You may be trim now, but that doesn’t guarantee you’ll stay that way forever. Here are some of the signs you may have to work harder to remain lean as you age.
Anyone who doesn’t live under a rock knows that the world is always changing. You’d be hard-pressed to find a city street, computer, or car that looks the same as it did 15 years ago. And people are no different. Sure, we all go through the normal aging process (though plenty of us live in denial of this reality), and some people’s waistlines are more prone to change—and, er, expand—than others. Simply put, you may not have belly fat or love handles today, but that doesn’t mean your waistline will remain trim forver—even if you manage to hold onto your baby face well into your forties.
YOU SKIMP ON WATER
You know you can’t live without it, but did you know what simply sipping more water can help keep you lean as you age? It’s true—and there are a few reasons why. For one, drinking water throughout the day, especially before a meal, fills up your stomach, which helps you consume less when you sit down to eat and lessens the urge to snack, too.
YOU HAVE WANDERLUST
While the occasional week-long vacay won’t wreak havoc on your belly, if you’re constantly hitting the road for business or pleasure—or plan to retire and travel the world—you may need to pack some larger pants. “Traveling can throw your body off balance, disrupting circadian rhythms which can negatively affect gut health and set you up for potential weight gain,” says Cassie Bjork, RD, LD of Healthy Simple Life.
YOU DON’T MAKE SLEEP A PRIORITY
Do you regularly stay up late watching Netflix or boozing with your buddies? The lack of sleep will eventually catch up to you—even if you aren’t dragging your feet the next day. “Skimping on sleep can negatively influence long-term weight management,” warns Smith. “Research shows that not getting enough sleep can negatively affect hunger hormones, increasing appetite and cravings for sugar- and fat-laden fare. Sleep is showing up again and again as more crucial to weight maintenance than we might have once thought.”
YOU’RE TIRED EVEN WHEN YOU’RE FULLY RESTED
If you regularly log a full night’s rest but still wake up feeling groggy, it may indicate that your body isn’t producing enough of the thyroid hormone. A primary side effect of hypothyroidism—aside from sleepiness? Weight gain.
YOUR KITCHEN IS CLUTTERED
According to a new Cornell study, a woman’s weight can be estimated simply by taking a photo of her kitchen counter. After analyzing photos of 200 kitchens, he found that women who have soda sitting on their countertops weigh an average of 26 pounds more while those who have cookies on their counters weigh about 8 pounds more.
YOU FORGET TO EAT
“If you often forget to eat or tend to skip meals, this might be a sign you may have issues with weight maintenance later in life,” explains registered dietitian Isabel Smith. “This is especially true for women. During and after menopause, estrogen production slows which affect hormones related to blood sugar. That said, blood sugar maintenance—which relies heavily on a smart and consistent eating schedule— is a key factor in weight maintenance.
YOU WANT TO BE A DAD
While some say it’s not a real thing, up to 40 percent of men suffer from something called couvade syndrome or “sympathetic pregnancy.” According to the Mayo Clinic, this happens when an otherwise healthy man—whose partner is expecting a baby—experiences pregnancy-related symptoms like bloating, weight gain, appetite changes, and backaches.