Middle Aged Spread, is it all a myth?
By Charles Hopkins
Published 05/18/2006 | Nutrition
As we get older and our lifestyles change, so do many peoples waistlines. Why? Is it that, middle aged spread is unavoidable or does it really even exist. Most men and women aged over 40 If asked about their excess weight will tell you its "middle aged spread" but unfortunately contrary to their beliefs it is not true and it can be avoided or lost with the right eating plan.
Let us Start with the main reason why you may gain weight. First on the list is the years of incorrect dieting, if you intake a calorie level that is too low for your body to function properly, the first thing to happens is that the body will start to use lean tissue (muscle) for energy and actually try to hold onto fat stores as a security for energy (due to the lack of calories being consumed). So yes you, lose weight but unknown to you it is mainly Muscle and Water with only a small amount of loss coming in the form of fat. Unfortunately by losing muscle tissue the thyroid gland and produced less of the hormones T3 and T4 which dictate how many calories your body will burn in a day! So now your body burns less calories that it did before starting the diet. So as a result you're still eating the same calories but now gaining weight.
With an excessive intake of calories the picture is a little clearer. Only an extra 50 calories per day will add up to an astonishing 18,200 calories per year, which transfers to about 5lb of fat gain per year, or nearly two stone in five years, and that is only working on 50 calories per day! Low fat alternatives can reduce your daily calorie intake dramatically without altering your portion sizes, so you can eat the same amount of food on a lot less calories. Always remember eating more calories than the body burns in any one day will result in the calories being stored as fat.
A reduction in activity such as maybe retiring from work is another culprit of fat storage, no matter what kind of job or activity you do, you are burning up calories, so any decrease in activity without decreasing your calories accordingly will result in weight gain! 20 minutes of badminton, brisk walking or a bicycle ride will burn about 100 calories (depending on the amount of lean muscle tissue you have)
And finally the "under active thyroid glands" and HRT "hormone replacement therapy" both of which hinder the bodies ability to convert fat into useable energy, although these conditions are not ideal for people wishing to lose body fat, with an accurate eating plan both conditions can still be bypassed to allow the client to lose weight effectively.
Plan of Action! First you should try to identify from the above information were you think your excess weight problem has come from so that in the future when you have attained your ideal weight you will not travel down the same road to ruin again. Then you should take a look at your current eating pattern by keeping a log of everything you have eaten in a seven day period, this will enable you to work out how many calories you are consuming per day. Next you need to know how many calories your body is burning per day, this can be done by monitoring your weight weekly while maintaining your calories at a preset level, if you can find a medium where you do not gain or lose weight the calories that you are consuming at that point will be your maintenance level. You then should reduce your calorie intake by 20% to allow your body to use your fat stores for the remainder of the required calories to enable you to function correctly and lose weight at the same time.