The Real Reason Why You Can’t Lose Weight

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As you get older, it becomes harder and harder to keep weight off. New York plastic surgeon B. Aviva Preminger, MD, says, “With age, there’s a decrease in our physical abilities, which leads to a decrease in our metabolic rate.” It becomes more difficult to keep up with exercise, so muscle mass is lost and calories aren’t burned as efficiently. Dr. Preminger adds, “There is also a decrease in growth hormone, testosterone and estrogen levels, which slows metabolism and can cause women to put on weight. Women tend to struggle with the transition to menopause and the metabolic slowdown that it brings.” While genetics play a role in how much fat we carry and our number of fat cells, the aging process can lead to fat that sticks around.

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But that’s not the only reason why it becomes hard to loose weight. Your hormones play a larger role in fat storage than you may think. “There are receptors on each fat cell that are affected by hormonal influences (menstrual cycles, pregnancy and menopause) throughout a woman’s life that cause fat cells to swell or shrink,” explains New York plastic surgeon Kenneth R. Francis, MD. “The hormone estrogen is prominent in the body, especially during child-bearing years. As s result, fat cells in the lower abdomen and hip area become more affected by estrogen, which can cause fat to be stored in these areas.” As estrogen levels decline with age, some women to start to gain weight post menopause, while others lose weight. La Jolla, CA, plastic surgeon Robert Singer, MD, says, “Weight gain and loss often depends on hormone replacement therapies, which can cause fluctuations.”

Even if you diet and workout, it’s important to understand the diet to ratio exercise. One of the biggest and most common misunderstandings in trying to lose weight is how much food to eat and how much you should work out. Nutritionist Amy Shapiro, founder of Real Nutrition NYC, says, “I always tell my clients that they can’t outrun a bad diet. The amount of fat your body has largely depends on what you put in your mouth; the other 25 percent is from fitness. You can burn off calories in a spin class, but many people eat enough to refuel their body with these calories throughout the day. Or, they eat more than the calories burned, which then doesn’t provide a deficit in calories that’s needed to lose fat.” So even if you work out, you need to eat right. The best way to figure out how many calories to take in, as well as which foods to eat, is to use a specialized app or meet with an exercise physiologist who can help  you devise the right plan. 

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