can be really frustrating. Beginning as early as 20 years old, the aging process begins. At 40, it is estimated that our metabolisms begin to slow about 5% every 10 years. This, in combination with the natural muscle loss that just comes with age, can cause extra stubborn pounds to stick around.
As you’re probably aware, Mother Nature programmed our bodies to ‘decay’ a little every day. Our hormone levels and messenger molecules (i.e., Cytokine 6 and 10) diminish, which decreases our youthful vitality and increases inflammation that accelerates aging. The result? Gravity takes over, metabolism slows down, libido decreases, moods fluctuate and hair and skin begins changing or thinning. Fun stuff, right?
As a 43 year-old mother of two with every hormone in my body in the toilet, I know how it feels. However, whether we like it or not, our bodies will change as we age. So, we can either dwell on what’s different, throw in the towel or put up a good fight while treating ourselves our bodies with respect and love. Here are a few keys to get you started:
Most of the women I’ve coached severely underestimate how much food they are consuming. Often times, getting portions under control is all that needs to happen to drop some of the stubborn pounds. So, if you don’t have one already, go out and purchase a measuring scale. They are available at almost any drug store, grocery store or home store. Then, begin to measure your food so you know EXACTLY what you are taking in! The difference between an extra ounce or two seems small, yet can make all the difference when it comes to those stubborn 5 lbs that have found a home in your belly!
STOP THE STRESS SNACKING
Here is one I am admittedly guilty of…LATE AFTERNOON MUNCHING! There is a huge increase in independent, strong and successful women in very powerful positions in the work force. Couple that with being a mom, wife, caretaker, etc., and you have a recipe for STRESS! From my experience and that of my clients, I know that stress and late afternoon/evening munching go hand-in-hand. Before you know it, you have nibbled your way through the kitchen and consumed a good 500+ calories! So, you need to break this habit and sooth your stress another way. Right now…think of five other ways to care for your self that don’t involve comfort eating. Here are a few of mine: Take 10 minutes to unwind by reading a book, take a walk outside and enjoy a cup of tea.
Despite our slowing metabolism, our appetites are high and we often crave sugar. An effective way to gain control of your appetite and eating is to cut out junk, processed foods, high glycemic carbohydrates and alcohol. I know you have heard this before, but it’s especially true as you age. This doesn’t mean you can’t ever have it, but it should be a rare exception and treat.
STEP IT UP
If you are used to eating 1800 calories per day with roughly three days of week of strength training and a few days of cardio, try lowering your food intake to 1600 calories per day and adding one more day of strength training and one more session of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) each week. Remember, the more lean muscle we add or preserve, the faster we keep our metabolisms revved. Also, HIIT will increase your metabolism for about 24 hours after you workout. Here’s an example of an intense 30-minute HIIT session:
20 shoulder press jumping jacks
20 pop squats
50 mountain climbers
30 jump lunges
40 yard sprint.
Rest for 2 minutes and then repeat for 30 minutes.
The increased activity and slightly decrease caloric intake will help to moderate our slowing metabolisms. Don’t let getting older defeat you. It’s your body—tell it what to do!
I’ve only scratched the surface of an action plan. I will continue to dive further into some tips and tricks in my next article!
Johns Hopkins Medicine: Your Aging Metabolism — Tips on Revving Your Metabolic Motor
American Osteopathic Association: Health and Wellness–Exercise in Post Menopausal Women
Dr. Darren Swenson, Director of IPC, Sunrise Hospital
Pedersen BK, Bruunsgaard H, Ostrowski K, Krabbe K, Hansen H, Krzywkowski K,
Toft A, Søndergaard SR, Petersen EW, Ibfelt T, Schjerling P. Cytokines in aging
and exercise. Int J Sports Med. 2000 May;21 Suppl 1:S4-9. Review. PubMed PMID:
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