Yes, weight does increase with age, but there are some simple ways to keep it in check, writes Dr Noor Gill
Many people struggle to keep their weight in check as they get older. And you were probably blaming it on that pint of beer or the two (or three) extra servings of aloo puri. But not any more; no sirree, we have science and human physiology and biochemistry to defend you.
Why am I putting on weight easily?
You could be eating right and getting 30 minutes of walking and exercise into your routine but your weighing scale
might not agree with what it has to show for it. Fashion designer Dianevon Furstenberg rightly said, “Ageing is out of our control. How you handle it though, is in your hands.” And the trick to doing that is to do it gracefully and make it look great so everyone looks forward to it. Among other things, ageing also makes it easier to gain weight even if you don’t eat more or exercise than you did before.
A study done by researchers at Karolinska Medicine Institute, Sweden was published in the journal Nature Medicine, which brought to light the reason for this.They had to say that the lipid turnover in the fat tissue decreases during ageing. It is a naturally occurring process where, with the growth, the metabolism of the body also starts slowing down.
What is lipid and lipid turnover?
Lipid is a biomolecule that we, for the sake of simplicity, call fat.
Lipid metabolism is the synthesis and degradation of the lipids or fats in the cells. In today’s fast-paced world where everything we do or consume has to reach us in a jiffy, our foods are no exception. And this has led to a global problem of obesity, which has made understanding lipid dynamics and what regulates the size of the fat mass in humans even more relevant and important.
Turnover number is the maximum number of chemical conversions of the substrate molecules per second that a single catalytic site will execute for a given enzyme concentration.
To put it simply, lipid turnover is the rate at which the lipid (or fat) in the fat cell (adipocytes) is removed and stored.
What causes decrease in lipid turnover?
The exact cause for the decrease in the lipid turnover is still unknown, but given the progress and advancement in the department of rejuvenation research, we have some hypotheses to back them with – such as chronic inflammation resulting from senescent cells, and mitochondrial dysfunction. It might take a few years for new data to emerge, since we are all a little too busy and occupied tackling the ongoing and all-consuming global crisis.
What can be the other causes for my gain in weight?
Hormonal Changes: According to a CDC data, middle age is the prime time for putting on the pounds.
For Women: Menopause leads to a significant drop in the oestrogen levels, which in turn encourages a few extra pounds to settle and get comfy around the belly.
For Men: After 40-45years of age, men also start to experience a decline and consequently a drop in the levels of testosterone. Testosterone, apart from other things, is also responsible for regulating fat distribution and muscle strength and mass.
Decrease in the metabolism: A slow metabolic rate along with more fat and less muscle reduces the rate at which the calories are burnt,thus making it easier to gain weight.
Lifestyle changes: You do not have time for yourself anymore. The hour you spent at the gym after work is now spent taking care of the groceries list or getting ready for a party later. Certain stressors in life can also add those kilos; it can be a stressful situation you are dealing at home or the stress of not staying in shape itself.
What can you do you avoid the kilos?
Eat better : Increase your fruit and vegetable intake. Decrease your sugar, processed food and junk food consumption. Eat whole foods which are high-volume foods like beans, nuts, and vegetables and fruits that will fill you up and which also have a high fibre content. Whole foods take up more room in your tummy while not contributing significantly to your daily intake of calories.
Downsize your portions: Now that you are not running around as much, you could do with 200-300 fewer calories in your basket. Trim down, don’t cut!! Adjusting to your body’s requirements and need is a gradual process – don’t rush it, or yourself.
Stay hydrated: Humans are home-plants with just more complex feelings. And it is easy to confuse the feeling of thirst with that of hunger. So keep yourself well hydrated – WITH WATER – do not replace it with substitutes like carbonated, sugary drinks or kombuchas; we’re trying to cut down our calories, remember?
Do not stress: Relax. Many of us are guilty of stress eating. Meditate for 15 minutes in the morning and go from there. Do some yoga, or some breathing exercises to keep you centred. Exercise, too.
Move around more: Nothing too complex, just a little jog or a brisk walk. Don’t sit too long, keep moving around. Stay as active as you can.
Sleep well: Get a good night’s sleep. If you do not go to bed on time, you wake up exhausted, will be inactive during the day and will burn fewer calories as a result of that.