Fat at 50 Means Sick at 70

Carrying extra weight in your mid-life years means you are more likely to have major chronic disease and physical and cognitive limitations by the time you reach your 70s, according to results published in the British Medical Journal. Long-term research known as the Nurses Health Study showed that every one-unit increase of BMI in mid-life was associated with a 12% reduction in the odds of healthy survival beyond 70 years.

The average Australian adult gains about one kilogram per year, and obesity has overtaken smoking as our leading cause of death and illness. We can all see how easy it is for the extra kilos to sneak on, especially over the holiday season. 

But what actually causes the weight gain?

On average it comes from an energy imbalance of 100kcal per day for a year. And what does this look like? 100kcal is the energy in four teaspoons of sugar, 1/10 of a tube of Pringles (just 9 crisps), one Tim Tam, 120mL white wine or

285mL beer. So you can see how easily it adds up. The challenge is to stop this from happening in a way that fits your lifestyle.

However there may be other factors at play;

For women, menopause can play a role in weight gain due to the effects of certain hormones impacting the way your body utilises and stores energy. Often fat begins to build up along the thighs and hips. Loss of muscle mass can further this metabolic imbalance. As we do know the more muscle you have the more fat you can burn. Resistance training is the very beneficial for women in older age to avoid not only weight gain but also osteoporosis.

There is a link between gut bacteria and your weight - Study's show the gut microbiota of individuals who are overweight show patterns of dysbiosis compared to healthy individuals. This is ultimately associated with inflammation and dysregulation of blood sugar. Those nasty bad bacteria and actually alter the signals being sent to your brain, leading to sugar and carb cravings, which feel almost impossible to control.

STRESS of course, as is the case for many conditions, plays a major factor. Cortisol dysregulation can lead to weight gain, particularly around the middle section. Cortisol has an intricate relationship to insulin, which controls our blood sugar levels. When cortisol levels increase, the cells in our body can become resistant to insulin. In turn this can cause a spike in blood sugar, leading to weight gain.

So, how do I shed those kgs?

Well, firstly it is important to address any underlying imbalances in your health, whether ir be your microbiome, hormone imbalances or stress. Each person will require different needs in their weight loss journey. A professional practitioner can help identify these for you and formulate a treatment plan. 

However, there are some key habits seen in successful weight loss.

Since 1994, a large US study has been tracking the success of people who have lost weight and kept it off. Traits of successful weight losers include: 

  • Weighing in weekly with a qualified practitioner, 
  • Eating breakfast every day, 
  • Limiting television time to less than 10 hours per week, 
  • Exercising for an hour each day, 
  • Being more consciously aware of what they eat and how much they exercise during the holidays.

A combination of the above will increase your ability to shed those extra kg's.

Busy lifestyles can sometimes place your health on the bottom of the list of priorities. Taking time to plan your week and include at minimum ONE new healthy habit is a good place to start. Sometimes just starting is enough! 

Do something today that your future self will thank you for!!

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