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Weight gain with age is common. “Your metabolism gradually slows down,” says Steven Heymsfield, a researcher at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. Sarcopenia, a decrease in muscle tissue that occurs with age, is a likely cause — but not the only one.

“People generally become less active as they get older, even more so if they have orthopedic or other painful health issues,” Heymsfield says. “When you’re not burning as many calories but still eating the same amount, you gradually gain weight.”

To get the scale to budge, you can’t just cut calories. “Unless it’s coupled with an exercise program, weight loss will result in muscle loss,” Heymsfield explains. That’s why the best strategy combines calorie-burning, muscle-building exercise and diet changes.

From Consumer Reports, printed in the Washington Post on July 31.

Pledges to date: 103

Dropping Name Method of losing weight
5 Tom "I'm pretty sure this means no snacking, and back on the bike!"
5 DMA "Exercise"
10 Nora "Weight Watchers"
5 Maggie "To lose the weight I plan to ride my bicycle at least 3 times a week and eat a little less. "
5 Jean "cutting back on eating and exercise"
5 Frank "cutting back and exercise"
10 Diane " I have joined weight watchers… And I am tracking all the food that I eat."
8 JUDY DC "No desserts"
5 Anthony "Cut portion size and exercise."
5 Dick Drew "Eating more nutritious food/lower fat, passing on second portions, and more regimented exercise."
10 Nora "Weight Watchers"
10 Judy "Eat healthy"
5 Lillian Brundage ""
5 Charlene "I will have to get back to you later."
10 Richard "Less Food, more exercise."