by Mutant Nutrition
A large number of people lead an active lifestyle with the aim to lose body fat with minimal muscle loss for aesthetic or performance purposes. This can be taken to the extreme by individuals who are competitors in different aesthetic and/or weight class sports. Given the rise of social media, these fat loss regimens are very popular. However, the cost of following these regimens is not highlighted to the same degree for both males and females.
Indeed, female physiology is different to that of males and so caution is needed. But does female nutrition differ largely from males? Generally, women and men share similar nutritional recommendations, however there are differences that need to be considered when it comes to weight loss.
Women have naturally higher body fat which makes fat loss more difficult. They typically carry less body weight than men, meaning a lower basal metabolic rate & a smaller allowance for calories while cutting. Rapid weight loss influences the hormonal changes that naturally occur around menstruation and can cause the potential loss of menstruation.
Indeed, rapid weight loss can induce a host of hormonal issues and so a gradual approach is desired. This is a lifestyle not a short-term goal. Metabolism differs slightly as women burn more fat during exercise, however men burn more fat during the hours outside of exercise which has a far greater effect. Women also have fluctuating hormones due to their menstrual cycle.
What Effect Does This Have on Dieting?
The Luteal phase (post ovulation) causes a drop-in estrogen which can lead to sugar cravings. This is why some women crave food the week leading up to their period. Due to this fact, it would be best to start dieting at the start of your cycle as this can create an easier way to develop adherence and cause a deficit which may have to be slightly compromised later on.
Please realize it’s natural to want to deviate away from your diet. As cravings begin to occur, instead of going completely off track, we typically recommend maintaining calories but lowering protein intake (normally high) and increasing carbs/fats depending on individual food preference.
Take Home Message
Men and women share similar nutritional needs, however women need to be more flexible and realize that the psychological aspect of dieting can be the biggest challenge. Continual short-term goal setting may help alleviate these struggles.