Remember when we could eat whatever we wanted and not gain weight? Now it feels like we can’t even think about an ice cream cone without feeling like we can gain five pounds. As we age, our metabolism changes due to the fact that after the age of 30, the body loses muscle mass every year, which is called sarcopenia, and muscle burns three times more calories than fat at rest. Our metabolism also slows down when our hormones shift, making weight loss even more difficult as we age and post menopause. You may even notice that the place where you gain weight has changed.
Don’t let anything stop you from trying to get healthy, lose weight and regain your fitness level, new research tells us age is no barrier to successful weight loss because our habits are more important than the number of candles lit the cake.
The current study published in Clinical Endocrinology attempted to disprove the popular belief that weight loss efforts are ineffective in older people. “Weight loss is important at any age, but as we get older we are more likely to develop weight-related comorbidities of obesity,” said study lead author Dr. Thomas Barber an interview. “Many of these are similar to the effects of aging, so it could be argued that the importance of weight loss increases with age, and this is something we should embrace.”
The study randomly selected 242 people who had participated in the Warwickshire Institute for the Study of Diabetes, Endocrinology, and Metabolism (WISDEM) obesity program between 2005 and 2016. They were divided into two age groups, those under 60 and those between 60 and 78.
Participants were coached to make lifestyle changes that are individualized for each individual patient. The focus was on dietary changes, psychological support and physical activity. The majority of patients had a BMI greater than 40, placing them in the morbidly obese category.
Each patient was weighed before and after participating in the program. When the groups were compared, their results were nearly equal, but the older people lost more. Those over 60 lost 7.3 percent of their body weight, those under 60 6.9 percent. This is despite the fact that the older group spent an average of 33.6 months in the program and the younger group around 41.5 months.
“There are a number of reasons why weight loss in older people goes unappreciated,” commented Dr. Barber in the same interview. “These include an ‘ageing’ perspective that weight loss isn’t relevant to older people, and misconceptions about older people’s diminished ability to lose weight through changes in diet and more exercise.” He added, “Age should not be a barrier to that.” management of obesity. Rather than blocking older people from accessing weight loss programs, we should be proactive in encouraging this process.”
Weight loss is possible at any age
Based on the study we just discussed, the participants showed promising weight change, which is likely due to the individualized approach to weight loss. It can be motivating to see a friend or family member lose weight by following a certain diet or engaging in different exercises, but it doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll see the same results. It can prove to be trial and error to figure out which lifestyle adjustments work best for you. Here are some specific changes to focus on that are supported by research.
Strength training helps build muscle, which burns more fat at rest
Many people think that cardio is the only way to build lean muscle and promote lifelong weight loss, and while it’s a beneficial part of an exercise program, strength training may be a better option for older adults.
After reaching the age of 50 according to a Article 2013your muscle mass begins to decrease by 1 to 2 percent every year, or about 10 percent every decade. Your muscle strength is also declining at a rate of 1.5 to 2 percent per year, which sounds depressing until you know how to prevent and reverse it. Adding muscle building exercises not only prevents this muscle loss, but research has shown that it can boost your metabolism.
Protein is an important macronutrient that is basically the building block of our body as it is found in each of our cells. While everyone needs protein, a Article 2017 states that older adults require more protein than younger adults, at levels of 1.0 to 1.6 grams per kilogram per day.
Not only will it help meet your protein needs to replace muscle loss, but protein has also been linked to reduced appetite and hunger, boosting metabolism, and reduced cravings.
Work with an expert
Taking advice from an expert can be the key to learning which weight loss strategies will work best for you. Registered Dietitians (RDs) go through years of training to learn the ins and outs of a healthy lifestyle. A Study 2016 even found that participants who were routinely assisted by an RD lost more weight than those who only received email support (1.8 kg vs. 0.4 kg).
Improve your sleep
Our sleep quality and length not only help us wake up refreshed, but can also help with weight loss. A Study 2012 of 245 women found that the group that slept seven or more hours each night was 33 percent more likely to lose weight than the group that slept less than seven hours.
bottom line: New research shows older adults can lose just as much weight as younger adults. This can help reduce the risk of developing chronic conditions that can accompany being overweight.