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

Posted by Sughra Hafeez in Health and Fitness On 6th February 2018

Your metabolism is a key factor for your weight loss because it’s responsible for taking food and turning it into energy


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.


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.

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.

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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