Simplistically metabolism is the process by which your body converts what you eat and drink into energy. This is a very complicated process.
Many people can feel like their metabolism has slowed down after a certain age as they feel that it is harder to lose or maintain weight. Age can be a factor involved with this - the potential reasons after 40:
- Becoming less physically active
- Decrease in estrogen in women
- Increase of estrogen/decrease of testosterone in men
- Physical activity is a key factor, even if it’s 1 hour of light gardening, housework or stretching a day can impact your metabolism positively. The more vigorous the activity/exercise will increase your metabolism (make weight loss more achievable)
- Food intake – If you are eating lots of high energy foods, particularly sugary foods and drinks this will affect your metabolism negatively, particularly if you are sedentary. Glucose and insulin play a large role in metabolism
- Gender – plays a role due to the different hormones’ effect on metabolism
- Stress – hormones such as cortisol can impact metabolism
- Sleep – if you are not sleeping well or at the right time of night hormones ghrelin and leptin can impact metabolism
- Pain and pain medications can play a role with metabolism. Our body will slow down our metabolic processes when we are in pain and certain pain medications can also slow our metabolism down
- Climate can affect metabolism especially cold climates
- Thyroid hormone controls metabolic rate - this being in balance is crucial
If you are over 40 and finding that you are starting to gain weight or you are unsuccessfully losing weight – check first your physical activity and what you are eating. But weight loss is often more than just “energy in v energy out”, so it may be worth talking to a health professional to gain a better understanding.