Is Adulthood Weight Gain due to Sluggish Metabolism?

You may have wondered if sluggish metabolism is the cause for weight gain that occurs with age.

Data from a fascinating new study show a different story – that as adults age, they have a surprisingly stable metabolism till age 60.

Though the study didn’t look at individuals predisposed to obesity, it does suggest that weight gain likely occurs from taking in too many dietary calories.

We do know that as people advance through the middle age years, it’s not uncommon for them to adopt more sedentary lifestyle behaviors while also taking in more calories – creating a perfect storm for weight gain.

And if you’re someone who is also predisposed to obesity, biological factors also kick in and worsen the problem.

If this sounds like you and you’ve been struggling with weight gain through adulthood, here are some tips to help you take back control:

1-Better Understand Your Weight Gain Journey

Because managing one’s weight is complex, it can be helpful to reflect on your weight at different points in time and even graph them.

This ‘Life Events-Weight Graph’ exercise can be quite revealing.

It can help you see specific connections between weight gain and other life challenges like getting married, having a baby, getting a new job with a long commute, taking a weight-gaining medication, experiencing a stressful job loss or sustaining a physical injury.

Spending time understanding your life course and challenges can help foster self-compassion while also giving you direction for the future.

There’s no role for shaming or blaming yourself.

If your graph showcases periods of times in your life where you were able to control weight, then reflecting on what you did successfully during those times can give you more ideas for moving forward with positive changes.

2-Practice Calorie Awareness

Being more calorie aware will help to prevent the weight gain creep so common year after year as we age.

You can quickly gain insight from using digital tools for just a few weeks to track your diet.

As a rule of thumb, women should aim for a total calorie intake of 1200 to 1500 calories per day and men should aim for 1500 to 1800 calories per day.

Depending on your calorie budget, each of your three daily meals should be 350 to 500 calories, and each of your one or two snacks should be 100 to 200 calories.

If you want more specific healthy meal planning ideas for weight loss and improved health, you can check out my self-help book, Six Factors to Fit: Weight Loss that Works for You!

3-Boost Overall Health with Health Experts

If you’re someone who is still struggling despite your best efforts to manage weight on your own, it’s important to find health experts who have your overall health in mind, in addition to weight.

Depending on your personal issues, here are some options, some of which can even be done through telehealth:

  • Meet with a registered dietitian nutritionist to help you with healthy meal planning
  • Work with a personal fitness trainer to develop a robust physical activity program so important to weight maintenance
  • Schedule time with a health psychologist to help you manage stress, anxiety, depression or lack of focus that’s impeding your weight loss plan
  • Find an obesity medicine physician specialist to give you a personalized treatment approach that may include prescription of an antiobesity medication or referral for bariatric surgery

As you fight adulthood weight gain, I like to emphasize that the goal to work toward is better physical and mental health and not just a smaller number on the weight scale.

Take time to enjoy your health!


Robert Kushner, MD

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