Belly fat: Mid-life mid-waist weight gain can be frustrating  |  Photo Credit: iStock Images
- Weight gain is a body trait just as much as it may be a lifestyle fallout.
- Some of us are blessed with genes that make us less likely to succumb to middle-aged spread.
- The upside of all this is that it’s possible to prevent or reduce middle-aged spread. Just read on and see the three things you need to consciously do.
There are so many physiological changes as one is ageing, especially through the 30s, 40s, and 50s, it becomes a lot more difficult to lose weight on these ‘wrong sides’ of ageing.
Some of the key changes are listed here:
- Muscle loss: Once you hit the 30s, you begin to lose as much as 3 to 5 per cent of your muscle mass per decade. Lean muscle burns more calories. So if your body composition lacks this lean muscle – that means has less muscle, the fewer calories you will burn.
- Slowing down of Metabolism: As you lose muscle, your metabolism slows down. Your body requires lesser calories as you are burning much lesser with lowered levels of activity. But the excess calories you consume accumulate as fat. Crazy fads and dieting experiments also do more harm than good.
- Hormonal changes: The hormonal changes in the body (especially for women – leading up to menopause) contribute to weight gain. As a woman’s body loses estrogen, it begins holding on to fat, especially belly fat. In men, testosterone also decreases as you get older, and body fat increases.
Sadly, most of us get caught in the work and duty to family rut and end up neglecting our own precious health. Then suddenly we notice that as we age, we have less muscle and energy and more fat. The beer gut, the spare tyre, the muffin top… There are plenty of names for it and none of them is flattering.
NOT COSMETIC ISSUE AT ALL:
Carrying those extra pounds is actually harmful to health. The problem with abdominal fat is that it’s more closely linked with certain health problems than other types of body fat. So fighting middle-aged spread isn’t reduces your risk of diabetes, heart disease, stroke and various cancers.
Both ageing and obesity can also bring changes to the way your body processes glucose—the sugar your body makes from food and uses for energy. These changes can lead to diabetes, which raises your risk for heart disease, blindness, amputations, and other conditions.
Is there a magical formula?
No magic pill exists for healthy weight loss and we absolutely dissuade anyone opting for miracle cures, especially drugs that have not been certified by the Food and Drugs authority of your country. Many of these weight loss pills are not really “natural” or “Ayurvedic” as the shady manufacturers will have you believe and end up causing serious organ damage (kidney, liver, heart etc.). So, unless your doctor has prescribed, please do not use any mail-order or OTC drugs to lose weight.
Coming back to legitimate and safe methods, here is what most experts suggest you must do:
The Mantra to live by:
Eat well and exercise every day. Keep your metabolism “on track and at work”. The best exercises for maintaining muscle mass (or increasing it) are those where your body bears weight. Ask your coach or your doctor about the correct ways to do push-ups, chin-ups, lifting weights, and to a lesser extent walking uphill or steps.
How to lose the middle-aged spread of the 30s, 40s, 50s and beyond?
- Strength training: Find a good trainer who will teach you how to strength train safely and effectively. This form of exercises helps you maintain your muscle mass and body composition. This one is for all. Use some music, find sets that you enjoy.
- Get Protein: This element in food becomes even more important as you get older. Your muscles require it, and proteins also stave off hunger. How much protein does one need? 1 to 1.5 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight. Spread it throughout the day, hitting at least 20 to 25 grams of protein at breakfast.
- Reduce calorie intake: Nevermind the fact that you may be active, that you may be eating healthier foods… your intake of calories cannot be the same as your teenage self. Start maintaining a food log. That way, you can figure out where the extra calories are sneaking in fom. Then begin a plan to wisely cut back on calories.
Disclaimer: Tips and suggestions mentioned in the article are for general information purpose only and should not be construed as professional medical advice. Always consult your doctor or a dietician before starting any fitness programme or making any changes to your diet.