Most of us have an inherent belief that we tend to gain weight as we age, starting in our 20s and increasing more so as we age. That belief is rooted in longstanding hyperbole that our metabolism slows as we age. And while that may be true after age 60, that is not necessarily the case beforehand.
That’s according to new research from the Pennington Biomedical Research Center that followed about 6,600 people from 29 countries whose ages ranged in infancy to 95 years old. The research, published in the journal Science, found that although infants and children had the highest metabolisms, people’s average metabolism rate actually leveled off and held relatively steady in their early 20s through age 60.
Dr. Gabe Mirkin — a fitness guru, longtime radio host and sports medicine doctor with more than 50 years of practice — said in a recent blog post that the research supports the idea that in middle adulthood, weight gain is likely caused by taking in more calories than are burned.
“Since many North Americans start to gain considerable extra weight in their 20s or 30s, long before their metabolisms begin to slow down at age 60, everyone should be aware that you control excess weight by eating less and being more active,” Mirkin wrote. “Variables include how often you eat, the types of bacteria in your colon, your portion sizes and the types of foods you select, your exercise program and your daily activity level.”
The study is further evidence of just how crucial it is to balance proper nutrition with activity levels when it comes to losing weight and staying healthy.
With that in mind, we rounded up five useful tips for turning your life around and moving towards a lifestyle change that includes eating right.
1) Map your meals.
Whether you’re cooking yourself or leveraging a meal delivery service like Diet-to-Go, meal planning is a critical piece of eating right. Knowing exactly what you’ll eat, how much you’ll eat and even when you’ll eat will help ensure you’re not going overboard on calories or engaging in mindless snacking in the day.
2) H2O it up.
Consuming tons of soda or sugary drinks throughout the week is not doing your waistline any favors. Instead, make water your drink-of-choice. If you find yourself getting bored, opt for sparkling varieties. You can even add fruit to a pitcher for a fun flavor kick.
3) Measure those portions!
It’s way too easy to over-consume when you’re not paying attention to not only what you eat, but how much you eat. Try using smaller plates or bowls. You can also measure out lunch and breakfast servings in plastic containers ahead of time. If you’re short on time or not sure, consider ordering Diet-to-Go’s healthy, pre-portioned meals that take the thinking out of healthy eating!
4) Purge your kitchen.
Pantries loaded with processed foods and snacks make healthy eating more difficult. As the old adage goes, “Out of sight, out of mind.” Go through your cabinets, pantry and refrigerator and throw out foods with limited nutritional value. Place fruit on the counters and keep healthy snacks like carrots, sugar snap peas, broccoli and cherry tomatoes front-and-center in your fridge.
5) Munch mindfully.
Slowing down and taking the time to chew and taste every flavor in your food is one mental trick that goes a long, long way towards helping with weight management.* A busy, on-the-go lifestyle is likely your norm, so mentally tell yourself you’re going to prioritize slowly eating a meal. Not only will this make it more enjoyable, but it also makes it easier to trigger your mind to tell your stomach its full before you go overboard.
Ultimately, a slowing metabolism is likely not the culprit behind weight gain in middle adulthood. Start with these tips to change your eating habits, and you’ll be on your way to achieving your goals!*
Author: Caitlin H
Diet-to-Go Community Manager
Caitlin is the Diet-to-Go community manager and an avid runner. She is passionate about engaging with others online and maintaining a healthy, active lifestyle. She believes moderation is key, and people will have the most weight loss success if they engage in common-sense healthy eating and fitness.