While most people gain weight as they age, extra weight is not inevitable.
Weight gain with menopause in women or aging in men is very common. Hormonal changes, decrease in muscle mass and less exercise can all lead to slow weight gain.
As we age, and especially after menopause, fat is more likely to deposit in the abdominal region. This is called “metabolically active” or “visceral” fat, and can be quite dangerous, leading to increased risk for metabolic syndrome.
Here are some ways to combat weight gain as you get older:
Increase muscle mass
Weight gain with age can sometimes be attributed to lower muscle mass. Since muscle tissue takes more calories to sustain energy, a decrease in muscle mass means less calories are used throughout the entire day.
If your doctor says it’s okay, start a consistent weight-training routine to increase muscle mass and the amount of calories your body is burning at rest.
Track your weight
One of the best ways to stay on top of slow weight gain is to weigh yourself regularly. Most people find that by weighing themselves at least once a week, they can stay on top of that extra weight that seems to creep up over time.
If you know your weight, you can do something about it. Make sure to zero your scale and wear minimal clothing before weighing in.
Track your food
It’s easy to think you are eating healthy and appropriate portions, but sometimes it’s helpful to actually write down and track every morsel of food and drink that goes in your body. You might be surprised to learn you are eating more than you think.
Online and smart phone food and fitness trackers are great tools for tech-savvy patients.
While genetics do play a role in weight gain, remember weight gain is not inevitable. Practice these helpful tips to avoid weight gain with menopause or as you get older and you can stay in control of your weight.
Do you need more help losing weight?
Learn if bariatric surgery is right for you by attending a free weight-loss information session about the Penn Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Program. At the session, we will discuss what to expect with weight-loss surgery at Penn, and you can meet our physicians and team members.