Weight control and middle age
Weight control becomes a problem when you reach middle age. Maybe you have been quite proportionate and thin when you were younger, but with age, weight piling on becomes a major problem.
Your age also means that this is just not the right time to start vigorous exercise or get into a high impact workout regimen.
Instead, you need a gentle weight control – plan of action and we are here to help you with that.
Three most important things that women 40 and over should keep in mind are:
supplements to take
tests to do on a periodic basis
We’ll deal with each separately…
What you should be eating
You are at that stage where nutrition plays a huge role in both your health as well as in your weight control. Many people resort to dieting to lose weight, but the fact is that dieting actually makes you put on weight!
If you are wondering why, it is because most diets cut back on both nutrition and calorific intake.
This results in your body going into panic mode and starting to conserve fat – ultimately making it next to impossible for you to shed those pounds.
Aim to eat right and eat healthy. And here are a few things to follow:
Learn to not overeat
Stick to smaller and more frequent meals.
This will not only give your metabolism a much needed boost (aging makes it slack off), it will also give your body a chance to burn the calories from one meal before you start having your next.
Exercise should change with age – but it shouldn’t be stopped. Scroll down for the brief on exercise later.
What about Fats
Some fats are good and are in fact essential for your body to function probably.
These are called the essential fatty acids – the ones found in fish, nuts and avocados. These you shouldn’t cut back on.
As you age, one thing to cut back on much more than fat is sugar, refined carbohydrates and salt
This is because you need to now control the propensity for developing diabetes and blood pressure.
When your body starts to age, your risk of developing these conditions increases.
Cut back on these and start using natural sugar substitutes and spices to replace the salt instead.
Also replace all carbs with complex carbs or high fiber substitutes like whole wheat flour, brown rice, oats with bran etc.
Allergies and in tolerances
Another thing that increases the amount of wear and tear in your body, as well as the rate of weight gain is allergies and in tolerances.
This is because when you eat a food your body is intolerant to, that food actually gets saved rather than burnt.
In other words, you not only gain weight, but you tend to crave these foods more often. You should ideally get yourself tested for allergies and avoid those foods.
Some medications can also lead to weight gain at this age. Some medicines such as antidepressants actually promote weight gain by increasing cravings and appetite which is not good news for weight control.
Certain antibiotics could also lead to a decrease in healthy gut flora – this leads to increased yeast in the body. Increased yeast in the body also has a complex relationship with weight gain.
When your body isn’t getting all the nutrition it needs, it isn’t able to metabolize the food you eat properly. This leads to ‘panic’ and weight gain.
To regulate these chemical reactions, it is essential that your body release the right enzymes at the right times.
As you age, your body starts to depend more on external sources of vitamins and minerals to regulate these enzymes. And so you need to have nutritional meals.
Speaking of nutrition and deficiencies, supplements can be your best friend at this age…
Supplements for middle age
If you have been into dieting for any prolonged period of time, or if you haven’t really paid your body much attention, it is highly likely that you have a few deficiencies right now.
It certainly doesn’t help that as we age, our body tends to need more supplements to make up for natural deficiencies.
Here are the ones to look out for:
- Vitamin C – 1000 mg: adequate vitamin C is important for your body to effectively lose weight.
- B vitamins – 25 mg: this boosts the cells ability to ‘burn’ food to make energy and therefore can aid in weight loss.
- Omega 3 fatty acids – 700 EPA: these and fish oils are known to increase blood flow to muscles when you exercise. Also, it helps to transport fat to that part of your body where it will be more effectively burnt.
- DHA – 500 mg: this is fish oil and works like the omega 3 fatty acid.
- Co-enzyme Q10 – 25 mg: this helps in the energy supply of your body. As a result, any deficiency will make you lethargic. Its deficiency can also lead to heart and gum problems, high blood pressure and immunity issues.
- Chromium – 200µg: this mineral is essential for the metabolism of sugar and carbohydrates, and can therefore help to decrease weight gain, and increase weight loss from exercise and lifestyle changes.
Besides these, also consider zinc, amino acids and a general multivitamin and mineral. Calcium may also be essential for women’s bone health.
Ideally, you should also include a menopausal supplement, as that is equally important to prevent the usual discomforts that come with menopause and the dwindling estrogen levels.
For some women, a bladder health supplement may also be necessary. Also, in addition to the supplements, you should consider getting a few tests done…
Tests that should be part of your yearly checkup
When you approach and enter into middle age, there are a number of changes that happen in your body. As a woman, the changes are much greater than the ones that typically occur in a man’s body.
Changes can lead to a number of conditions. The good thing about these conditions is that if detected early enough, these can be controlled and/or prevented. And for that reason, consider getting these tests done:
Mineral deficiency test – as the name suggests, this will help to identify deficiencies and need for supplements. These are essential for your body to function properly and metabolize the fat that you eat.
Candida test – Candida is another name for yeast. As you know, yeast overgrowth leads to unnecessary overeating and weight gain. This test will identify if you have the condition and whether you need treatment.
Food intolerance and allergy test – as mentioned earlier, food allergies lead to bloating, feeling unwell and weight gain. But once diagnosed, you can easily avoid these by avoiding the food in question.
Insulin resistance (Metabolic syndrome) test – insulin resistance is not only an indicator of diabetes; it also signifies that your body isn’t metabolizing the fats properly.
Which often leads to unnecessary weight gain in middle aged people – and if detected, medication and lifestyle changes can be used to control it.
A Thyroid function test – an underactive thyroid can lead to weight gain in middle aged women.
Conditions associated with middle age can all lead to weight gain, and difficulty in knocking off pounds,
Getting these tests done and referring to a doctor with the results may be the first step to working out a strategy to deal with the weight gain in the best way possible.
A word on exercise
Exercise is quite important, because remember that there is no such thing as negative calories. What you eat you must burn – plus some extra – to shed the pounds.
Women over 40 need to be careful about the exercises they do, if you have been into regular workout since your early days, then you can just continue.
Since your body is conditioned for the exertion, you should have no problems, but those new to exercising to stay healthy, at this age, target low impact exercises like:
- Power walking
- Working out at the gym, but with an instructor who is aware of your problem areas and limitations.
Keep in mind that you should aim for about 60 minutes of any low intensity activity of your choice to keep the weight gain at bay.
So, that was our basic weight control – plan of action, especially suited to middle aged women who are concerned about maintaining an average weight. And with the help of these tips, you should be off to a good start!