I spend a lot of time in my professional career advocating energy balance (calories in vs calories out) and trying to teach people that ultimately weight management comes down to that and that alone.
Yes, there is a little more to it. You can’t just eat your daily kcal target in cake. You’re body requires a range of macro and micro nutrients to function properly.
However, I have now accepted fully that it’s not going to be a “tell it once and people will get it” type of message. For whatever reason people really struggle to grasp the concept of weight management even when it’s explained to them in the simplest of terms. That’s fine….it keeps me in a job!
So I’ve got a client who I’ve been working with for a while. She understands macros, micros, calories and how they all play their part in her fitness journey. She knows her protein target and hits it everyday. She knows about systemic fat loss (fat will drop off your body in certain areas according to your genetic make up, age, and gender). She knows that a sensible calorie deficit will result in fat loss.
She came to me recently and stated the following:
“I wish my husband would stop drinking beer because he’s getting a big beer belly”
HOLD ON HOLD ON HOLD ON….you’re not trying to say that it’s the beer that’s causing his Beer belly?
Of course it isn’t!
You’re body doesn’t think:
“ohhh hold on a second…these calories are coming from beer so lets by pass my genetic make up and store these excess ones at the belly.”
It doesn’t matter where the kcals are coming from….if you’re a man, then the chances are you’re body is going to store excess fat around your midsection.
So why is it that beer bellies seem to be so much more prominent among middle aged and older men?
Well, age does a play a contributing factor as to where body fat gets stored. As we get older we require fewer kcals and excess ones can be stored around the mid riff more so than when you were in your twenties.
This is further compounded by the fact that people tend to exercise less as they age. Hitting the gym in your 20’s and even 30’s is easier than doing it in your 40’s and 50’s. As your body ages the gym becomes a more difficult place to go. Results take a little longer to achieve and recovery takes a little longer to happen. Those sedentary months spent away from exercise have a bigger impact in your 40’s than your 20’s and it’s harder to get back into the swing of things.
As we age our body naturally loses more muscle mass and stores more body fat.
Unfortunately, the older you get the harder it is to stay in shape and keep those extra pounds in check.
However that is by NO MEANS a reason to stop being active.
If anything it’s THE MAIN REASON why you need to be more active as you age.
Yes it’s a little harder but it’s also very achievable to stay in good shape in later life. It just takes some dedication and perseverance.
So, if you’re reading this knowing full well that you’re spending too much time down the pub sinking pints and not enough time being active then stop for a second and think.
It’s never to late to start being more active and watching what you eat. It just gets harder to do it the longer you ignore it.
By all means enjoy a drink…but think twice about drinking 5 pints of lager 2 bags of crisps, a bag of nuts and a curry to round it all off. That’s a sure fast way to ensure you’re going to be in a heavy kcal surplus and pack on them pounds fast. Beer belly galore!