A common complaint I hear from clients my age (40+) is that they feel their metabolism is slowing down. The truth is, the metabolism could be slowing down, but NOT because of menopause. In fact, studies show that sedentary men experience the same sinking metabolism as women around this time of their life as well.
One of the reasons your metabolism is tanking, if you’re sedentary, is that you have lost lean muscle mass. ‘Move it or lose it’ as the saying goes. If you don’t keep those muscles working, then they will atrophy and be replaced with fat. Fat is metabolically inactive as opposed to the calorie burning muscle tissue.
To avoid a further metabolic slow down there are a few other things you want to pay attention to. The first thing is to try to avoid skipping meals. If you regularly skip meals, your body is more likely to store fat in an effort to conserve energy. When your body knows that there is a steady supply of food coming at regular intervals, it is more likely to keep the metabolism going strong, rather than storing energy away (in the form of fat). In our society, it’s rare that we ever are without food for long, so we continue to add ‘junk to our trunk’ and get fatter.
Yo-yo dieting is a big NO-NO. Your body is such an amazingly effective machine, every time you restrict calories, your body will learn to get by on less, or slow your metabolism down. This is one of the reasons you need to STOP dieting. Portion control is important, eating nutritionally dense food is important, learning sensible eating habits that you APPLY for life is important. Dieting is counter productive.
Inactivity slows down the metabolism as well. You need intense muscle building activity daily to keep your muscles strong and this will in term keep the metabolism stoked and fired up. Don’t be fooled into thinking you need to join a gym or buy expensive equipment either. Your own body weight is plenty enough to maintain and even build muscle. You won’t become overly muscular. This just isn’t possible with our hormonal make up. Your goal is to increase your lean mass because the more you have, the higher your metabolism and the more efficiently your body will burn fat. So stop losing muscle. You can lose muscle just by being inactive, doing too much cardio and by simply getting older without doing resistance training.
So, here are a few tips to keep your metabolism fired up and your body weight in check:
- Do resistance training three times a week. (My e-book is an inexpensive and awesome support to get you going at home.)
- Stop dieting and make better food choices. Everything you put in your mouth should have some nutritional benefit.
- Cut out the junk! (Do I even need to say this?)
- Eat often. Eating 5-6 meals a day tells your body to burn calories and fat rather than storing them.