When it comes to losing weight, women stand at a disadvantage as compared to men. It has been observed that women accumulate fat quicker than men and lose it far more slowly. This only confirms what many women long suspected. “My husband eats so much, yet does not gain an inch!” said one of our clients from Andheri West, Mumbai, centre. Another from Colaba centre said, “I only have to look at the food to put on weight.”
Weight Gain for Women
Woman are naturally fatter than men, even though as new-born both the sexes start out the same i.e. body fat totalling up to 12% of body weight. During puberty, girls get fatter and boys become leaner. By the age of 18, girls have 20-25% body fat and boys have 15-18%. By adulthood or by middle age both sexes have 35-40% fat.
Most of the Health Total clients ask us: “When my husband and I are both following the health program, and are put on the same food plan, why does he lose weight with more ease than I do?”
In this respect, we are in step with the animal kingdom. Female animals accumulate fat more quickly than their male counterparts. Women are designed to carry extra weight during pregnancy. She can cater to the additional supplies of nutrition to her baby even when enough food is not available to her.
Women have a lower resting metabolism than men. This means they burn fewer calories to maintain their basic life functions such as respiration, digestion, and elimination, then men do. The difference is quite significant. A small-framed woman may need only 1,000 calories a day to maintain normal body functions, while a large framed woman may need about 1,600 calories a day. Conversely, men need anywhere between 1,400 and 2,000 calories a day to carry out normal bodily functions.
Fat also settles differently on men and women. Men usually tend to store fat around their bellies. In women, the fat gets stored on their hips and thighs. Researches on weight gain for women have shown that fat deposits on the hips and thighs are difficult to lose. The reason: women’s hormones favour depositing fat in that region and not removing it from there. Except during breastfeeding, a woman burns approximately 800 calories a day, allowing the fat deposits on the hips and thighs to be converted into energy to fuel milk production in the breasts.
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Weight Gain for Men
Men have an apple-shape body and an increased risk of heart disease and diabetes. Women usually have a pear-shape body with less fat deposits around the abdomen & more in the lower body. Such bodies, even if obese, do not stand a high risk of heart disease. This goes to show that two people with the same amount of body fat may have different health risks. Since excess fat in women is a part of the cosmic plan, they can gain weight even with healthier eating practices.
Most men gain weight because of a rich diet and a lack of physical activity. As a result, obesity in men is associated with a greater likelihood of health problems than obesity in women. Obese men who have higher systolic and diastolic blood pressures, higher levels of cholesterol and triglycerides.
A point to note here is that women who have male-type fat distribution (apple-shaped bodies) also share the same increased health risk as men. Men lose weight faster because abdominal fat is easy to burn than fat around the hips and thighs (the place where women tend to store fat.) This also explains why weight gain for women is more in their lower body during pregnancy. And most women have a hard time losing it after childbirth.
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As mentioned earlier, breastfeeding is an excellent way of losing weight around the hips and thighs. All this obviously means that most women who are counting calories, always suffering from hunger, working out, always watching their diets are still likely to put on extra weight or maybe lose it very slowly. This causes confusion and frustration in many women. But, don’t lose hope. There are ways and means of achieving weight loss by changing the composition of your diet. It is possible to be thin and attractive without much effort and lose undesired fat.
At this stage, we are talking about a lifetime commitment to health and optimum weight. Ask your doctor or nutritionist for a health-based food plan to avoid weight gain. It should be one that works with your nutritional and physical needs, not against it. This way, you will be able to not only lose weight and maintain it but also be able to work effortlessly for a longer duration than before. In short, you’ll feel more active from within.