As we age, a slow creep in weight sets in. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the slow creep is due in large part to a decreased proportion of lean muscle mass and an increased proportion of fat mass. Most of us start losing muscle around age 30 which is in relation to lower testosterone levels in men and lower estrogen levels in women, both hormones that help build muscle, as well as changes in nerve and blood cells and the body not converting amino acids to muscle tissues as efficiently. Lean muscle mass includes the weight of your muscles, skin, bones, and organs, and is critical in maintaining weight. It is easy to let yourself slip into an unhealthy lifestyle that may contribute to weight gain. However, there are things we can do every day to help prevent weight gain from happening. Here are ten things you can do to ward off the gradual creep in weight.
Keep in mind that maintaining weight requires you to live a healthy lifestyle, which includes healthy eating and calorie balance (calories in=calories out).
Be active and don’t forget about resistance training. Resistance training (i.e. lifting weights, body weight exercises, or yoga) builds lean muscle mass which boosts the number of calories you will burn each day.
Setting aside time in your day to be active and sticking to it takes the common excuse of “lack of time” off of the table. Scheduling even ten minutes of activity into your day is beneficial.
4. Plan Ahead.
Planning meals and grocery lists ensures that you won’t be stuck eating fast food or skipping meals in a crunch to do unpreparedness. It also helps you plan a balanced meal that incorporates all food groups. Read more about meal planning and prep in Save Time, Stay Nutritious and Batch Cooking Freezer Meals.
5. Mix it up.
Try new recipes and activities to keep things fresh and new and to help discover your likes and dislikes. The iGrow website has some great resources for mixing up your recipes and activities!
6. Eat Healthy.
Balance your plate using the tools from ChooseMyPlate to make sure you are getting food from all the food groups.
7. Portion Control.
Pay attention to how much you are eating. Familiarize yourself with serving sizes and stick to them. Try to reserve meal time as a no distraction time (i.e. no TV or computer use). Focusing just on a meal helps you pay attention to the amount you are eating, and allows for great family or self-reflection time.
8. Eat Breakfast.
Breakfast helps you kick start your day in the right way. Eating a well-balanced breakfast everyday will fight off the morning munchies and set the tone for the rest of the day.
9. Focus on health benefits.
Instead of focusing only on what your body looks like, focus on the endless health benefits reaped from living a healthy lifestyle
10. Weigh often.
Weighing yourself on a regular basis, i.e. weekly or monthly, keeps you aware of the slow creep in weight that can easily happen. If you see yourself gaining a few pounds, re-evaluate your behaviors and take steps like those mentioned above to correct them.