Our bodies experience lots of changes as we get older, but there’s one thing that many people find particularly frustrating: weight gain.
Gradual weight gain in your 30s, 40s and 50s – especially around your waistline – is common, and can be a rude shock if you’ve previously been able to keep a lean physique with minimal to no effort.
But despite what you might have been told, the so-called ‘middle-aged spread’ isn’t inevitable.
While it’s true your metabolism does naturally slow as you age, if you’re gaining weight and are also feeling tired, experiencing brain fog, or just can’t seem to lose weight no matter what you do, there may be other factors at play.
And, once you understand what these factors are, you can make changes that will not only help you stop gaining weight, but also get your energy back.
In this article, we’ve outlined three key things to check to see if your metabolism is fired up or floundering – so you can stop weight gain in its tracks.
Despite what you might have been told, ‘middle-aged spread’ isn’t inevitable #weight #labtests #health #wellness
Check your insulin levels
Metabolism refers to the series of processes inside your body that convert what you eat and drink into energy.
Your body’s metabolic processes are essential for your body to function, and are also key to keeping your weight under control.
That’s because the faster your metabolism, the more calories you burn, and the less likely you are to accumulate excess fat.
The hormone insulin plays a vital role in these processes, converting sugar to fat and moving blood sugar from your bloodstream into storage in your cells. But if your body’s full of insulin from a high-sugar diet, these cells can go on strike, resulting in a condition known as insulin resistance.
It’s estimated that around one in three Americans – or half of those aged 60 and older – are insulin resistant.
When this happens, the body becomes less efficient at removing sugar from the bloodstream. This can promote continued weight gain, and increase the risk of developing conditions like type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
In fact, the American Diabetes Association estimates that up to half of those with insulin resistance and prediabetes (where your blood sugar level is higher than normal) will develop type 2 diabetes if they don’t make lifestyle changes.
The good news is that insulin resistance is reversible, and tracking your insulin levels is one of the best ways to see if you have a problem that needs to be addressed.
If your insulin levels are high, there are a range of proactive changes you can make to help bring them back into line, including eating a low-carb diet, avoiding fructose (a type of sugar), and exercising regularly.
It’s also a good idea to have an A1C test to check for a prediabetic or diabetic condition.
Up to half of those with insulin resistance will develop type 2 diabetes if left untreated #diabetes #labtesting #health #wellness
Measure your ‘belly fat’ hormones
If you’re like most people, you probably think that losing weight is all about willpower – that is, eating less and moving more.
But there are many factors that contribute to weight gain (and loss), and more and more research is showing that a hormone called leptin is involved.
Leptin is produced by the fat cells in your body – which means the more fat you have, the higher your leptin levels.
It’s carried by the bloodstream into your brain, where it sends signals that help control when and how much you eat.
High leptin levels tell your brain you have plenty of fat stored, while low levels signal you need to eat.
However, just like with insulin, sometimes this signal can get disrupted, and your brain can think you’re starving – even if you’ve got more than enough energy stored.
This condition, known as leptin resistance, is now believed to be one of the biggest biological contributors to obesity.
There are a few factors that are thought to contribute to leptin resistance, including chronic inflammation and high levels of triglycerides in the bloodstream (the latter of which can also be a sign of insulin resistance).
High leptin levels are also believed to cause leptin resistance, which is why having your leptin levels tested is a good way to see if there’s a problem you need to address.
Researchers believe reducing inflammation through dietary changes may help reverse leptin resistance, as can exercising regularly, making sure you get enough sleep, and eating soluble fibre, which can help you feel fuller for longer.
Leptin resistance is believed to be one of the biggest biological contributors to obesity #weight #labtesting #health #wellness
Adiponectin is a “healthy” fat hormone and higher levels are anti-inflammatory and can be cardioprotective.
Test your thyroid hormone levels
Body: Your thyroid may be small, but it plays a big role in how well your body functions.
That’s because it produces hormones that control the speed of your metabolism – and how quickly (or not) you burn calories.
In fact, an unexplained change in weight is one of the most common signs of a thyroid disorder.
Thyroid problems are most common in middle-aged women, but are often mistaken for menopause as they share many of the same symptoms, including weight gain.
That’s why if you’ve suddenly gained (or lost) weight and you’re not sure why, it’s a good idea to get your Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) levels tested.
While TSH is not created by the thyroid, it does affect the hormones the thyroid produces.
If your TSH levels are high, this typically means your thyroid function is too low, which can cause weight gain, among other things.
If your TSH is low, this can mean your thyroid is overactive (hyperthyroidism).
Thyroid conditions are usually managed with medication, so it’s always best to speak to your doctor if you have any concerns.
Are you ready to take control of your weight and your health?
Tested biomarkers include:
Comprehensive Metabolic Panel
Thyroid Stimulating Hormone
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