Remember when you could eat whatever you wanted and it didn’t stick to your waist, hips, stomach and/or thighs? Or, the days when you could miss a couple of meals and lose weight? Well, after 50 the metabolism has slowed for me and those days are just a memory. Now, it seems just thinking about food causes calories to attach to some part of my body. Does this sound familiar? Truth be told, as we gracefully age , our metabolism starts to slow down.
For years I’ve joked about my metabolism having totally checked out. I recently joined Lifetime Fitness and learned that they offer metabolic assessments, resting and active. The resting metabolic assessment provides an estimate of the number of calories you burn when your body is at complete rest. It sounded like good information to know so I decided to give I try.
Resting Metabolic Assessment Day
I show up early on a Saturday morning ready for my assessment . I knew I had to wear a mask but hadn’t really thought much about how that would work. Well, the mask has a tube which is connected to a machine that measures your oxygen to determine your calorie burn while you at rest. The first 25 minutes, while I was supposed to be relaxing, I was busy trying to convince myself that I could breathe with the mask on. Your mind really does play tricks on you. 😃. After about 45 minutes the test was over and I anxiously awaited the results.
The results of the assessment revealed that my metabolism is slow. That’s my interpretation, not the dieticians. Actually my resting calorie burn number was less than the average for people my age and I burn more carbs than fat, which is not ideal. Of course I asked what factors affect metabolism.
3 Affects on Metabolism
I learned there are several factors that can affect metabolism but the top 3 that resonated with me are:
- Sedentary Lifestyle– I sit the majority of he day either on calls or in meetings. This has been an adjustment for me as I am used to being more mobile during the day.
- Stress-Work Life balance or lack thereof causes stress. Stress causes cortisol levels to raise. Cortisol causes you to retain fat around the belly and back areas. Yeah, it’s a spiral effect and I seem to be spiraling right now.
- Diet– Eating the wrong foods or not eating enough affects metabolism. For me, with the sedentary lifestyle and stress, the diet went by the wayside. My food choices and the frequency of meals have been way off track.
Ways to Turn This Around
During my consultation we came up with a plan of attack. While the specifics are unique to me, there are basic principles that you can also try if you are experiencing the same problems. .
- Reduce stress-stop worrying about what we can’t control. This is definitely easier said that done but I am working on it.
- Eat more protein-I’ve always struggled with getting in enough protein and I have to be very intentional about it. To help me get in enough protein I add in shakes and bars. My favorite shakes are by Life Time Fitness. When I need a quick ready made one, I reach for Premier shakes in any flavor. My favorite protein bars are by FitJoy, One and Atkins. 😃
- Strength training-do you do any form of strength training? It’s not my favorite workout but weights have now become part of my weekly routine. I’ve been working with a trainer lately in order to learn proper form and figure out what will be best to help me reach my goals.
- Be more active-get up and move. For me that means taking a walk in the building. Going to the restroom downstairs rather than around the corner and getting in my cardio at the gym.
- Last but not least, sleep!! I knew lack of sleep makes me grouchy but I didn’t realize how it affects weight gain. Sleep can balance hormones that can be out of wack after 50.
These seem like small steps but they are steps that can make a difference. As we age, our bodies begin to change which requires us to make some adjustments. I’m focused on getting this right. I retest in the next month but in the meantime ,I’m going to work hard on the 5 steps above. I will keep you posted.
I have also taken the Active Metabolic Assessment. Stay tuned and I will share how that turned out.
What tips do you have for staying active, managing stress and burning calories? I would love to hear them.