Weight gain can be a touchy subject for many, especially those that are trying to keep fit. There are many diets screaming at us to do this, or to do that. The noise is constant on the “right” way to release weight.
Some say it’s difficult to maintain a healthy weight as we get older. Others say it’s inevitable there will be weight gained, in time.
Is it true we gain weight as we get older?
We hear all sorts of comments about weight as we begin to age. I remember hearing the warnings growing up, such as: “Enjoy your thin body now because soon it won’t be.” “It’s tough to keep weight down as we get older.” “You will gain weight when you grow into your adult body.”
Any of this sound familiar?
Some experts say as we get older it’s harder to keep the body weight down. Why is that? And is it true? The jury might still be out on this one as it seems there are all sorts of sizes—thin, average, and over weight with adults in their mid to elder years.
Take Nelly, she’s turning 64 in a few short weeks. When she was a young girl she never concerned herself over how big or small her body was as she didn’t have to.
You see Nelly was blessed with legs that didn’t quit, a flat stomach, a well portioned torso, flat stomach, and well, she was the envy of all the girls. You could say she was perfectly formed.
As she grew into a handsome woman she maintained her lovely figure, even after the birth of her twin girls.
So what happened! Why is keeping her weight down now such a struggle?
According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine’s article, Aging Changes in Body Shape, the body shape changes naturally as you age. The article goes on to say you cannot avoid some of these changes, but your lifestyle choices may slow or speed the process. I’ve been echoing these sentiments for the past twenty years—maybe longer.
What’s really interesting, is the article notes that the amount of body fat goes up steadily after the age of 30, and that after the age of 65, it goes down often resulting in weight loss. Hmmmm, many of my patients are in their sixties and DO struggle with their weight claiming they have most of their lives. Will they be on the decline weight-wise in just a few years?
The important take away is that we are all individuals, and that there isn’t a “pure” formula that will give all the answers. Many factors need to be considered. Take myself for example, my mom insisted I was a BIG baby, weighing fourteen pounds at birth. She was convinced she was having her third set of twins.
Yes, you read that correctly. My mom gave birth to my sister Christy, and then the twins Michael and Mickey, and then the twins Danny and Debbie and then little ole me. Oh, but I wasn’t so little. I was fourteen pounds at birth…fourteen!!
I struggled with weight most of my teen and early adult life.
The funny thing, or maybe not so funny, is at one of the iadep (International Association of Eating Disorder Professions, of which I’m certified) conferences, years back, I was getting ready for one of the events in my hotel room. In the background an announcement on the Morning Show talked about a baby winning the Guinness World Record, as the largest baby recorded.
The baby was 14 pounds!
I must have just missed winning this prestigious award by only a few months as the inception of the Guinness World Records, which originally known as the Guinness Book of Records, originated some time in the early 1950’s..
Research suggests overweight and obese women are more likely to have large babies. And babies born big are more likely to become obese as children.
It was also suggested, in my many articles researched on causes of weight challenges, that if you were large as a baby you’d most likely have a difficult time maintaining a healthy weight most of your life.
My mom was heavy all of her adult life, and I was born big, but that’s where things shift. I was a skinny kid turned heavy at 13.
So, back to me…could it be that I was born chunky, hence would battle weight, or at least need to seriously work on my healthy lifestyle in order to keep from inching up to 234 pounds, as I once was?
And as we age don’t we shrink? What would happen to the weight then? Perhaps we’d be weighing higher than our recommended number in one of those crazy 20-span charts! What about bone size and ethnic background, and environment, and bad habits?
No, I don’t think we can say we are in the clear, and we’ll become our skinny little self as we edge into the elder years.
Yes, the appetite may go down do to trouble eating if you have dental issues, medications, and or illnesses. But as a whole, I think there are many factors to consider, but with that said, it is NOT inevitable we will gain weight as we get older either. Yes!
Another person that comes to mind is Tom. His nickname was green bean pole as a kid. He ate anything and everything to gain weight and long and lean he remained to the point he began to take weight and muscle boosters.
Tom grew out of his thin physique as he closed in on 45 years of age. He went from the green bean pole to a round Brussel sprout, as he reported
What happened to Nelly and Tom? Well, both of them turned to healthy lifestyle attitudes and behaviors and corrected their weight.
At first, in treatment, both obsessed on their weight. If I could make a dollar for every time I heard, “Yes, but I just want to lose weight,” I’d be a multi-millionaire by now. And of course I repeated my usual, “If the eye is on the scale the recovery is lost, it’s another diet. If the heart is on recovery the prize is weight loss.” In other words, stop focusing on your weight like a dog with a bone. Let go. Breathe. And look at some of the factors that may contribute to weight gain as you age.
Less Active: You are not moving as you did as you did in your youth.
Drink Alcohol: You drink alcohol more days than not.
Vegetable Disdain: You hate vegetables and replace them with too many carbs and high-fat foods.
Fast-food Junky: You’ve turned to Drive-Thru and Take-Outs which are jam packed with calories.
Life Losses: You are losing friends and family as you age, turning to food for comfort.
Grieving Youth: you are grieving the easier more flexible times as you age.
Metabolism Shift: Your metabolism has slowed down as your activity is slacking too.
Get Active: Join an exercise group to build friendships and outside activity.
Eat Real: Add more fruits and veggies and less processed starchy carbs to your menu.
Watch Protein Choices: Eat more fish and less red meats.
Balance: Eat three balanced meals and one healthy snack daily to avoid eating poorly.
Add People: Add a social life into your life.
Relax: Meditate connecting to your higher self.
Sleep: Sleep at least seven hours a night and…a nap is not a bad idea too.
Divine Intervention: Add a spiritual or religious component to your life.
Life has its ups and downs but we don’t have to go up in weight just because we are getting on to another season in our life. We can be thin and healthy until our last breath, barring any unforeseen illnesses, or accidents.
What are your experiences with weight as you are inching up in age? Do you find it’s easier to keep the weight down. Have you lost your appetite? Were you told it’s inevitable you will gain weight when you enter your adult years?
You can leave a comment by scrolling down to the section that says leave a reply. I look forward to hearing from you! I’d love to hear from you, and learn from you. If you want to know more don’t hesitate to pop an email to [email protected], I’d be happy to answer any questions you might have…
Speaker, writer, licensed clinical psychotherapist, PhD in addiction psychology, eating disorder professional, hypnotherapist changing the view about compulsive eating one addict at a time.