Women and men aren’t just shaped differently; where they store fat and how they burn fat is different, too. Although researchers aren’t 100% sure why these differences exist, hormones seem to have an oversized role in dictating fat distribution and metabolism.
Testosterone, for example, is a hormone that helps you burn fat and build muscle. Even though both women and men have testosterone, men have more of it. As women head into perimenopause and menopause in their 40s-50s, their testosterone levels drop precipitously. At the same time, they tend to start gaining fat.
If you’re a woman who wants to lose weight and be as healthy as possible as you age, our experts at Enrich Family Practice in Odessa, Texas, are here to help. We’ve compiled a brief guide to weight gain and weight loss and how women are affected by both.
Women store fat in hips and thighs
When it comes to fat storage, women tend to be more pear-shaped, while men are prone to the apple-shape. In other words, women store fat in their hips and thighs, whereas men store it in their bellies.
The problem is, belly fat is easier to burn off than hip and thigh fat are. So, if you and your spouse hit the gym the same amount of time, he may end up losing more inches than you do.
Women have — and keep — more fat
Even if you have a healthy proportion of fat for your BMI — about 20-25% — that’s still more fat than healthy men have. A healthy man with the same BMI would only have about 10-15% of fat.
Men are also better at burning off fat than women are. When at rest, for instance, men’s bodies burn more fat than women’s do. This may be due to the fact that women tend to have less muscle mass than men do. Muscle mass speeds up your metabolism and helps you burn calories.
Eat like a biohacker
One of the reasons women gain more weight than men is that women tend to crave — and therefore snack on — dairy, pasta, and other foods that are high in sugar. Men, in contrast, usually turn to protein when they’re peckish.
If you’d like to shed pounds, consider adopting a healthy diet plan that biohackers favor, such as the ketogenic diet. Rich in healthy, pastured proteins and high-quality fats, a ketogenic diet trains your body to burn both fat and glucose (i.e., sugar), instead of glucose alone.
High-quality, animal-based proteins also help you build more muscle tissue. Avoid factory-farmed meats, which tend to be high in pro-inflammatory fats that trigger fat gain. Instead, go for:
- Grass-fed meats
- Pastured pork
- Cage-free, pastured, organic poultry and eggs
- Wild-caught salmon
- Fish and shellfish
Women may need more low-glycemic carbohydrates than men, even when on a ketogenic diet. Carbs at night, for instance, may help you sleep better.
Talk to us first about any dietary changes you plan to make. We customize a healthy eating plan for you that you can keep for life.
Build more muscle
Weight-lifting and other types of resistance exercise, including resistance bands, help you build more muscle mass. Muscle is much more efficient at burning energy than fat is. The more muscle mass you have, the easier it is to burn fat, lose inches, and lose weight.
As you age, maintaining muscle mass is more important than ever. Sarcopenia (i.e., muscle wasting) is common in both aging women and aging men. Maintaining and building muscle mass helps keep your bones strong, prevents falls, and helps you burn fat for energy.
Harmonize your hormones
If you’re having trouble losing fat and building muscle, your hormones may be out of balance. We restore healthy, harmonious hormones with hormone replacement therapy (HRT). Restoring hormones also helps alleviate other unpleasant symptoms, including insomnia and brain fog.
To learn more about women’s health and how to lose fat while keeping your muscle mass, call our team at 432-200-9087 today. You can reach us with our online message form, too.