Why Do You Gain Weight When You’re Older?

Simple explanations for frustrating weight gain as one ages -- and a unique solution

By: Paul Wilson,
Why Do You Gain Weight When You’re Older?

Does it seem like there’s a direct relation between the older you get and the easier it is to gain unwanted pounds? No, it’s not all in your head -- losing weight over the years actually does get harder. Your body is always changing and, as you get older, your metabolism starts to slow down, making it harder to lose or even maintain a healthy weight.

Why is that?

While there is no one answer for everyone, there are some general truths we’ve come to know about the human body and what happens to it as we make more and more trips around the sun. We’ve gathered some helpful information that could shed light on why your later years seem to be coupled with a few more unwanted pounds.

Change In Muscle Quality

One reason the weight has accumulated as you’ve gotten older is because the quality of your muscle starts to change as fat starts to occupy muscle fibers, where previously it was almost all muscle.

Stephen Anton, Ph.D., associate professor and chief of the Division of Clinical Research at the University of Florida College of Medicine’s Department of Aging and Geriatric Research, says,

“After 50, the process of your muscles being infiltrated by fat accelerates.”

So as you age, fat replaces muscle, and fat is less metabolically active than muscle, meaning you need more calories to maintain muscle than fat.1 That, coupled with a slower metabolism, can cause you to lose muscle mass, and this creates an environment where fat can quickly accumulate.

As a result, you may notice another change in your body…

Energy Levels Drop

Let’s not forget, there’s the issue that you’re likely not as active as you used to be. Having less energy throughout the day can make it much more difficult to avoid putting on unwanted pounds.

Now, it’s perfectly normal to experience a drop in energy levels as you age. It happens to just about everyone and is a normal part of the aging process. Changes in genes and environment usually account for this. So how does this affect weight gain?

Over time, the body can wear down, joints and muscles become stiff, and we’re slower to recover from injury. And if you have an inactive lifestyle, you’re burning fewer calories throughout the day and therefore more likely to gain weight.

In fact, Stanford Medicine examined national health survey results and found that inactivity could be driving the surge in obesity, rather than higher calorie intake.2

Changes In Hormones

In addition to a slower metabolism, less energy and loss of muscle mass, hormonal changes can lead to excess body fat. Declining levels of estrogen and testosterone can lead to unwanted fat being stored around the abdomen. William Yancy Jr., M.D., director of the Duke Lifestyle and Weight Management Center in Durham, North Carolina, says,

“The decline in estrogen in women can lead to a change of depositing fat around the hips to more around the abdomen.”

This estrogen decline can lead to insulin resistance, which furthers the difficulty of losing weight. And for men, he says,

“Decreased testosterone leads to loss of muscle, which slows the metabolism."3

Lack of SIRT1 Production

Finally, there’s the issue of a little-known molecule in your body known as SIRT1. If you’re unfamiliar, experts often call this “the skinny protein” because it regulates body weight and metabolism.4

And SIRT1 has been shown to be directly correlated with weight loss efforts. One study found that subjects who were able to lose weight between 5 and 12 months had an increase in SIRT1 production, whereas those who gained weight had baseline levels of the protein.5

Scientists from MIT found that SIRT1 production can help release stubborn body fat in vitro.6

Unfortunately, as we age, our bodies produce less and less of the “skinny protein,” which is why it can feel almost impossible to shed that embarrassing body fat and get your weight to a place that makes you comfortable and happy.7

The good news is, with just a small change in your daily routine, it can be easier than ever to boost production of this relatively unknown “skinny protein” to that you can begin to shed unwanted pounds and eliminate embarrassing body fat once and for all.

To learn more about how to wake up your body’s “skinny protein,” click here.


Age brings many valuable things: wisdom, perspective, and appreciation for each new day. It can also bring higher numbers on the scale. And that’s because of a number of factors, including changes in muscle, lack of energy, hormonal shifts, and even a lack of production of your body’s “skinny protein.”

The good news is, you do not need to be resigned to that frustrating weight gain just because you’ve gotten older. There are many things you can do that will keep your metabolism running at a high level -- and one of them could be as simple as one tiny switch to your daily habits that has been shown to boost SIRT1 production and can make losing weight much simpler. Click here to learn more.

  1. https://www.bannerhealth.com/healthcareblog/teach-me/how-to-stop-gaining-weight-as-you-age
  2. https://med.stanford.edu/news/all-news/2014/07/lack-of-exercise--not-diet--linked-to-rise-in-obesity--stanford-.html
  3. https://www.aarp.org/health/healthy-living/info-2021/weight-loss-after-50.html
  4. https://academic.oup.com/endo/article/156/3/961/2423074
  5. https://academic.oup.com/jcem/article/101/3/1263/2804942
  6. Sirt1 promotes fat mobilization in white ... - NCBI - NIH." 2 Jun. 2004, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2820247/
  7. "Sirtuin signaling in cellular senescence and aging - NCBI." 31 Jan. 2019, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6386230/

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