Witnessing how easily some men can shed fat doing the same exercises and following the same nutrition plans as women can be frustrating, to say the least. But for females, it turns out that weight management has a lot more to do with efficient fat storage than an inability to lose weight.
Let me explain: Biologically and evolutionarily speaking, women’s bodies are more effective at storing body fat thanks to the reproductive hormone estrogen. On average, females have 6% to 11% more body fat than men, according to the University of New South Wales. This accumulation of fat allows them to support healthy pregnancies, nourish their babies during lactation, and ultimately, continue the human race. Because men don’t carry children, they don’t need to store fat in the same way.
But body fat isn’t all bad, especially for women. Not only do these extra fat stores give us the option to support life and raise a family, but they’re also metabolically healthier than men’s fat stores.
According to research from The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, women have more brown adipose tissue1 (aka brown fat or BAT) that’s involved in burning calories during a process called thermogenesis2. Generally speaking, higher amounts of BAT3 are found in metabolically healthy adults. The same study found that women have increased gene expression linked to mitochondrial function—i.e., our mitochondria are working harder to maintain metabolic well-being. (Pretty cool, right?)
For women, losing weight has less to do with rigid exercise plans or calorie reduction and much more about optimizing hormonal balance, maintaining healthy lean muscle mass, and implementing healthy lifestyle habits that support metabolism in a comprehensive way. In fact, doing the former can lead to yo-yoing weight, hormones, and energy levels.
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