Stop Blaming Your Metabolism; It’s Probably Not Causing Your Weight Gain

metabolism meme

Streak Day: 1320
YTD Mileage: 1,297.4
133.02 lbs
19.0 Body fat

metabolism meme

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s the thing. People (including my doctor) keep telling me that people should just expect to gain weight as they age, as if weight gain after a certain age is axiomatic. As a function of aging, so they say, our metabolism slows down every year. Supposedly. I reject that particular piece of conventional wisdom. If weight gain as one ages is unavoidable, I wonder, why isn’t everyone over a certain age pudgy and cushiony, with a pregnant looking abdomen? Although I do have friends who have put on weight in the past few years, I have others who have not. Dear Hubby, as well as his sisters who are in their late forties to mid-fifties, remain as thin as ever (and hubby Phillip still eats as he did when he was teenager). His sisters’ refusal to gain weight as they age remains a little frustrating to me. Two of his four sisters don’t even work out that much. Phillip at least runs and goes to the gym regularly.

new balance masters running team
New Balance Tampa Masters Racing Team (age range 40 to 57 years): Christina Noordstar, Laura Drake Cole, Laurie Wisotsky, Terri Rejimbal, and Susan ‘Lynn’ Cook–photo hy Albert Wieringa-provided by NBT Masters Racing] credit: therunningprofessor.com

I think the truth is that metabolism, slow or otherwise, is not really that much to blame for middle-age weight gain – maybe not even weight gain at any age.  Although I’ve been reading deep and long about factors related to weight gain, even in journals from the library, just a cursory search reveals the contradiction that brings into question the role of metabolism in middle-age weight gain, as well as remedies for this problem. Several articles (such as the ones here, here, and here) posit that since weight gain is caused by a slow metabolism, especially as one ages, speeding up the metabolism can help people lose or maintain their weight. But other articles (such as these: here, here, and here) posit that weight gain is not caused by a slow metabolism.

Then articles such as this one contradict within its own text the idea that a slow metabolism even exists. After listing the ways one’s slow metabolism can actually be healthy for her (an idea supported by research reported in this article), the article ends thus:

Slow metabolisms do exist, but a true slow metabolism is rare and is seldom the cause of being overweight, notes Dr. Donald Hensrud at MayoClinic.com. Your metabolic rate is relative to your size and body composition as well as your activity levels. Metabolism may play a small role in how easily you lose or gain weight, but you have much more control over it and can manage your body weight and calorie burn by eating a balanced diet and increasing your exercise.

But wait! Look at the results of this research! Researchers have found out that our metabolisms DO slow as we age, and they know why! We suffer from “deregulated nutrient sensing,” is our cells inability to appropriately sense nutrients we ingest and correctly respond to them. Now that we know WHY our metabolisms (supposedly or not?) slow down, we can do something to halt the slowing process! Supplementation with coenzyme q10, cardiolipin, and carnitine helps to reverse the degradation of mitochondria efficiency caused by the of the aging body’s inefficient absorption of nutrients (the process that supposedly slows metabolism in aging bodies).

masters' male runners
Masters Runners Observe before the 4th consecutive USATF Masters 15K Championship at the Tulsa Run [Photo by Bryan Campbell, the Tulsa Run] credit: therunningprofessor.com
The researchers in the article referred to in the previous paragraph would have us believe that we can change the speed of our metabolisms, something that other professionals believe as well (here are five, ten, and even fifty-five ways to do so). If one can speed up her metabolism, then the can lose or maintain her weight (that is, if a slow metabolism really exists and does lead to weight gain . . . . ). Yet according other sources (such as here, here, and here) claim that metabolism cannot be changed much. Sigh. With all the conflicting information regarding metabolism and its role in weight management, what is a gal to do with her supposedly slowing, but maybe not; slow, but maybe not really cause slow metabolisms may not really exist; unchangeable, but maybe changeable if she follows the correct fifty-five steps, metabolism that may or may not be the reason for her recent middle-age weight struggle?

This gal is ignoring her metabolism altogether, and concentrating on changing what can be changed in order to lose a little weight and then maintain it: calorie intake and running (although controversy surrounds these two elements in weight management, as well, but that’s a topic for my next post).

 

Author: TD Morris

I am a small business owner (ATX Ultra Eats, gluten-free, grain-free products www.atxultraeats.com) who loves God, my family, my dogs, running, barefoot running, cooking, eating, and reading!

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