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How Your Metabolism Changes As You Get Older

How Your Metabolism Changes As You Get Older
Your metabolism can change as you get older, which makes it more and more important to eat right, exercise, and maintain a healthy body fat during your younger years. In general, you can expect it to be a little easier to gain weight and a little harder to lose it every decade due to several changes that your body will go through. Every person is different, however, and some people won't gain weight as easily as others. There are other factors involved with weight gain as you age of course, for example during some parts of the year like the fall and winter, weight gain is common for people of almost every age group. The average person puts on 1 pound between the months of September and February, as just one example.

Regardless of the fact that your metabolism slows down as you get older, it doesn't mean that you don't have the ability to lose weight. The slowdown is not as dramatic as many people think, and your weight still has a lot to do with lifestyle factors and the choices you make when it comes to your diet. You won't gain weight as long as you maintain a careful control over your diet and avoid being sedentary as much as possible. Both of these lifestyle habits can become harder as you get older, which is why the HCG diet and other diets are sometimes necessary. But, understanding a bit about how your metabolism changes can be helpful so that you know what to expect.

Total energy expenditure decreases with age

Your total exergy expenditure (TEE) or the amount of calories that you burn from your basal metabolic rate, physical activity, and energy expended during digestion starts to decrease as you get older. Your basal metabolic rate decreases about 1 to 2 percent every decade, and your basal metabolic rate accounts for about 50 to 70 percent of your total energy expenditure. As a result, your basal metabolic rate when you are 40 will be about 2 to 4 percent lower than when you were 20. Another way to put it, is that you will burn about 125 to 150 fewer calories per decade after the age of 20.

Many researchers believe that this decrease in basal metabolic rate is unavoidable as you age, because it may have to do with decreased activity in metabolically active organ tissues, or decreased metabolism within muscle tissues. But, it's important to realize that you will burn fewer calories every decade, and expecting this can make it a lot easier for you to make the proper dietary changes to maintain a healthy weight as you get older. Also, women's metabolism usually takes longer to start to decline rapidly. Men's metabolism starts declining rapidly after around the age of 40, while for women their metabolism usually starts rapidly declining around the age of 50.

Diet and exercise are always important, but become more important as you age

As you probably already know, a healthy diet and exercise are important for your overall health no matter age you are, but exercising and dieting becomes even more important due to the metabolic loss that occurs with age. You won't be able to eat the same amount of calories as you did when you were younger without weight gain, but in spite of this many adults don't make the necessary dietary changes as they start to age. Exercise can offset some of that metabolic loss, but it can't make a significant difference in regards to a poor diet. Exercise can only burn about 200 to 300 calories, but dieting makes the most difference in your overall health and weight simply because it accounts for more calories.

Physical activity also often declines for aging adults, and it can be a significant decline as well. Many adults become more sedentary as a result of their jobs, driving too often, and not having as much time to exercise as they did when they were younger. This makes it even easier to gain weight and harder to lose weight, as a sedentary lifestyle can result in a loss of muscle mass and can also have a significant effect on your metabolism. That's why it's essential for aging adults to make the time to exercise, no matter what, and to make it a part of their lifestyle along with healthy dietary changes. Every little bit makes a difference when you are trying to maintain a healthy weight as your metabolism starts to decline.

It's not really something to worry about

Although you can expect to burn slightly fewer calories every decade, it's not something that you should be anxious about. The main thing is to keep yourself informed about nutrition, stick to a healthy diet as much as possible, and keep a careful control over your weight. Almost everyone goes through their ups and downs with weight even when they are younger, but you always have the power the control your own weight even as you get older. You don't have to fear getting older because of weight gain, but you do have to start taking steps now to make the transition as easy as possible on your health.

As mentioned before, you mainly have to focus on your diet and ensure that you're eating whole foods and avoiding carbohydrates. Try to avoid grains, sugar, unhealthy fats, and starches as much as possible even when you are younger. Keep monitoring your BMI and get your body fat checked or get a home testing kit. It's important to monitor your body fat percentage along with your weight, because you can have what may be considered a "€œnormal"€ weight but still have a high body fat percentage. This can result in many of the same health problems that obese people face, especially for those who carry midsection fat, which has been associated with a higher rate of several chronic illnesses like heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes.

Take control of your health now

The steps that you take now will definitely pay off as you get older. If you can get your body fat to a healthy percentage, stay at a normal weight, and develop healthy eating habits when you are young as well as exercise habits, those habits will very likely stick with you as you get older. And you won't be putting on weight very easily if at all if you have healthy habits. On the other hand, if you neglect your health now, you will have more work to do when you get older and it will take more time and effort to get back to being healthy, although no matter what it's never impossible and you should never feel overwhelmed.

Don't blame a slow metabolism for weight gain; your weight really is in your control no matter what age that you are. Yes, your metabolism changes as you get older, but it doesn't mean that it wil be dramatically more difficult to lose weight. The HCG diet can certainly help you lose weight at any age, because it has been proven to work for both older and younger adults, and it's one of the best ways to get back to a healthy weight quickly even if you are several pounds overweight or obese. The low calorie requirement of the diet, the healthy food options, and the effect of the HCG hormone all play a role in helping you burn fat, even if your metabolism has slowed down due to age. Dieters are amazed at how much weight they lose in a very short period of time, even those who believe that they have a slow metabolism.

If you are interested in learning more about how the HCG diet can help you lose weight, click here.



About the author

Dr. Constance Odom, MD

4 min read