Why are we putting on weight with age? 

  • 2010-10-13

Most people have a fine figure when they are young, but with age, the same amount of people gain extra weight. What is the reason for this? Is it genetics, eating habits or psychological characteristics of our body?
Here are a few reasons why our weight increases.

Reduction of energy consumption
Approximately every 10 years, the consumption of energy in a human is reduced by 10% (i.e., the respiratory function and the cardiovascular system are not as active, and the metabolism slows down). During those same 10 years an average person’s weight increases by 10%. The connection is apparent: if the level of metabolic processes in the body would not slow down with age, this trend, most probably, wouldn’t exist. Both men and women put on weight equally because of this fact. But women also have other “reasons” for weight gain.

Hormonal changes
Weight gain occurs during pregnancy and lactation, when there is a change in the hormonal status, and the body begins to “store” fat. Full-bodied women suffer the most from this. The risk to gain weight significantly increases during climax, and it is important not only for women but also for men. The reason is simple - hormonal changes in the body and the switching of metabolism to fat storage.
A psychological reason

We know much less about this reason, than about the previous two. The name of this reason is anxiety and ardor of youth. Until the age of 20-30, a person is constantly evolving: there are still a lot of challenges ahead, one must study, start a family - in other words, there are all conditions for maintaining a high psychological and, consequently, general tone. In this condition, high energy consumption is inevitable. With age, life usually gains a routine, cyclical nature: children - home – work - family. Monotony does not contribute to enthusiasm and it hinders development. The consequences of this are reduced tone and restriction of moving activity. If the passions and hobbies are not enough, food can become the biggest source of pleasure. And we all know where this leads.

Something that is in our nature
Everybody, even the healthiest of people are programmed to gain weight with age. In youth, stress causes us to lose weight. Adrenaline hormones destroy cells and tissues in the body. For some time the body resists the attacks of adrenaline, but the older we get, the harder it is to do it. And sometime near the age of 35, when facing a stressful situation, a person, on the contrary, begins to put on weight. Why? The body cannot cope with the adrenaline by itself; it produces the hormone insulin, which, in its turn, builds fat. At the age of 40 chronic stress leads to an intensive weight gain.

There probably isn’t a single woman in the world, who has not tried at least once in her life to stay on a diet. But if for a young woman a diet is her assistant and friend, then in old age it can play a cruel joke. The more often a person keeps to a diet, the more likely that with age he or she will get fat. The algorithm of the process is as follows: the diet provokes a feeling of hunger and discomfort, which in turn sends an alarm signal to the body, in response to which a peculiar defense mechanism starts up, whose essence is to reduce energy consumption. The activity of metabolism is reduced by an average of 40%! After dieting the ration returns to normal, but the body does not have time to adjust to the new condition and still burns calories slowly. Metabolic processes in the body of a person under the age of 25 are working with full force and adjust more quickly. With age, the consumption of energy slows down as it is, and frequent changes in the diet slow it down even more. As a result - extra kilograms. A moderate diet throughout the entire life and fasting days - that’s the way to a slim figure both now and in the future.

How to fight weight gain?
1. If you want to stay slim, as you get older, your diet must become less fatty, but more diverse and tasty.
2. As it turns out, it is important not only what you eat, but also how fast you do it. Japanese scientists have made an interesting conclusion about the relation between the speed of eating the food and body weight. It turns out that to keep a stable weight for many years, you need to eat slowly. The study was conducted on the basis of data of four thousand healthy people. Some had the habit of eating very slowly, some - just slowly, others ate at a normal pace, and there was a group with members who ate fast or very fast. The scientists compared the weight of all participants at the moment of the experiment with the weight that they had at the age of 20, and found a direct relationship between the speed of food intake and the body mass index. Those who eat slowly tend to eat less, because the brain has time to give a signal about the saturation of the body. In addition, the food is better masticated and therefore more digestible. So it is healthy to eat slowly at any age!
3. Sports can help to get rid of excess body weight, but when a person becomes older, the loads should be less intense! Excess exercise leads to fatigue, bad mood and increased appetite. Moderation and regularity is more important here: regular walking, small morning exercises, swimming, that is something that increases muscle tone and efficiency. If you start to look after yourself and engage in sports before the onset of the weight problem, then it can be avoided. The main thing is not to give up on exercises with age but make them less intense.
4. Middle age is not a reason to stop the development. Modern life in a civilized country allows anyone to learn and change, so you should pay more attention to your own mental and physical condition, and the result would be inevitably reflected on the figure. The longer the usual rhythm of life lasts - the longer the figure looks perfect!
5. And one more thing about food! While the body is young, all the processes occur at the same speed at any time of day. With age, all the processes in the body slow down in the afternoon. Accordingly, much of what we eat after dinner is not absorbed and is stored as fat. Do not want to get fat? Eat a plentiful breakfast. It has been proven that people who regularly eat breakfast, eat less throughout the day.
6. Good heredity certainly gives a great chance not to put on weight. But even the daughter of very lean parents can become obese, if they started to overfeed her in early childhood. The number of fat cells in the body of the child increases, and there are all chances for the baby to become chubby over time.
7. The amount of fat accumulated during pregnancy affects the weight gain with age. Those, who look after themselves and do not allow themselves to put on weight, are more likely to maintain a slender figure until they are very old.
So, if you look at the list of reasons why people are gaining weight with age, it becomes clear that many of them are not connected with physiology. Age is not an obstacle for beauty and an active lifestyle!