How to tackle weight gain as you age

When it comes to combating age-related weight gain, it's more about making a qualitative dietary change than counting calories.
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Aging is a fact of life, and a welcome one considering the alternative. But is weight gain inevitable as we mark another calendar year, too?

Yes and no, says Jennifer Pearlman in a column for The Globe and Mail’s Health Advisor.

Pearlman, a Toronto based doctor specializing in women’s health, lays out the facts pretty clearly. With age come a few natural obstacles to maintaining a svelte silhouette, she shares.

For one, we lose lean muscle mass and become more susceptible to gaining fat. In addition, our bodies become less responsive to conventional forms of dieting, specifically calorie counting.

[N]ew science is revealing that age-related weight gain has very little to do with caloric balance and much more to do with the altered physiology of the aging body and adverse environmental and lifestyle factors,” explains Pearlman.

To combat the negative affects of these natural changes we may have to renew our focus in age-appropriate ways, she suggests.


Rather than diet like we did when we were in our 20s, it’s wiser to work with what’s happening to our bodies now. That means turning our attention to factors like hormonal changes, quality of sleep, metabolism, stress, and the influence of environmental factors and gut bacteria, for example.

The path to taking care of ourselves as we age therefore includes “a rethinking of calories, a qualitative dietary shift to up the essential building blocks for lean body mass (i.e. healthy fats and lean protein), and a redesign of lifestyle to stress less, sleep better and minimize environmental toxic exposures,” says Pearlman.

Sounds like a workable plan.


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