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Why Is Weight Control More Difficult After 50?

Why Is Weight Control More Difficult After 50?

Each stage of life presents new challenges. A big one is weight management. It can be difficult at any age, but especially as you cross the half-century mark. 

If you're over 50 and managing weight has become a significant challenge, you're certainly not alone. Physiological, psychological, and lifestyle factors are likely working against you. 

Dr. Rina Kapoor at ARA Integrative and Functional Medicine in Glen Mills, Pennsylvania, offers personalized weight loss consultations and counseling to help you shed those extra pounds.

In this article, she explores why weight control becomes more complex after 50 and what you can do about it.

Physiological factors

Common physiological factors that influence weight management for people over 50 include:

Hormonal changes

When you hit your 50s, decreasing levels of estrogen in women and testosterone in men can wreak havoc on weight management. 

These hormones play a crucial role in how your body processes fat, metabolizes sugar, and reacts to stress. Understanding these shifts can help you tailor a diet and exercise plan to your needs.

Slowed metabolism

Your metabolic rate typically slows by about 0.7% annually once you reach age 60. That might not seem like a lot, but it adds up. Even if your eating habits remain constant, weight gain becomes increasingly likely as you age.

Medications

People in their 50s often are on long-term medications for conditions like hypertension and diabetes. Many of these medications cause weight gain as a side effect. Consult Dr. Kapoor about possible alternatives or additional treatments if this problem affects you.

Psychological factors

Your body and mind are intrinsically linked. Emotional factors can come into play when you're struggling with weight loss. 

Emotional eating

Your 50s can be a period of substantial change. Maybe your children are moving out or your career has plateaued, and you’re feeling significant stress or an emotional void. Emotional eating often becomes a coping mechanism.

Foods high in sugar or fats release dopamine, the "feel good" hormone. However, they also contribute to weight gain. You must identify your emotional triggers to manage this problem.

Settled patterns

People often settle into established routines as they age. Breaking free from these patterns, such as poor eating habits or a sedentary lifestyle, becomes increasingly difficult with time. However, even minor adjustments can bring significant results over time.

How to combat weight gain in your 50s

If you're looking for a structured approach to weight management, we can help. Dr. Kapoor specializes in metabolic testing and personalized health care plans that consider all the factors, including age, that affect weight.

Balanced diet

A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains can help regulate metabolism. Small, frequent meals are better than skipping meals, which can further slow your metabolism.

Regular exercise

Physical activity is essential for weight management at any age, but it's vital after 50. Choose exercises you enjoy to make it a sustainable lifestyle change. You should also include strength training exercises to build muscle mass, which can help improve your resting metabolic rate.

Mindfulness

Mindfulness can be a valuable tool in breaking free from old habits and emotional eating. Simple techniques like mindful eating, where you focus solely on your food while you eat, can help you consume less and enjoy your food more.

Weight management after 50 can be challenging, but understanding the factors that contribute to weight gain at this stage of life can help you tackle them more effectively. 

If you're grappling with weight issues at any age, request an appointment with us online or call the ARA Integrative and Functional Medicine office at 610-358-3300.

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