A couple of weeks ago I mentioned giving up soda and how that’s not a choice made in regards to dieting or trying to restrict myself. Today I want to talk a little about weight and aging.This fall I will turn 40. Big shock right? Not really, I’m not that concerned about it as a number so much as some of the things that it represents.
- I am close to the start of menopause – Menopause is the time that marks the end of your menstrual cycles. It’s diagnosed after you’ve gone 12 months without a menstrual period. Menopause can happen in your 40s or 50s, but the average age is 51 in the United States. (Mayo Clinic)
- I have am nearing the end of my bone life – From about age 25 to age 50, bone density tends to stay stable with equal amounts of bone formation and bone breakdown. After age 50, bone breakdown (resorption) outpaces bone formation and bone loss often accelerates, particularly at the time of menopause. (Johns Hopkins)
- I am about to start losing muscle – Sarcopenia is defined as the loss of muscle mass and function as we age (Rosenberg 1989). In humans, sarcopenia affects individuals from approximately the 4th decade of life (Lexell et al. 1988), with a decrease of 30–50% in skeletal muscle mass and function by the time individuals reach approximately 80 years of age (Akima et al. 2001) and this is worsened by unloading of muscle in inactive old people (Bamman et al. 1998; Breen et al. 2013). (McCormick and Vasilaki)
- I have gained more than the average amount of weight over my lifetime – Research suggests that many people gain weight as they advance in age from young adulthood into middle age. Between ages 29 and 39, women typically gain about 7 pounds, and men put on an additional 15 pounds, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (US News and World Report)
And that’s the one that’s standing out the most to me at the moment. In the past I have written about how I don’t mind weighing myself and also about how watching my numbers is so important as I age (Numbers Matter 1, 2, and 3).
But just today I weighed myself and am at 148lbs clothed, no shoes, after a long workout and drenched in sweat. I don’t know how much that means I actually weigh, but it is 30lbs more than what I weighed at age 18. It is also 30lbs more than I weighed when my oldest was a year old, 20lbs more than I weighed when I found out I was pregnant with him, and 24lbs more than when I found out I was pregnant with my second son.
It hit me today that this is a factor that I might need to pay more attention to and investigate further. I am doing all of the “right things” at this time to keep track of my weight:
- I exercise almost daily
- I am paying attention to what I eat, but trying not to be restrictive
- I am doing weight training when I exercise so that I maintain muscle mass, bone density, and proportional body composition
But that’s the area I am not paying as close attention to as I should…..BODY COMPOSITION. One of my goals for this year is to get my body composition tested so that I can put the number on the scale into a better mindset and perspective. Again, I share this story because I encourage you to consider your New Year’s Resolutions in two ways:
- Does what I set out to do or not do promote my wellness?
- Does this feel restrictive enough that I am not going to want to stick with it?
Do any of your resolutions involve weight loss or other body changes?