It is true that many people in the world today tend to gain weight with age, but it is not necessary true. Getting fatter as we get older is not without increased health risks. According to the 1995 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, it is recommended that we should not allow our weight to increase as we age. Diseases associated with aging such as Type II diabetes, heart disease, and stroke are more prevalent in the obese population.
Metabolism slows about 5 percent every decade after age 30, therefore we have to decrease food intake by that much just to stay even. We tend to lose muscle and bone with age as well. We can slow down the effects of decreased metabolism and declining muscle mass if we remain physically active
Muscle tissue is more metabolically active than fat, therefore metabolism increases with increases in muscle tissue. Statistics shows than 10% of the US population currently exercises regularly 3 times per week, it is understandable that most people believe it is a normal process to gain weight as we age.
Therefore, there are 4 components needed to lose weight effectively and safely:
1. Moderate calorie restriction.
2. Regular aerobic exercise, combined with strength training.
3. A low-fat/high fiber diet.
4. Behavior/lifestyle change to include these 3 factors
Many people choose to do only one component of these. They may lose weight, but at some point the weight loss may be slow and stop, and they may have trouble keeping if off. Let's illustrate some examples:
A person who does not watch calories, yet eats anything as long as it is low-fat or fat-free. Result: Calorie intake will be excessive and therefore, extra calories are stored as fat. The human body will convert any calories it does not use to fat. "Fat-free" does not mean "calorie-free!"
2) A person who diets, watching both calories and fat, may not perform regular exercise. Result: Metabolism will lower with a decrease in calorie intake. Weight will "plateau" after initial weight loss due to the body's adaptive process.
As you can see, the combination of decreased calories, exercise and low fat diet provide the most effective way to lose weight. Safe weight loss is 1-2 pounds per week for the average person.
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