Why Is it Harder to Lose Weight As You Get Older?

| Weight Loss

Contrary to popular belief, your cellulite and muffin top aren't non-refundable gifts you receive on your 40th birthday. But you may notice that, as you age, you aren't able to eat the same unhealthy foods you used to without detrimental results to your weight. It's true that changes in your body make weight gain much easier than weight loss, but it isn't impossible to maintain or even drop pounds as each birthday passes.

older woman exercising

First, as you age, your hormone balance changes and may make it easier for your body to retain weight. Shifts in your hormones make your body less sensitive to insulin, decrease your existing muscle mass and slow your metabolism. Dr. Oz even notes that a woman's metabolism can slow by nearly 5 percent every decade after 40 and that women lose muscle mass twice as fast as men.

Combined with this decreased metabolism is an increase in appetite. Your estrogen levels drop after 40, causing a rise in insulin levels and a drop in thyroid levels; both of those factors make you hungrier faster. So ultimately, you end up eating more calories more frequently just as your body is taking longer to burn the calories and fat you consume. Dr. Oz's solution to this unfortunate issue is to try to shave off 100 calories from your normal diet each day. He says that could be something as simple as removing the skin from your chicken!

>> Up for the challenge? Check out these way to cut 100 calories a day.

Environmental factors attribute to this seemingly inevitable weight gain as you age, too. You're busier, with kids, work, chores and activities, and sleep often gets pushed aside as being important for your personal health. The lack of sleep adults experience contributes to the morning run for a sugary latte or soda and the cookies as a midday snack. You may also have every intention of working out in the evening, only to cancel because you're too exhausted. Making unhealthy choices like that can pack on the pounds over time.

can't sleep

With all these factors (and the clock) working against you, what can you do to maintain a healthy weight or even lose unwanted pounds? Try these metabolism-boosting, smart tips to staying healthy as you age.

1. Eat more protein. Eating lean protein helps you maintain muscle mass as you age. Muscle burns about three times more calories than fat and increases your insulin sensitivity, allowing you to balance your blood sugar and keep from overindulging.

2. Load up on fiber. To control your increased appetite, swap processed, unhealthy foods for natural ingredients that are rich in fiber. Fiber-rich foods keep you fuller longer and help your digestive system stay regular, flushing waste faster. Try incorporating these 9 fiber-filled recipes to get back on track!

3. Get moving. Your muscle mass deteriorates as you age, but you can help maintain it with regular exercise, allowing your body to burn more calories for you! Stay active with our Beginner Tabata Workout video below!

3. Sleep. Giving your body the fuel it needs includes keeping it well rested. If you feel energized each morning, you'll be more likely to make health-conscious food choices and won't be tempted to skip your workout due to exhaustion