Our TV has started popping on by itself at random times of the day when no one’s near it.
Let me clarify that we do not live in an old Victorian manor restored from the 1800s, our house was not built on an ancient Indian burial ground, and the prior owner was not a serial killer.
So let’s get those theories off the bargaining table.
When I told a friend I was at a loss, he asked, “So you’re looking for a logical explanation?” with an expression of why start now?
Actually, yes, I am hoping to rule out aliens as well, although I’ve been advised it’s too early to tell for sure.
At first we thought it was the cats. Since I’ve yet to figure out which power button of our five remotes actually turns it on, it was disturbing to think one of them has that figured out.
Then it happened in the middle of the night when both cats were nowhere near the remote.
The other morning it happened at 4:30 a.m. while I was STANDING RIGHT NEXT TO IT waiting for my coffee to brew.
We’ve ruled out timers, remote access by neighbors, cats, our own forgetfulness and just about everything else.
So this leaves us with — you guessed it — ghosts.
Ghosts who apparently enjoy home improvement shows, since that’s what turns on each time.
So my only hope is it’s a handy spirit who can figure out how to give me more closet space without sacrificing square footage in the master bath.
You may be wondering, what the heck does weight gain after 50 have to do with Fixer Upper ghostly entities?
Here’s the thing: Weight gain after 50 can be just as mysterious as electronic devices with a mind of their own.
At least it certainly sounds like it, judging from the emails I receive each week.
Words such as, “One day I was at a healthy weight and suddenly I have this roll!” Or, “I’ve never had a weight problem, I eat the same way, and I keep gaining!” plus, “I am clueless as to why I can’t lose this flab!” are a few of the most popular sentiments.
A number of issues could contribute to this alarming shift, but here I present three of the ones you hear about least often, especially #2…
Muscle? Who needs muscle except for bodybuilders, right? If you’re an avid reader of this blog, you’ll know better than that.
Muscle is not likely to make you a contender in an Olympic strongman contest, but it’s your friend for many reasons.
Muscle burns many more calories at rest than fat and is a big part of your “resting metabolism.” This term refers to the calories you need to keep you alive, otherwise known as your Netflix Burning Calories or NBC (my term) — outside of any additional exercise or activity.
The kicker (caution! science-y terms ahead): 60 to 75% of the calories you burn each day are due to your resting metabolism, a.k.a. BMR, basal metabolic rate.
So let’s connect the dots.
Muscle is part of your BMR, which accounts for a huge chunk of the calories you burn each day.
That equals… YES! The winner is FAT by a long shot! Fat and weight gain, to be specific… as much as 30+ lbs by the time you reach 50.
Can we reverse this process? Totally. With strength training. Yep, that again.
Because, my dear friend, you can’t escape it. Lift weights, build muscle and fat will go screaming into the darkness like teenagers running into a chainsaw-wielding villain.
Two to three days a week of a total body workout is the ticket.
IMPORTANT NOTE: You can’t firm fat. If you do nothing, flab will reign supreme. It’s called being “skinny fat,” and is why you can be at a “healthy” weight and still be loose and jiggly.
You need to restore that muscle if you want tone and firmness. Period.
Looking back at all the times you worried about whether or not to wear white pants on what may be one of those five dreaded days a month, those days were actually more of a “friend” than you thought.
Here’s why: You burn more calories the week or so leading up to your period during your actively reproductive years, up to between 5 and 10% more.
This accounts for those premenstrual cravings: chocolate, sugar, salty snacks, etc. Whether or not you caved in to those cravings is one thing, but the fact remains that you cranked out between 100 and 200 calories more per day during that time.
Clearly, once you enter the merry land of menopause, the cravings stop (a good thing) but along with them also go the additional calorie burn.
The bottom line: If you change nothing after you begin going through menopause, you can gain anywhere from six to eight pounds as easily as falling off a log.
So what can you do?
The answer is so simple I’m almost (but not really) embarrassed to take you through this whole journey only to offer this one solution…
Eat 200 fewer calories a day to make up for it.
Thank you, and good night!
Seriously, it’s simple logic. You need to eliminate a couple hundred calories for about half a month each day to MAINTAIN your weight during menopause, let alone lose weight.
But if you do that, you’ll be ahead of the game.
Lack of sleep links to weight gain, high blood pressure and a host of other health issues. And as we get older, we often accept the stereotype of getting up at 3 a.m. as a normal waking hour.
Not so. We still need seven to nine hours a night, the same as we did in our mid-20s, according to the National Sleep Foundation.
Aches and pain, certain medications, getting up to use the restroom and issues such as restless leg syndrome can make it hard to get and stay asleep. But accepting this as “the way it is” can sabotage weight loss along with a whole host of other health benefits gleaned from a solid night’s sleep.
Still tossing and turning? See a doctor of your Zs aren’t up to par.
What about YOU? What do you think is the cause of your weight gain? Let me know in the comments section below….
Other posts you may like:
Looking for additional info on fitness and health for women over 50? Go to my Facebook page, where I post and broadcast regularly.
Your Ageless Body Coach,
Linda Melone is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, certified trainer and award-winning health and fitness writer. She specializes in helping women over 50 get in shape and lose weight.