Body weight is like sand on a beach. It comes and goes. But sometimes it builds up to a big wide beach, and other times it thins out, depending on the sand available. With weight gain, this generally occurs slowly over a lifetime. However, there are some life stages and some life events where the risk is greater.
Puberty: This is a time where cell numbers in most parts of the body increase rapidly. If the lifestyle is poor (lack of exercise and bad nutrition) a greater number of fat cells can develop, making weight loss later in life difficult.
Pregnancy: Increases in weight here are normal, but unfortunately many women put on more than is required and then have trouble losing it after childbirth. The more children, the greater the chance of weight gain. Breastfeeding and a quick return to exercise are ways of reducing the effects of this.
Peri-menopause in women: This is the 1–2 years leading up to the menopause. Weight gain is most marked here, but can continue into the menopause as female hormones decline and fat is re-distributed from the lower to the upper body. Research has shown that traditionally living tribal women and those who remain active during this period do not gain weight, suggesting this is a lifestyle-based cause.
Mid-life in men: Less marked than a woman’s peri-menopause, however around 40, a slowdown in metabolism, reduced activity levels and often an increase in food and drink make a stable weight difficult to attain.
Other life events that can fatten up both sexes include marriage and quitting smoking. The latter occurs largely because of the reduced metabolism that comes from eliminating nicotine. Improved taste and not having something to do with the hands, also contributes to an increased food intake. Quitting sport is another life event that can lead to weight gain, with the greatest potential gains occurring in those competing at an elite level, who then become sedentary.
Trim’s tactics: Be aware of critical mass periods and take steps. Prevention is better than cure.
- Any type of exercise before breakfast can result in more fat loss than from exercise after breakfast. This is because of the decreased availability of glucose in the fuel mix as a result of the overnight fast.
- Breakfast is the most important meal of the day to raise metabolism and reduce body fat.
Dr Garry Egger aka Prof Trim
For more information on weigh loss for men, check out Professor Trim.