Life Stages


Learn how to regain health by embracing choices that boost your strength and vitality through all life stages.

Image for Why is losing weight after 40 harder? Advice from a Lingo Dietitian

Why is losing weight after 40 harder? Advice from a Lingo Dietitian

Why is it that after about age 40, it seems those extra pounds start creeping on and it’s harder to shed extra weight? In this article, we’ll discuss the reasons it may be harder to maintain a healthy weight after 40 and effective strategies to either maintain your weight or lose weight and improve body composition. How hormones impact your weight As we get older, for both men and women, hormones levels such as testosterone and oestrogen gradually start to shift. For women, this tends to be more of a dramatic shift. Many women report that it can be hard to not only lose weight but maintain the weight they stayed at for years. This change in body composition and weight is typically associated with menopause when there is a dramatic shift in hormones. However, menopause does not happen overnight. It is typically a gradual shift from perimenopause, which is when women first start to see irregularity in their menstrual cycles and may experience other symptoms such as sleep disturbances, to menopause, which is 12 months after a women’s last period (1). Weight loss or even weight maintenance can feel harder during these years, which is typically around age 40 to 55 and lasts on average around 7 years, but can last as long as 14 years for some women. (2,3) A change in hormones does not just happen to women as they age, but for men as well. While the side effects may not be as dramatic, the gradual decrease in testosterone can also make it more challenging for men to maintain muscle or lose weight. (3,4) Why you may struggle to lose weight One impact of the shift in hormones as you age is a natural decline in lean body mass (aka muscle). It has been shown that the ageing body needs more stimulus to maintain and build muscle than it does at a younger age. (5) What does this mean? There are two main components to building and maintaining muscle: Using the muscle (e.g. strength training) Eating enough protein to stimulate muscle protein synthesis. Does the chicken come before the egg? As people get older, they tend to be less active. Is this decrease in activity because of muscle loss? Or is the muscle loss because we decreased activity? Likely both. Hormone shifts can contribute to the loss of lean mass, and the decrease in activity also creates less stimuli for the body to maintain the muscle it has, much less build any new muscle. The way our body metabolises protein can change also as we get older. Studies have shown that muscle protein synthesis (MPS), or how much protein our body needs to stimulate muscle growth, increases as we age. (6) To put it simply, you need more protein to stimulate muscle growth than you did when you were 20. Because of these changes, not only does it seem like it’s harder to maintain or lose weight, but you also may notice that your overall body composition is changing. If nothing is done to mitigate this, you can start to lose muscle mass while putting on fat mass. On top of the physiological changes that happen with age, many adults over 40 may experience lifestyle shifts that can impact weight management. Taking care of children, a stressful job, or other life changes can impact things like sleep, eating habits and activity compared to when you were younger. Studies show that poor sleep can impact your metabolic health and promote weight gain. (7) Additionally, chronic stress can impact weight management by disrupting the body’s hunger and fullness signals and a change in eating habits that induce weight gain. (8,9) So we've covered the major reasons why your weight may change as you get older, or why it may be harder to lose weight after 40, but what can you actually do about it? The good news is, there are several strategies that you can use to effectively lose weight no matter if you are in your 40s, 50s, or older. Tips to manage weight after 40 Prioritise protein Eating enough high-quality protein is one of the most important things you can focus on as you get older. Protein will help you maintain lean muscle mass, which burns more calories at rest than fat, meaning you can eat more and maintain your weight. It also helps to keep you full, meaning you are less likely to crave the carb-heavy, sugary, and calorie-rich foods that make weight management harder. Remember that you’ll need more protein for it to trigger all these beneficial effects. Aim for 1.5 grams of protein per kilogram of your ideal body weight daily, with at least 30 g per meal to maximise muscle protein synthesis. Some