Weight loss for women is big business and is the main reason that the diet industry exists – so why is losing weight often so difficult for women?
Most people on diets are women, most women have been on diets and the social pressure on women to lose weight is huge.
Yet losing weight for women is often much harder than for men for many reasons.
Weight Loss for Women
Whilst the basic principles of weight loss are the same for both men and women, the challenges facing women to lose weight and stay slim are much greater.
So, why is it that weight loss for women is such a problem?
Let’s start with your body shape…
Apples and Pears…
Your body shape is related to body fat and muscle.
Men tend to carry most of their fat around their midsection – they’re ‘apples’. Women around their lower body – hips, bum and thighs – they’re ‘pears’.
“Really!”, you cry, “tell me something I don’t know!”.
Now some women are apples and some men are pears. But generally, women are pears.
Upper body fat has a different function to lower body fat. It’s there to protect against periods of starvation.
Lower body fat is there to sustain a pregnancy.
A baby requires around 500 calories a day of breast milk to develop properly.
As women for most of human evolution were pregnant every year or so, all that fat came in handy!
Now that’s all changed, but our bodies haven’t caught up with the changes in our lifestyles. A women’s body is designed to retain that body fat, it doesn’t want to lose it.
Without wishing to state the obvious, weight loss after pregnancy is difficult for most women and is the main reason that women cite for gaining weight.
A C-section can cause particular problems as you may lose some mobility. To get a flat tummy, you’ll need to do some abdominal exercise after a C-section.
Men and women both have upper and lower body fat. It’s just that due to womens’ hormonal balance, oestrogen causes fat to be stored in the lower body and breast tissue to support a pregnancy.
Ironically, preventing pregnancy adds to the problem. Birth control pills cause the body to deposit and store more fat and water. Weight loss for women on the pill thus becomes more difficult.
Women on the pill, particularly those prone to gaining weight need to reduce their calorie intake by around 10%, or to increase the calories burned through physical activity by 10% to maintain their pre-pill weight.
When a woman stops ovulating, oestrogen levels decrease and abdominal fat becomes more of a problem.
For many women, the menopause and weight loss poses a particular challenge!
Some fat is just harder to shift!
Whilst you lose fat from all over your body and can’t spot reduce, upper body fat tends to be easier to lose than lower body fat.
Upper body fat is much more of a risk factor for heart disease and other circulatory diseases, though.
Men tend to find it easier to lose weight than women as most of their excess fat is stored in the upper body.
Lower body fat is much harder to lose and dieting alone is unlikely to shift it. Again making weight loss for women more difficult.
Boosting your metabolism through exercise to burn fat and to build lean muscle tissue is the key and our workout routines for women will help.
Women Need Fewer Calories Than Men…
All things being equal, such as age and activity levels, women require fewer calories per pound of body weight than men.
Biologically, men have more muscle and muscle burns around 14 calories per pound per day at rest.
Pound for pound women have more body fat, around 25% compared to around 15% for a man. Fat burns very few calories at rest.
This means that the average women needs around 1,800-2,000 calories a day, the average man around 2,200-2,500.
Clearly the more active and the more muscle someone has the more calories are needed, whether they’re a man or a women.
The fewer calories someone burns, the easier it is to gain weight. The more calories they burn, the easier to lose weight and to keep it off.
The solution to achieving weight loss for women is exercise to increase metabolism, combined with a healthy weight loss plan.
Social Pressure to Lose Weight…
In modern society, body shape and the issue of weight loss for women is a huge problem.
Whilst big, voluptuous women were deemed sexy and normal during much of human history, today the opposite is often true.
Today’s icons are super slim models, actresses and pop stars – completely unrealistic and unachievable body shapes for most women.
Girls are conditioned from an early age that to be popular and successful they have to conform to this unattainable stereotype.
A lifetime of dissatisfaction and unhappiness is established for many as a pattern of dieting and weight gain begins.
Survey after survey of teenage girls shows that most think they’re overweight and no matter what they weigh, they want to weigh less.
Weight loss for women is often not so much an occasional activity as the jeans get a bit tight, it’s a way of life.
Diet, binge,gain weight, diet, binge, gain weight…a downward spiral that ultimately leaves you fat, unhealthy and unhappy.
Most dieters, most women, have a distorted idea of their body shape. Their self-image blinds them to their genetic shape and striving for that ‘ideal’ body shape is a pathway to disappointment.
Accepting your real ideal weight and body shape…and feeling good about it, may help to get you off the diet roller coaster and on with your life.
It’s not what you think you should be that’s important, it’s what you are that matters.
Successful weight loss for women is not about being on a diet for the rest of your life!
It’s about feeling positive about your shape, enjoying a healthy relationship with food and ignoring stereotypes that have little relevance for busy people with families, jobs, lives and normal genetics!