As you age, your body fights efforts to lose weight

Why is more than 60 percent of the American population overweight?

Many factors in our environment contribute to weight problems.

1. Technology has produced computers, the Internet, cable television, pay-per-view shows, remote controls, etc., which allow us more time to spend working or entertaining ourselves being sedentary.

We are also spoiled with the convenience of cars. We live in a society that tends to have busy schedules that do not include time for exercise.

2. As we age, we lose muscle. In your 20s, your body has more lean muscle mass than it will probably have at other times in your life. A pound of muscle burns almost 150 more calories a day than a pound of fat does.

In your 30s, your body begins to lose muscle and gain fat. Our bodies naturally lose about 2 percent of muscle every decade. This is a common time for people to see pounds add on, and have a more difficult time managing their weight. Eating the way you did in your 20s and becoming less active can make things more difficult.

When you're in your 40s, your body continues to lose muscle. Unfortunately, you lose 5 percent muscle mass every decade. This can make weight loss more challenging but not impossible. At this point, you can accept the fact that your body may naturally challenge your weight loss efforts, but you can fight back!

3. Portion control. Research shows that people need to be more aware of their portion sizes. A researcher at Pennsylvania State University studied normal and overweight men and women. Subjects were served macaroni and cheese in one of four portion sizes each week over a period of four weeks.

Some subjects served themselves; the other group was served pre-portioned plates. The results showed that all subjects consumed more food whenever more was available. It also showed that they did not feel any fuller when they consumed more. Even subjects who do not normally clean their plates consumed 27 percent more food when served the largest portion compared with amounts consumed of the smallest portions.

People have a natural tendency to consume larger portions if served, or if available like in an all-you-can-eat buffet. However, consuming more doesn't make you feel more satisfied. When dining at a restaurant or serving yourself at a buffet table, try to be more aware of your portion sizes.

The following examples reflect the importance of tracking what you eat in writing:

• A study showed that people tend to underestimate their intake by about 800 calories.

• Studies show people underestimate how much fat they consume.

• An American Dietetic Association survey found consumers overestimate the portion size of pasta, rice, vegetables and meat.

• About 28 percent of Americans are skipping meals. For example, the average person skips breakfast at least once a week. This may be depriving their bodies of nutrients and slowing down their metabolism.

If you are struggling with weight loss, please call me today at (928) 753-5066.