6 Notable Reasons Why Females Find It Hard To Lose Weight

Why Obesity or Fat Gain?

Obesity or Fat gain
Obesity or Fat gain
Obesity or Fat gain is considered to be the result of imbalance of energy where caloric intake is more than the energy expenditure. It is thought that lack of physical activity is a major contributor to the obesity. 

From puberty to menopause, women have more percentage of fat mass (FM) than men and hence, more prone to obesity or weight gain. Coronary artery disease, stroke, diabetes, hypertension, and lipid disorders are commonly associated with obesity.  There are many benefits including cardiovascular health benefits, improved glucose control, decreased blood pressure, and improved dyslipidemia. 

Why Females Find It Hard To Lose Weight

With the above benefits of weight loss it is important to know why women find it difficult to lose weight or what are the challenges that women face during their weight loss journey. 

Reason #1: Natural Phenomena

It is natural phenomena that women tend to have a higher percentage of fat as compared to men.  This difference between men and women is seen not only in fat mass percentage but also in body fat distribution. Additionally, pregnancy is another factor which causes storage of fat in women. It is reported pregnant women accumulate between 2.4 to 5.9 kg of body fat, even in undernourished conditions. 

Women have lower metabolic rate as compared to men. Women may use fat mass as preferential energy source while exercising.  However, women store more fat as compared to men during non-exercising times.

Reason # 2: Bodily Reaction 

Weight loss journey starts with going against your body and mind. You need to have a great will power to stick to your weight loss programme. Decreasing your meal consumption for weight loss causes a reduction in the leptin hormone and rises the ghrelin hormone. 

Leptin hormone is secreted by adipose tissue. Ghrelin hormone is secreted from stomach.  These hormones are believed to communicate with central nervous system (CNS) about availability of energy pool and nutritional status. Calorie restriction due to food restriction and/or excessive exercise results in decrease levels of circulating leptin, and increase level of ghrelin hormone. 

Both of these hormones then trigger hunger status and strong stimulation to eat. Therefore, it may become hard to stick to your diet plan to shed some weight. Another effect of low-calorie intake is that your metabolism slows down. 

Reason #3: Menstrual cycle

Menstrual cycle impacts women’s weight. Hormones which control menstrual cycle to prepare the body for possibility of pregnancy monthly. They also impact pattern intake, expenditure, and storage of energy. The menstrual cycle is divided into 3 phases as follows: 

  1. Menstruation or the early follicular phase which lasts for 1–4 days. 
  2. Late follicular phase which lasts till ovulation occurs. It may may be of 5–15 days.
  3. Luteal phase which lasts for 16–28 days. 

Studies have proven that it is the last phase or luteal phase of the menstrual cycle when there is more increase in energy intakes and energy expenditures as compared to follicular phase.

This inclines women to have more frequent foods cravings, mostly for high carbohydrate and high fat foods. Consumption of these kind of foods increase the chances of weight gain in women.

High-protein diet are supposed to be helpful. It provides a feeling of fullness and thus reduces hunger resulting in low energy intake in subsequent meals. 

Reason #4: Menopause

A seven year long study was conducted by Lovejoy et al about the effect of menopause in obesity and weight management. They defined menopause as no menstruation for one year with elevated levels of follicle stimulating hormone (FSH). They found that there was increase in body weight and total body fat. 

However, there was more obvious gain in visceral adipose tissue (VAT) and central abdominal fat. This weight gain was largely due to a reduction in activity levels. The study also reveals that weight gain is more in overweight and obese women when they approach menopause.

Closely monitoring energy intake and increasing physical activities are advice to women who are lean. This may be sufficient for them to prevent further weight gain. 

For overweight and obese women rapid weight loss is best attained with the help of a very low energy diet. Modification of eating behaviour is life long and needs to be followed strictly.

Reason #5: The Impact of Stress

Low socioeconomic status, conflicts with friends and/or family, stressful work, lack of social support, poor self-esteem, trying to balance home and work life, or caring for a sick loved one are common psychosocial stress factors

Impact of Stress
There are many studies which link chronic stress with abdominal adiposity. Literature also suggest that unhealthy eating and higher body weight is seen more in women than men with higher stress levels. Stressful life events are associated with increased depressive symptoms and people with depression are at a greater risk of developing obesity compared to people without depression.

Overweight or Men and women that are at the upper limits of “normal” weight are more likely to gain weight in response to stress than those that are of lower weight. Elevated insulin level is supposed to be the causative factor in heavier individuals for weight gain in response to stress. 

Stress is common and it is faced by each and every individual in some point in a day. However, women tend to be more prone to feel bad and guilty when their job or occupation start to interrupt their family life. There are many strategies to cop the stress.

  1. Do not shy or hesitate. Talk to your family/spouse about your feelings. 
  2. Priorities family and work-related goals. Make a plan and stick to it.
  3. Deep breathing helps a lot when you feel stressed. Take a deep breath and exhale slowly. Perform 3-4 repetitions at a time.
  4. Walk around and connect with nature.
  5. Meditate

Reason #6: Non-Adherence to Diet Plan

There are a number of diet plans. You can find various best-selling books or website providing different diet plans to quickly gain your weight loss aim. Low fat diet, very low fat diet, keto diet or paleo diet are some to list down. High-protein diets are shown to reduce fat and triacylglycerides (TAG), especially in individuals with dyslipidemia and who are at risk for type 2 diabetes.
Diet plans
Diet plans

Similarly, Low caloric diets may decrease triacylglycerides (TAG) and very-low-density lipoproteins (VLDL) and increase high density lipoprotein (HDL). There is evidence to suggest that Low-glycemic index (GI) diets may provide some metabolic benefit in individuals with type 2 diabetes however, 

Low-glycemic index (GI) diets are not considered to be superior to any other diet for weight loss. All the diets have their pros and cons and may benefit when they are followed consistently. There is a strong relation between adherence to diet and weight loss. Dansinger et al suggested that it is the “sustained adherence to a diet” rather than “following a certain type of diet” which is the key to successful weight management. 

However, all humans are different in terms of hormonal level and metabolic rate. Therefore, one diet plan which benefits other may not have the same impact on your body. Hence, following a diet plan blindly may derail your weight loss journey.

Body composition of men and women differs where women tend to have proportionally more fat mass and men more muscle mass. There are more chances for women than to men to be diagnosed with obesity. Obesity treatments include from dieting and exercise to behavioral, pharmacological, and bariatric surgery. 

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  1. This was an interesting blog post. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Very informative... Very nicely presented

  3. Love this post! Currently 35lbs down but have found lack of water and stress especially can cause havoc when losing weight! Reason #2 was interesting as I hadn't heard this before!

  4. Great information ! Thanks for sharing.

  5. Is so difficult to lose weight being a woman, there are so many factors that prevents us or must I say the process of losing weight is so much complicated for us women.

  6. This is an important point to make; weight gain is not always a simple issue to try and resolve (if needed). There can be a number of factors and it's worth looking into what's best for ourselves as individuals. This has given me something to review in my own life/health.

  7. These are spot on reasons and my partner also told about the reasons. Although she don't need now but she tried before.

  8. This was really informative, thanks for sharing. It was super interesting to learn how biological and hormonal factors play such a significant role in the weight loss journey for women


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