Top Weight Loss Products

Why Does Mid Life Weight Gain Happen?

Mid Life Weight Gain

User Rating: 5 / 5

Star ActiveStar ActiveStar ActiveStar ActiveStar Active

Weight increase is common, almost universal, as we reach middle age. However, while it may be almost inevitable it is not healthy, especially if the fat we gain is stored around our stomach and abdomen.  It’s not that you need to throw yourself into a rigid diet to drop every excess pound once you reach middle age. 

However, if your doctor has said that you could stand to lose some weight in order to be at your healthiest, it is worth your while to start looking into the types of lifestyle changes you can gradually adopt to keep your health and quality of life at its highest for many years to come.

We Need Fewer Calories from Mid Life Onward

Calorie needs are highest during our mid-20s, then reduce at about 2-4 percent every 10 years. So, if you need about 2500 calories a day at 20 years of age, then by 50 years of age you need only about 2200-2350 calories. 

This is important to note because if you were eating the right number of calories – or even a few too many – while you were in your twenties, then continuing to eat the same way over the years will have more of an impact on your body.  Even if you haven’t changed a thing about your meal size and what foods you’re eating, you’ll find yourself gaining more weight as the years go by.

If you want to know how many calories you should be eating in order to achieve and remain at your healthy body weight, speak with your doctor.  This way, you’ll know what your goal should be, and you can create a healthy range to aim for each day. 

If you’re not sure how many calories you’re eating on an average day, take the opportunity to download a nutrition tracking app, or use a free web-based tool to keep track of your daily food intake.  That way, you’ll know where you are right now and whether or not it would be in your best interest to start making some changes to avoid mid life weight gain or counteract some that has already happened.

Less Muscle Tissue Means We Need Less Calories

The most common reason why we need to eat fewer calories as we get older, is because our muscle mass tends to decrease. Between the ages of 30 and 70 years, muscle tissue shrinks on average by about 30 per cent in most people. The reason for this is simple lack of exercise.

The problem is, muscle requires more energy to sustain it, than fat, does. So the less muscle we have, the fewer calories we need, and any surplus energy we take in will be stored as fat. Hormonal changes (e.g. thyroid function, adrenal function) may also slow down our metabolic rate and cause a drop in calorie needs. 

How Much Weight Do We Gain With Age?

The age-related reduction in muscle tissue leads to an average weight increase of about 5 pounds per decade (men) or 3.5 pounds per decade (women). This may not sound like much, but it can add up over time.  Moreover, the more you age, the more the extra weight you’re carrying can have an impact on your health.  Excess body fat after mid life can increase inflammation, which can lead to many unpleasant symptoms including pain.  Furthermore, if you gain too much weight, it can limit the number of procedures that will be safe for you in the case that you need one to overcome other types of health condition that become more common with age.

It's Easy to Reduce the Risk of Mid-Life Weight Gain

To minimize the risk of age-related weight increase, all you’ll likely need to do is eat about 50-100 fewer calories per day, per decade, or increase our calorie burning by about 50-100 calories a day per decade. Speaking to your doctor will help you to know the specific number that is appropriate for you. One way to achieve this is to walk an extra mile a day (per decade) or to add other activities such as swimming and yoga to your week.