“I can’t eat like I did in my 20s.”
“That bagel will go straight to my hips.”
“My metabolism is slowing down.”
We’ve all heard people make these statements. Maybe we’ve said them ourselves. Recently, still frustrated with my own weighty battle, I began wondering if my struggle has anything to do with entering my late 20s. I too have noticed that I can’t eat like I used to.
When I was a college sophomore, most days I remember eating Kraft Easy Mac for lunch and enjoying huge portions of cheese-stuffed bread sticks covered with ranch dressing and marinara sauce for dinner. Granted I had a part-time job that kept me on my feet, and I walked across campus lugging a pile of books daily, but I didn’t work out like I do now. And I certainly didn’t run. But I was a few pounds lighter back then, wore two pants sizes smaller and don’t remember ever having concern over my weight.
Fast forward seven years and those concerns are beginning to cross my mind. As women age, they are especially prone to weight gain as, as I learned reading ‘Why Women Need Fat.’ And there’s even a term for it — middle-aged weight gain. I realize I’m not middle-aged but my body is also not the same as it was when I was 15 or 20, or now it seems — 25 for that matter.
Metabolism is a “complex network of hormones and enzymes that not only convert food into fuel but also affect how efficiently you burn that fuel,” as a WebMD article states. “Your metabolism is influenced by your age (metabolism naturally slows about 5 percent per decade after age 40); your sex (men generally burn more calories at rest than women); and proportion of lean body mass (the more muscle you have, the higher your metabolic rate tends to be).”
Another WebMD article continues: “Compared to age 25, you’ll burn about 100 fewer calories a day at 35 and 200 fewer at 45. Do nothing, and you could gain eight to 12 pounds a year.”
That sounds like a lot to look forward to, huh?
I took it a step further and inputted my own information (height, weight, sex) into the WebMD Metabolism Calculator. The calculator lets the user select their activity level, which will impact their corresponding basal metabolic rate. I then took it a step further and entered varying ages for myself. I used a low activity level for this exercise.
Daily Caloric Needs to Maintain Current Weight Based on Age
The only saving grace? Well for the female readers — we are not alone. Men deal with the same issue as they age. My biggest question, however, is if I am supposed to eat fewer calories to maintain my weight as I age…
How am I supposed to develop less of an appetite?