Women and Losing Weight
If you are a woman, you have no doubt had this thought: why is it so easy for men to lose weight? Or how about this one: how can he eat so much and not gain weight? It seems a bit unfair that men can seemingly eat more and not gain weight. Unfortunately, it is due in large part to each gender’s physiology.
Through the many years of human development, men have simply evolved into having more muscle mass than women. It likely stems from the days of the hunter-gatherers, when men had to seek out food in a variety of climate conditions. The extra muscle mass gave them the ability to contend with large prey, as well as use their energy more efficiently. Women, on the other hand, naturally have more body fat. The extra fat is necessary for the extra caloric requirements necessary for pregnancy and breastfeeding.
As a result of having more muscle mass, men are able to consume more calories than women each day without gaining excess weight. And, the extra muscle mass also means that men burn calories faster than women. But, this does not mean that men cannot gain fat. On the contrary! And where they gain their fat puts them at a distinct health disadvantage to women.
When men gain fat, it usually deposits in the midsection (apple shape). We’ve all seen men with the “beer gut”. Women, however, tend to deposit fat in the lower abdominal area and hips and thigh region (pear shape). Fat that is stored in the midsection (apple shape), or closest to the heart, can lead to an increased risk of heart disease. Find out more about Body Types here!
Just because women have nature working against them, doesn’t mean that they can’t gain muscle mass and fight back. Women can gain muscle through weight and strength training. By increasing muscle mass in the body, fat deposits will also decrease. The more muscle mass you have, the more calories you burn at rest, and the more toned and energetic you will be. Also, you will be able to eat a few more calories than before. Just make sure those calories aren’t cookies!
Losing weight and keeping it off is a struggle for women and men (though it might seem like less of a struggle for men!). The keys to being a healthy woman and maintaining a healthy weight are to eat a balanced diet filled with fresh foods, and to exercise regularly. And don’t skip meals; in fact, it is best to eat 5 or 6 small, healthy meals each day, in order to keep your metabolism high and energy levels balanced.
Men might have nature on their sides, but it doesn’t mean that women can’t be just as lean and strong as the so-called stronger sex!