The differences between male and female bodies are obvious in one glance. Along with having different body shapes, there are other differences that impact on weight loss, such as men generally enjoying high-protein foods such as meat, while women love to eat carbohydrates. These important differences are often ignored in information about healthy eating and weight loss, but there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution for men and women, both sexes need a weight loss plan designed just for them.
Generally, when people get into their thirties and then forties, they struggle to keep off the pounds – the middle-aged spread. Women especially have difficulty with weight loss, and this is because of the difference between how men and women store fat – and the hormones that influence this.
Women store their fat in their breasts, thighs and hips. The hormone oestrogen causing the storage of fat in a woman’s thighs and hips and there is an impact on a woman’s breasts due to both the hormones progesterone and oestrogen. Men tend to store fat around the middle of their bodies due to the hormone testosterone and have lean arms and legs. Women have a monthly cycle (menstrual cycle), which fluctuates their hormones and there is an impact on how they function during this phase: how they look, feel and this can cause them to overeat. This then determines their fat storage and whether their bodies lose weight or gain weight.
How Hormones Affect Weight Loss
Hormones – oestrogen and progesterone work in conjunction with each other and influences a woman’s ability to burn fat and the areas that this fat will be taken from. This fat storage is not an intake of calories but a hormonal balance issue.
There is a myth that a diet with low-calorie foods and exercise will cause a woman to lose weight but stress is an important factor too in weight loss. This is due to a high oestrogen level as it increases storage of fat in a woman around thighs and hips. Progesterone combined with oestrogen stops the storage of fat, but if you are in a high-stress situation there is less progesterone action.
Testosterone is an important hormone that helps men with the fat loss, muscle building, bone density and tone of their skin. When men are at their peak they tend to lose weight easily. Many men have to just cut back on what they eat and they tend to gradually drop their weight while women find this process harder. However as the testosterone levels in men decreases, weight loss gets harder and their bone density lowers, this can also impact on mood and may cause feelings of depression.
Weight Loss For Men And Women
Instead of prescribing a diet, exercise plan and weight loss tips for both men and women, we must take into account the unique action of hormones each sex. Here are my individual healthy eating tips for women and men:
Women, you should.
- Try to eat healthier and smaller portions,
- Exercise consistently and regularly; include weight training (3 – 5 times a week),
- Sleep well, eat foods with a good source of protein,
- Try and cut back on the coffee, carbonated drinks like coke, sprite,
- Eat green vegetables, increase fibre foods,
- Take supplements (Vitamin D, fish oil and calcium),
- Lower intake of dairy and grain foods,
- Drink plenty of water, green tea.
- An exercise regime designed to strengthen muscle mass and strength. They should do some weight training,
- Eat plenty of protein rich foods and healthy foods,
- Reduce their stress levels that increase a hormone cortisol (which is important for fight or flight response) in their system but lowers their testosterone level,
- Sleep well every night 8 -10 hours,
- Try to cut back on the alcohol consumption.
Psychological Impact On Weight Loss
Apart from the physiological differences, psychologically men and women are different too. Generally, men don’t see their obesity as a problem and refuse to view themselves as overweight even if they are. They are not dissatisfied by their bodies and weight like women are. They tend not to see their weight issues and assume if they really wanted to they could achieve their desired weight.
On the other hand, women turn to food for comfort and eat due to emotional reasons. They have cravings and their mood with stress triggers them to overeat. If a woman is happy about her shape and size/weight she will feel confident about herself and achieve her goals. A woman will plan a healthy eating programme, shop according to that and will be strict with her weight loss and exercise regularly.
One of the most common reasons that men and woman are different is a woman needs a lot of support from friends and family (social support) and psychological support. While men don’t seem to need the same kind of support, they have a simple plan and will stay on the weight loss programme longer than a woman.
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