Everyone knows that sometimes it’s harder for women to lose weight than their male counterparts. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve heard in my office “my husband can lose 10 pounds by just not eating for a few days! It takes me forever!” Well, there is a reason for this. Women are genetically programmed differently than men for childbearing, breast-feeding, and handling more stress. For these reasons, women have a completely different body type: less but more lean muscle, less visceral (fat inside your abdomen) than peripheral fat, and a slower metabolism that is more subject to hormonal changes. However, this is not all bad! Here are some tips to take advantage of these differences to shed pounds quickly, and keep them off.
Tip #1: Smaller portions make a big difference over the long haul. Imagine cutting your calorie intake in half, but not missing them at all using some simple mental tricks! Drink a full glass of water before starting your meal, replace all the plates in your house with smaller ones (put the large plates away in the garage!), only cook one portion per person of the meal you are making, and when going out to dinner always share one order (saves money too!). All these seemingly small adjustments will add up over the course of a month, three months, and year. For women, it’s the long-term calorie deficit that makes a difference in permanent weight loss. “Quick fix” diets almost never work.
Tip #2: Can’t get to gym? Make your whole day a workout! Use every opportunity you can to move around. Do walking meetings, bike to work, take the kids to the park, or put the treadmill in front of the TV. Short bursts of activity make a huge difference in calorie expenditure for women. Committing yourself to the gym is a noble goal, but very disappointing if you consistently don’t make it there. Don’t make the gym your only physical activity for the day; rather use it as a bonus when you can fit it in.
Tip #3: Use technology to your advantage. Wearable sensors are now extremely affordable and very accurate. My favorites are the Bodymedia FIT armband and the UP wristband by Jawbone. Both are fun to use and very accurate. Its all about calories in and calories out, so use these tools to give you the data you need to get motivated daily! Use the social tools to make it a fun game between your friends and family. The more people on your “team”, the more motivating it is to shed pounds.
Remember, almost every study done on women and weight loss shows us that long-term weight loss, done slowly over time is long lasting. Don’t get caught up in fad diets. Use these small, incremental changes to achieve a permanent solution.