I know that all of us have heard this a million times. I wanted to explain what happens, and also what you can do about it!
It is of no question that there is an epidemic of obesity in the adult population. Childhood obesity is increasing which is not good, but the number of adults that are overweight is not a good thing. I know that it's a super sensitive topic so I never want to make anyone feel bad about that ever. There is ALWAYS ALWAYS a point to change. I think that many times adults get to ... adulthood and think it's hopeless. I even heard a sweet lady in the gym yesterday say "I'm gonna work on these flabby arms but I know it's hopeless because I'm so old!"
That's not the case. As you age, your metabolism is going to decrease by 1-2% per decade approximately so that means that if you are eating 1800 calories, you would then have to eat 1764-1782 calories the next decade to stay the same weight. That's seriously not that much from 20-30 years old, but if you get to age 60, then that's 4-8% so from 1800 calories as a 20 year old might be as low as 1656 calories to maintain the same weight at 60. From what I have read through the years, and believe me I am not saying this with 100% certainty but they are very unsure of why this is.
However, the BIGGEST issue with this is not that you would have to decrease by like less than 150 calories in a 40 year period. The problem is:
1. We become less active/sedentary and most of the time make excuses that it's okay because we are older
2. We lose muscle mass.
I have said it once, but I'll say it 100 times over. I'm not over here trying to make GAINS or be some muscle ball bodybuilder contrary to what everyone in the south thinks! ;) I simply know that lean muscle mass means a good metabolism. The more muscle mass that you have, the higher your resting metabolic rate is. The higher your resting metabolic rate means that you can eat more while doing nothing and burn more calories.
Why are mens metabolisms better? They have more testosterone. Testosterone helps with lean muscle mass. Men have a great lean muscle mass and resting metabolic rate. So, LIFT WEIGHTS DANG IT! ;)
So, as we age, the rate at which we burn calories decrease just simply because that happens. It's very minimal though, so on top of that, we lose all of our muscle mass and decrease it even more. So, that 1800 calories with lean muscle mass when we were running around as kids turns into 1400-1500 to even just maintain that weight.
3. Women fad diet, and continue to mess with their metabolisms.
Diets are diets and will forever be diets. It's cliche but you've GOT to find something that's sustainable for life. If you do crash diets, and cleanses, and detoxes over the years, you are going to further and further lower your metabolism. So, by the time you are in your 60s with lower muscle mass, lower resting metabolic rate just because of age sets you up to now be at 1200 to maintain that weight that you kept at 1800 calories.
It's a slow progression. Weight is an energy expenditure thing as I was saying yesterday. Over 10 years, it could be 5 extra cupcakes that weren't accounted for in the opposite direction or 15 workouts missed that packs on the pounds. If you aren't proactive about it, then it will just continue.
So, what the heck do you do about it?
If you are young, then you need to be proactive. Eat well, make it a lifestyle, start getting some resistance training in. Don't fad diet. Do something sustainable. Reverse diet, and get your calories high. Stay active even if it's something light.
If you are older, then it is NOT too late. You just need to start getting some resistance training in. I would really encourage reverse dieting!! I think that it will help bring you out of the cycle of eating minimal and still not losing weight. The actual physiological decrease in resting metabolic rate over the decades is VERY small. If you do your part, increase your muscle mass and change your lifestyle, you CAN eat and eat a lot while maintaining and losing weight.
With love and aging metabolisms,