In my last blog I discussed how men tend to approach nutrition and whilst they have their “commandments” and attachments to condiments they’re generally speaking a little more laid back about the role nutrition plays in their health. Us ladies on the other hand are pro’s at making this a full time business alongside other demanding roles in our lives, like having a career, being a mother, sister, friend, etc. I’ve been totally guilty of this myself in the past, if you bring on the detail I will over analyse, overwhelm, over Google and overthink all of it!
Here are five reasons I feel many women struggle to reach their health goals, especially those related to fat loss. My final escape route from many of these was education. Knowledge is power!
1) They Get Distracted by Diets
Fat loss to women is like the holy grail, it’s out there somewhere but we never find it. I say this because even when my female clients lose weight they are rarely satisfied with the results and push for more, some even dismiss it as muscle loss (can you see me face palm here!) There’s a huge psychological component to weight loss that we often discuss with our Fitter 365 members and at our events.
Fat loss journeys are often fuelled by body image issues and a lack of self esteem, these don’t necessarily disappear as the waistline shrinks. This absence of body acceptance and confidence causes women to be distracted easily by something new and tempted by the next big, persuasive marketing campaign. Many women are also unsuccessful when it comes to fat loss because they don’t stick to one approach for long enough or consider the bigger, stress-filled picture that is derailing the hormones which govern body fat, they are too focused on “diets.”
Despite their better judgement, curiosity often gets the better of women and many will try a diet fad, detox or quick fix at least once. You can guarantee these new “solutions” are expensive, unsustainable and bring only temporary results not to mention the fact that the journey is often pretty miserable too. I consider myself lucky now to have a substantial knowledge base regarding nutrition and how body composition is governed, it enables me to have the confidence to be skeptical and ignore anything that isn’t talking about home cooked food, wholefood nutrition, gut health, daily movement, sleep, stress management, happiness and fulfillment as a sustainable approach to reaching any health goals. If I could pop that into a sachet you take for 14 days, I’d be a millionaire 😉
2) They Fear Foods from Mon to Thurs
Women fear calories, fat in abundance, meat or more lately carbs. Funnily enough none of this applies when it comes to prosecco, percy pigs or many other things that make an appearance across Friday through to Sunday (40% of the week btw). It makes little sense to cherry pick your demons like this. You can be reassured by the fact the body is biologically equipped to digest and metabolise protein, fats and carbohydrates. We have stomach acid and protease enzymes to break down protein, bile and lipase to digest fats and amylase enzymes that allow us to eat carbs.
Glucose syrups, on the other hand, binge drinking, refined flour based carbs and copious amounts of chemicals in processed foods are a relatively new introduction to the human body and send our poor gut bacteria and hormones whizz popping (can you tell I watched the BFG last week!) Each macronutrient serves a purpose and whilst calories are relevant in that we can’t eat tonnes, counting them as a formula for fat loss is flawed and has failed us miserably. The most important thing with nutrition is that the SOURCE of those calories supports optimal digestion and hormonal balance. A degree of personalisation in terms of hitting your protein goal, establishing your carb tolerance whilst balancing the types of fats you consume is beneficial but only alongside …..guess what….yep stress management, sleep and some daily movement. There may be a need for a “healing” period where you rebalance everything and then the odd prosecco will do you no harm.
3) They Give Up On Themselves
I come across a number of women who have simply given up on looking after their own health and put themselves last in the pecking order as they’re too busy focusing on everyone else. Whilst this selflessness is beautiful and generous in so many ways I often have to highlight to many clients the female body isn’t a fan of chronic stress and nutrient deprivation, if continued they’ll be no good to anyone. I see many women eating on the go, grabbing something convenient like cereal, toast, protein bars, nuts, cappuccinos, yogurt and fruit instead of sitting down to a proper meal. Any planned exercise or gym session are easily skipped the moment they are needed for anything else as they feel guilty taking time out. This is the mums, wives, or busy career women who all place the needs of others –be it children, an employer or partner – before an early night, lunchtime walk or chance to eat a substantial meal. Stress hormones and nutrient deficiencies are often one of the causes of weight gain or a fat loss plateau, but sadly many women in this position don’t have time to invest in themselves and simply resort to eating even less.
4 ) They Apply Too Much Pressure To The Process
Women put too much pressure on themselves in many aspects of their lives and nutrition and fat loss are no different. When they wish to achieve something they go full throttle and apply a level of exertion and effort that is often difficult to sustain. In simple terms, they try too hard and the body never likes to be forced into anything. Coupled with the fact women like to give everything their best shot, they are prone to excessiveness. Give a woman a small piece of useful advice to support her health and she instantly thinks more is better, this leads to marathons, HIIT sessions, 10,000 steps becoming 30,000 steps and rain forests being wiped out to supply enough avocados for all those green smoothies. All of these healthy habits have a dose response benefit, just enough is awesome, but too much is likely do more harm than good. Studies have shown the harder you try to lose weight the less likely you are to succeed.
5) They Constantly Compare Themselves
Everyone does this but women certainly more so than men. It’s rare that I find a woman comfortable in her own skin and this is always my first mission, I have to address and change this fact and explain that we all have our own unique snowflake story when it comes to fat loss. Happiness and body acceptance is a huge component of health and the road to success is as much about changing your mindset and lifestyle as it as about changing your plate and putting on your trainers. What works for one person doesn’t necessarily help others, to truly succeed you have to work with your body, genes, gut bacteria and hormones not against them with deprivation, equations and unsustainable methods. You have to love and trust yourself more, be proud of what you see in the mirror and shut off the noise around you telling you anything different. Amen!
Want some more help from me?
Many women I come across constantly worry that they’re doing something wrong and easily become plagued with self doubt. This means they often lack the confidence to stand by their choices and justify their decisions. If you’re interested in learning more about nutrition, training skills and understanding your body, then check out our online membership site, Fitter 365, where you will learn to personalise your nutrition and exercise towards performance goals, lifestyles and fat loss.
Alternatively you can work with me on a 1:1 basis where I assess your entire health history, diet history, current lifestyle and exercise regime. Following the consultation I design a bespoke nutrition, lifestyle and supplement program to get you energised, happy and reaching your health goals.