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Act your age

For most of their lives, women have weight on their minds – their own. Which is why, as they grow older, they become depressed about the fact that weight loss becomes more difficult. Difficult, however, does not mean impossible, as long as they know what it is that affects the rate of weight loss at the different stages of their lives. Here’s a look at these aspects.

health and fitness Updated: Jul 02, 2011 19:47 IST
Dr Shikha Sharma

For most of their lives, women have weight on their minds – their own. Which is why, as they grow older, they become depressed about the fact that weight loss becomes more difficult. Difficult, however, does not mean impossible, as long as they know what it is that affects the rate of weight loss at the different stages of their lives. Here’s a look at these aspects.

Under 20s
The challenge: For teenagers, especially those aged around 13, weight loss is not easy for two reasons. One: At this age, your body and hormonal profile is still changing, so you feel hungrier and tend to have a craving for fatty food. Two: you’re also still growing. So the weight gain you complain of is in part due to the development of bones and muscles .

Solution: At 12, 13 or 14 years old, you should concentrate on adding a lot of fruits and sprouts to your diet. You should also avoid too much sugar and fast food and do aerobic exercises for one hour every day.

WeightThe 20s

The challenge: Usually independent by this age, you tend to develop the habit of eating out often, to catch up with friends. You also have the money to allow such a lifestyle.

Solution: Since the body’s metabolism tends to be active at this age, weight loss is simple if your diet is corrected to include more fruits, salads and cooked vegetables and healthy whole grains. Exercises and yoga can complement a good diet to result in a fit body and healthy skin.

The 30s
The challenge: This is when you are most conscious of your figure and looks and weight loss becomes important. Good clothes and increased self-confidence build the will power to diet and exercise. Responsibilities have increased by now, and life has usually changed due to marriage and children. This makes you go into cycles of yo-yo dieting. However, the good news is that the metabolism is still supportive of weight loss, unless there is a hormonal imbalance.

Solution: This is when you must pull yourself out of the yo-yo diet trap and start building healthy habits instead. This is the key to success as you grow older. At this stage, you must concentrate consciously and systematically on eating healthy and cutting down refined foods and sugar in your regular meals (occasional indulgences are fine). You should also create and maintain a habit of regular exercise.

The 40s and 50s
The challenge: You face multiple challenges at this age. First, personal and professional responsibilities peak at this time. You are reaching senior positions in your professional life, plus your children are getting older. So you have to multitask and juggle many responsibilities. Thus, this is when you are most at risk of putting on weight as you tend to neglect yourself due to work pressures. Unfortunately, your metabolism also begins to decline.

Solution: At this stage, you may need to consider stress management techniques to help manage your weight. So things like pranayam, music, chanting, music therapy, painting... anything that you find relaxing is a boon to weight loss. At this stage, it’s also important to cut down on the amount of food you eat. Calorie requirements at this age are not as much as in your 20s and 30s. You can eat more fresh fruits, salads, soups and complement your diet with nuts, oil seeds and whole grains like brown rice, whole wheat vegetable dalia, etc. Vegetable and herbal juices are also good for the health. Multivitamins may be needed from time to time.

FruitsThe 60s and over

The challenge: Chances are that you have some lifestyle associated issue like diabetes, hypertension, joint pains and so on by this time. So you have to eat according to your health and disease profile. Also, by now, exercising is usually minimal and you are likely to be bored, since the children will have moved away and you have retired from work, with nothing much to do.

Solution: You need to follow a diet that takes into account your ailments, and drink herbal juices, such as aloe vera, tulsi, amla or karela, according to your health profile. Your diet should include specific foods for your health type, such as oats, barley or whole wheat. The quantity you eat should also be decreased according to your digestive capability. You may require multivitamins and exercises should include walks, physiotherapy, acupressure and occupational therapy for back aches. If you need to lose weight for your health, it should only be one kilo a month.

From HT Brunch, July 3

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