Is age related weight gain a myth? Most people past 40 will tell you no. Perhaps we don’t exercise as much, and that has a big influence, but that is not the whole story. Some things are just plain wearing out. As we progress into senior status, our doctors start writing prescriptions for blood pressure medicine, cholesterol medicine, heart disease medicine, diabetic medicine. We get chided for our lifestyles and told to eat less and exercise more. We get handed rabbit food diets and told to cut the fats. No eggs, no beef, no cheese.
The doctors mean well but if they took the time to study the volumes of research over the last 20 years, they might abandon some of their cherished notions about a healthy diet. The truth is that part of our age related weight gain is caused by excess insulin and insulin resistance from a life time of carbohydrate abuse. Indeed, all the diseases above are symptoms of excess insulin. (See the article Insulin Related Diseases.) If we follow a high protein, low carbohydrate food plan we can lose weight and perhaps throw out some of the medicines clogging up our medicine cabinets.
Your Ideal Body Weight
If you are 40 and have been trying to get back down to your high school weight or if you long to fit into your wedding gown at age 50, you may have an unrealistic low target weight in mind. I have seen weight charts that advocate weighing a certain amount at a certain height, no matter what your age or sex. The Age calculator thinking is that a certain height should support a lean body weight that does not change with age: that a healthy old age is a lean body. More enlightened diet doctors know that it is healthier to maintain a little more body weight as we approach our senior years. As for women, from a hormonal standpoint, some fat is needed to support estrogen production.
So how much body fat should you have? The following chart from Michael and Mary Dan Eades’ book Protein Power, may give you a clue.
Age 61 and older—–22-31%
61 and older—–17-21%
Calculating BMI (%body fat)
BMI = Weight (lb) / [Height (in)]2 x 703
Multiply your weight in pounds by 703.
Divide that answer by your height in inches.
Divide that answer by your height in inches again.
Example: a woman 5’5″ in height weighs 160 pounds.
160 X 703 = 112480
45695/65 = 1730
The normally used BMI Category:
Below 18.5 Underweight
25.0 – 29.9 Overweight
30.0 – 39.9 Obese
Over 40 Morbidly obese
This method of BMI calculation paints everyone with the same brush. It does not ask the sex of the person. It does not ask the age of the person. The best thing to do is to not worry about what you weigh, but to get your body into the best shape that you can and carry an appropriate amount of body fat for good health. Whatever weight that turns out to be is perfect for you.