Women have more difficulty losing weight as they age than men do. Reasons why women over 40 have a tougher time losing weight include:
- Metabolism Gets Slower. Estrogen, a hormone produced in the ovaries that helps sexual and reproductive development, begins to drop as a female starts perimenopause, the period of a woman’s life – usually in their 40s – that typically takes place several years before menopause occurs. As a result of the declining estrogen, women lose muscle mass, which leads to a slower metabolism. Women have to consume fewer calories to maintain or lose weight. The estrogen decline also makes women more likely to deposit fat in the belly, which can make their metabolism even less efficient.
- Sleep Deprivation. Many middle-aged women suffer from sleep deprivation, which has been linked to an increased risk of obesity and diabetes. This is because it is more difficult for a woman’s body to regulate glucose when she is sleep deprived. This leads to insulin resistance and, therefore, weight gain.
- Men Are Larger. If you’ve ever wondered why older males seem to not struggle with weight gain as much, it’s due in part because they naturally have a lower percentage of body fat and higher muscle mass. Because muscle is more metabolically active than fat, it uses more energy in the form of calories. The average man is simply bigger than the average woman, so it requires more calories for men to maintain their larger body mass. Thus, men can consume more calories without gaining weight than women can.
Sticking to the basics of weight control can help prevent or reduce menopause-related weight gain. Here are several practices that can help with weight loss:
- Exercise more. Experts recommend at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise each week. Activities such as brisk walking, jogging, and swimming are great ways to keep your weight in check while also improving cardiovascular health. Doing some weight training can help you maintain muscle mass, which becomes increasingly important as you get older. Maintaining muscle mass helps you burn more calories.
- Cook healthy small meals. An effective way to be more mindful of what you are consuming is to eat smaller meals and only get more food when you’re still hungry. This is better than sitting down with a large portion, which may encourage you to eat too much. Try to avoid eating fast foods which are typically high in fat, sugar, sodium, and unhealthy additives.
- Get more sleep. Adequate sleep is an essential part of maintaining a healthy weight. During sleep, two hormones, leptin and ghrelin, are released. These hormones play a significant role in appetite regulation. Sleep deprivation disrupts this natural process and causes the metabolism to not function properly to where the body confuses tiredness with hunger. Experts recommend 7 hours of sleep a night.
If you’ve been taking steps like these and you’re still struggling with weight gain, consider seeing a dietitian. At Natural Bio Health, we can create a plan to help you reach your weight loss goals. Contact us today to learn more.