It is a fact that women find it harder than men to lose weight.
Men do not have the same underlying causes for weight gain as women do – this is mainly due to the different amount of body fat vs muscle in their bodies.
Maybe this explains why most men are utterly bewildered with women’s seeming “obsession” with their weight!
What are the main reasons why women struggle to lose weight?
The underlying causes of weight gain in women are personal, and usually individual to each and every woman. Most women find that their diagnosis incorporates either one, or sometimes two of the following reasons:
1) Hormonal Factors
Research shows that on average, women find weight harder to shift, at 3 distinct points in their lives.
The first hormonal change tends to happen at around age 20-22, where all of a sudden, you may find that you are eating the same foods, but the weight is creeping on.
Interestingly, after a woman has her second baby (to a much greater degree than her first), she has another huge shift of hormones.
At this time, you may find that you are suddenly less tolerant to certain types of foods, such as dairy, and they make you put on weight. Equally, it is common for ailments to present themselves due to this hormonal change, that were not apparent before – such as thyroid changes or digestive problems – all combining to make the weight harder to shift.
Lastly, in your late 30s or early 40s, many women enter what is known as the peri-menopause. This does not mean that you are entering menopause – rather, that your body is silently preparing for it. Fat stores increase, and metabolism slows down. Women of this age tend to put the excess weight on around the tummy area. It has nothing to do with whether you have a healthy lifestyle or not.
Despite the fact that we all jump on the scales to measure whether we have put on weight, our actual weight, and the amount of body fat we have, is seldom the issue here. Your weight cannot identify the proportion that is water, as opposed to fat. Fluid retention caused by hormonal imbalances is a MAJOR cause of weight gain.
These hormonal fluctuations do usually settle down, but if they are not identified and tackled early enough, it may mean that you suffer unnecessarily for up to 10 years!
Hormonal imbalances can cause, amongst other things;
- An Underactive Thyroid,
- Extreme Lethargy (making exercise and weight loss seem even harder)
- a much reduced metabolic rate,
- sudden digestive issues (particularly IBS),
- Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
- and commonly, that horrible monthly “bloated tummy” feeling.
All of the above can make you feel thoroughly rotten. But don’t worry, if you discover that this is your weight loss issue, it is very easy to resolve.
Shine”s “Body Harmony” solution suppresses appetite, increases metabolism and energy, and quickly eliminates any excess water that may be causing weight gain. Importantly, it contains 100% natural ingredients which;
- Help to reduce the over-production of oestrogen (which causes most hormonal irregularities)
- Can regulate the thyroid and adrenal gland functions
- Can improve mood, by regulating the production of serotonin in the brain
- Increases energy (without relying on caffeine). Caffeine can actually worsen the effects of hormonal imbalance.
- Boosts metabolism, so you burn more calories without more exercise
- Supresses your appetite, and reduces cravings.
2) Difficulty shifting weight from the stomach area
Overwhelmingly, most women’s “problem area” is their tummy. This is usually the result of one or more of these factors;
a)The effect of pregnancy and childbirth
In the first few days after you give birth, you will lose weight quickly as you shed fluid. The extra water you carried during late pregnancy is passed out in your urine and sweat. You will lose more weight as the amount of circulating blood returns to normal levels and your uterus gets smaller. But after this the weight loss tends to slow down.
Extra water may linger, as nature intends this to be a store of energy for breastfeeding, and provide “body cushioning” for your baby! If it is the case that you over-ate during the pregnancy, you may also be carrying excess fat. In this case, if you are not breastfeeding, you might like to combine this solution with our “Body Harmony”, “Tummy Tuck”, or “Metabolism Boost” supplement. These will ensure that the water you lose is combined with effective fat-busting ingredients.
However, if you were careful not to over-eat during pregnancy, the reason your weight is not decreasing as fast as you would like, is probably due to your body holding on to excess water, particularly round the stomach and hips.
