Weight Loss for Women Only
As much as men and women have become equals in the workplace, in society and at home, they are not one and the same nutritionally. Women have a few needs and a few differences in design that need to be considered in order to develop a weight loss plan that is both healthy and permanent. Weight loss for women can be easier and more pleasant than many think, as long as the plan is geared towards a woman’s body.
Some Differences Between Men and Women
Most people know that men generally require more calories than women. This isn’t because they’re more active-many are not. It’s because most men have more muscle mass than most women. Muscle burns more calories per pound than does fat, so men require more calories just to maintain their current weight, no matter what that weight is.
In general, men also require more protein than women. This is also due to muscle mass.
Women usually require more iron then men, due to menstruation, and also have hormonal fluctuations to consider in their nutritional plans. Another concern that regards women more than men is bone density and calcium intake. During and after menopause, women store less calcium in their bones and must ensure a sufficient dietary intake to make up the difference.
Weight Loss for Women: Where to Start
Women should first cover all of their nutritional bases when planning a weight loss diet. Without the proper nutrition, they won’t be able to maintain the diet or even to function well in their daily lives. All of the calorie counting in the world won’t do any good if you’re unable to stay the course until you reach your goal weight. You also won’t be able to get the right amount of exercise without proper nutrition and exercise is an integral part of weight loss for women.
Getting Enough Iron and Magnesium
Women still menstruating need to be especially careful to get enough iron. They also need to get enough magnesium-without it, you can’t absorb iron properly. To meet this need, be sure to eat plenty of things that are orange and green. Remember that rule, and you’ll probably get enough of these essential nutrients. Good choices in orange foods include sweet potatoes, carrots, orange bell peppers, peaches, nectarines and oranges. Excellent green foods include spinach, kale, Swiss chard, green peppers, mustard greens, turnip greens and broccoli. The darker and deeper the color of these foods, the better. In other words, choose spinach over celery.
Make Sure You Get Calcium and Potassium
Calcium and potassium go together like iron and magnesium. You’ll get both from yogurt (choose Greek, organic and pro-biotic whenever possible), low fat or nonfat milk, cottage cheese and low fat or part skim mozzarella. It’s also a very good idea to take a multi-vitamin for women or a calcium/magnesium supplement to make sure you get enough of both.
Fight Stress and Lose Weight at the Same Time
Women are under a great deal of stress, often struggling to balance home, children, work and the other demands of life. While many men have these same struggles, women tend to stress more over what they perceive as giving less than their best in any of these areas. Any plan for weight loss for women needs to address this stress level, for two reasons: stress adds abdominal fat and it also weakens the immune system. With so many irons in the fire, few women can afford to get sick. By combating stress through nutrition, women can lessen the effects of stress on their bodies.
Vitamin C is the most powerful nutritional weapon for fighting the effects of stress. It’s the foundation for cell renewal and regeneration and getting enough Vitamin C will battle the body’s fat-storing response to stress. Cortisol is a stress hormone that is responsible for storing belly fat when a crisis is perceived. This perception can be brought on by the daily stress of life, to say nothing of a true crisis. Vitamin C reduces the amount of cortisol released in the body and can even initiate the metabolizing of stored belly fat. Taking 1000mg of Vitamin C twice a day and getting plenty of fruits and vegetables daily will have an enormous effect on weight loss for women.
The other method of combating stress through good nutrition is to get enough immune-boosting antioxidants. Green tea, blackberries, red raspberries, blueberries and red peppers are all excellent sources and delicious as well.
Getting Enough Protein Without the Fat
Women may need less protein than men (in general), but they do need it. Aside from general nutritional needs for protein, a good plan for weight loss for women needs to include strength-training and building lean muscle. This not only makes a woman’s metabolism run faster and her body more shapely, but it helps to build bone density and strength. This is very important for all women, but especially those going through or already past menopause. Resistance exercise is an excellent way to build bone density, but you need high quality protein to build muscle.
The problem with protein is often the fat that goes with it. Beef, pork and poultry are among the most popular and common sources of protein. Unfortunately, they’re also generally quite high in fat. A good plan for weight loss for women should minimize animal protein and maximize sources like low-fat dairy, eggs, fish and shellfish. Any meat eaten should be as lean as possible, such as lean steaks and chicken breasts.
It’s not hard to make a good plan for weight loss, for women or men. Once you understand your nutritional needs, any special concerns and how to address them, you’ll be able to create a workable and even enjoyable eating plan. In most cases, simply making your diet extremely varied will ensure that you get all of the nutrients you need to lose weight and feel great doing it. After all, feeling good is part of the plan.