Why is weight loss in women different?
Sorry to state the obvious but women are biologically different from men. Duh! So it follows that weight loss in women is also going to be somewhat different than in men. The differences also extend to guidelines for diet, exercise and health matters in general.
To start with, women naturally have a higher percentage of body fat than men, 27% on average compared to 15% for a fit individual. This knowledge is helpful if one of your weight loss or exercise goals is fat reduction. Any woman trying to reduce her body-fat percentage should take into account this natural difference, since it can help avoid guilt and provide a realistic goal.
The minimum body fat percentage that is considered safe and acceptable for good health is 5% for males and 12% for females, although some people can reduce fat levels much lower without any problems especially if a low percentage is only maintained for a short time such as for a body-building competition.
Women experience hormonal changes that differ considerably from that of men as they age. Even young women can have irregularities in menstrual cycle and other physiological changes as a result. This can be seen more clearly by looking at some extreme cases of weight loss in women, for example...
Women in concentration camps in WWII frequently discontinued having regular menstrual cycles, as a result of the effects of starvation. Highly trained female athletes also often experience similar changes, as a result of ultra-low body fat and other causes.
I'm sure that some of the women in body sculpting competitions where you can clearly see every muscle sinew in their bodies, are experiencing hormonal changes as a result of such low body fat. Usually extremely low body fat is achieved and maintained only for competition purposes. This kind of weight loss in women is very hard to achieve.
The ill effects of PMS (Premenstrual Syndrome) can be reduced by stabilizing blood sugar levels, regulating fat intake and other dietary changes. For example, mood swings can be smoothed out to a degree by higher amounts of soluble fiber, which helps produce a slower rise in blood sugar. Apples, oats and beans are good sources.
Combining fat with protein and carbohydrate intake in a balanced way will help slow the rise in blood sugar from the carbohydrate consumption. Ice cream may be a comfort food but the effect is short-lived and doesn't provide the balance needed. Instead, increase consumption of fresh fruit and vegetables. Bananas are a good choice, along with walnuts.
Women tend to be more prone to arthritis, fibromyalgia and other conditions. Certain previously unsuspected food allergies can worsen the symptoms. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, testing is essential. The first step is to adopt a healthy, balanced diet. Rice beverages can be substituted for those sensitive to cows milk, there are wheat-free breads on the market that are still whole grain and peanuts may need to be avoided for some.
For example some women who suffer from arthritis symptoms may find they are allergic to wheat. A gluten-free diet will help lessen that problem. This includes finding substitutes for ordinary cereal, standard bread, pasta and other foods made from wheat flour.
During the years of menopause, as cycles become less regular and large hormonal changes are occurring, diet can help lessen the severity of any discomfort. Lowering sodium intake is helpful. Substitutes include herbs, garlic or lemon juice for flavoring. Weight loss in women in menopause can be very difficult. Each individual is different, though, and you should consult a physician for proper diet changes.
Menopausal women are likely to benefit from reducing saturated fats, beyond that of younger women or males. Since estrogen levels are declining, HDL cholesterol (the beneficial type) will tend to fall and LDL cholesterol (the potentially harmful type) will rise.
One result is that, though men in general have a higher risk of heart attack as they age, during this time a woman's risk is equal to those of men of similar age. Reducing saturated and trans fat can help reduce those risks.
Moderate wine consumption is beneficial. It provides anti-oxidants and other helpful compounds and is generally lower in calories than many alternatives.You can read more about the benefits of wine here... Lowering caffeine can help reduce loss of calcium, which is more needed as women age.
What constitutes a proper diet varies somewhat by gender and age, so investigate what is right for your particular circumstances. Knowledge is the key to health.
Will Brink is a recognized expert in weight loss in women and his program Fat Loss Revealed is an invaluable help in assisting weight loss in women.