21 May 2012 6 Comments
When I was younger my metabolism ran so fast that I couldn’t gain weight even though I wanted to. Not only that, I couldn’t relax at all, I was hyper all the time. Nowadays they call it ADHD! Whatever…it worked for me. Then somewhere around the age of thirty, it began to slow down. At first, I loved it. I was finally able to get above 100 pounds without being pregnant. I was finally getting a womanly figure. Before that, I looked like a boyish stick with a few very minor curves.
Unfortunately, as the years went on and forty then fifty arrived, I continued packing on the weight. And I wasn’t too happy about it either. I yearned for the return of my skinny body and high metabolism. I spent a lot of time reading about what could have caused this and kept coming up against walls called “middle age” and “menopause”. While many of these articles did offer a little help with ways to lose weight during this time of life, none of them were much help when it came to increasing metabolism, at least naturally. But I knew that without a faster metabolism I would have to either continue to eat less and less or continue gaining weight. Neither was an option that I wanted to accept. Was I really doomed to continue this downward spiral until the day I died?
I recently found an article called “The Metabolism Myth” that has given me a lot of hope. They say that there is no biological reason to get fatter as we age. “Increases in bodyfat,” they explain, “are more a function of activity than age. Inactivity results in loss of muscle. And loss of muscle, not an aging metabolism, is the primary cause of creeping obesity. The muscle that remains is as metabolically active as ever.” How cool is that?!
It seems that the more muscle we have the higher our metabolisms and the more calories we burn, even when we’re sleeping. As we age our metabolisms drop because fat requires no nourishment but muscle is active tissue and does require nourishment.
Aging without working out to build muscle becomes a vicious cycle. We gain more fat and lose more muscle so our bodies require less calories, but we keep eating the same amounts causing our bodies to produce more fat. Dieting does help somewhat, but as the years continue on if we don’t do something more to change this, the amount of calories our bodies need continues to decrease. Then we reach a point where we can’t lose weight because of how few calories we would have to eat to accomplish that. But there is hope!
No matter what your age you can increase your muscle mass and decrease the fat. Dr. Lawrence Lamb states, ”Developing an old muscle is just like developing a young muscle. You may need to be more careful and progress slower, but you can do it.”
I don’t know about you, but this makes perfect sense to me. I started seriously working out a few weeks ago. I’ve been doing some form of both aerobic and weight training six days a week…and I’m already noticing a difference.
I still have a long way to go, but I feel so much better. My body is beginning to get more toned and the scale and tape measure are showing that it’s working. So far, I’m not losing pounds as fast as I would like, but I found that is because muscle also weighs more than fat. That is why I’m going more by what my measurements are than my weight, and I’ve lost ten inches so far. Personally, I don’t care what the scale says so long as I can get back into my skinny jeans.
The best way to build muscle is through some type of weight training. While aerobic is great for heart health and burning calories, weight training is the only way to actually build up your muscles. The added benefit is that you will also look more toned, so your skin will appear tighter as well.
The main program I’m using at the moment is Jillian Michaels – 30 Day Shred. I like it a lot! It’s very tough! But I can now do push ups and over a hundred jumping jacks. Not to mention all the other difficult exercises she has in the DVD. Word of warning though, it can be hard on the knees. I just took it a bit easier at first and now it doesn’t bother my knees at all. I’ve also been doing some extra weight exercises I found online, like tricep kickbacks. I figured my triceps could use the extra help since I don’t want to end up with flabby flapping turkey wings for arms. My suggestion is to find what works best for you and stick with it, even on days when you don’t want to. Before you know it you will look forward to working out…I promise!
I always try to find the silver lining in everything, and I feel that a lot of good has come from this middle aged spread that I developed. I have learned, and am still learning, so much about health, nutrition, and fitness. I’m eating healthier than I ever have in my entire life. I finally got my butt off the couch and started seriously working out. And finally, I get to hopefully help others by sharing what I’m learning with anyone who also doesn’t want to settle for the midlife status quo.
The last statement in that article says it all. I’m going to post it on my wall above my computer to remind me why I need to get up and get moving. “It comes down to this: Your metabolism won’t slow down if you don’t.”
What are your thoughts about this? Do you work out regularly…with weights? Has it helped you to stay slimmer?