Water weight gain is common during pregnancy, especially during the third trimester. About half of new mums shed this excess water weight in the first few days after pregnancy. But the other half of women tend to find that their bodies try to “hold on” to the water (nature suggests that this is your body’s response to becoming a mother and providing “cushioning” for your newborn!)
Losing baby weight within the first few months is essential for any new mum. Research shows that women who ignore their post-pregnancy weight are likely to carry it for the next 10 to 15 years!
b) Genetics, and natural body shape
Most women generally fall into one of 2 body shape classifications – the Apple shape, or the Pear shape. These body shapes have significant implications for both health and weight loss.
Apple and pear classifications are useful in determining body fat distribution. It is generally thought that there are more health risks for the apple shape. This can be determined by . A ratio of 0.8 or above indicates that you are an apple shape. A ratio of under 0.8 means you are a pear shape.
The apple shaped woman carries most her body fat in the abdominal region. She will generally have narrow hips, larger breasts, and a relatively large waist. Apple-shaped women have more fat surrounding their internal organs (visceral fat), and therefore their torso area tends to be where fat cells choose to accumulate.
There has been a great deal of research on what types of food the “apple shaped” woman should avoid, if she wishes to lose tummy weight. It has been proven that the best way for an apple to lose their tummy fat is to cut down on carbohydrates (bread, crisps, chips etc.). Conversely, if a woman is a “pear” shape, in order to minimise fat deposits on the buttocks and legs, she should try to reduce her intake of fat (particularly cheese and butter).
c)“Tummy Bloating” caused by monthly hormones, undiagnosed food intolerances, or digestive difficulties (particularly Irritable Bowel Syndrome).
When women tend to complain that they are “having a fat day”, it is usually because of hormonal factors, and a feeling of fullness in the tummy area. In this case, when people speak of a bloated stomach, they usually mean that their abdomen (or tummy) feels ‘full’ or ‘swollen’ every month, usually just before a period.
Although uncomfortable, monthly stomach bloating can be greatly eased by regulating hormonal and body balance.
If your bloated feeling is not monthly in its pattern, and is more persistent, it may be caused by undiagnosed food intolerances or digestive difficulties such as trapped wind, and IBS. Shine’s dietician support is here for you so that you can work together to quickly pinpoint the cause of your tummy bloat, and our dietician will devise a personalised menu plan, just for you.
In the case of IBS, if the condition is worsened or caused by stress in your life, your counsellor is at hand to help you to get on top of the stresses of life, so that you feel better, and look fantastic.
3) A perceived decrease in your previous metabolic rate.
If you find that you are suddenly finding it a lot harder to lose weight than before, your natural metabolism may have slowed down. This means that you will need to eat less and exercise more to burn off the same amount of fat.
There are 4 main causes of a reduced metabolic rate;
2) Lack of Sleep
3) Increasing Age
4) Hormonal Fluctuations (see weight gain cause above)
5) Yo-yo dieting (particularly eating too little)
1) Stress Response
Your body tells you when you are in danger by triggering its stress response, an involuntary physical reaction left over from the days when humans had natural predators. When the body perceives a threat, your hypothalamus sends your adrenal glands into overdrive, producing high levels of the hormones adrenaline and cortisol, which increase your heart rate and blood pressure. This is a valuable function if you need to get out of harm’s way fast. However, if it’s frequently activated by everyday stressors, it can cause cortisol overload, which is disruptive to many bodily systems.
The hormone cortisol triggers the release of glucose into the bloodstream, fueling your body to react to a threat. However, cortisol is not necessary to combat most daily stresses, so it can build up in your system, leading to insomnia, anxiety and depression. Cortisol suppresses the immune system, slows down digestion, stimulates your appetite, and may interfere with your brain’s ability to perceive satiety. In prolonged periods of stress, cortisol also causes fat to be stored in the abdomen, which can lead to obesity. At high levels, cortisol can develop into Cushing’s syndrome, which can cause weight gain, high blood pressure and diabetes. Therefore, although cortisol may not directly affect the metabolism, it is more likely to cause weight gain than loss.
