Women, we really have it unfair sometimes. Not only do we have to endure the pains, of childbirth, periods, and bikini waxes (no pun intended), but we also have some sort of unknown and impossible responsibility to look fantastic all the time, but men somehow can walk around with gym shorts on all day and eat a double-decker bacon-cheese heart attack without anyone taking a second glance at their choices. I can eat a spinach salad for dinner and gain five pounds, but if my man spent all day eating a deep fried, double-decker, cheesy-bacon heart attack on a stick, not a single inch would be added to his waist. WHY?! Needless to say that women and men are completely different, especially when it comes to food and the physical appearance.
In order to arm ourselves against our metabolism, we must understand why it is more difficult for women to lose weight in the first place, and here are the top six reasons:
1. It’s Genetic (and a little hormonal):
Men and women are different on a chemical level, specifically when it comes to hormones in the body. Simply, Men have Testosterone and Women have Estrogen. These two hormones are the primary chemicals that give men and women their characteristics, and even though we have some of each hormone, men tend to have higher levels of testosterone and women have higher levels of estrogen. But what do each do? In males, testosterone is responsible for not only the development of the “Family Jewels”, but also the deepening of the voice, the growth of hair, muscle mass, and other fun puberty essentials. Estrogen, while it does some similar things, is responsible for that “girlish figure”. That means more junk in the trunk and… eh hem… more vibrant headlights. But what people fail to realize are that these two assets are mostly composed of fat… yes, estrogen increases fat production. Men get muscly and women get a little chunky, and because testosterone increases muscle mass, their metabolism is typically faster than women which is why they can eat a forest and still look like a twig and girls eat a leaf and take on the shape of the entire globe.
2. It’s a habit or a reaction:
Ever gone through a breakup or face the loss of a loved one? What do you reach for to make you feel better: Ice cream and Mac n’ Cheese, or a kale smoothie with a wheatgrass shot? Probably the former… When we are feeling blue, we reach for a chocolate chip cookie to feel a little bit better, and that, unfortunately, is part of the problem. Even if we are not hungry, the taste of certain yummy, but not healthy, foods are sure enough to make us smile and want to eat. We build habits that eventually lead to an inward sense of satisfaction where we automatically link a cookie to “feeling good” or “getting better”. So when we feel bad about ourselves (which is sometimes weight related), we dive into the chip bag instead of baby carrots because we think it’ll make us better again.
3. It’s a Family Thing:
Take a look at some family photos, and I mean the really old ones too like some from your grandparents’ childhood. How do mom and grandmom look? According to CBS News, studies show that girls who have overweight moms, or mothers who gained a lot of weight during pregnancy, have children who also gain weight at an earlier age. I know, this one isn’t even your fault because children can’t pick parents, but kids grow up to become future parents too, so keep in mind that your choices now can affect others in the long term… and I mean really long.
4. It’s emotional:
Feeling stressed out just reading this? PLEASE DON’T! Stress causes strange eating habits in people, especially women because of our tendency to get emotional and react strongly to problems. Remember that big test last semester? Or how about that important deadline for work? Did you stress? Probably. If so, how did you react? Half of the female population would say they ran to the kitchen for a soda and a Twinkie. College students have that famous “freshman fifteen” where the average incoming students gains weight while studying at a university. It may be because of a limited meal option, but with more colleges hopping on the Healthy Choice Bandwagon, it’s more likely that students are stress eating to get themselves through finals. The same principles can be applied to any stressful situation, so ladies, take a chill pill and laugh it off before the stress causes even more problems.
5. It’s a Balancing Act:
It’s obvious that overeating is why some people have a problem losing weight, but not eating enough often causes just as many problems, if not more. I was a big believer in skipping breakfast because I thought it was one less meal of calories to count, but oh, how wrong could I have been! Skipping meals creates even more of a slow metabolism because your tummy goes into “Starvation Mode”. In this trance, your body reacts to the little food you consume and tries to make it last as long as possible by slowing digestion. So yes, you may not be eating as many calories, but at this point, your body doesn’t need as many calories to function normally anyhow. So really it’s a loose-loose situation because you enjoy less food for no real results. Not eating enough can also cause your body to crave fattening foods to make up for the calories it is not receiving in the loss of meals. One meal of fried chicken is still more calories (and fat) than three well-balanced meals.
6. It’s a Social Thing:
Guys and girls hang out, which is not a bad thing, but being assimilated to something so different than us can sometimes be dangerous if we are not aware of those differences. Men tend to eat more because of their higher metabolisms and their ability to digest quicker, but restaurants don’t know the difference of who is ordering. Meal portions come from the kitchen to the table regardless of who is ordering it. Plate size is one thing where the “one size fits all” logo does not apply. Women simply don’t need to eat as much as men on a regular basis, but sometimes she is pressured to finish her plate at dinner because her male partner was able to do so. Listen to your tummy, girls. Restaurants tend to make portions larger anyhow so when you’re full, stop eating and doggy bag the rest for tomorrow. It’ll make a delicious dinner for a later day.
So ladies, don’t fret if weight loss isn’t going your way or your speed. Looking and feeling good is not a competition that needs to be rushed or advertised, but by acknowledging a few of these troubling components, a woman can tackle weight loss simply through a mental change and some hard work. If you still desire more help in managing a healthy lifestyle, visit MFitness or call at (626) 376-0296 for personal trainers and nutritional planning to figure out a strategy that will work for you.