Metabolism And Weight Loss: The Best Ways To Lose Weight After 50

Posted by Sughra Hafeez in Health and Fitness
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Your metabolism is a key factor for your weight loss because it’s responsible for taking food and turning it into energy

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Metabolism: Converting food into energy

Metabolism is the process by which your body converts what you eat and drink into energy.The number of calories your body uses to carry out these basic functions is known as your basal metabolic rate — what you might call metabolism.

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Several factors determine your individual basal metabolism, including:

Your body size and composition. People who are larger or have more muscle burn more calories, even at rest.

Your sex. Men usually have less body fat and more muscle than do women of the same age and weight, which means men burn more calories.

Your age. As you get older, the amount of muscle tends to decrease and fat accounts for more of your weight, slowing down calorie burning.

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Weight Control — Part Nature, Part Nurture

Regardless of whether your metabolism is fast or slow, our bodies are designed to store excess energy in fat cells. So if you eat and drink more calories (energy "intake") than your body expends (energy "output") you will gain weight. On the other hand, if you eat and drink fewer calories than are burned through everyday activities (including exercise, rest and sleep), you'll lose weight. Our bodies are also programmed to sense a lack of food as starvation. In response, our BMR slows down, which means fewer calories burned over time. That's one reason why losing weight is often difficult.

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How does aging affect metabolism?

The main reason aging effects overall metabolism (see similar question below) is because our daily movements decrease as we age. To be sure, most of a person's age-related reduction in resting energy expenditure (REE), which is what is often referred to as metabolic rate, is due to muscle loss and decreases in other organ activity, BUT, that's only true if the person is maintaining the same body weight because metabolism (calorie burn) increases as weight does.

After age 50 sedentary adults normally lose 1-2% of muscle/year or ~30% from 50-70.

Contributing factors are metabolic changes that lead to more tissue breakdown than synthesis, declining hormone levels, pro-inflammatory compounds and excess free radicals. But all this still only adds up to an approximate 2% per decade loss in total calories burned. Meaning, if your REE was 1500 calories/day at age 30, if you remained sedentary (e.g. not strength training) or gained weight, your 40-year-old REE would be ~1470 calories/day. Hardly anything to cause you to gain weight and definitely not the primary reason for adults becoming overweight considering weight gain itself causes you to burn more calories.

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How To Boost Your Metabolism

Eat Whole Foods

Chose to eat whole foods that are healthy and rich vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. Avoid refined products and food that is overly processed. Junk food can give you a quick solution to hunger and sometimes it’s comforting to eat salty and sugary foods that satisfy your palate, but whole foods are truly tasty and can fill you up while helping you burn fat.

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Stay Active

Since your metabolism replaces the loss of muscle mass with body fat, it’s necessary to exercise and strengthen your muscles. Do planking exercises which strengthen your upper back muscles and backwards running which strengthens your glutes and lower back muscles. Also try these simple exercises that you can do at home with absolutely no equipment to strengthen your whole body and burn fat.

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Drink More Cold Water

Studies have shown that drinking 17 oz (0.5 liters) of water increases resting metabolism by 10–30% for about an hour. This calorie-burning effect may be even greater if you drink cold water, as your body uses energy to heat it up to body temperature. One study of overweight adults found that those who drank half a liter of water before their meals lost 44% more weight than those who didn't

Tips to maintaining your metabolism throughout life:

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Lift Heavy Things

Lifting weights will also help you retain muscle and combat the drop in metabolism that can occur during weight loss

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Undo damage with dairy

There are days when no salad on earth can possibly overcome the seductive power of French fries. But you can make up for it with a calcium-rich afternoon snack, like eight ounces of milk or six ounces of low-fat yogurt. Calcium helps your body metabolize fat more efficiently by increasing the rate at which it gets rid of fat as waste (yes, that kind), reports a study from the University of Copenhagen. Sorry, supplements don't have the same effect.

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Fish-oil supplements

Combining regular exercise with fish-oil supplements increases the activity of your fat-burning enzymes, reports a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Volunteers took six grams of fish oil daily and worked out three times a week.

Turn to (green) tea

Green tea has long been heralded for its antioxidant polyphenols. But new evidence shows the active ingredient, catechin, may crank up metabolism. Researchers conducted a series of studies in dieters and found that those who went green lost more weight than those who didn't, suggesting that catechins may improve fat oxidation and thermogenesis, your body's production of energy, or heat, from digestion.

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Get your omega-3's

Why does eating lots of fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids (salmon, herring, and tuna) help amp up metabolism? Omega-3s balance blood sugar and reduce inflammation, helping to regulate metabolism. They may also reduce resistance to the hormone leptin, which researchers have linked to how fast fat is burned.

Stretch yourself.

Literally. The more flexible you are, the more you will enjoy any physical activity you do and the less chance you'll have of hurting yourself, says Rami Aboumahadi, a nationally certified personal trainer. And at 60+, a less active lifestyle and an increase in aches and pains can make your flexibility plummet. Consider taking a yoga class or even simply adding a few stretches to your day, particularly after you've taken a walk or warmed up your muscles in some other way.

Additional Tips

Get annual check-ups to ensure their testosterone levels are not abnormally decreased.

Men and women should also get tested for insulin resistance, which can occur as we age and results in elevated blood sugar (often called pre-diabetes) and more rapid accumulation of abdominal fat.

Medications to balance blood sugar can result in sustained weight loss.

Keep in mind it’s total calories that count; the timing of when you eat is less important.

Avoid grazing on high-calorie snacks at night, a common pitfall.

Instead, drink water, herbal tea or calorie-free vitamin water, which keeps you satisfied and also provides additional health benefits.

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