As at every age of life, everything is a question of balance! We gain weight as soon as the calorie intake exceeds the body’s needs. However, the older we get, the more our needs decrease . If the diet remains the same, the calories once burned by the body are stored as fat.
The needs are decreasing
The minimum energy requirement for the body to perform its vital functions is called” basal metabolism “. These calories expended by the body at rest correlate with muscle mass. If muscle mass decreases, basal metabolism decreases. This is what happens when you get older. The muscles lose half their weight between 20 and 80 years.
And then, life is strewn with pitfalls when you want to keep your hourglass figure. Menopause and pregnancy are two times when you gain more weight . Likewise, professional activity changes over time. There are not so many opportunities to leave home and it is easier to get into a car than in the saddle of a bicycle.
1. Avoid severe diets
Do you think that a drastic diet is the best solution to keep the figure? You are wrong!
The equation is simple: muscle mass decreases as much as fat during a diet. With each kilo lost, the basal metabolism is therefore reduced. We understand that putting your body on a radical diet is counterproductive. At the end of the diet, the calories supplied will return to normal… but not the basic metabolism. The excess calories will be stored as fat.
Finally, you may suffer from deficiencies in certain nutrients . You cannot cover your vitamin and mineral needs by consuming less than 1500 kcal / day, regardless of your age.
2. Keep your good habits
No reason to change the composition of his plates! A balanced diet allows you to control your weight, and lose it if you want to.
- Fruits and vegetables: at least 5 per day. With their low calorie content and their diversity, they invite themselves to all meals. In addition, fibers promote satiation by lowering the level of ghrelin by up to 25%, a hormone that stimulates appetite.
- Starchy foods (bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, pulses): at every meal and according to appetite. It is considered that the overall carbohydrate intake should represent 50% of the energy intake.
- Meat, fish, eggs and alternatives: once or twice a day. Prefer grilled or roasted meats, fish in foil or steamed.
No question of reviewing the rhythm of his meals either. Keeping your three meals a day is to ensure a good distribution of food intake. Especially when you know that maintaining a healthy weight starts with breakfast.
3. Bet on protein
Protein requirements increase by about 20% with age. In addition, studies have shown that people on a diet higher in protein (25% to 30% of calories) lose weight more easily and especially fat.
Nutritionists advise to focus on animal proteins (meat, fish and eggs) which should represent at least 60% of the total protein intake . What are the advantages of these proteins? Their amino acid composition would be slightly better balanced than that of vegetable proteins 2 . Proteins preserve muscle mass and strength and provide essential amino acids.
If we are vegetarian?
To have sufficient protein intake, choose dishes combining various sources of vegetable protein : pulses and cereals (soup or mashed split peas and bread, semolina and chickpeas …), cereals and oleaginous fruits (nut bread, almonds, hazelnuts …).
4. Prefer whole grains
How to keep a healthy weight or lose weight when you are always hungry ? One solution is to choose foods with the same number of calories… but which fill you up for longer . This is the case with whole grains : brown rice, quinoa, whole grain pasta, barley, high fiber and low sugar cereals, millet, whole wheat couscous, bulgur and others. These foods contain slow carbohydrates, fiber and water as well as a host of essential vitamins and minerals.
5. Limit certain foods
In order for your efforts to pay off, it is better to put certain foods in the closet.
- Fat, but without removing it. Prefer vegetable fats (rapeseed, olive, walnut oil, etc.), which provide nutrients essential for the proper functioning of the body;
- Products containing hidden fats : pastries, pastries, ready meals, sweet or savory cookies, cold meats, salted peanuts, overly rich sauces and fried products;
- Alcohol consumption . Very high in calories, alcohol is of relative nutritional value!
6. See a doctor regularly
Consult before making a change in your eating habits! Your doctor is in the best position to monitor your weight development and advise you . It can also detect diseases that promote weight gain .
A dysfunction of the thyroid gland, hypothyroidism, is relatively common after the age of 50. It is accompanied by weight gain, loss of energy and irritability . Women are mainly affected by this disease which affects the quality of life. Note that this condition cannot be cured but is controlled very well with replacement thyroid hormones.
7. Move everyday
Why do we get fat with age? Because muscle mass decreases. From there, we understand the importance of physical activity to maintain a healthy weight. There are no secrets: you have to move!
8. Sleep is golden
Sleeping well helps limit weight gain. This is what several recent studies claim. One of them concludes that little sleepers who extend their nights of sleep to 7 or 8 hours would have everything to gain. According to Jean-Philippe Chaput, lead author of this study, “the difference is 2.4 kg of body fat in 6 years, just by changing sleep habits”.
9. Drink green tea
Green tea is a well-known “fat burner”. Its advantages? Its caffeine and catechin content which increase the level of norepinephrine in the blood. However, this molecule has the effect of increasing energy expenditure and the breakdown of fats.
If the studies carried out on rats have shown an “anti-obesity” effect of green tea, those carried out in humans are more nuanced. A meta-analysis carried out on 11 studies, highlighted the role of the catechins of green tea on the loss or the maintenance of the weight , in particular during a moderate physical activity.
10. Adopt the “infant attitude”
Listening to yourself before sitting down to dinner is one of the keys to not getting fat. Hélène Baribeau, nutritionist, explains “when we come into the world, eating is only a physiological need. But with age, the pleasure of eating, gluttony, schedules, stress take over the right time to eat and the required amount of food that the body needs. I eat because it’s time and not because I’m really hungry. “