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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Why Can't I Lose Weight? You Can't Avoid This Weight Loss Obstacle, But You Can Go Around It

You Aren't Getting Any Younger

"Why can't I lose weight?" is the lament of many a guy in his 30's, 40's and beyond. Tricks we used to use and modest sacrifices we made in our younger days just don't work anymore. If you've got pounds you can't shake using methods that have worked swell for you in the past then this article is what you are looking for.

I ride bicycles and my activity dropped every winter. Shorter days and colder weather made for a lot less riding. I always put on my 'winter coat' as I called it. 10-15 pounds that I pack on as a consequence of less activity and holiday treats.

Every spring I'd burn off those pound in just a few weeks as my the days grew longer and the weather warmer and my activity increased. Then, somewhere in my early 30's I noticed that I only shed about 1/2 the weight I had put on and found that I never shook it off that entire year. I had reached a new plateau!

Why Men Gain Weight As We Age

Our bodies have some pretty sophisticated programming. Nature presumes that you are going to prove your place in the pack, find a mate and do all your heavy lifting early on. In theory, you should have a family that can assume some of your work load by your late 30's and early 40's.

I have teenagers so I know this is not what really happens, but this is the way nature engineered our bodies. The bottom line is that as we age our testosterone levels drop and we lose muscle mass. Muscle mass uses more calories to maintain itself than fat, so our metabolism slows. This is bad.

You can't do a darn thing about the march of time but instead of beating your head against the problem you can go around it.

Most men continue to eat using the same habits they developed over the first 30 or so years of their lives. By age 40 they are adding a pound or two of fat a year without even trying. We don't need as much food as we did in our twenties and we aren't using the food for fuel in the same we did when we were younger. Once the body takes what it needs right now from what we eat, it happily stores the rest as fat.

So, what do you do to go around this problem?

The Fix:

Protein is lacking in the American diet. Most men need at least 150 grams a day of quality protein from a variety of sources and most get less than half of that and most of what they do eat is loaded with saturated fat.

The solution is two-fold:

Make sure you are getting enough protein in your diet and that it comes from a variety of animal and plant sourcesMake time for resistance training (such as weights)

It's sad, but true, that you can't always eat like you did in high school or college and expect to maintain your ideal body weight. If you can't lose weight it may not just be the quantity of food you are eating but which food choices you are making.

Give your body the protein it needs to maintain healthy lean muscle mass. The American Dietetic Association recommends 1/2 of your protein come from plant sources and 1/2 from healthy animal sources. Those plant sources are also a way to help get the fiber you need each day to keep the plumbing in tip-top shape.

Beans, oats, brown rice, broccoli and even peanut butter are all quality sources of plant proteins and there are many more.

When it comes to meat, go for the leaner cuts and be thoughtful about the garnishes and side dishes. Don't choose a lean steak only to chase it down with a dozen onion rings or a baked potato smothered in a 1/2 cup of butter and sour cream.

The second part of the solution is resistance training, such as lifting weights or using machines at the gym. Even calisthenics, such as push ups, sit ups, etc, will help keep up lean muscle. Maintain lean muscle and you keep your metabolism high and burn more calories at rest, making it easier to keep your ideal weight.

Your body will naturally want to shed lean muscle mass and slow your metabolism as you age. You can go around the problem by getting healthy nutrition and working out regularly.

Tom Bradley lives in Provo, Utah and came to wellness and weight loss out of necessity but has hung around from passion. Tom's straight-ahead approach to wellness and nutrition to promote weight management and healthy aging is the simple solution for the trend of growing world obesity and chronic illness.

Want help losing weight? Tom has coached hundreds to lose weight and keep it off. Subscribe to Tom's Easy Diet Coach Newsletter and get a FREE Body Composition Analysis and Wellness Evaluation for a successful launch of your last "diet" at

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