Fat loss is harder for females. It’s not your imagination and it has nothing to do with willpower or strength. We are different, physically and emotionally, and it affects our ability to shed fat.
Let’s start with the obvious difference – hormones. Estrogen is the hormone that gives us the curves we were meant to have but it is indeed a fat storing hormone. Estrogen levels can also change years before we notice the symptoms of menopause. Low estrogen levels and low thyroid levels (women are five to eight times more likely to have hypothyroidism than men) along with increased cortisol are common reasons women struggle with fat loss. Minor imbalances in cortisol can be restored with some basic lifestyle changes while other hormone imbalances might require medication intervention. (I am NOT a doctor, so always consult yours for the best course of action.)
Female Fat Loss Rule #1
Get a physical and have your thyroid tested. Check the results against the latest guidelines for normal TSH, T4 and T3.
Female Fat Loss Rule #2
Go organic for meat and dairy. The hormones conventional livestock are treated with can affect your own hormone balance. You ARE what you eat.
Your workouts may also be hurting, not helping your quest to lose fat. Doing your boyfriend’s strength workout of bicep curls and leg extensions isn’t going to help you shed fat. He’s focused on building big guns. You’re focused on getting lean. You want to shape your body but you need to do it in a way that burns fat at the same time.
Female Fat Loss Rule #3
Do a full body strength workout two to three days a week. Make compound movements (like squats and pushups) the foundation of the workout. If you do an isolation movement (like a bicep curl) it needs to done at the same time as a compound movement (like a shoulder press at the top of your squat).
You probably spend more time doing cardio than he does too. Working your heart muscle is important to your health you just need to be smart about it for fat loss. If you want to keep burning calories for longer after your workout decrease your time and increase your intensity.
Female Fat Loss Rule #4
Add intervals to your treadmill routine. Add five – eight 30-second sprints or incline intervals to your 30 minutes on the treadmill. How fast or high depends on your fitness level. You should be working hard enough that you can talk but only a few words at a time in between breaths.
Last but not least are our relationships. Most women are people pleasers and have a hard time saying no, except to ourselves. We will easily put our own goals on the back burner to take care of others. Most men don’t have the household and child care responsibilities that women do, making it easier for them to slip out for a run or meet the guys for a workout. Many women find letting go of the guilt we feel when we take time for ourselves extremely challenging. But if we break down we won’t have anything left to give others. Self-care is crucial to being strong for everyone who depends on us.
Female Fat Loss Rule #5
Schedule your workouts on the family calendar. This makes them just as important as the kids’ soccer game or his office picnic. Have a family meeting to discuss how everyone’s activities are important and how you will all work together to make them happen.
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