high-quality protein sources include salmon, shrimp, chicken, beef, eggs, whey protein powder, cottage cheese, and tofu. Strength train In combination with eating enough protein, strength training is the other major contributor to maintaining and/or losing weight as you age. Lean muscle mass requires more calories to maintain than fat, meaning you can eat more calories (especially calories from protein) and still maintain your weight. Strength training helps your body use the protein you eat more effectively (5) and can also help preserve metabolic health by increasing insulin sensitivity and lowering blood pressure. Stabilise glucose Eating nutrient dense foods that promote stable glucose will help to ensure you are curbing the glucose spikes and crashes that can stimulate hunger and cravings throughout the day. Using your Lingo CGM can help to identify the foods that help you minimise glucose spikes and maintain your energy throughout the day. Check out more information on how to avoid glucose spikes here. Try time restricted eating Sleep and stress can impact your circadian alignment, which may increase your risk for weight gain and metabolic consequences with age. One way to combat this is a type of intermittent fasting called Time Restricted Eating (TRE). TRE means restricting your food intake to specific periods of the day to synchronize your body's internal clock with your external environment. Set a specific time frame, usually lasting about 8-12 hours, in which you will only eat within that period. For example, you may eat breakfast at 9-10 a.m. and dinner around 5-7 p.m. with lunch and/or snacks in between, but limit any other food outside of that window, especially 2-3 hours before bed. TRE has been found to help with weight loss and improve metabolic health such as improved insulin sensitivity and blood pressure. (10, 11) Cut out or decrease alcohol intake When trying to lose weight, alcohol ends up being empty calories that your body must burn before it can metabolise fat or carbs. What does this mean? You may end up storing the food you are eating because your body can’t store alcohol and puts fat and carb metabolism on the back burner. Additionally, depending on the type of alcohol you consume, it can impact your glucose by increasing or decreasing it, which subjects you to the effects of the glucose roller coaster. This can impact hunger, fullness, and your ability to maintain stable glucose. Lastly, alcohol may lower your inhibitions making it harder to choose glucose-friendly food choices. (16) When trying to lose weight, it may be best to limit or cut out alcohol altogether. Limit ultra-processed foods and focus on whole foods Along with stabilising your glucose, focusing on whole foods and limiting ultra-processed foods can help you manage your weight as you get older. It has been shown that people eat an average of 500 more calories per day when the food is highly processed vs. minimally processed. (12) Not only are you missing out on important nutrients when you eat highly processed food, but this can lead to weight gain in as little as two weeks when compared to eating a diet of unprocessed foods. (12) Focusing on food quality is one of the best things you can do. (13) Keep your ultra-processed food consumption to a minimum, and aim for your diet to consist of primarily whole foods such as: - Fresh or frozen meat and seafood - Vegetables, especially non-starchy veggies and leafy greens - Unprocessed carbohydrates such as beans, legumes, and whole grains - Dairy like milk, yoghurt, and cheese - Healthy plant-based fats: olive oil, coconut oil, avocado, nuts, and seeds Get quality sleep Poor sleep can impact not only weight, but also your glucose, metabolic health and overall mood and energy. (14) The NHS recommends 7-9 hours of sleep per night for adults. Having trouble getting quality sleep? Check out our tips for improving sleep and getting a good night’s rest. Manage stress Finding ways to relieve stress can not only help you manage your weight but can also lead to other benefits like reduced blood pressure and more steady glucose. (15) Identify ways you can destress, which may be different for everyone. Find something that works for you: breathing exercises, yoga, walking in nature, journaling, practising gratitude, or taking a warm bath or shower are all things you can implement to reduce daily stress. A final note from Lingo While getting older means your hormones and lifestyle may change, you can still work with them to reach your body composition goals. By focusing on the foods you eat, working to maintain and/or build muscle, and looking at your overall lifestyle including sleep and stress, you can still lose weight in your 40s and beyond.

