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When Your Weight Won't Change

Por Claudia M. González, MS, RD, LD/N* -
When Your Weight Won't Change

You follow your diet faithfully. You exercise. You don’t lose weight. Does this sound familiar? Find out why, and learn how to win the battle of the bulge.

Putting on the pounds

For many of us, normal weight gain doesn’t stop until we have physically matured in our adolescent years. As we age, many people experience weight gain, and getting rid of those extra pounds seems to become harder and harder. Having a baby, eating more calories than we need, and not exercising are all factors that can contribute to our gaining weight.

People gain weight at different stages in their lives. But typically, starting in our 20s or 30s, when people become less active due to studying for college or working all day, weight gain begins. And as you increase in age and change your lifestyle, your body composition is also slowly changing, and it becomes more of a challenge to stay fit.

Factors influencing weight change

There are many factors that impact a person's weight. Though we would like to be able to pinpoint one specific thing that controls our body weight, this is not possible to date. Our genes, environment, and lifestyle all affect our body weight. 

Some examples of environmental factors that affect our weight include our exercise habits (how often, how long, and what type), our eating habits (how often, how much, and what types of foods), medicines we are taking, and stress.

The body’s hormonal changes can also affect our weight. Women commonly experience changes in weight after the onset of both menstruation and menopause, at which times, the levels of hormones in their bodies fluctuate.

Challenging your body weight

As people age, many can’t continue to eat what they ate when we were 15-20 years olds. But, we can certainly change our behaviors to improve our weight and thus our overall health. 

  • Move your body.An active lifestyle becomes more and more important as you age. For example, a woman who, in her 20s, used to run 3 or 4 miles 3 times a week will have to modify her running as she ages to maintain her weight. She may have to run 5 miles (or more) instead of 4, or increase the frequency to 4 times a week to avoid gaining weight. The same thing can happen with our diet. We have to reactivate our exercise programs or dietary plans to break the routine our body has adjusted to.
  • Increase your muscle mass.The loss of muscle mass begins around age 30 and accelerates around the age of 60. By age 70, many people become fragile, are much more likely to suffer falls, or to lose the ability to care for themselves or their homes the way they did when they were younger. You should do exercises with weights to help prevent your muscle mass from decreasing. Lifting weights also burns calories.
  • Eat balanced meals.Each person has unique nutritional requirements. These requirements vary depending on a person's gender, age, height, and level of physical activity. The key to balanced nutrition is eating foods that provide an appropriate amount of carbohydrates, fat and protein. Avoid following popular/fad diets that eliminate particular foods or food groups.

Lead a more active lifestyle

Change your current weight with the help of an exercise routine and a balanced diet. Maybe eat a little less than you used to eat a decade or two ago. Accept and learn to handle the changes of your body as they come along, and remain realistic. Try to maintain a healthy weight.

*Dietitian

 

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