Don't Let Old Age Slow Your Metabolism Down

All other things being equal, it's usually easy for a young person to stay fit and maintain a healthy weight. As people get older, their metabolism typically slows down. Young men who were able to eat anything they wanted, all day long, suddenly find that the weight starts to accumulate, and women who used to be able to lose weight easily, find that they have to work out twice as hard to lose that weight.

That was my experience. Until the age of about 40, my weight yo-yoed. Not by much, though. In the spring, summer and fall I'd be very active, biking, playing tennis and so on, and so would eat whatever I wanted, and consume massive quantities of Pepsi. Not being a cold-weather girl and not feeling the need to spend money to attend a gym, I'd typically gain about ten pounds over the winter, because I didn't adjust my calorie intake even though my only exercise was weight training every other day.

However, as soon as spring rolled around and I was once more able to get out on my bike, the weight came off quite easily.

When I hit the age of 40, however, all of a sudden the weight didn't come off so easily. Since I had kept health journals for several decades, I knew how long it should take me to lose that weight, everything else being equal, and when that weight didn't come off I knew the dreaded "metabolism slowdown" had me in its grip.

So the next time winter rolled around, I modified my diet. The first thing I did was cut out my Pepsis. I could no longer afford to drink four a day (which had been my practice) - that was 600 calories I didn't need. I also didn't start drinking diet pop - studies have shown that diet pop is not really healthy for you - even less so than the real thing.

I didn't give up my desserts, but I cut my portions way down. I had to give up baking my own cookies, with the aroma of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies in my house I didn't have the willpower to not devour them all. So I switched to store bought cookies. Two of them would satisfy my sweet tooth, but would not cause any cravings in me later on in the night.

When you're working to lose weight, or to maintain a healthy weight once you've achieved it, it's important to know just how much willpower you've got, and what "triggers" your cravings.

I've already talked about the aroma of fresh-baked cookies as something I can't resist. Knowing that, I was able to find a substitute. The same thing with Pepsi. I had developed a habit of opening up a fresh Pepsi whenever I sat down at the computer, so I had to make the conscious effort to substitute ice-cold water instead, and force myself to become used to that. It was hard, and I didn't like to do it, and I still resent having had to do it, but it's simply a fact of life that once you get older, you must modify your behavior to insure that you maintain optimum health. The older you become, the less your margin for error.

The longer you have a bad habit, the harder it is to break it. So when you're ready to take charge of your life and your health, look at your habits, examine your willpower, and go out and achieve the look you want.

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