Why do women find it hard to lose weight?
Posted on 28 June, 2021
Discussing weight management can be a sensitive issue. It’s really important that if you are making lifestyle changes, that it is for the right reasons. You will find that if you are trying to lose weight or get in shape for positive reasons, it will feel easier and you are more likely to be successful.
So what are the right reasons? There are so many benefits of achieving and maintaining a ‘healthy’ body weight and shape. Feeling fitter, preparing for an exciting event, improving your feel good factor, improving your general health.
What are the wrong reasons? Feeling bad about yourself, feeling pressure from other people, comparing yourself to images in the media.
Tummy fat tends to be something that bothers many of us, especially as we get older. Realistically the reason you get belly fat is exactly the same reason you get fat anywhere else on your body - taking in excess energy is converted into fat and stored. This is the same for both women and men alike. If you are struggling with the these so called ‘pockets of fat’ then you may be interested to find out more about our fat dissolving injections. Interestingly with weight loss, there are some anomalies that apply only to women.
Here are some fat facts to shed light on why you as a woman, may struggle with losing weight:
Women generally have 6 to 11% more body fat than men. Studies show oestrogen reduces a woman's ability to burn energy after eating, resulting in more fat being stored around the body. This is very likely an evolutionary process to prepare women for child bearing.
The second fact you should know about oestrogen, body fat and women is this: depleting levels of oestrogen as women age results in fat stores being focused in the belly area, in addition to the decrease in muscle mass and metabolic rate that occur naturally as a part of the ageing process.
Women have a natural metabolic rate that is lower than men. This means that fewer calories are burned in carrying out normal bodily functions.
Fat cells come in 2 types - alpha and beta. Alpha cells respond better to lipolysis (this is the process of breaking down fact cells whether through a treatment process or diet and exercise). Beta cells, however, are more sluggish in their response to the breakdown process. Different parts the body will have different ratios of alpha & beta cells and yes you’ve guessed it - belly fat (and fat around the hips) has a higher proportion of beta cells than the arms and legs. So remember this does not mean you can’t shift beta cell fat - it will just be a little harder.
Most of us eat too much sugar. Sugar has no nutritional value, that means it has no benefit other than its calories alone. Studies show a link between high sugar consumption and holding on to fat around the belly. With the onset of menopause, women also become more insulin resistant. Insulin resistance means that the body is less able to process sugar. Most of us have the capacity to reduce sugar intake & to be more mindful of the about of sugar we eat - where you can avoid it - do so!
Some studies show a reduction in Leptin levels as women’s age. Leptin is a hormone which signals to your brain that you’re full. Feeling hungrier is never helpful when trying to moderate your food intake. (One of the reasons our medical weight loss programme is so popular with women over 30).
Cortisol is another hormone with a role in weight management. Cortisol is linked to storing fat especially around the tummy and hip area. Cortisol release is associated with stress. Physical stress also can stimulate cortisol release so it is important that you take adequate rest between training sessions to allow recovery and prevent undue release of cortisol.
Lastly, accepting your body shape will help you to manage your expectations. An hour glass shape is not something you can achieve in the gym if you have been genetically programmed with a more straight up and down body shape, or vice versa. Accepting your natural body shape will really help you to set your expectations, achieve your goals and feel good about yourself. We all have parts of our body that we like better than others, learning how to exaggerate the positives and disguise the negatives is also a trick that will leave you feeling happier with the way you look.