8 minutes 
Image for Does metabolism actually slow down as we age? Here’s what research says

Does metabolism actually slow down as we age? Here’s what research says

Your metabolism refers to all the biochemical reactions occurring in the body. One of these key reactions is converting food and drinks into energy. Your body uses this energy for vital functions such as breathing, brain power, digestion, repairing muscle, and so much more. (1) The rate at which it works to burn calories to keep your body going is known as metabolic rate. Metabolic rate is unique to every person, and is determined by genetics, age, muscle mass, and activity level. Increasing your metabolic rate is commonly referred to as “boosting metabolism,” meaning there is an increase in the number of calories your body needs while resting and moving. Having a fast metabolism means your body burns more calories. On the flip side, a slower metabolism means your body needs fewer calories and does not convert food into energy as efficiently. A common question about metabolism is: Does metabolism slow down with age? The answer is yes, your metabolism slows — but not as drastically as you may think. Keep reading to learn more about why metabolism slows with age, why it matters, and how a slower metabolism impacts your overall health. Does metabolism slow down with age? Here’s what research says Yes, research has proved that metabolism does slow down with age. While people may assume it’s a gradual decline after young adulthood, your metabolism doesn’t significantly slow down until later in life. From the age of about 20 to 60, your metabolic rate actually remains pretty consistent. A 2021 study published in Science found that metabolic rate starts to decrease after age 60, by about 0.7 percent each year. (2) A slow metabolism is often blamed for weight gain later in life. While science does confirm this is a factor for weight gain, there may be other reasons for gaining weight as you age, including decreased activity, loss of muscle mass, diet changes, and how we respond to the food we’re eating. (2,3) Why your metabolism slows down with age There are multiple reasons why your metabolism slows with age, which may lead to weight gain. As you get older, you lose more muscle mass. Studies have found that muscle mass decreases approximately 3–8% per decade after age 30, and after 60, the rate of decline goes even higher. (2) This impacts metabolism because muscle tissue burns more calories at rest than body fat. (3) Additionally, other hormonal changes, such as declining testosterone and estrogen may also play a role in decreasing muscle mass as we age. (3) As you age, you may also become less active, which can lead to weight gain. Not only do you burn fewer calories with less movement, but less movement can also contribute to the loss of muscle, which further decreases energy expenditure. (4) Another cause: as you age, the number of calories your body needs start to decline. (2) However, many factors may contribute to altered nutrition choices, including eating alone, difficulty cooking or feeding yourself, decreased appetite, or decreased access to healthy food. (4,5) Maintaining balanced glucose levels can also play a role in maintaining a healthy metabolism and weight. Some of the changes in muscle mass seen with ageing may be the result of insulin resistance as insulin plays a big role in the way our body digests and uses protein, along with its effects on glucose. (3) Additionally, steady glucose levels have been shown to positively impact your mood, energy levels, mental focus, sleep, and more. (6) Using a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) like Lingo can help you gain insights into your unique glucose responses and achieve improved metabolic health as you age. What is the impact of a slower metabolism? A slowing metabolism may lead to weight gain. However, there are ways you can combat this. Since muscle mass and hormonal changes (including insulin resistance) are some of the main drivers of metabolic changes as you age, both nutrition and physical activity are of the utmost importance: Prioritise protein: Start with a healthy diet that focuses on protein consumption. Older adults struggle to eat adequate protein and they need more protein to support healthy muscles. (3, 4) Doing so will benefit your glucose levels, insulin sensitivity, and support muscle tissue. (7, 8) Aim to eat 25-35 grams of high-quality protein at each meal. Stay active: Specifically, older adults should focus on strength training. The NHS recommends adults do 75 minutes of muscle strengthening activities at least 2 days a week, and 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise. (9, 10) If time or energy is limited, focusing on strength training and balance exercises will give you the most benefit. (11) Maintain steady glucose: As we age, the ability of your muscle cells and other tissues to respond to insulin is impaired. (3) Focusing on foods that keep glucose levels steady (and in turn, do not require large amounts of insulin) can help, like low-GI foods. Additionally, evidence shows that protein is better metabolized in older adults when consumed without carbohydrates. (3) Aim for meals with a quality source of protein, non-starchy veggies, and when eating carbs, make sure they are complex carbs like starchy vegetables or whole grains. A final note from Lingo While metabolism does slow down as you age, it’s often much later in life than many people expect. A slowing metabolism may be a factor for weight gain as you get older, but other factors like decreased activity, changes in appetite, loss of muscle mass, and dietary changes can also contribute. Using a continuous glucose monitor like Lingo can help you understand your habits and patterns and work towards limiting glucose (and insulin) spikes, which can help mitigate the metabolic changes seen with ageing.   Lingo is not a medical device and not designed to treat or diagnose any disease or illness. If you have medical questions or concerns regarding your glucose, please contact your doctor.

5 minutes 
Image for What should I know about glucose and PCOS?

What should I know about glucose and PCOS?

