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Dealing with a natural part of aging that packs on the pounds

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(CNN) - A natural part of aging is a slowing metabolism, making it easier for us to pack on the pounds. But it's not all out of your hands - there are things you can do. We've got more in today's health minute.

When Rene Esler was 42, she began to notice some unwelcome changes.

"I can't wear tight shirts at all, I mean I have bulges that I swear to you that I would never ever have," said Esler, who is now 43.

Esler realized her metabolism was not the same as in her younger years. The process of metabolism converts food and drink into energy to fuel the body. Dietitian Marisa Moore says as we age, both men and women tend to see a slowdown in their metabolism.

"The primary cause for the slowdown of the metabolism is the fact that the body tends to start to replace lean body mass with fat mass," said Moore, "and muscle burns more calories than fat does."

That means it's easier to gain weight. Moore offers these tips to maintaining a healthy metabolism:

  • Make sure that you are physically active, as much as you can every day.
  • Make sure that you do maintain a healthy and balanced diet.
  • Stay away from fad diets and products that promise to rev up the metabolism because they generally don't work.

Esler said she's accepting this fact of life.

"I just want to be healthy but at the end of the day, if my definition of healthy and my feeling my best isn't me in my 20's that's ok, it's just ok," said Esler.

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