Diabetes Management

Hey Ladies! Did You Know the Secret to Weight Loss Lies in Your Hips?

Pavitra Sampath ,
April 2022

I’ve been a gym rat for a large part of my life. Especially since I realised that it was the only way to keep my weight in check – something we all struggle with, right?

 

But when I started looking at the science of weight loss, what I found, knocked my socks off!

 

At the risk of sounding cliché, men have it easier – especially when it comes to weight loss. And women have to work a bit harder to shed the same amount of weight.

 

But why is that? And how can we, ladies, beat the odds and hasten the process?

Here are the answers with an easy tip on how you can lose weight more efficiently and keep the risk of diabetes, heart disease and other complications at bay.

 

Why is it easier for men to lose weight when compared to women? 

The difference lies in multiple factors, this includes:

 

Fat distribution: The way men’s bodies are built is very different to that of women, especially where they store fat, which helps them lose weight more easily than women. Men typically carry weight around their midsection (also known as visceral fat), whereas women carry weight around their hips, thighs and butt. 

physiologic sex-differences                                                                                                           Source: Sex and Gender Differences in Risk, Pathophysiology and Complications of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus. Endocrine Reviews

Type of fat: This is also another factor that helps men lose faster than women. The type of fat that men carry around their mid-section is visceral fat. When a man burn off viceral fat, it supercharges their metabolism and helps them burn more calories. 

Whereas, in women, the type of fat they carry around their butt, thighs and hips is called subcutaneous fat. Which is very useful in childbearing and menstruation but does nothing in terms of weight loss. 

Type of muscle mass: Physiologically, men are built to burn fat more quickly because they have more lean muscle mass and a higher rate of metabolism. Lean muscle mass consumes more calories and is metabolically active tissue (tissue that helps increase your rate of metabolism) therefore helping them lose weight faster.

Whereas, in women, we tend to hold on to fat, especially around the thigh, buttocks and hips, as it is meant to help us bear children. Apart from that, our hormones (estrogen) also make it a lot more difficult to lose weight. 

Resting metabolism: Since men have more lean muscle, it helps increase their rate of metabolism; they tend to burn more calories, even at rest. 

In contrast, women have lesser lean muscle and a higher percentage of body fat than men – two factors that slow down metabolism and therefore the fat loss process. 

Calorie intake: Because of the higher lean muscle mass and faster metabolism, men need to eat more calories to meet their resting metabolic rate or what their bodies need to perform essential functions like sleeping and breathing.  This means, they can eat more when they’re trying to lose weight, as compared to women. 

But since women have a slower metabolism, they will have to restrict their caloric intake more than men to achieve the same results. 

Of course, we do not mean you have to starve yourself or be on an unhealthy diet to see results. It just means you need effective and holistic guidance when it comes to your nutrition.  

How does excessive weight affect a man’s body as opposed to a woman’s?

Since men hold weight around their belly (mid-section), it puts them at risk of diabetes, heart disease and several other associated complications. But when they try to lose weight, they tend to lose it faster around the belly, helping them lower the risk of these ailments. 

Pre-menopausal women tend to hold fat around their hips, thighs and buttocks. But if you’re overweight, the fat around your belly can also put you at risk of diabetes and heart disease. 

Also, women who are menopausal hold weight around their abdominal area and are at higher risk of diabetes.

But that’s not all. For example, a study[1] published in the Journal Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism that detailed the results of weight loss in 2,200 overweight adults found that men lost 16 per cent more weight than women when they were put on an 800 calorie (restricted diet) diet. 

The study solely focused on their diet and found that men lost more weight than women around their bellies and had a lower heart rate. Men also ended up having a lower risk of diabetes than women. 

But, when women were on this restricted diet, the results differed. 

Women experienced a more significant reduction in their HDL cholesterol (Good cholesterol), bone mineral density and lean body mass. 

And finally, the type of fat that men lost was healthier than the type that women lost. 

While we’d like to talk about all the ill effects of being on a restricted diet, one striking effect was the loss of lean muscle mass in women – that slows down your metabolism and, in effect, weight loss. 

Therefore eating less does not equal healthy weight loss.

So, the solution is to be on a diet that is personalised to you and your body type. 

How can women hasten the process?

