You can see the signs of gaining weight – shopping for clothes isn’t as fun as it once was, you go to button your favorite pair of pants and notice the “extra” spilling over your pants, and finally you jump on the scale to confirm the bad news, you’ve gained weight. Midlife weight gain is common, in fact many Americans gain a pound or so every year as they make their way through young adulthood, often ending up flabby and chubby at 40-years-old.
Why do so many people gain weight in midlife?
- Hormones, although will only contribute for about 2-5 extra pounds.
- Poor lifestyle choices, overeating, reduced amount of exercise, and stress are the remaining factors that contribute the most to that weight gain.
What can I do to avoid this weight gain?
- Control your stress. This needs to be done by controlling your mind and doing various things to promote good mental health. Try meditation or practice your breathing. Also, remember to try to minimize stressful occurrences, i.e. if you’re going for a walk and everything around you is stressful (traffic, barking dogs, etc.) throw on some headphones or walk early in the morning before things start getting hectic.
- Quality – plenty of fresh fruits and veggies, whole grain/whole wheat products, lean protein sources, low fat/fat-free dairy, minimize empty calories, processed foods, and sugar.
- Quantity – remember to practice portion control and how many calories, fat, and sodium you are taking in. Have an idea of how many calories you need. Although it varies for several reasons and the amount of muscle you have, but the average woman, not an athlete, in her mid 40s or 50s, needs about 1,500 to 1,600 calories a day, on average, if she is exercising. Where as a middle-aged man, average height and not an athlete but exercising, needs about 1,800 to 2,000.
- Frequency – it is much healthier to eat several small, nutritious meals a day rather then binging and eating only two or three times a day.
- Remember to exercise! Doing workouts that incorporate large muscles and multiple muscle groups will help you burn the most calories. Try to do cardio in which you are burning 400-500 calories a day (you can do it all in one setting or accrue it throughout your day!) And don’t forget to lift some weights!
January 26th, 2009