Reasons Why Women Have Difficulty Losing Weight:
I don’t know about you, but I’ve noticed that women have a much harder time losing weight than men. Why is that? What makes us so different than the men we love? Unfortunately it all boils down to our body chemistry – we’re made differently than men. Yep – we’re a bit more complicated due to physiology, brain chemicals, hormones and other issues (go figure):
We have less lean body mass than men. Yes ladies, we have more fat cells. Lean body mass is a measure of how much muscle WE have. The lower our lean body mass the less muscle we have and unfortunately muscle burns more calories than fat. This is why our personal trainers suggest we strength train – strength training builds muscle and therefore burns more of those pesky calories.
Women, more than men, have thyroid problems. What’s a thyroid you ask? It’s an endocrine gland in our bodies whose primary function is to control how quickly the body burns energy.
Actually the potential to become pregnant is what makes us have less lean muscle mass – our bodies have 20% more fat cells than men.
Our brains make us have a harder time resisting foods we crave than men. We are also more likely to overeat then men and more likely to have eating disorders or behaviours such as binge eating.
Sleep & Stress:
These two go hand in hand. Lack of sleep (night-time parenting) causes stress. Stress AND lack of sleep causes the levels of cortisol (a hormone) to increase. High cortisol levels leads to an increase in appetite and thus causing us to overeat. We need to stop doing all the household chores and get some good beauty sleep if we want to have better control o our eating habits.
We don’t exercise hard enough. We all know we need to exercise, but very few of us are aware of how hard we need to exercise in order to lose weight. To lose weight we need to work out at 80% of our Max heart rate. Why? Because that is our Aerobic Zone. Here’s a table:
(Your maximum heart rate is about 220 minus your age. The figures above are averages, so use them as general guidelines.)
Ladies, we need to exercise at 80 percent of maximum our heart rate and we need to include some form of weight lifting if we want to see those extra pounds go away. A heart rate monitor can help us determine 80 percent of maximum and we should exercise at this level for around 20 to 60 minutes, 3-5 times a week.
Three of the factors listed above we have no control over – we’re women, we have fat cells, our thyroids are wonky and our brain chemistry works against us. That said we have control of the other factors. We can change our body composition by strength training, we can get enough sleep and we can do aerobic activity at 80% of our max heart rates. Hmmm… I guess we can’t blame not being able to lose weight on being a woman anymore now can we?