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Fighting an Uphill Battle of the Bulge

Fighting an Uphill Battle of the Bulge

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Anyone who has lost a significant amount of weight can tell you getting in shape isn't easy. Dedication, sacrifice, and persistence are key ingredients to any successful weight loss plan. However, when it comes to maintaining a healthy figure, women may face a greater challenge than their male counterparts.  Studies show that women's bodies naturally retain more fat than men's, and that this tendency only increases with age. If you're a woman trying to get in shape, this may come as discouraging news - but don't let it. Whatever your age, there are steps you can take to develop and maintain a healthy figure.

Why Losing Weight Is Harder for Women

So why do women have a harder time getting in shape? For the most part, genetics are to blame. Men's bodies naturally contain less fat and more muscle than women's due to the male hormone testosterone. This genetic predisposition means that men generally have faster metabolisms and, as a result, can eat more calories on a daily basis without fear of gaining weight. For example, women who are moderately active need between 1,800 and 2,200 calories a day, depending on their age, whereas men in this same group need between 2,200 and 2,800.

Part of the reason for this disparity stems from women's responsibility for childbearing. When a woman is pregnant, she needs extra body fat to nourish the baby, as well as to breast feed after giving birth. As a result, the female body maintains a constant supply of extra fat in the event of pregnancy.

Wresting Control from Mother Nature

Just because Mother Nature may have stacked the fitness deck against you doesn't mean you have to be a victim of your genetics. Ensuring that you don't consume more calories in a day than you burn off is one way you can effectively manage your weight. Another way is with exercise, in particular weight training. Performing a weight training routine at least twice a week is enough to increase your muscle mass, which will rev up your metabolism and result in more calories burned, even while you're resting.

As you assess your weight-loss needs, a helpful tip to remember is that weight management is best viewed as a means of achieving better health rather than a perfect body. If diet and exercise have helped you attain a healthy weight (which can be determined using a BMI calculator), developing a perfectly flat stomach isn't something you should obsess over. Your time would be better spent thinking about other things...like how your improved health means you're less likely to deal with diabetes, heart disease, and a host of other weight-related conditions as you age.

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