What is PCOS? Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is a common diagnosis that affects nearly one out of every ten women. (1) It’s a group of symptoms related to having a higher-than-normal level of androgens (male hormones) thought to be caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. (2) Women are at higher risk for PCOS if they have a mom or sister with PCOS, or if they have obesity. (2) Any discussion regarding a diagnosis is only between you and your medical provider. Here is some general information on what the science says about PCOS and glucose. How are insulin resistance and PCOS connected? The main symptom of PCOS is menstrual cycle irregularities such as cycles lasting longer than 28 days, many days of bleeding, and anovulation (not releasing an egg during the menstrual cycle), but it’s more than just a period problem. Other symptoms of PCOS result from problems with insulin, the hormone that moves glucose from the bloodstream into cells to be used for energy. When cells become resistant to insulin, the glucose level in the blood rises, which causes the body to produce more insulin to act on glucose. Too much insulin drives up the production of androgens, causing symptoms of PCOS. (2) Women can experience excess facial and body hair, acne, hair loss, weight gain, and infertility. It is estimated that between 50-80% of women with PCOS have insulin resistance, independent of BMI and body fat distribution. (3) Having insulin resistance increases risk for gestational diabetes, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. (3) A hallmark feature of insulin resistance is impaired glucose levels. (4) How glucose management can benefit women with PCOS Diet plays a crucial role in managing PCOS, because controlling carbohydrate intake can improve insulin sensitivity and help manage symptoms, ultimately leading to better quality of life and chronic disease risk reduction. (5) Research shows high -glycaemic index (GI) and high-glycaemic load (GL) diets are linked to higher BMI, waist circumference, insulin resistance, chronic inflammation, cardiovascular problems, and other metabolic abnormalities in women with PCOS. (6) Conversely, research suggests adopting a long-term low-carbohydrate diet can be beneficial for women with PCOS by improving insulin resistance, promoting weight loss, supporting normal hormone levels, and enhancing fertility. (7) Lifestyle Tips for PCOS Eat low-carb: You don’t have to cut out carbs completely. Reducing carbs to less than 45% of total calories (or around 130 grams per day) can help manage symptoms and reduce disease risk (5). A sample day of ~130 grams of carbs may look like: Breakfast: Eggs with 60 g slice sourdough toast (30 g) Lunch: Chicken salad with 55 g roasted chickpeas (30 g carbs) Snack/post workout: Greek yoghurt mixed with protein powder and half a banana (30 g carbs) Dinner: Stir-fry veggies and beef with 100 g brown rice (30 g carbs) Steady glucose: Managing glucose helps insulin work properly. Keep levels steady after meals by: Prioritising protein: Build each meal around 30 g of protein. Eggs, chicken, beef, fish, tofu, and tempeh are good options. Go with green: Deeply coloured vegetables like leafy greens, bell peppers, and berries (yes, a fruit) provide filling fibre as well as inflammation-fighting antioxidants. Savoury not sweet: Reach for foods that are high in protein and fat and low in added sugars and carbs whenever you can. A simple swap: top a piece of toast with smoked salmon instead of honey or jam. Fuel with healthy fats: Fats from plant oil, nuts, seeds, eggs, fatty fish are all great options to add flavour without spiking glucose Exercise: Both aerobic exercise and resistance training can improve insulin sensitivity and androgen levels in women with PCOS. (8) Here are some exact protocols from studies that yielded results: Cycling for 30 min three days per week at 60–70% VO2max (moderate intensity where you’re breathing a bit harder, but still able to carry on a conversation) decreased fasting insulin after just 3 months. Walking, cycling, or any other aerobic exercise at a self-selected pace (where heart rate is ≥120 beats/min) for 30 min at least three days per week decreased androgens in 4 months. Any exercise routine of choice that burns 14-23 kcal/kg/week (this is about 150-250 calories burned daily for an 80 kg individual) showed promising trend towards improved insulin response after 8 months. A final note from Lingo While there is no cure for PCOS, managing symptoms is attainable through intentional nutrition and exercise strategies. Continuous glucose monitors (CGMs) like Lingo are not medical devices nor used to diagnose or treat any medical condition. However, CGMs are a tool that can be used to help provide insights into how your lifestyle choices are impacting your glucose, which can be of great value for women managing PCOS.

Image for Guide to metabolic age: What is it and can it actually be improved?

Guide to metabolic age: What is it and can it actually be improved?

