Why Is Weight Control More Challenging After 50?

Why Is Weight Control More Challenging After 50?

Do you feel like managing your weight is suddenly more challenging in your 50s than it was a few years or decades ago? Unfortunately, you might be onto something. Weight control gets harder as you get older, which means it’s not only tougher to lose extra pounds, but also more difficult to evade weight gain. 

Age increases your likelihood of developing many of the most common weight-related diseases, too. Conditions like heart disease and high blood pressure are more likely to occur during middle age. And high body fat can make these conditions more severe and more difficult to manage. 

Fortunately, the news isn’t all bad if you’re over 50. Weight management is possible at any age, and altering your activity levels and eating habits may alleviate weight-related conditions with no need for pharmaceuticals. Double board-certified internist and cardiologist Jeffrey H. Graf, MD, can help you adapt as you age so you can manage your weight and enhance your health. 

At Dr. Graf’s practice on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, New York, he offers primary care in a way that is personalized and rooted in prevention and wellness. With this philosophy, he helps to ensure his patients take the necessary steps and utilize the appropriate resources to lose or maintain a healthy weight. His customized approach accounts for your age and any other factors that influence your ability to keep your weight under control. 

Dr. Graf also offers a concierge medicine program, where Members have increased connectivity to Dr. Graf. With a limited number of concierge patients, Dr. Graf dedicates ample time to you as you work toward your health and wellness goals. 

Weight loss after 50 — what changes

Perhaps you haven’t really changed your eating or exercise habits. You make consistent meal and snack choices, drink the same amount of alcohol you did in your 20s and 30s, and get a reasonable amount of exercise every week. Nevertheless, you see the number on the scale climb a little more each week. Even if you try to cut down on calories, those extra pounds are harder to shed.

So what’s happening? When you get older, your metabolism slows down. Your metabolism is the process your body uses to convert nutrients from your diet into energy. This energy is used for active processes like thinking and movement as well as involuntary processes like your heart and lung function. 

Starting in your 20s, your metabolic rate reduces by about 10% every decade. This means that by the time you turn 50, your metabolism is already 30% slower than it was around the time of your 20th birthday. 

Additionally, age 50 is right around the time when you start to experience sarcopenia or age-related muscle loss. Unless you add strength training to your routine, your muscle mass and strength can decline while also reducing your ability to manage body fat. 

Don’t ignore the behavioral factors

You can’t control the natural slowing of your metabolism, but it’s likely that some behavioral changes are also making it more difficult for you to manage your weight in your 50s. 

Even if you don’t actively intend to exercise less, you may have less energy for physical activity after work and on the weekends than you did in your 30s and 40s. Similarly, you might opt for a quick drive-through meal over home cooking more often as you get older and busier. 

Getting back on track after age 50

As you get started with weight management, Dr. Graf urges you to be mindful of behaviors that make it more difficult to lose weight or avoid gaining it. These include:

One of the many benefits of engaging in a weight management program is personalization. Be wary of any diet pills, products, or restrictive diets that promise fast weight loss. You will steadily reach your goals with proper weight management, and the results are sustainable and worth your effort. 

Get in touch with Jeffrey H. Graf, MD, online or with a phone call for personalized care and successful weight management in middle age today. 

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