It’s not your metabolism that’s slowed down, but I’ll tell you what you need to know.
“Just wait till you get to be my age”. You’ve heard it and might be guilty of thinking or saying it yourself. I’m going to spill the tea on why that statement is a cringey misconception that needs to be taken out of your vocabulary.
Before you tune me out, hear me out on this because, I promise, friend to friend, this is the good stuff. As a forty-four year old perimenopausal woman, I get that it feels like the cards are stacked against you and you can’t win for losing. The feelings are very real and the symptoms too, but the truth of the situation may not be. You need to take the time to learn the rules of the game. They aren’t the same as when you were in your twenties or even thirties.
Around the age of thirty, it’s pretty standard to start losing 3-8% of your skeletal muscle every ten years. This loss hits hard for several reasons. One is because those muscles require a good deal of energy just to be there. The food you eat provides that energy in the form of calories. As you lose muscle mass starting around the age of thirty, your caloric needs therefore decrease. This is when the “wait to you get my age” mindset starts, and you assume your metabolism is going to hell in a handbasket.
You just assume your metabolism slowed down due to your age because you are starting to see weight gain and have no explanation for it. You aren’t doing anything differently than you always have. When, in reality, your metabolism is functioning just fine. You just haven’t realized yet it’s a muscle thing, not a metabolism thing. When you know the issue, you can then address the actual problem and get off the hamster wheel to find real results.
Real talk, I hate most everything about diet culture. I feel a strong obligation to say this real fast. There is a time and a place for a calorie deficit for sure, but this is not one of those times. Reducing calories as a knee-jerk reaction in this scenario puts a band-aid on your symptoms without addressing the root cause. This is a problem for several reasons. One, it’s unrealistic to think you can keep reducing your calories every decade to keep up with the amount of muscle your body is shedding. Two, often a reduction in calories means a reduction in nutrients which will negatively affect your hormones leaving you with another plethora of annoying and avoidable side effects.
Back to the topic at hand, muscle loss after the age of thirty. It’s important to realize that just because something is common does not mean it has to be your reality. You don’t have to subscribe to the “wait till you get my age” philosophy and accept this reality. Knowledge is power and now you have the power to prevent or reverse the widely accepted muscle loss that hits women like a ton of bricks midlife.
Adding resistance training with a focus on muscle growth will help maintain your muscle mass and therefore your energy needs. And I promise you it doesn’t have to be anything crazy, take up a lot of time, and you certainly aren’t going to get bulky. I personally love free weights because they are easy to use at home, relatively inexpensive, safe to use without a spotter, and often mimic functional movement. Adding a weekly routine of lifting weights 2 -3 times a week for 30 minutes a day is the secret every woman should know and be doing!
If you want to learn more about maximizing your results by learning tangible things you can do, including sustainable workouts for resistance training at home, rest, and recovery tips, and how to eat to support muscle growth, then our new program Strong(H)er is what you need. Stop feeling like you need to make excuses for how you feel based on your age and learn the rules you wish you would have known before you hit 30.