Why Is Fat Loss Is More Difficult For Women ? ( Video Series + Notes)

Part 1: Evolution


  • Women have it more difficult when it comes to losing fat for a variety of reasons we’re going to be discussing in this video series  


  • One of the biggest reasons that we see fat loss as more difficult for women is because what works for men won’t work in the same way for a woman.


  • Even from woman to woman there can be large differences in their hormonal profiles that act to change their physiology and impact their ability to lose body fat


  • Have to be better at storing calories, for the eventuality of pregnancy


  • Pregnancy is a very energetically demanding process and can require


  • Too little body fat or extreme restrictions and menstrual cycle will go away because they


  • Evolved to be better at handling energy (calorie) deprivation - Great for survival, not for fat loss though.


  • Women tend to store fat more effectively and handle starvation better than men because of how quickly they adapt and their importance in the human race


Free Nutrition Strategy Session: http://www.evolvenutritionaltherapy.com/strategy-session-form

Part 2: Body Size and Metabolism


  • Women are going to stereotypically be smaller and weigh less than men


  • A smaller person is going to burn fewer calories because they are supporting less body weight


  • A smaller person will also have a lower resting metabolic rate, which is the calories burned at rest to maintain physiological functions like breathing and keeping blood pumping


  • Women typically have more body fat and less lean body mass


  • Men are heavier and carry more lean body mass which means they’ll burn more calories, and because of that greater muscle mass they’ll be able to generate more power in the gym


Free Nutrition Strategy Session: http://www.evolvenutritionaltherapy.com/strategy-session-form

Part 3: Leptin


  • Leptin is a master hormone that is largely produced in fat cells, and has a large number regulatory functions for hormones,metabolism and satiety.


  • And is easily one of the most important hormones when it comes to dieting and fat loss.


  • the body uses Leptin like a dipstick in car to help us measure, and regulate energy intake and expenditure.


  • A drop in leptin levels has a negative impact both on hormones and the metabolic rate


  • Body fat is a good insurance policy for ensuring your survival, and the brain gauges how much body fat we have based on leptin levels.


  • When Leptin drops too much it makes greater fat loss more difficult to achieve because the body is literally fighting back by making you burn fewer calories  


  • Unfortunately a woman's leptin drops quicker than mens, and also drops a to larger degree than men’s


  • Even if a women creates a caloric deficit and then fills that deficit with calories leptin levels will still drop to a greater degree.

Part 4: Menstrual Cycle Overview

  • Men and women have the same hormones Testosterone, Estrogen and Progesterone -  just in different concentrations  


  • Women have predominantly estrogen and progesterone


  • Men have predominantly testosterone


  • There’s two phases of the menstrual cycle divided by ovulation when the egg is released in preparation for conception


  • The first phase of the cycle before ovulation is the follicular phase, and the second phase after ovulation is the luteal phase.


  • Progesterone and estrogen (estradiol) are going to be the biggest hormonal players when it comes to a woman’s menstrual cycle, and hit their peak in different phases of the cycle.


  • Day 1 of the menstrual cycle is the first day of bleeding, during which progesterone and estrogen are at their lowest.


  • For the next two weeks it is the follicular phase, Estrogen is going to be the dominant hormone in the follicular phase and will rise until it peaks right before ovulation, and then drops and comes down.


  • Ovulation lasts around 36 hours


  • After ovulation is the luteal phase where Progesterone begins to increases and peaks, starts really low and peaks later in the luteal phase. Both hormones fall for about a week preceding menstruation.


Part 5: Follicular Phase


  • Before ovulation


  • Estrogen dominant


  • Decrease in appetite and food cravings


  • Upregulation of fat burning enzymes


  • More insulin sensitive


  • Greater strengths gains


  • Easier to make dietary changes because of lowered appetite and food cravings


  • First week lighter


  • Before ovulation sodium retention increase and weight increases


Free Nutrition Strategy Session: http://www.evolvenutritionaltherapy.com/strategy-session-form

art 6: Luteal Phase

  • After ovulation progesterone becomes the dominant hormone


  • Appetite and cravings increase (chocolate anyone ?)


  • Metabolic rate increases slightly


  • More insulin resistant


  • Decreased Muscle protein synthesis


  • For this reason women have to compare their weight during one week of their cycle to the next for accurate readings


  • Women are typically the lightest in the first week of their cycle, then there is a some water retention before ovulation and an increase in weight during the luteal.

Part 7: Your Solutions


  • Cycle calories: More on training days and less on rest or cardio only days to fuel performance and create a calorie deficit.


  • Slower dieting/Cardio: If you cut calories by too much too soon it makes it difficult to stick to your nutrition plan, but also leaves far less room for adjustments when there is a plateau


  • If you start at 1,000 calories and 1.5 hours of cardio a day you may lose quickly in the beginning but in the long term getting to your goal will require much more extreme measures that will make your body push back harder.


  • Diet Breaks and Refeeds: after dieting for 8-12 weeks you can prevent adaptations by using a full diet break where you increase the amount you’re eating for 1-2 weeks to bring the metabolic rate back up and restore drops in leptin.


  • Refeeds are the other approach where once a week or once every 3-4 days you have a day where you increase calories by 3-400 predominantly from carbs.


  • Strength training: This along with adequate protein intake will help to preserve, and even in some cases build lean muscle mass.


  • Strength training also helps to increase insulin sensitivity and while not a huge amount lifting weights does increase caloric burn. Every 8-12 weeks take a complete break from strength training allow the body to fully recover.


  • Stress: Whether a physical stress from overtraining or psychological stress - Your body just recognizes stress.


  • When overly stressed out the hormone cortisol will  cause you to  retain excess water weight that masks your true fat loss. Engage in some form of stress management - yoga class, reading, meditation or going for a walk.


  • Sleep: Insufficient sleep causes you to be more insulin resistant which diverts excess calories to fat storage. On top of that being sleep deprived makes people more impulsive around foods and have tendencies towards hyper palatable foods that are VERY easy to overeat.

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