What is metabolic age and what does it mean? Metabolic age is not a medical term, rather a wellness concept that compares your basal metabolic rate (BMR) to the average BMR in your chronological age group. Recall that BMR is the number of calories your body requires daily at rest (think: the number of calories you burn just lying on the couch). Remember that you need energy (calories) for all types of bodily functions, including breathing, thinking, circulating blood, and so much more. A higher BMR, commonly referred to as having a “fast metabolism,” is associated with a lower (healthier) metabolic age, and vice versa. A driving factor behind a higher BMR is muscle mass — the more muscle you have, the more calories and glucose your body burns, and the higher your metabolic rate is. Generally, increasing metabolic rate improves glucose regulation, which is one component of metabolic health. So metabolic age, even though it is not a medical term, can give insight into your metabolic health. In fact, metabolic age was created with the aim of identifying those at risk for developing metabolic syndrome. (1) The basis for this metric is that adults lose muscle mass as they age, to the tune of 3-8% decrease per decade after the age of 30, and this rate of decline is even higher after the age of 60. (2) Loss of muscle mass leads to a decrease in metabolic rate, which is unfavourable in part because muscle is the primary organ that processes glucose. With less muscle, your body has less machinery to handle the breakdown of carbs from your diet into glucose. That is why higher muscle mass and faster metabolic rate equate to a lower (better) metabolic age. This article explains the concepts surrounding metabolic age, how to improve metabolic age (which ultimately means improving your metabolic health), and specifically how efficient your metabolism is. It all comes back to healthy glucose management. How to determine your metabolic age There isn’t a specific metabolic age test. Websites may claim to give you your metabolic age by inputting some personal information into an online calculator, but there is no universal test for metabolic age. Calculating metabolic age takes two steps. The first is to determine your BMR (we explain how below). The second step is to compare your BMR to others in your age group. The exact equation that results in a metabolic age in years is proprietary (unknown). How to calculate metabolic age: Metabolic age = your BMR:BMR of population. While determining your own BMR is a straightforward equation using your age, height, and weight (see below), databases that compile BMR by age are not publicly available. Companies that make bioimpedance scales can provide a metabolic age in their metrics because they compare your data to others in their database. To calculate your BMR: Men: (10 × weight in kg) + (6.25 × height in cm) - (5 × age in years) + 5. Women: (10 × weight in kg) + (6.25 × height in cm) - (5 × age in years) - 161. Can you lower your metabolic age? Yes, increasing your BMR will decrease (improve) your metabolic age. A study that took metabolic age of individuals from a bioimpedance scale found that a metabolic age over 45.5 years, or a metabolic age more than 11.5 years older than the person’s chronological age, were indicators of high-risk for metabolic syndrome, (1) which includes high blood pressure, high blood sugar, too much body fat around the waist, and irregular cholesterol levels. This would suggest that lowering metabolic age is one way to lower risk for metabolic syndrome and improve metabolic health. What are some steps I can take to improve my metabolic age? Strength train: A regular exercise routine improves muscle mass and the machinery in muscle that regulates glucose metabolism, all of which will increase your BMR, and subsequently improve your metabolic age. Aim to perform resistance exercises on two or more days a week that work all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders, and arms). Track body composition over time: If you don’t know your metabolic age, tracking your muscle mass is the next best thing. A simple bodyweight scale only tells you your body mass (your resistance against gravity). It's more useful to know what your mass is composed of; specifically, how much muscle do you have on your frame? Some home scales may estimate this through bioimpedance, or you can have a body composition assessment done at a wellness clinic (such as with an InBody scan). Other methods to estimate muscle mass include skinfold thickness by a trained anthropometrist, ultrasound, air or water displacement, or dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA), which is primarily used to assess bone density, but can also read out muscle mass. While all methods vary in accuracy, what is most important is to pick one method and stick with it, that way you can clearly see changes over time. Walk after meals: Consistently moving throughout the day keeps your metabolic rate up. Plus, moving specifically after meals steadies glucose. If you’re just sitting after you eat, glucose surges in your bloodstream and insulin is needed to move it into cells. Since there isn’t a huge need for energy at rest, glucose can be stored as fat. Instead of being sedentary after a meal, take a brisk walk. More glucose will be moved into cells with less insulin, and more glucose will be metabolized for energy, which keeps your metabolic rate up. Include protein with meals and snacks: Protein has the highest metabolic effect of all the macros. This means around 30% of the calories from protein are used for the digestion, absorption, and metabolism of what you’ve eaten, compared to only 5-10% for carbs and 0-3% for fat. (3) Your body has a daily need for amino acids, so be sure to have high-quality proteins like eggs, Greek yogurt, turkey, beef, chicken, cottage cheese, tofu, or protein powder with your all your meals to keep your metabolic fire burning. A final note from Lingo While you can’t reverse the true ageing process, you can improve your metabolism to be a bit healthier than the average person your age. This means increasing your metabolic rate and improving how well your body uses glucose. A product like Lingo, a biowearable that provides personalised glucose data and real-time coaching, can help you along your journey.

6 minutes 

Metabolic change is possible

Sign up and receive scientifically proven tips, strategies, and insights to supercharge your metabolism.
Email me personalised regular news, content and exclusive offers. I will receive an email from Lingo to confirm my email address. I consent to the use of my personal data for marketing purposes. Please refer to the Lingo Privacy Notice regarding your rights and for additional details.