Here’s a scenario: A man and a woman decide to lose some weight, say, 8 pounds. They start on this weight-loss journey doing the exact same things. They both followed their respective caloric requirement, exercised regularly, and made sure that they are doing everything right. But then, the man loses more pounds than the woman.
In my practice, I had a couple who went through this. They happily volunteered to really understand the reasons.
Why does this happen? These facts may surprise you.
There are many factors that lead to women experiencing a slower weight loss than men. One of which is metabolism.
Women’s Metabolic Rate
It is known that women carry more body fat (and fewer muscles) than men. This explains why their metabolic rate is slower. Also, there is such a thing as basal metabolic rate, the caloric needs of the body when at rest. This is when we are sleeping, resting, or just doing nothing. Our body’s organ systems work continuously to keep us alive and healthy. These involuntary activities also need the energy to keep everything together, thus our caloric needs also include the basal metabolic rate.
The metabolic rate is affected by muscle and fat mass so women would usually have a slower metabolic rate than men.
Women tend to store more body fat due to estrogen, a female hormone important in the female reproductive system.
Estrogen levels increase during pregnancy, and so weight gain is inevitable. This also happens during a menstrual cycle when the estrogen rises during the mid-follicular stage, particularly 4-10 days, before the onset of menstruation. During this time, women tend to have some intense food cravings and a stronger appetite.
Older women also experience slower weight loss during menopause. In fact, they gain weight at this stage due to the gradual loss of hormones. This is also when you see a pot-belly, also called meno-pot.
Women’s PCOS Problems
There are lots of women who suffer from Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). Data states that 5 to 10 percent of women suffer from this reproductive problem in which they experience unwanted or uncontrolled weight gain. Other symptoms include irregular or no periods at all, excessive hair growth, difficulty to conceive, oily skin, and hair loss.
Nature made it his way, so let us stop complaining why women have a harder time losing weight. Just think it is because we women are special, so let us deal with this in a special way.
With all the three elements that slow down women’s weight loss, is there a remedy?
The answer is YES. There are different practices and techniques to counteract the effects of metabolism and hormones by just maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
Some Tips to Try
1. Never ever compare
Everyone has their own struggles to conquer. Focus on yourself and how you can cross the finish line. Studies state that consistent healthy practices result in sustainable of weight loss. As everybody’s body is different, so will your weight loss results.
2. Never focus on cardio only
Since women naturally have more fat than men, it is best to include resistance and bodyweight training to your cardiovascular exercises. These can build more muscle mass and eventually lead to an improved metabolic rate.
Resistance and weight training can be done twice a week for about 15-20 minutes. Examples of these are Pilates, squats, lunges, planks, etc. You don’t have to use exercise tools. Your own weight can suffice.
3. Never follow someone else’s diet plan
Diet plans are made to be customized. No matter what diet plan you are following, remember that your serving size is different from others. If you have to know your caloric needs, talk to a dietitian.
It is most important to take care of your health, your diet and your activity levels. At the end of the day, both men and women should exert efforts to keep themselves healthy and happy. Therefore, women should never, ever be discouraged.
This couple needed different diet plans and different moves to prioritize in their workout schedules.
In the end, both were very happy with their progress of their respective weight loss journeys.
With this topic, I’ll leave you a quote:
“A strong woman is one who feels deeply and loves fiercely. Her tears flow as abundantly as her laughter. A strong woman is both soft and powerful, she is both practical and spiritual. A strong woman in her essence is a gift to the world.”
For more of Kimi Verma’s journey with weight loss, check out Kimi Verma’s Tips on Eating to Lose Weight