It's time for some straight talk: You weigh more than you did ten years ago, or even five years ago. The extra pounds didn't arrive all at once but accumulated gradually before you even realized they were climbing on board. Now you're looking at some serious extra poundage. But that's to be expected as you get older, right? Wrong.
Putting on excess weight is very common for a number of reasons that we'll explain. But it's not an inevitable part of the aging process, and it could put your health at risk. If you understand why you tend to gain weight more easily as you get older, you can do something about it. And doing something about it is what this book is all about.
You can blame a lot of your weight gain on your metabolism. Beginning as early as your mid-twenties, body fat begins to increase while muscle mass decreases. And less muscle mass translates into a slower metabolic rate.
Muscle mass decreases from about 45 percent of your total body weight in your youth to about 27 percent by the time you reach age 70. And the drop in hormones that accompanies menopause also precipitates a decrease in muscle mass, triggering even more weight gain for women. Your body fat, meanwhile, can double, even if your weight remains the same.
The bottom line is that you burn fewer calories in your 50s, 60s, or 70s doing the same activities, and the same number of them, that you did in your 20s, 30s, or 40s. The key to preventing weight gain is to compensate by adjusting your food intake, exercising, and generally becoming more physically active.
Now that you have made the decision to lose weight, it's time to figure how much weight you need to lose. Continue to the next page to assess your weight as a senior.
To learn more about senior health, see: