As we age, many of us struggle with weight loss. You might assume that this is due to a slower metabolism, but research shows that metabolism doesn’t actually slow down much with age.
A 2021 scientific paper analyzing metabolic research showed this:
From the time you’re born until you turn 1, your calorie burning abilities are at it’s peak, accelerating until it is 50% above the adult rate
From age 1-20, your metabolism slows by about 3% a year
From age 20-60, your metabolism holds steady
After age 60, it declines by about .7% a year
So why is it harder to shed pounds as you get older? Here are a few factors to consider:
Reduced activity levels: Many of us become less active as we age, which can make it harder to maintain a healthy weight.
Loss of muscle mass: Our muscles naturally shrink as we age, and this can lower our metabolism and make it harder to burn calories.
Fad diets: Restrictive diets can actually harm your metabolism, making it harder to lose weight in the long run.
Calorie restriction: Eating too few calories (such as 1,200 calories or less per day) can also slow down your metabolism and make it harder to lose weight.
But here’s the good news: there’s nothing inherent in aging that makes us carry more body fat. By staying active, strength training, eating enough protein, and avoiding fad diets and extreme calorie restriction, we can maintain a healthy weight as we age.
So if you’re feeling discouraged about weight loss as you get older, remember that it’s not your metabolism that’s holding you back.
Instead, focus on healthy habits that can help you manage your weight throughout your life. With a little effort and the right approach, you can feel amazing in your body at any age.