As we hit the big 4-0 and then move beyond it, it can get more difficult for us men to lose weight or even maintain our weight from our 20s and 30s. Our life changes from what it was previously with careers now in full flow and ever growing families. Our bodies change too in this time and with this in mind we must alter what we put in it in order to try and counter this.
While in the previous twenty years we may have regarded the benefits of eating well as being essentially cosmetic, now we need to consider it more importantly with regards to our health and future wellbeing as being overweight or obese as we age increases our risk of developing heart disease and type 2 diabetes. We must also now be more aware of our cholesterol levels, heart disease and other health issues that may arise.
One of the main changes we see from our mid to late 30s onwards is the decrease in our muscle mass. This happens to all men and is not wholly caused by lifestyle, it is merely nature taking it’s course.
Sarcopenia is a condition that is associated with the aging process and both loss of muscle mass and strength are symptoms of it. Research shows that inactive men can lose 3-5% of muscle mass each decade from their 40s onwards.
However we can work on off setting this by doing more resistance training and also by ensuring we are eating the appropriate amount of protein in our diets which is essential for maintaining and building muscle.
Protein come from foods such as lean red and white meat, fish, nuts and beans and is also in many vegetables to a lesser extent.
These are the sources from which we want to attain our protein requirements and not from supplements such as shakes and bars which are loaded with sugars which in turn can lead to more weight gain defeating the initial reason for maintaining or increasing our protein levels. The amount of protein needed is dependant on your activity levels, with those training and partaking of resistance training needing more.
As we age, our metabolism begins to slow down, meaning we do not burn as many calories as we did previously. There are two ways to manage this, firstly by burning more calories and secondly be consuming less.
The days of eating pizza and drinking beer without a second thought are gone unfortunately. To consume less calories but also take in the necessary amount of food to keep you satiated you should increase your vegetable intake.
Replacing calorie dense, and nutritionally low, foods such as bread, pasta, rice, potatoes etc with broccoli, cauliflower, tomatoes, leeks and berries to name but a few will keep your plate full and appetite satisfied while also helping your waistline remain the size you desire.
It is important to maintain variety in order to prevent getting bored and also ensuring the full intake of all vitamins necessary to the well being of your body.
Along with the benefits of being lower in calories, fruit and vegetables also has important elements such as providing vitamin A & C as well as potassium, all essential for maintaining our physical peak.
However its main aid is the fibre contained, which would keep up a healthy gut and avoid constipation and other problems related to digestion. An eating regimen high in fiber can likewise reduce the risk to bowel cancer, strokes and other heart disease.
Aches and pains are often something that comes with age and a lot of the time are seen as ‘just one of those things’. This however is mainly caused by inflammation and is something that can be dealt with. Along with the aging process, other symptoms are stress at work where you are busy pushing on with your career, a sedentary life or you are eating the wrong foods, this being the main culprit and also the easiest one to change.
Start by cutting down or better still removing the foods within your diet that are high in sugar and which are processed. Also cutting back on the amount of alcohol is advisable if this is something you over indulge in.
Replacing these foods with more healthy fats in your diet will benefit your body in many ways. Fat is beneficial for our metabolism, body tissues, our immune system to fight off illnesses, hormone production and the absorption of many nutrients (such as vitamins A and D) without which these vitamins can not properly get into the system as needed. Having enough fat will also help keep you feeling full between meals, leading to less cravings and snacking and therefore helps keep your weight as it should be.
Another favorable reason to eat more healthy fat as we age is our skin. Our skin is widely regarded as being a reflection of your inner health.
As we age it loses its firmness and elasticity. Healthy fats such as avocados, nuts, oily fish and coconut milk will help counter this as will keeping your body hydrated, assisting in flushing the toxins from your body.
Finally, and probably the biggest issue for men over 40, the dreaded ‘beer belly’. The area above and around the waist line is where most men store the bulk of their excess weight. Also known as visceral fat, as well as being unsightly it is also an important indicator of your general health.
Lying deep inside your abdomen, surrounding your internal organs it can be a precursor to ailments such as cardiovascular disease, insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, sleep apnea and issues of high blood pressure. Again, the reduction or eradication of sugary, high calorific foods from the diet and replacing them with fresh fruit, vegetables and lean protein will go a long way to solving this issue.
Over time, it is inevitable that our body will change, this can not be stopped. However we can slow the process and following the simple nutritional ideas above will help us keep ourselves fit, healthy, strong and body confident as the years go by.
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In Post Image Credit: Shutterstock.com & Draxe.com