Is it harder to lose weight when you're old?

What are the differences in trying to shift 20 lbs at, say, 65 years of age versus 35?

Given that a 65 yo is probably going to be more restricted in the type of exercise available to them (although feel free to disagree) - maybe concentrate on diet. What differences are there in how your body reacts to a restricted diet in your later years, relative to when you’re younger?

I am 66 and play racquetball 4 times a week(8 to 10 hrs) . I walk my dogs in the park everyday. You are not restricted in exercise unless you stay sedentary for a few years and then decide to do something. Then you have to compensate for being a couch potato.
But losing weight is more difficult. It seems your body makes adjustments to maintain its weight.

If you wait long enough all of your excess weight just melts away. Of course you are dead but still…

your basal metabolic rate decreases as you age (to a certain point) so it means that if you keep your caloric intake the same as when you were 35, you’re going to have to work out alot more to lose weight.

Other things can limit your ability to exercise as you age besides “being a couch potato.” For example, people who are very active in some types of exercise are more likely to have joint damage that limits their ability to exercise later compared to when they were younger. Also, just with the law of averages, older people have had more chance to have a movement-limiting injury of any type.

With the lower basal metabolic rate, you will need to consume an overall lower daily number of calories to wind up with a calorie deficit, assuming the same level of activity.

I suppose in some cases not having a job after retirement can free you up to spend more time cooking healthy food and exercising, in terms of looking at the other side of the coin and having an easier time losing weight as you age. Also, the sense of taste may decline, which can reduce appetite. And you might be more prone to serious health conditions that promote weight loss, albeit not healthy weight loss in those cases.

It is much more difficult to loss weight when you are older, mainly, in my case, because it is harder to exercise. When I was 20 I would go out and play some sort of sport for an hour or so and never think twice about it. At 53, an hour of exercise is hard and is only possible if I can work around minor injuries like that odd pain in my shoulder and my bad knees. We just aren’t as active when we are older and the minor, accumulated injuries of a lifetime start to add up.

They say your metabolism gets slower as you get older - not sure I believe that makes that big of a difference. Is the difference 1%? 10%? 100%? If my old body can process food in such a way that it can get twice the milage out of a gallon of food, shouldn’t someone be studying my metabolism? I think a much , much bigger difference between 35 and 65 is our lifestyle. Folks are just not as active when they are older.

Get the shape you want while you are young!

Based on a non-scientific survey of one male adult, the answer is yes.

Very true. I used to play basketball almost every day. Then one day, my knees said “No more!”

I can still do other things like hike and ride bicycles. But I really had to change my diet to adjust for the loss of basketball from my exercise regimen. Basketball burned a LOT of calories.

Simple rule: If it involves getting up in the morning, then it is harder to do when you get older.

I’ve often wondered if menopause has something to do with it.

The people who want to reduce weight problems to a ‘diet and exercise’ soundbite never discuss menopause.

At 48 I find it harder to gain muscle and lose weight both.

Maintaining muscle mass burns more calories that maintaining fat, so losing muscle can be a factor in the lower metabolic rate as you age.

I work in a long-term care facility, and I can tell you that our biggest problem is keeping our residents’ weights UP. Most of them just don’t eat enough (or exercise enough), and they can lose weight very quickly and get into a dangerous situation. So come on, y’all, the ages you are talking about are not old. 99-- now that’s OLD!

Fat infiltrating muscle tissue and accumulating around the abdomen is the problem as you age, not so much overall weight. As we all know, when you have excess fat it’s hard to get rid of. As Anise said being underweight is a big problem with the truly elderly.

There’s no widely supported medical explanation for why modern humans tend to see their fat percentage climb as they age.

How is your eating pattern affected by anxiety and stress? I lose my appetite completely. Last year Mr. Sali and I had a medical scare and I lost 20 pounds because I couldn’t eat. When my father was dying from cancer, my mother was a bag of bones when it was all over.

Others might react the opposite way and gain even more weight through non-stop eating to deal with stress.

The older you get, the more ‘bad things’ crop up in regard to health, finances, what your children are going through - so you either eateateat or starvestarvestarve.

BTW, my mother is now overweight for the first time in her life. Why?

Prescription drugs issued for blood pressure and cholesterol. She has a whole tray of medications for this and that. She doesn’t eat all that much and she has always been active, and in the last 5 years since she got put on Lipitor or whatever, the pounds just packed on.

Next time you point and sneer at fat lazy old people, just keep in mind that could be YOU someday, through no fault of your own, but thanks to modern medicine.

I was a volunteer at a LTC facility and it’s true the older the people, the more they just seemed to waste away. OTOH - during the social hour they were given treats like fruit juice, cupcakes, and cookies and we were warned a lot of the people who used wheelchairs (and were therefore pretty sedentary) were GAINING a lot of weight - small portions only, and no second helpings were allowed. The rec leader said too many of them were coming down for social hour just to eat the goodies, and there should be more emphasis on actually socializing!

Your metabolism does slow as you age, this is a minor factor, but the major factor seems to be lack of activity.

Now this may seem wrong at first, till you examine why.

After all exercise doesn’t really burn a lot of calories. If you try to lose weight through cardio exercise, you will only lose about 5lbs, maybe 10lbs if you are really able to push it. An hour of high impact aerobics only burns an average of 300 calories. As you can see a candy bar has about 220 - 280 calories.

So you can pretty much undo a whole aerobics class with one candy bar.

But studies in youth have found active kids weigh less. But why? The key is not that their burning calories, but they are NOT eating.

The three top reasons people eat are: “Watching TV/Movies,” “While on the computer,” or “boredom.”

You see the more active you are the less likely you are to be eating mindlessly. If you’re kid is playing baseball, he’s not really burning off that many calories. But he’s not at home with one hand on the video game and one hand in the Cheetos.

Same goes as we age.

I volunteer in a retirement home and a few of the residents have coughing spells at night which they quiet by eating crackers or bread. This works, I guess it traps the mucus or whatever, but it also mean a lot of extra calories without realizing it.

***Everything ***is more difficult when you’re older, and the problems are cumulative. Every new problem just gets added to the old ones.

Heh. One of the reasons that I do needlework when I watch TV is because I don’t want to eat while I do needlework. Eating leads to messy/greasy hands, and I want to keep my project clean. So even a little activity might be enough to forestall snacking.

And now I crave some Cheetos. Thanks a lot!

Perhaps but I’m in my late 30s and I’ve really noticed a big difference in my metabolism. In my 20s, I was 5’4" 120 pounds and I had to consume 2000 calories a day because I’d burn through so many doing my various activities. I never had to watch what I ate. Starting at about 32, I had to modify my calorie intake and shave off about 400-600 calories a day depending on my activity level. I’ve also found that the biggest impact of age on my activity level is a slower recovery rate, not just from injuries, but basic muscle fatigue and DOMs. For example, if I had a heavy workout at 22 and had to take the following day off, at 32 I would take the following day of but really wish I’d taken 2 days off. I’m 37 now, still 5’4", but 125 pounds.

In other words, I’m really noticing the difference even one decade has made, and menopause is still a fairly distant thing.