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50 Reasons why it's Harder to Lose Weight as you get Older

Once you hit the age of 40 everything becomes more difficult.

Especially if you were out of shape during your 30s and suddenly realize its time to fix that. Aside from the fact that you no longer look great in your clothes, it becomes harder to lose weight. And there is a long list of reasons why it becomes more difficult as you get older.

Physical Effects

When you hit the BIG FOUR O you will notice a few things are different. You may have noticed gravity is no longer your friend. Gravity isn’t your only problem; the human body tends to go through some pretty crazy changes, beginning around age 35. Here’s a look at a few of the things that may impact weight loss.
  1. If you’re a woman, you’re probably dealing with what is known as perimenopause, which is a decrease in estrogen. Yay! Oh, wait… That is not as good as you think.
  2. Hormonal changes make you hungrier. That second loaded baked potato is looking mighty tasty right now, isn’t it?
  3. Metabolic rates tend to slow. In other words, even if you stick to that all-vegan, macrobiotic-anti-whatever-else diet, you may still gain weight. Who knew green beans could cause muffin top?
  4. Cortisol production increases. Cortisol is a stress hormone that may contribute to the aforementioned muffin top. Don’t give up and think that because you appear to be a muffin you should eat more muffins.
  5. The sudden incidence of insomnia may result in lower energy levels the next day. Although you might get caught up on your scrapbooking, you are less likely to burn any meaningful calories.
  6. Believe it or not, you may lose a few inches as you progress past 40. Gravity has a lot to do with this. Your weight doesn’t go south with your height; in fact, it can be more difficult to lose.
  7. It’s almost guaranteed that you’ll lose some lean muscle mass. Losing muscle not only means it’s harder to open that jar of spaghetti sauce, exercise becomes more daunting.
  8. Fat cells increase and grow. You can’t lose fat cells without surgery, but you can always grow new fat. Maybe it’s better to skip that second piece of German chocolate cake, after all.
  9. Joints begin to creak and ache more. Does this mean you shouldn’t exercise? Of course not. Does this mean you will exercise less? Probably yes, unless you’re into masochism.
  10. You move more slowly. Call this a combo of many of the aforementioned effects. Although you may experience less discomfort, you’re also burning fewer calories. Kick it up already!
  11. Your skin loses its elasticity. Although this does not have a direct impact on weight loss, the sight of floppy skin may give you the impression that your efforts aren’t working; in turn, you may give up prematurely.
  12. Thyroid changes can develop after 40. If you are working your butt off and still not seeing results, visit your doctor. You may need medication.
  13. A decline in melatonin can cause you to wander the house at all hours. Unfortunately, we tend to wander to food when we’re bored or sleepless. Put down the brownies and try a cup of chamomile tea, instead.
  14. For women, the effects of osteoporosis can be an inhibitor to exercise, which in turn can make it difficult to lose extra pounds. While you should be careful, your doctor can guide you to a safe exercise program.
Mental and Sensory Effects

Yes, this does refer to the fact that all-nighters are no longer a good idea. However, it’s not just your desire to party that changes. There are mental and sensory aspects that can impact your weight loss, as well.
  1. You’re tired. Remember how tired you were after a night of clubbing? You may not have gone out last night, but you feel like you did. You need more sleep as you get older, and if you don’t get it, you won’t have the energy to get moving the next day.
  2. Now that you’re older, you might think “To heck with it.” After 40, you may feel you’re past your prime; if you already think you’re less attractive, you may be less inclined to exercise or watch what you eat.
  3. If you don’t partake in any enjoyable activities for yourself, you may feel depressed once your children grow up and move out; this sadness can lead you to eat more for comfort.
  4. You may become more absent-minded. No, that’s not a reference to dementia. As we age, small lapses in memory are common. You may forget that you only exercised for 15 minutes this morning, and promised yourself another 15 minutes at night.
  5. Anxiety and depression are more prominent in older adults. Perhaps it’s the thought of our own mortality. In any case, mental health can have a direct impact on physical health and well-being.
  6. After 40, you might find it harder to focus on a task. What does this have to do with weight loss? Have you ever tried to cook a healthy meal while imagining bunnies chasing a rubber ball in a field? As silly as it may sound, if you can’t gather your concentration to fix a meal, you’ll probably end up at your local drive-though.
  7. Like memory and focus, balance can be affected by age. If you feel off-balance, you may be too self-conscious or afraid to exercise, for fear of looking silly or of injuring yourself.
  8. Have you noticed that it takes more salt to flavor your food? Yep, the sense of taste can start to decline, as well. If you’re not careful, you may end up dumping an entire bottle of ranch on that side salad you’re having with dinner.
  9. Are you worried about your job? As we age, we often worry that we appear less useful than someone half our age. Fear of your future at your company may contribute to stress levels and make you more likely to snack around the clock.
  10. If you used to read the nutritional labels on food, but have recently experienced a change in eyesight, you might opt to avoid the tiny print rather than admit you need glasses. This is more likely to be a concern if you used to pride yourself on having 20/20 vision.
  11. If you can’t come to terms with the fact that you aren’t in your 20s or 30s anymore, shaping your body to what you want it to be can be difficult. Accept yourself and strategize accordingly.
  12. Overzealous determination to look the way you did 15 years ago can backfire. Don’t skip breakfast because you MUST lose five pounds. Your already slowed metabolism will slow even further from lack of fuel.
Changes in Family and Home Life