2) Lack of Sleep
Reducing stress may also lead to a better night’s sleep and a more regular pattern. This will further boost your metabolism, as not getting enough sleep could actually minimise the effects of any physical activity you do during the day, and cause you to gain weight. Lack of sleep slows your metabolism, increases appetite, and makes you more likely to give into cravings. A lack of sleep also causes stress, causing an unending circle for your metabolism issue!
Shine’s “Night Time” Fat Burner can help you sleep more soundly. It gently increases your body temperature while you sleep so that you burn of calories all night! As a result of the body working harder, previous customers have also reported their sleep patterns improving, as they slept more soundly.
3) Increasing Age
You may begin to lose muscle mass as early as your 20’s, and between the ages of 20 and 90, you will likely lose as much as 50 percent of your muscle mass.
This loss corresponds directly to a drop in your metabolism—the less muscle you have, the fewer calories your body is able to burn. You may also notice an increase in body fat, which also decreases your lean muscle mass. Menopause can slow a woman’s metabolism down as well.
4) Hormonal Fluctuations (See “Hormonal Imbalances”) above
It is much publicised that eating too little can slow down your metabolism and actually make you GAIN weight. However, perhaps even worse for your metabolism and waistline is yo-yo dieting (flitting between eating too much and too little).
If you tend to take up and abandon faddy diets, or go through a process of starving yourself one day and bingeing the next, you will play havoc with your metabolism and cause your body to store “emergency fat”.
It contains the amino acid 5-HTP, which helps to regulate the levels of serotonin in the brain, and thus relieves stress and anxiety. The reduction of stress tends to lead to a better night’s sleep, and a more regular sleep pattern.
The supplement also helps to “train your brain” to a healthier eating pattern. You will naturally find that you start to crave more fresh fruit and vegetables, and not want “stodgy” food!
4)“Emotional Eating” also known as “Comfort Eating”
Women have so many roles to play in life these days; the girlfriend, the wife, the daughter, the breadwinner, the cook, the cleaner, the nanny, the mother… is it any wonder that one of the main causes of weight gain is stress?
When we are stressed, anxious or bored, or even when we have had a hard day and want a “treat” in the evening, it is easy to reach for the foods that we love. Emotional eating (that is, our eating habits being caused by our mood, or our childhood learned behaviour towards food), is the leading cause of weight gain in women.
If you find yourself emotionally eating finding it hard to stop due to your current environment, you may want to consider a appetite suppressant such as phentabz or phen375 for example, to help curb your appetite and stop the weight from piling on.
Emotional eating tends to take one of 4 forms;
1) “Binge eating” when we have had a particularly difficult event in life
2) Those who have a sweet tooth, or have a glass of wine to relieve stress, tend to reach for the wine or the chocolate as a “treat” or an escape from the fast pace of life
3) Others have a weakness for savoury food when they want a treat – chips, crisps, biscuits and bread for example. All of these are carbohydrates, which the body naturally finds hard to break down, so the calories we eat do not get sufficiently burned away, but instead turn to fat.
4) The way we were taught to view mealtimes and food, as a child. As a young child, you probably heard messages such as, “Eat everything on your plate and you will get dessert,” or “You can’t be hungry, it’s not dinner time!” In school you ate at the scheduled lunchtime. Maybe your grandmother was offended if you didn’t eat seconds. And you were probably forced to eat things you didn’t like in order to get a cookie or ice cream.
It is entirely natural that some of us carry these “rules” through to adulthood, and tend to eat more, or bigger portions, than our bodies actually need.
The key to tackling this is to have support to identify your “emotional eating” and turn it into “intuitive” eating (i.e. learning to listen to what your body is telling you it needs).
5) A dislike of “Healthy Food”
With everyone becoming ever more health conscious, many women struggle with healthy eating, as they simply dislike salads or vegetables! Our research showed that many women were deficient in vital vitamins for overall health, due to the fact that they ate the wrong things, at the wrong times.