Yes, it’s harder for women to lose weight. Here’s why.
It happens all the time. A husband and wife decide to lose weight together. They’re both working out and eating right, but the husband is losing weight faster than his wife. Why? Michelle Blakley, FNP, said there are several reasons.
- Metabolism. Women have more body fat and less muscle compared to men, which means they burn calories at a slower rate.
- Effects of pregnancy. Your body stores fat during pregnancy to make breast milk after delivery. (Breastfeeding is a good way to help lose that pregnancy weight!)
- Menopause. It is more difficult to lose weight after menopause because of a fluctuation in hormones. This leads to changes in body fat distribution. Fat collects in the abdomen area versus the hip and thigh area, which increases the risk of metabolic disease. There is also a decrease in muscle mass and a decrease in overall metabolic rate. After menopause, women need about 200 fewer calories per day.
“Medications and stressors can also make it more difficult to lose weight as you age,” Blakley said.
Does PCOS make it harder for women to lose weight?
Yes, women with polycystic ovary syndrome have hormone imbalances, and many also have insulin resistance which can make it more difficult to lose weight. PCOS is a common health condition among women of childbearing age.
What should women do to lose or keep weight off?
Blakley said eating a well-balanced diet in combination with a regular exercise program is key. “There is not a ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to diet and exercise. People have to find what works best for them.”
She shared these weight loss tips:
- Start slow by trying to decrease calorie intake by about 200 calories per day.
- Keep a food diary.
- Watch your portion size.
- Limit processed foods, empty calories (sweets, candy, chips) and carbohydrates.
- Limit calories from sugar in beverages.
- Eat more high fiber foods, healthy proteins and fats.
- Get 150 minutes per week of moderate physical activity. Resistance training is also recommended. Finding something you enjoy makes exercise much easier.
- Sleep is important when you are trying to lose weight!
Can supplements help?
“There is a huge market for weight loss and ‘diet’ pills. There are some prescribed medications that can help, but this needs to be in combination with a healthy lifestyle because even if you lose weight with medication, it will likely return when you stop these medications if you don’t change your habits,” Blakley said.
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