By the time you’ve hit 40, there’s a good chance that your home life has reached a comfortable stride: it’s unlikely you’re still raising infants, but you may be dealing with teenagers. Family situations can impact weight loss, as well.
  1. If you’re old enough that the kids have left the nest, congratulations. Now you can go out to eat at places that don’t serve toys with meals. Unfortunately, your newfound rich, exotic eating experiences can contain up a day’s worth of calories in one sitting.
  2. Even if your kids are still at home, they’re probably a bit older. Chasing after a young child tends to burn more calories; yelling at a teenager, not so much.
  3. If you’ve been married for a while, it’s likely you and your spouse are very comfortable with each other. So comfortable, in fact, you don’t feel the need to impress each other anymore. Seconds on everything, please.
  4. If you’ve downsized recently, you might find you have less area to clean and sanitize. Less to do=less calories burned.
  5. Remember when the kids were younger and there were trips to the park, the zoo, the beach…. All that walking was great exercise. Now your family is older, and no one wants to see the new manatee at the zoo.
  6. If you do have teenagers, you are probably restraining yourself from strangling them at this very moment. Stressful family situations can provoke overeating.
  7. Blame the kids: if your growing children demand having more snacks in the house, it can be harder to avoid munching. Remember, you don’t burn calories like you used to.
  8. If job security isn’t a concern because you’ve moved up in the company, you might find yourself with more responsibility. At the end of a long day, the last thing you want to think about is broiling and steaming up a healthy meal. Burgers and fries are a lot easier to collect on the way home. Besides, didn’t the Reagan administration declare ketchup a vegetable?
  9. Dinner problems can be the same on the weekends. The last thing you want to do on your weekend is cook, isn’t it? Besides, your clan would rather have pizza. You’re too tired to cook anyway, and that pie covered in extra cheese and pepperoni sounds too good to pass on.
  10. If you have reached the age where the kids have moved on, you probably feel it’s time to sit back, relax, and enjoy “me time.” Unfortunately, me time might include an uninterrupted movie and a container of cheese balls that you don’t have to share. I bet you’d swear that container was nearly empty when you grabbed it.
  11. If you have downsized and it’s just you and your spouse, the two of you may decide there’s no need to cook. Even if you don’t dine out, fast snacks and meals can contain far more calories and fat than a regular meal. Go ahead and cook that meal; your body will thank you.
  12. If you suddenly take extra interest in your appearance, your spouse may believe you are having an affair after so many years of marriage. Jealousy and uncertainty can lead you to want to ease his or her mind, and can hamper your efforts.
  13. If you have waited to start a family until after 40, you have a host of challenges in front of you. The exhaustion of raising an infant later in life can leave little time for personal consideration and health.
  14. If you are over 40, single and sans children, you have all the time in the world, right? All that time will do you no good if you aren’t motivated, and sometimes family is the best motivator. If you still have parents or siblings, turn to them for a little kick in the rear.
  15. If your spouse has let himself or herself go, it can be harder to lose weight. Don’t ask me why. I hear spouses start to look the same the longer they’re together. Does that mean the wife will grow a beard, too?
Friend Challenges

Whether you’re a man or woman, you probably have buddies. If not, you should make some. However, your friendships can interfere with your weight loss goals, whether or not the interference is intentional. Here’s how.
  1. Friend get-togethers often include snacks and alcohol. Lots of snacks and alcohol. It might have been easier to burn off that second glass of wine or beer ten years ago.
  2. Have you ever heard the expression, “birds of a feather flock together?” If the rest of your friends are putting on weight, you may feel more comfortable letting yourself go, as well.
  3. Over-40 girls-day-outs (or guys-day-outs) may include less activity and more sitting. Remember when you enjoyed shopping with your girlfriends or working on a car with your guy friends? Now, you may be too tired to exert that much energy on your day off. You may opt to veg out in front of a television with a bag of nacho chips, instead.
  4. Ice cream gatherings among women are an opportunity to vent your life frustrations, and an opportunity to stock up on empty calories. The same holds true for beer socials and men. Remember, your metabolism is slower now; all that junk food is wreaking havoc on your frame.
  5. Your friends mean well, they really do. However, you are less likely to take on a new diet and exercise regimen if you don’t have the support of your pals. If your friends are comfortable with extra weight, they may not be inclined to support your plans for personal restructuring.
Environmental Challenges

Sometimes, the biggest hurdles are things we can’t change.
  1. Now that you’re past 40, you may not want to wear those tiny jeans or those muscle-enhancing shirts. Don’t give up because you can’t fit into them; learn to ignore labels.
  2. You may be trying to watch what you eat and do, but have you noticed that portions seem to be growing when you dine out? With a slower metabolism, you have to be cautious about how much food is served. It’s not a contest; you aren’t required to finish the meal.
  3. You can’t do anything about society’s perception of healthy or beautiful. If you are healthy and are working out, but not losing any weight, stop trying to look like that 20-year-old billboard model. Even she doesn’t look like that.
  4. The media would have you believe it’s perfectly normal to be overweight and unhealthy past 40. Don’t believe that for a minute. How you look and feel is up to you, not primetime television.

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