Michael Ellman, M.D.
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Why Weight Loss is Harder After 50

By Dr. Michael Ellman on May 26, 2015 in Exercise, Healthy Living

If you’re over 50, you’ve undoubtedly heard your friends say something like this:

“I can’t figure it out. If I wanted to lose weight before, I just cut back a bit on sweets and exercised a bit more. Now, I do the same and the weight just doesn’t come off! In fact, it just seems as if it’s creeping up!”

And if you’re not hearing it from your friend, you may be experiencing this “it’s-harder-to-lose-weight” phenomenon yourself.


Noticing more of this on your belly after age 50? Can’t lose it as quickly as you used to – or at all? Why not!?

Women often complain about weight gain before, during and after menopause. But men aren’t immune to the pounds creeping up in middle age, either.

Read below for four reasons it’s harder to maintain our girlish or boyish figures as we reach middle age.

  1. Our metabolism has slowed – and continues to slow. Our metabolism declines by about 5 percent each decade after we reach age 40. Which means that our bodies don’t burn calories as they used to. If you continue to eat just as you did when you were 25 or 35, without increasing your exercise levels, you’ll probably gain weight. Many experts suggest that you simply eat 100 fewer calories a day than you did when you were younger
  2. Our muscles are losing their mass and our muscles burn about three times more calories than your body’s fat. A simple solution is to take up some form of strength training two or three times a week.
  3. After 40, our estrogen levels – in both men and women – fall, causing changes in our blood sugar levels and thyroid function, often causing us to feel hungrier than we did when young. One solution is to swap out junk food – and its empty calories – for fiber-rich foods such as fruits and vegetables. The fiber in these foods helps us feel fuller longer. They also provide important nutrients.
  4. Speaking of our thyroid glands, it’s wise to get your thyroid levels checked in middle age. You may have an underactive thyroid, which can lead to weight gain.

You should visit with your physician before going on a diet or starting an exercise regimen in order to rule out any underlying causes of weight gain. Your doctor also can help you come up with a healthy weight loss diet.

Contact Dr. Michael Ellman of Ellman Rehab Associates at 972-682-3909 or contact the office via an e-mail message.

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