As you get older, it may seem that your weight creeps upward no matter what you do. Clothes no longer fit, or they fit differently. You notice a changed distribution of your weight. Your muscle mass decreases. This is a normal occurrence as your metabolism downshifts. It’s important, though, to remember that there’s much you can do to improve your situation. Here are several areas to focus on that will move the needle in a positive direction.
1. Cut Down on Flour and Sugar
The more sugar you consume, the more your insulin will spike and lead to increased fat storage. You don’t have to cut out all sugar all at once. Instead, make substitutions using low-glycemic sweeteners. Halve the sugar in dessert recipes. As you eat less sugar, your taste buds will change and you’ll be satisfied with the lower amount. As a bonus, your mood and energy will stabilize. Do the same with your flour intake. There’s no shortage of gluten-free options to choose from. Need some guidance? Do a search using terms like gluten test to find specialized assistance.
2. Consume Healthy Fats
The kind of healthy fats that you can find in avocados, seeds, fatty fish, and nuts are the best to focus on when you eat — in moderation. They’re also delicious. Consider using olive oil instead of processed oils when you cook. Functional medicine practitioners often recommend MCT (medium-chain triglyceride) oil, which you can find in abundance in coconut oil. Enjoy all of the tasty alternatives to the trans fats found mostly in packaged foods.
3. Eat a Variety of Foods
Keep it simple: Focus on color, and eat as many different colors as you can in the course of the day. Naturally, you’ll gravitate toward a variety of vegetables and low-glycemic fruits. They’ll add valuable phytonutrients to your diet and help you decrease oxidative stress and inflammation that can lead to unwanted weight gain.
4. Move the Right Way
Tackle this in a twofold manner. First, be sure that you decrease your stress level as you move and go about the typical activities of the day. Do things that keep your cortisol (the fight-or-flight hormone) down. Decreasing cortisol decreases fat storage. At the same time, it’s important to incorporate high-intensity and strength training into your routine if you want to retain muscle and improve your metabolic rate. This is an area where it’s a good idea to consult with your health practitioner and a certified trainer to design a program that’s right for you now and that you can adjust as you get older.
5. Take the Right Supplements
Omega-3 fats and B-complex vitamins are supplements that practitioners commonly recommend for boosting metabolic function. It’s crucial to know, though, that if your diet is healthy and nutritionally dense, you’ll need to take fewer supplements. A functional medicine professional can help you determine the best supplements for your particular needs since they’ll have access to your complete health history.
6. Don’t Overfocus on Numbers
While keeping tabs on calories and macros is a popular thing to do, don’t undo your progress by stressing out over it. If your caloric intake goes too low, your body goes into starvation mode and your metabolism slows down. Once you’ve determined your ideal level of food intake, focus on maintaining balance and joy in your life.
7. Get Sufficient Sleep
One of the most valuable things you can do for your overall health is to get enough sleep, especially as you get into middle age and beyond. Sleep may not come as easily, so be proactive and intentional about it, and don’t hesitate to seek help if you’re having a hard time. Eight or more hours of sleep per night will boost your metabolism and mood and decrease cortisol.
Improving your metabolism requires self-awareness and willingness to change habits. Consider these suggestions as you make changes to boost your health.