Why Is Weight Loss More Difficult After 40?

Oct 09, 2023
Why Is Weight Loss More Difficult After 40?
Did you know that the average adult in the United States gains 30 pounds during middle age? Not only is it easier to gain weight after 40, but those extra pounds often seem much harder to lose, as well. Here’s why.

If you struggle with your body weight, you’re not alone: Nearly 3 in 4 American adults — or 73.6%, to be more precise — are overweight or obese. 

 Likewise, if your weight struggles intensified in your 30s, 40s, or 50s, you’re in good company there, too: The average American gains about 30 pounds during middle age. 

Not only is it easier to gain weight after 40, but those extra pounds often seem much harder to lose, as well. At Fiamo Aesthetics in Yakima, Washington, Nawo K. Fiamo, ARNP, and our team understand the challenges of losing weight, especially once you reach middle age. 

 Here, we discuss the various factors behind the so-called “middle-age spread” and explain how our customized medical weight loss approach can help.   

Age-related muscle mass decline

Muscle mass and strength decline naturally with age: You can expect to lose up to 8% of your lean tissue per decade starting at the age of 30, followed by accelerated muscle mass decline starting at the age of 60. 

Sidelining injuries and health conditions like arthritis can compound the effects of age-related muscle loss. 

 Why does involuntary muscle loss matter? Muscle tissue requires more calories to maintain itself, and it also uses those calories more efficiently than fat tissue, even when you’re resting. 

If you don’t adjust your calorie intake as your muscle mass declines — and it happens so slowly that most people don’t — some of the calories that once went to muscle maintenance go to fat storage, instead. Over the years, this can add up to a hefty weight gain. 

Shifting reproductive hormone levels

Midlife hormonal changes add to the snowball effect of diminishing muscle mass, for men and women alike. How? Both the main female sex hormone, estrogen, and the primary male sex hormone, testosterone, play an important role in weight management, fat storage, muscle mass, and metabolism. 

For women, dwindling estrogen levels during perimenopause and menopause specifically encourage increased midsection fat storage — also known as stubborn belly fat. 

For men, lower testosterone levels contribute to reduced muscle mass and increased fat storage; as with women, this age-related change specifically promotes more midsection fat. 

As you might have guessed, the term “middle-age spread” refers to these normal age-related, waist-expanding hormonal changes.    

A subsequently slower metabolism 

The term metabolism refers to the complex process by which your body converts calories into energy. That process gets slower, thereby reducing the number of calories you burn as fuel and increasing the number of calories you store as fat. This happens for many reasons, including: 

  • Declining muscle mass
  • Shifting hormone levels
  • Increased fat storage
  • Reduced activity levels

This is the real snowball effect of middle-age weight struggles: As you start losing muscle mass and start accumulating fat, your metabolism slows, so you burn fewer calories. Unless you do something, the cycle repeats and just keeps building on itself over time. 

Stress, inactivity, and sleep troubles

Changing life demands are another reason people start to struggle with their weight after 40. For many adults, middle age is a time of increased work and family responsibilities and all the stresses that come with these duties.  

 Focusing on life’s demands may make you feel more stressed out, leave you with less time to be physically active, and even undermine the quality and quantity of sleep you get each night. 

Such influences can make you even more likely to gain weight and make that weight all the more difficult to lose.   

It’s time to battle the midlife bulge 

Midlife weight struggles may be challenging, but they aren’t insurmountable. Our medical weight loss approach combines sustainable strategies, manageable lifestyle modifications, and personal support to help you reach your weight loss goals safely and efficiently. 

Our empowering, health-driven process includes: 

  • A multifaceted weight loss plan individually tailored to your specific goals
  • The guidance you need to jumpstart your weight loss effort with ease
  • The tools and support you need to reach your goals and maintain your results 

If our medical evaluation shows a hormonal imbalance, we may also recommend bioidentical hormone replacement therapy to offset the problem and boost your weight loss efforts.  

Are you ready to feel fitter, slimmer, healthier, and more energized? At Fiamo Aesthetics, we can help. Give us a call today, or use our easy online booking feature to schedule a consultation anytime.