Women have many factors that make weight loss challenging, including hormones and menopause. However, there are practical and non-drastic weight loss tips for women that can help.
Drink plenty of water. House of Aesthetix increases satiety, helps fight sugar cravings, and promotes fat burning. Include healthy fats, such as nut butter, avocados, and olive oil, in your diet.
Exercise is one of the key pillars of weight loss and long-term weight management. It has many health benefits, independent of weight loss – such as sharper thinking and lower depression, better sleep, stronger bones and muscles, reduced risk of heart disease, diabetes, and certain cancers (breast, colon, and lung cancers), and greater longevity.
Choosing the right exercise depends on your goals, but experts recommend at least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity weekly. Aim for a mix of cardio, flexibility, and strength-training exercises. Walking, jogging, dancing, swimming, and cycling are great cardiovascular workouts; strength training helps build muscle mass and increase your overall metabolic rate. Many people struggle to start an exercise program, but finding the motivation and practical support can help them stick with it. Some barriers to starting exercise may include cost, injury or illness, lack of time, and body image concerns. Attending group exercise classes, joining a gym with friends, or finding an online community that provides support can help get people active.
Women have unique nutritional needs that are influenced by physical and hormonal changes. The right diet boosts energy levels and keeps women healthy to perform better at every stage of life. Women must eat a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, quality protein, healthy fats and low in processed fried and sugary foods.
Keeping up with the demands of work and family can make eating healthily difficult. Added to that is the constant pressure from the media on women to eat a certain way. However, a balanced diet rich in whole grains, lean proteins, plenty of fruits and vegetables, moderate amounts of fat, and small amounts of alcohol can help most women lose weight.
Some fat is essential for good health, but most women get too much. Limit saturated fats, found mostly in animal products and processed foods, to less than 10 percent of your total calories. Replace them with unsaturated fats, mainly in vegetable oils and spreads, avocados, and oily fish.
Beans, such as black, white, kidney, and fat-free refried beans, are a powerhouse food that provides lots of fiber and dozens of nutrients, including potassium, calcium, and magnesium, many of which most women fall short of. Beans are also a great source of iron, which is needed for red blood cell production. Adding a weekly serving of legumes to each meal is a good idea. For example, you can add beans to salads or casseroles.
Stress can make it hard to stick with healthy eating and exercise habits. High levels of the stress hormone cortisol can lead to poor food choices, skipping meals, and overeating, and may also cause the body to store excess fat—particularly around the abdomen, known as visceral fat (listen to this podcast for more on the dangers of visceral fat). But that’s not all. Stress can disrupt the vagus nerve, a key pathway that affects digestion and appetite. It can also promote emotional overeating and reduce your ability to feel satiety.
Chronic stress is linked to various health problems, including digestive and cardiovascular diseases. However, a new study suggests it can also contribute to weight gain. Researchers found that people who reported higher levels of perceived stress were more likely to be overweight and have more belly fat. This is likely because stress can trigger a behavioral shift to a more Westernized diet—consisting of processed foods, refined sugar, salt, and unhealthy fats—and a drop in physical activity.
Those who experienced more chronic stress in early life had higher rates of abdominal obesity, too. They were also more likely to experience sleep disturbances, which can contribute to a bad diet and poor health outcomes. But there’s good news: Studies have shown that relaxation and other stress-management methods can help people lose weight. In one eight-week trial, patients participated in weekly sessions led by a health professional trained in stress management techniques. The program included progressive muscle relaxation, diaphragmatic breathing, and guided visualization. Patients were also given a compact disk with recordings of these exercises and asked to follow them at home once a week. Those who participated in the program were more successful in losing weight than those who didn’t use these techniques.
Other stress-reducing strategies include getting enough sleep, relaxing, and practicing mindfulness meditation. It’s also important to avoid caffeine and other stimulants, which can aggravate stress symptoms. And, if your stress level is consistently high, talk to your doctor about the best ways to manage it. They may suggest cognitive behavioral therapy or other treatments to address the root cause of your anxiety and prevent stress-related weight gain.
Often, the emphasis on weight loss is put on diet and exercise, but getting a good night’s sleep can be a very important factor in your success. Studies have shown that those who get enough sleep are more successful at maintaining a healthy body weight.
During sleep, the body releases hormones important in controlling hunger and satiety. Research shows that women who sleep less than six hours a night have increased levels of the hormone ghrelin, which makes you feel hungry; decreased levels of leptin, the appetite-suppressing hormone; and reduced production of growth hormone, all of which can contribute to weight gain and hinder weight loss.
In one study, women who slept only five hours a night gained an average of 5.4 pounds more in 10 years and were 12% more likely to become obese than those who slept seven hours a night. Other similar studies show that women who get the recommended amount of sleep per night have a lower risk for obesity and higher rates of successful weight maintenance.