Here's Why It’s So Hard to Reduce Waist Size As We Age
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Here’s Why It’s So Hard to Reduce Waist Size As We Age

Do you remember a time when our TVs were flooded with infomercials for gimmicky at-home ab workout machines? From the Ab Lounge—essentially a lawn chair in which you do crunches—to the thoroughly debunked Ab Circle Pro, there was a time when we were constantly bombarded with easy fixes for immediate tight, toned midriffs.

Fortunately, as a result of the total inefficacy of these devices, their ads have become a thing of the past. But there is a reason they dominated the airwaves for so long: they speak to a concern shared by many.

You might notice that, over time, it becomes harder to reduce or even maintain the size of our waistline. In fact, our waist circumference tends to increase with age. For some, these changes barely register, and we love it when people are totally happy and confident in their own skin. But there are many of us who really don’t love these changes, who get frustrated when it feels like we’ll never be able to bring our bodies in line with what we want.


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Why does this happen? There are actually several reasons why it’s so hard to reduce our waist size as we age. Here’s what you need to know, and what you can do if it’s something you’re working on.

Slowing Metabolism & Life Stresses

As we get older, our metabolism tends to slow down, which leads our bodies to burn fewer calories. This makes it more difficult to lose weight and narrow our waistlines. These effects are compounded by bad habits like lack of sleep, irregular eating patterns, and higher stress levels.

As adults get older, they also tend to take on increased responsibilities, time constraints, and health conditions that make it harder to engage in regular exercise or maintain a healthy diet. And sometimes, when you finally get a moment to yourself, you just want to relax, turn your mind off and binge something on Netflix instead of taking an exhausting trip to the gym.

Hormonal Changes

Ah, hormonal changes. Whether it’s puberty, menstrual cycles, pregnancy, or menopause, hormones seem to love wreaking havoc.

Hormonal changes that occur with age, especially in women during menopause, can affect body composition and fat distribution. During menopause, there is a loss of estrogen that often causes a shift in fat storage from the hips and thighs to the abdominal area, leading to an increase in waist size.

Loss of Muscle Mass & Collagen

With age, we experience a natural decline in muscle mass, a process called sarcopenia. Since muscle tissue is more metabolically active than fat tissue, it burns more calories at rest. As muscle mass decreases, the body’s calorie-burning capacity decreases, which makes it harder to reduce waist size.

Elastin and collagen in our skin is also lost throughout the aging process. These fibres are essential to keeping our skin taut and elastic. When we have less, our skin is more susceptible to the effects of gravity and it begins to sag. We normally think about how this affects the skin on our face, but it happens everywhere, including the abdomen.

An accumulation of sagging skin around the midsection can further cause the waistline to expand.

Genetic Factors

Genetics play a role in body shape and fat distribution. Some people are genetically predisposed to storing more fat around the waist, creating a bigger challenge to begin with.

What You Can Do to Combat These Changes

Reducing waist size as we age may require some adjustments to our lifestyle and habits. In some cases, a better outcome might be achieved with the right surgical or non-surgical treatment plan. Here are a few strategies that can help.

Make Lifestyle Changes—and Commit to Them

It can be hard to change your habits, and even harder to maintain those changes. But that being said, the changes don’t have to be massive. We meet many patients—a lot of them women—who are taking care of so many different people and responsibilities in their lives that they have a very hard time putting themselves first.

To make these changes, it might require to put yourself first for a little while. You deserve it!

You can incorporate a mix of cardiovascular exercises (think brisk walking, jogging, or cycling) and strength training exercises (like weightlifting or bodyweight exercises) to burn calories, boost metabolism, and maintain muscle mass. If you don’t have tons of time for the gym, check out free at-home apps or YouTube creators like MadFit who have put together tons of workouts you can do from home with no equipment.

Aim for a well-balanced diet that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, and healthy fats. Reduce your intake of processed and sugary foods, as they can contribute to weight gain.

Stay hydrated, get enough sleep (we’re talking 7-9 hours here) and manage stress with meditation and relaxing activities you enjoy.

Non-Surgical Ways to Trim Your Waistline

If you still find yourself with stubborn pockets of unwanted fat, CoolSculpting is a non-surgical option to eliminate them without surgery. Through controlled cooling, CoolSculpting targets and freezes fat cells, effectively killing them, allowing your body to naturally eliminate them in the weeks and months that follow.

CoolSculpting for Women Before & After Photo

Most people notice a difference after a single treatment and enhanced results with a series of sessions. You can eliminate up to 20% of fat in treated regions.

If you’ve got sagging skin that’s contributing to the size of your midsection, BodyTite can be a great tool. Using radiofrequency technology, BodyTite tightens loose or sagging skin, removes small pockets of unwanted fat, and firms up tissue to create contouring. While it’s non-surgical, it is a semi-invasive procedure that may require a little downtime.

The Most Effective Surgical Interventions

Surgical procedures typically create the most dramatic results when it comes to reducing waist size. The procedure that’s right for you depends on your specific concerns.

Liposuction has long been the gold standard surgical procedure to remove excess fat deposits from specific areas of the body, including the waistline. It involves making small incisions and using a suction technique to remove the targeted fat. It’s important to note that older patients may have diminished skin elasticity and may not achieve the same results as a younger patient with tighter skin.

A tummy tuck, or abdominoplasty, is a surgical procedure that addresses both excess fat and loose skin in the abdominal area. It involves removing excess skin and fat, tightening the abdominal muscles, and repositioning the remaining tissues to create a flatter and more defined waistline.

Abdominoplasty can often create the most transformative result since it address the skin layer, the fat layer, and the muscle layer.


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Plastic surgery is a personal decision that’s always carefully considered by our patients. It carries risks and requires a recovery period, and it’s important to be fully informed before making a decision whether or not it’s right for you.

That’s why our consultations are always free. We’d love to meet you to discuss your goals, assess if you’re a good candidate, talk risks and benefits, and determine the best treatment plan for your needs—even if that means you don’t join us in the operating room.

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