Is it true that aging and weight gain go hand in hand?
Ask most women over the age of 40 and they will respond with a resounding “Yes!” From behavioral to biological factors, weight gain and aging go together like peanut butter and jelly.
Bye-bye, estrogen: Starting as early as our late 30s and into our 40s, women go into perimenopause, in which estrogen levels begin to decline. Once in menopause, our estrogen levels drop sharply and even greater changes in our bodies begin to occur—including weight gain.
Our appetites change:
When we eat, our stomachs sort the contents into proteins, carbohydrates and fat, which the body uses for different purposes. Both enzymes and hormones help the food break down. If the body is off-balance hormonally (such as during menopause), its ability to proceed with digestion is interrupted.
Our metabolism changes: Out-of-balance estrogen also causes insulin levels to go up and thyroid levels to go down. Diminished thyroid levels slow down the body’s metabolism. Thus, you are eating more and burning less as effective fuel for your body.
Our stress hormone increases
Our sleep patterns change
The empty-nest syndrome: Typically, as we reach our late 40s to mid 50s, we begin to experience numerous life changes. The kids may be going off to college, or even getting married and having kids of their own. Mothers may feel like they are useless or obsolete due to these life-changes. In addition, their partners may not be very supportive or understanding during this difficult physical and emotional time. Women may turn to food as a form of comfort and as a replacement for intimacy.
As if our bodies weren’t doing enough to increase weight as we age, our emotions play a part as well!
The “What’s the point?” mentality: Body image is particularly delicate for women as we start to show the signs of aging and our bodies start to sag in places we didn't expect them to. In a society that values youth and beauty, it’s all too common to feel unattractive, old and undesirable. This depletes our motivation to exercise and improve our appearance.
Despite this negative mentality, research has found that after just one workout, a woman’s body image can improve. Getting active even for a short amount of time can boost feelings of confidence and happiness. Women should try to get active at least 20 minutes every day, even if it is just a short walk around the block. Another bonus is that increased levels of activity may also help you to sleep better at night.
So ladies, whatever the age, body image and self esteem is a HUGE part of having a healthy, happy life. If you feel something is missing in your life.....maybe it is just a matter of finding your way to real self confidence!