Let’s face it. After menopause, it feels as though the rules all change when it comes to weight loss. Whether you’ve been a regular at the gym and have kept up the habit for years (congrats!) or whether you make sure you get out for that power walk most days of the week, it can be tough to use your workouts to lose weight when you’re a senior.
Sometimes you can feel as though it’s impossible to lose even a single pound. Other times, you can lose weight several weeks in a row, only to get stuck on a seemingly endless plateau. Whatever the case, the pounds simply don’t drop off your body like they did when you were 18. That said, it’s important not to beat yourself up about it. There is science to explain why your workouts aren’t giving you the results they once did.
Once you’re through menopause, your estrogen levels start to slide. This makes it much easier to gain weight than it used to be. Moreover, after the age of 45, we begin losing muscle mass. For every ten years after that point, we lose about 10 percent of what we had. Since muscle is a natural fat burner, the less of it we have, the greater our odds of gaining fat.
At the same time, the easier it is to gain weight, the harder it is to lose it. Fortunately, there are strategies that we can work into our efforts to stay fit and keep our weight in check, no matter our age.
As you maintain your workouts, keep the following in mind:
- Stop avoiding carbohydrates and eat the right ones instead. Carbs are not your enemy. They are not the reason you gain weight. If you stop eating them, you can cause yourself to experience vitamin deficiencies and you may even increase your odds of weight gain instead of decreasing them. Instead of trying to cut carbs, eat more slow-release carbohydrates. You’ll gain tremendous nutrition and fiber and can reduce your body’s inclination to store fat, particularly around the middle. Some of the best slow carbs are beans, whole grains and sweet potatoes.
- Vary the types of exercise you do. If you’re power walking most days of the week, that’s great for your cardiovascular health. However, it means that you’re likely not getting a lot of strength training done. Many people confuse strength training for body building. Just because you’re lifting weights, it doesn’t mean you’re trying to bulk up. Instead, strength training can help you to maintain your lean muscle mass and strengthen it – even if it doesn’t grow much in size. These exercises can also help to increase your joint strength, your body’s ability to burn fat, and even your balance.
- Dump the diet soda for good. If you’ve been drinking diet soft drinks in the hopes of losing weight, it’s time to break that habit right now. One study after the next has shown that people who drink diet pop are more likely to gain weight than lose it. Artificial sweeteners have strange impacts on the body and wreak havoc on our ability to shed the pounds. Unless you use these artificial sweeteners because you have diabetes or another type of medical condition linked to insulin production, it’s likely best to skip them altogether.