Mercy’s Dr. Kathryn Boling Discusses Weight Gain in Women After Age 40

February 29, 2016
Lutherville Personal Physicians

It is no secret that once you hit your 40s, it is harder to lose weight, something that is especially true for women.

Cathy Greene is attacking head on because she could not figure out why she was gaining weight.

"I would find myself exercising more and more and not seeing the results on the scale," Greene said.

According to Mercy’s Dr. Kathryn Boling of Lutherville Personal Physicians, the average woman gains between 12 and 15 pounds between the ages of 40 and 55. Boling said a combination of three factors causes middle-age weight gain in women.

The first factor is metabolism.

"Our metabolism decreases about 5 percent for every decade we are alive," Dr. Boling said. "So what you could eat when you were 20, if you ate that same thing when you're 40, you're going to gain weight."

The second factor is hormones.

"That's the premenopausal area, and these hormone changes that we go through predispose the body to put on weight, especially to have that weight around the belly area for women," Dr. Boling said.

The third factor is exercise.

"As we age, we are exercising, but we can't exercise at the same levels we did when we were in our 20s," Dr. Boling said.

According to Dr. Boling, what you eat is more important than how much you exercise. To lose weight, she explained, you probably need to cut the carbohydrates, and that includes sugar. But why?

"One of the things that happens with carbohydrates and when you're eating a lot of sugar, your body produces a lot of insulin and your body becomes a little insulin-resistant and that causes your body to take those carbs and turn them into fat," Dr. Boling said.

Greene stopped eating sugar, flour and wheat and lost 45 pounds, with the goal to lose another 5 to 10 pounds.

"It was really the telltale that what was really going in my mouth was what was going to create the success," Greene said.

View Dr. Boling’s interview regarding weight gain after age 40.

Dan Collins - Senior Director of Media Relations at Mercy Medical Center

Dan Collins, Senior Director of Media Relations

Email: Office: 410-332-9714 Cell: 410-375-7342

About Mercy

Founded in 1874, Mercy Medical Center is a university-affiliated medical facility named one of the top 100 hospitals in the U.S. by Thomson-Reuters with a national reputation for women’s health. Mercy is home to the nationally acclaimed Weinberg Center for Women’s Health and Medicine as well as the $400+ million, 20-story Mary Catherine Bunting Center. For more information visit Mercy online at, Facebook, Twitter or call 1-800-MD-MERCY.

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