When we reach middle age, how many of us either overtly or covertly blame our age on our weight gain? How often do you hear “my metabolism has slowed right down”, “it’s hard to lose weight”, or “as a result of my slower metabolism I cannot stop the weight gain?” My favorite and one I hear often is “I just have to look at a piece of cake or candy for it to land and stay on my hips”
We are all similar in that throughout our lives our bodies sustain and adapt to our environment through something called “metabolism”. For metabolism to occur we need both energy and the building blocks for our bodies to grow and repair.
- Energy is sourced through nutrients that breakdown. Nutrients like glucose, ketone bodies, lactic acid, amino acids, and fatty acids.
- For our body to build molecules for growth and repair a delicate interplay must exist between anabolism and catabolism.
Anabolism – How the body builds complex chemical compounds from simpler compounds such as proteins from amino acids.
Catabolism – How the body breaks down complex chemical compounds into smaller ones sch as proteins to amino acids.
The many biochemical processes that make up our body’s metabolism are categorized into these two general functions, anabolism and catabolism. They both occur simultaneously and all the time. They only differ in their level or extent based on our individual activities. When we last ate a meal or rested or did some exercise. When catabolism, how the body breaks down chemical compounds, exceeds anabolism, how we build compounds then there is a net loss of substances and body tissues, and we lose weight. Yes, it can all be reduced to a mathematical formula!
It has always been accepted, reluctantly, that as we age our metabolic rate, the rate at which we burn calories slows down. And wow when we hit 40, we are told it almost goes into reverse. The great news is that we do not have to suffer at the peril of age and our slowing metabolism. Even for those of us who have or are experiencing menopause, this no longer stands to be true according to a new paper published in Science.
In an article written by Dana Santas for CNN where the paper “Daily energy expenditure through the human life course” was discussed the summary of findings is that your activity and not your age is responsible for a slowing metabolism.
So, what does this mean for us? Well, if you can incorporate the four B’s into your life you will see your metabolism once again kick start and do a more effective job.
- Build new habits and be active, not just 1 day a week active but build fun activities into your daily schedule. Park further away from the store and walk to the door rather than hop from the car to the door in ten steps. Walk upstairs rather than take an elevator. Use a push mower rather than a riding mower. Park further from a restaurant and enjoy a stroll to dinner and back, you get the idea here.
- Begin an exercise program. Do the right kind of exercise and do it correctly. As a walking and running coach I always grimace when I see people out exercising. With just a few adjustments to their body posture and movement they would reap far more benefits from their time spent, something many of us do not have too much of! Learn how to work or run correctly with good form and mechanics.
- Be better with food choices. Yes, eat better. Nobody expects anyone to just suddenly drop all their favorite (addictive) food items from their meal planning. But with small tweaks here and there, steps and strides, you can build great new habits, these new habits then fuel future better decisions without too much aversion.
- Bedtime is important. We all need quality and quantity rest. Rest is just as important on a wellness plan as eating correctly and exercise. Our bodies need to be rested to regroup and rebuild. Not just bedtime rest but planned days without extreme or harsh exercise based on your own individual body and your heart rate. Yes, our heart is a muscle and it’s the one data point that we can track pre-during and post exercise. It gives us so much information if you calculate your individual zones correctly and use them to guide you.
Want help getting started? Join our FREE community for Women called Steps and Strides. We host fun programs, offer support, motivation and give you an opportunity to meet and network with other like-minded peeps.
Santas, Dana, (2021) It’s not your age that’s slowing your metabolism, new research says. Here’s what to do. Retrieved September 26, 2021 https://www.cnn.com/2021/09/24/health/how-to-boost-metabolism-wellness/index.html
Pontzer H, Yamada Y, Sagayama H, et al. Daily energy expenditure through the human life course. Science. 2021 Aug 13;373(6556):808-812. doi: 10.1126/science.abe5017. Retrieved September 26, 2021. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34385400/