If you are past your teens, now is the time to face the facts: you can’t beat your diet anymore. Gone are the days when you could eat limitlessly whatever you wanted without gaining weight.
You may have faced the problem of being a “hard winner” when you were young, but time eventually turns that problem around to make you a “hard loser”. As difficult as it was to gain weight as a teenager, it is just as difficult to lose it years later. This means that all you really learned to do during those formative years was overeat without consequences.
Even as you hit your late twenties and early thirties, you’ve probably learned that you can’t beat a bad diet. Add another decade or two, and you’ve discovered that you either need to be active all day with some sort of manual labor, or fine-tune your diet and exercise to stay competitive in the Battle of the Bulge. Without it, a sedentary lifestyle and eating like you used to when you were very active is a recipe for continued weight gain each year.
What has it been like to gain weight and maintain your weight over your decades? Here is a review.
Weight gain in your twenties. After high school, many people reduce their time in physical activity by spending less time playing sports or training. While being young with a high metabolism is helpful, even this one struggles with “Freshman 15”. Add COVID-19 to the equation and weight gain is much easier, even for the younger generations.
If your job requires fitness tests and physical activity, you might be good in your early twenties with this addition to your life. But in a few years, even physical activity at work will not be enough.
How do you fight it? The lifestyle change for this group is to stop eating like you’re very active and find time in your day to exercise like before or go out and walk more, ride bikes, take classes. in the gym or participate in intramural activities and picking. up to sport. Doing something to stay active is key.
Weight gain in your 30s. If you stick with your hard gainer eating habits into your fourth decade, you will find that they will slowly start to catch up with you. Weight gain can be five pounds per year on average, but by age 40 you could weigh over 50 pounds heavier and not even see it coming.
For most Americans, life becomes much less active as we work harder for our careers and families and do less physical activity. Eating is always on the move and usually isn’t made up of the best choices.
The best lifestyle change in your 30s is having a better schedule and taking more time to focus on better eating habits and better food choices for you and your family. And you may need to be active early in the morning before work and family obligations take over your day.
Weight gain in your 40s. Forties is typically the decade in which most Americans realize they need to start focusing not only on unwanted extra weight, but also on their long-term health and well-being. The lifestyle change needed for this decade is to eat better and less, move more, and avoid injury by training smarter.
In your 40s, medical screening blood tests start to catch up with you, and most of the problems they find are managed by moving more and eating better. If you eat a healthy diet, portion control is likely an issue, even with average to above average fitness levels. Even for very active people, it is not very likely that you will train your diet purely through fitness, and training even harder to try to outperform your diet will lead to more aches and pains.
However, learning that 80% is the new 100% will prevent you from unnecessary injury that may prevent you from exercising normally. Avoiding injuries that will keep you from training and working is essential this decade, as many of the injuries from the previous decade reaffirm in your day as lingering aches and pains.
Weight gain in your 50s and beyond. If you haven’t listened to your body and your doctor in your 40s, you will in your 50s but in a much harsher way. Medical problems are becoming real now that friends start having heart attacks, strokes, and fighting cancer with more frequency. Many of these late-onset illnesses are caused by things we didn’t do in our 40s and early 50s.
But with a few lifestyle changes that require discipline, you can turn things around and make your life easier by just being lighter on your feet. These changes include cleaning up your diet and food portions while adding an age-appropriate workout to your schedule, as well as getting enough sleep and recovery time.
I didn’t carry this item into the ’60s and beyond as I’m not yet there personally, but my plan is to stay active, eat smaller but healthier portions, and focus on flexibility, joint mobility and impact-free cardio activity while maintaining strength for overall durability and ease of movement. Staying lighter is also an important lens which makes the above focus easier as well.
In a nutshell, try the following in the future: focus on smaller portions and avoid junk food; eat fruits and vegetables, healthy fats and lean proteins rich in the nutrients you need for energy and recovery; and drink more water. It will take a new level of discipline because the old habits of eating like we were very active at 20 are hard to break, even if you are still very active well after 40 and 50.
Stew Smith is a former Navy SEAL and Fitness Author Certified as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) with the National Strength and Conditioning Association. Visit her Fitness e-book store if you are looking to start a workout program to create a healthy lifestyle. Send your fitness questions to [email protected]
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