How women can lose weight faster
Bite it with Britt
You’re not imagining it: There really are differences between the way men and women diet, lose weight and respond to exercise.
Sometimes, it just doesn’t seem fair. It seems like we women can just look at a decadent dessert and feel our hips widening, while all a man has to do is cut back his portions a little and watch the numbers on the scale drop.
Some of the differences stem from biology; other differences are behavioral. But though many of these seem to give men a head start, they shouldn’t be taken to imply that guys have it easy. No matter who you are or where you’re starting, the road to your ideal weight is difficult at best, and confusing for most.
I’m here to talk about women, though, and why it just seems to be harder for us to take the weight off.
First, there is the matter of muscles and metabolism. Men tend to have more muscle than women, and because muscle burns more calories than fat, men tend to have a faster metabolism, too — anywhere between 3 to 10 percent higher than women, studies have shown.
And at the gym, that difference just gets exacerbated. Women, worried about bulking up, tend to lift lighter weights and focus more on cardiovascular fitness, while men tend to gravitate toward the kind of heavy lifting that boosts muscle composition and metabolic rate.
When it comes to food men love their meat and potatoes, but women tend to gravitate toward a high carb diet. Let’s be honest: We have a much harder time staying away from the delicious sweets. Women also get hungry more often — research shows that it’s the female body’s natural way of fighting energy deficits in order to preserve fertility and have babies. When women aren’t getting enough calories, ovulation and hormones that make reproduction possible get suppressed. Seriously….shockingly we aren’t all in training for baby making! Just another reason why the odds are against us.
Then, there’s biochemistry. After a workout women undergo both a spike in ghrelin — the “I’m hungry” hormone — and a drop in leptin — which tells the brain “I’m full!” Guess who this doesn’t happen to … men. So post-workout, women tend to eat more, which puts them at risk to gain weight. Men don’t experience this same hormonal fluctuation.
So we women are walking around hungry putting on weight all while preparing our bodies to reproduce constantly while our loving men are pounding their protein shakes, doing their bicep curls, admiring their muscles in the mirror, and losing 5 pounds just because they skipped a cinnamon roll for breakfast and drank an extra glass of water that day.
Which brings me to stress. How can women not be stressed? We stress about work and home, we stress about family. We stress about why the men in our lives aren’t stressing about the things we are stressing about. And what do we do to deal with stress? We eat, and we aren’t usually reaching for an apple. Stress affects our sleep, we aren’t getting the seven to eight hours of sleep each night that we need, which causes our appetite and hunger hormones to get out of whack and prompts us to overeat. In the words of every 8-year-old girl out there, “Let it go. … Let it go.” Stressing about every little thing isn’t helping you in any way, and, be honest with yourself, you are not going to be able to fix it all.
How to make weight loss easier
Start strength training: Muscle burns more calories than fat, even when at rest. Spending hours on the treadmill isn’t going to be as effective as lifting some weights. Stop freaking out about bulking up. You have my word that if you start adding weight lifting into your workouts you aren’t going to walk away looking like Arnold.
Put tempting foods out of sight, out of mind: We naturally gravitate toward foods that are easiest to reach. So keep a bowl of fruit on the counter instead of a bowl of candy. Keep your fridge stocked with easy to grab clean foods.
Write it down: Most of us overestimate how active we are and underestimate how much we eat. Or we just can’t figure out what we are doing wrong with our eating. Writing everything down, even for a short period of time, is the best way to stay mindful of what, how much and also why you’re eating.
Personalize your portions: If you’re a woman eating with a man, customize your portions to suit your body’s needs. That might mean more veggies and smaller servings of protein and foods with starch and fat. Think about it: Are you striving to have his body? Then why would you eat the same?
Remember you aren’t a guy: Everything about us is different, so don’t think that we should lose weight the same way. Find what works for you and stick to it. It takes time!
Britt Glock is a personal trainer and a sports nutrition specialist at Midland Fitness.
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