Middle age metabolic changes

What might cause a sudden change in metabolism? I say ‘sudden’ but maybe that’s relative. Like many people I gradually gained weight during my 30’s, 40’s, and early 50’s. During that period my weight would go up and down but the general trend was to gain about 8-10 lbs. a decade. Something different, though, seems to be going on now. I recently got weighed at a doctor’s appointment and while I knew I’d had to ‘upgrade’ my wardrobe a few months ago I was semi-shocked to find I had gained 29 lbs (got rid of the bathroom scale last year) over the last 11 months! Thing is, I don’t think I changed any habits or made any lifestyle adjustments during that time that would account for this. I may have had more stress than usual at work this past year, but apart from that can’t think of anything that would easily account for the sudden increase.

The doc read me the riot act about regular exercise and diet, and seemed to treat the gain like this is something that just happens when you hit middle age, but that seems to me like an awful lot of weight to gain in a fairly short span of time. I’m going to follow his advice and start an exercise regimen and try to reduce calories, but now I’m wondering if something else is going on. Maybe I should have the doctor check my thyroid function or something else?

My thyroid probably started going hypo- in my late 20s, and it took over a decade to get noticed because a lot of the hypothyroidism symptoms are the same ones that develop from simply getting older: weight gain, higher cholesterol, etc. So it is usually the other symptoms that trigger someone to test for thyroid function. In my case, my low heart rate and low blood pressure were dismissed because I’m an avid swimmer.

As it turns out, most GPs will test your thyroid function if you go to them with a list of symptoms you’ve noticed and ask if you should be tested. Particularly if you have a family history of thyroid issues. I’ve just had a couple friends diagnosed with hypothyroidism as they approach “middle age”, and they probably didn’t have the long wait to diagnose like I did, because their GPs were on the lookout. So, it wouldn’t hurt to ask your doctor, if you think you have some of the other common symptoms.