How to Stop Gaining Weight
Try these tips to stop 'weight creep' as you get older.
Your favorite pair of pants once zipped easily, but lately you can barely
get them over your hips. Sound familiar? Most adults experience the
dreaded "weight creep," where the numbers on the scale gradually
increase -- and before you know it, you're 10 pounds heavier. But it’s not
inevitable. Simply by making a few gradual lifestyle changes, experts say, you
can stop gaining weight and even drop some pounds.
There are several reasons most adults gradually gain weight.
First, as you get older, your body changes. Your body slows down with each
passing decade. And that’s not all.
"The effect of aging also slowly changes your body composition,
decreasing the amount of calorie-burning muscle and replacing it with fat,"
says Elizabeth Ward, MS, RD.
Further, most adults become much less active as they get older but continue
to eat as much as they did in their 20s. The combination of aging, less
exercise, and a healthy appetite are the reasons so many of us eventually
experience "weight creep."
Add Muscle to Stop Gaining Weight
One of the best ways to stop gaining weight is to power up your metabolism
by increasing muscle mass. Experts recommend strength training a few times week
to both retain and build muscle.
"Muscle is metabolically active, and to minimize naturally
occurring muscle loss, you need to be physically active every day, including
resistance training two to three times a week," says exercise physiologist
Felicia Stoler, RD,host of TLC's Honey We’re Killing the Kids.
"By being active, you can enjoy more calories without gaining weight -- if
you choose your calories wisely."
And change up your fitness routine every six to eight weeks to keep your
body from getting too accustomed to your workout.
"It has to be challenging; otherwise, it won’t work," says
Stop Gaining Weight by Eliminating Bad Habits
Some of the common mistakes people make that lead to weight gain
- Not making time for physical activity
- Mindless eating in front of the TV after dinner
- Drinking too much alcohol or sweetened drinks like specialty coffees
- Skipping breakfast
- Eating irregular meals
- Finishing kids' meals
- Reaching for second helpings
- Eating too many simple carbs (like sugar and white bread) and not enough
The older you get, the more diligent you have to be, says Ward, author of
The Pocket Idiot's Guide to the New Food Pyramids.
Figure out where your own problem areas are, and find solutions to control
calories and fit in more fitness. If you're a sweet eater, no problem -- just
work a small portion of sweets into your diet. Ward recommends stocking
the freezer with 100-calorie frozen treats to keep calories and portions in
Eating healthy does not mean following a super-restrictive diet. But you do
have to watch what you put into your mouth.