WOW, Female fat loss. Such a hot topic. Everyone has their opinions. But when it comes to fat loss, females are a lot more complex.
So ladies, you may not want to hear this, but unfortunately you guys have it a lot harder when it comes to fat loss. In a sense, the vast majority of males have it pretty good when it comes to fat loss, a few tweaks here and there, and they are on the road to looking like Hercules. Unfortunately it is a lot more complicated for all of you females out there. You can be one hard safe to crack, especially if you have a history of restrictive eating habits!
Having worked with and spoken to many females, from all different backgrounds, on the ever so popular topic of fat loss, I often find similar issues arising over and over again. Most of these issues stem from social media and societal influences of the ideal. This intern leads most females down a dark road of inner conflicts and unhappiness, even if they look amazing! Females are fragile when it comes to image, and are often very hard on themselves, so hopefully this post can help you unlock your fat burning potential and set you free! Below are the main areas that I find to have the biggest influence on fat loss, that often seem to be over looked.
Low self Esteem
The first thing I notice when talking to females about fat loss – even though they don’t see it – is that they often put themselves down and are constantly comparing themselves to other females – but she hardly trains, and she’s always out, look at her stomach, how come I don’t have legs like her – My answer? Who gives a shit! YOU are YOU, and if you don’t accept that first, no matter how amazing you look, you’ll never have the confidence to show it. Accepting yourself is the first step to achieving healthy and long lasting fat loss. If not, you are in for a bumpy ride. Low self-esteem will make achieving any goal extremely difficult! So step number one, self-acceptance!
Now this point is not entirely your fault, unfortunately shitty coaches and lazy dieticians cause a lot of pain for you in this area. However, plenty of individual females take it upon themselves to go on a diet based on what they have read or heard, and it often ends pretty dismally for them. It seems like females put less effort into researching what they hear from others, with the hopes of finding the golden nugget. This, unfortunately, ends up with diets that are just simply way to restrictive or unhealthy, and this causes restrictions on quality of life, health and long term fat loss. The root cause however, is often the “professionals” giving the diets? They purely want fast results, to make their business look good, and heck, you may look good, who wouldn’t not eating anything but eggs and tuna for 8 weeks, but don’t tell me you are happy, and show me your 2 week post diet pic? How can you live on egg whites and tuna salads for your whole life? It’s like building a house with only 5 different building materials. You going to land up with a pretty shit house, and chances are it won’t last long either. Second step, variety and knowledge is key!
Developing food fears
Again not entirely your fault. There is so much misinformation out there when it comes to specific foods and food groups that either claim to make you fat or help you lose fat. The problem is, that even the good information out there is often too complicated. So I am going to simplify this for you. NO foods make you fat, and NO foods make you lose fat! Certain foods in certain amounts, yes, can definitely cause fat gain, and certain foods can assist with fat loss, but there is no magic bullet. Want to know what is though? How YOUR BODY works! Once that is solved, you are golden! And that is my job as a metabolic therapist. To figure out how your body works, to crack your code, and help you achieve your goals in the best possible way for you! You are unique, so how do you expect you and your friend to both benefit from the same program? Don’t follow the crowd. Do you. But don’t become fearful of food because coach said that you can only have fish. What is wrong with chicken? What is wrong with beans? Lentils? Lean meat? The list goes on! There are so many delicious foods out there. The moment you segregate, the more fearful you become. Step three, start to accept that overindulgence can make you fat, not certain foods. Explore all of the amazing healthy – most of the time – and the not so healthy. KNOWLEDGE AND MINDFULNESS = POWER.
This is one of the biggest mistakes females make when attempting to lose fat! They get their training approach completely backwards. Often what happens, you heavily restrict your diet, and jump on the cardio machines for 2 hours a day every single frikken day! If I can promise you one thing, it is that you will not reach or maintain your goal doing that! The best approach is placing your focus on resistance training and doing a little less cardio. Heck you want to look good don’t you? Who cares if the scale goes down but you look skinny fat. No one sees the numbers. Keep them to yourself. Frankly I could care less what you weigh. It’s how you look and feel that counts! I know girls who are identical heights, one will weigh 50kgs the other 56kg, who do you think looks better? well If you don’t know you probably weigh 50. Resistance training in its many forms – not just weights – increases your muscle tissue, which intern increase your metabolic health, therefore making fat loss easier and sustainable. Plus you’ll look and feel a whole lot better!
Now this is where things can get tricky and the reason why a lot of females struggle with fat loss, and it is completely overlooked. Now it is obvious to us that that the genetic makeup of females is completely different to that of their male counterparts, it doesn’t take a genius to know that, but why are they treated the same when it comes to fat loss? The female hormones, estrogen and progesterone play a huge role in not only total body fat, but in fat distribution as well. Women tent to store their fat around their waistline, hips and upper legs. These are the key areas where stubborn fat stores are located in both men and women! So knowing the individual, and how their body composition changes during their menstrual cycle can give you some indicators of their estrogen levels. The reason I bring this up is because, the lower the estrogen, the more body fat is stored and the harder it is to burn it! Physiologically women store more fat in the case that they may fall pregnant, the body wants to ensure that the fetus can have an adequate energy supply in times of food deprivation from the mother. Also, the only other source of estrogen in the body is adipose tissue (fat cells), therefore, your body will want to store and hold onto more fat in order to regulate your estrogen levels. This is what makes things tricky. Females then naturally resist fat loss! The key here is to manage estrogen levels to ensure that fat loss is effective and maintainable. Luckily however, there are ways to counteract low levels unlock amazing fat burning potential!
This is what I find to be the biggest battle for the female looking to lose fat. The inner battles with themselves. Men also compete with this, but it often motivates them, whereas with a lot of females it makes them lose motivation and ponder why they are even doing it at all. Impatience, instant gratification, self-acceptance, constant comparison, embarrassment and pleasing seem to have the most detrimental impact of all. The reason restrictive diets and fad diets are so popular is because we are impatient by nature, we want things now, we don’t want to learn and put in effort to seriously benefit ourselves for the future. Of course it’s easier to just follow the newest diet or sign up with a popular coach for next 8 weeks. Firstly, you are wasting your time and money, secondly, it will take even faster for you to regain all of the weight! Until you can accept where you are now, and visualize where you are going to be if you just do things properly from day one, well I am afraid to tell you, that those 8 week challenges certainly do not last a lifetime, and people couldn’t give 2 shits about how good looked for a week, sorry. The biggest step you can take, is actually figuring out why you want to lose fat in the first place, and if the answer is even remotely, because you care about what strangers may think of you, well then you are in for some deep psychological rollercoasters. Focus on yourself, work on you in all aspects of your health, and I promise you will be content. Be patient and do things the right way.
On a final note, I want to appeal to all of you girls out there that are currently on a fat loss journey, I encourage you to take a step back and reevaluate everything. Dissect your diet and training program. It is not complicated, I know you can see what is good and what is crap. Review it all, evaluate it, evaluate your coach, and evaluate your dietitian. Do they care about your long term success or do they care about your long term payments. Are you supported and cared about as an individual, or are just another email or text, the same email or text sent out to multiple others, on different journeys, with different goals?
If you are reading this, hopefully I will reach you one day in the future, and help set you free!