The key: Working on the muscles of your thighs, buttocks and hips – reducing the fat in that area. 

Here’s how strength training or lifting weights can help you lose weight faster:

  1. Lowers your risk of diabetes and heart disease: A great way to lose weight and strengthen the muscles in your thighs, buttocks, and hips is by strength training or lifting weight. And when you work on those areas, it can help lower the risk of diabetes[2] and heart disease[3]. 
  2. Increases lean muscle mass: Lifting weights helps increase lean muscle mass, especially when complemented with a healthy diet. Lean muscle, as mentioned, helps give your metabolism a boost and aids in faster weight loss. 
  3. Strengthens the muscles of your thighs, buttocks and hips: Your thighs are the largest muscle in your body. It requires a lot of energy to sustain itself. Therefore when you build that muscle, it’s your own fat-burning machine! The more muscle there is, the better your metabolism, even when you’re at rest – throughout the day. Also, women who are menopausal hold fat around their abdominal area, which puts them at a higher risk of diabetes. And resistance training (lifting weights) can help mitigate that risk by lowering the fat around your belly. 
  4. Reinforces your bones and heart and makes you more agile: Strength training also helps strengthen your bones by reducing bone loss of bone density, which is very common in women, especially as we get older. It also helps you feel stronger and makes you more agile. 

But, losing weight does not mean jumping on the fad-diet bandwagon. Instead, it means eating healthy and exercising regularly – especially with strength training. 

The final word: 

Technically, there’s no way to lose fat in one specific part of your body – your thighs, butt, hips, arms or anywhere else. But you can follow an exercise regimen that helps you target specific muscle groups, that helps build them and burn fat all over. 

So, performing exercises like squats, lunges, wall sits, or simply climbing stairs can help strengthen the muscles in your lower body and burn fat around your midsection. 

Before you start any form of exercise, you must speak to your doctor to ensure it’s okay for you to engage in the forms of exercise you want to – especially if you have a high Body Mass Index (BMI)

You should, ideally, have an expert guide you through the process of strength training, especially if you’ve not exercised in a long time. In addition, an expert can help design your exercise program as per your fitness level and ramp up its intensity as you continue to get stronger. 

If you’re a woman trying to lose weight or just become more healthy, you should seek the help of experts. And that’s where Fitterfly’s program Reset23 comes into the picture. At Fitterfly, we give you the benefit of having a trained physiotherapist, nutritionist and psychologist by your side at all times. They can not only help you reach your weight loss goals safely with the best results but can also help you manage all the stress and worry that comes with it. 

Apart from that, it is a program designed specifically for you, your health concerns and limitations but will also help you get stronger in the most holistic way. 

Sounds like something you’d like to try? Call us at 022 48971077 Ext. 2, or check out our program at https://www.fitterfly.com/reset23.

References: 

[1]Ruixin Zhu, Mikael Fogelholm, Elli Jalo, Sally D. Poppitt, Marta P. Silvestre, Grith Møller, Maija Huttunen-Lenz, Gareth Stratton, Jouko Sundvall, Ian A. Macdonald, Teodora Handjieva-Darlenska, Svetoslav Handjiev, Santiago Navas-Carretero, J. Alfredo Martinez, Roslyn Muirhead, Jennie Brand-Miller, Anne Raben, Animal-based food choice and associations with long-term weight maintenance and metabolic health after a large and rapid weight loss: The PREVIEW study, Clinical Nutrition, 10.1016/j.clnu.2022.02.002, 41, 4, (817-828), (2022).

[2]Bret H Goodpaster, F Leland Thaete, David E Kelley, Thigh adipose tissue distribution is associated with insulin resistance in obesity and in type 2 diabetes mellitus, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Volume 71, Issue 4, April 2000, Pages 885–892,https://doi.org/10.1093/ajcn/71.4.885

[3]https://doi.org/10.1161/JAHA.118.008675Journal of the American Heart Association. 2018;7:e008675

[4] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3872139/

[5]WHO | Diabetes. World Health Organization; WHO [Internet]. 2016 Available at: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs312/en/ Accessed July 12, 2017.Google Scholar

[6]Iwahashi H, Noguchi M, Okauchi Y, Morita S, Imagawa A, Shimomura I. Extent of weight reduction necessary for minimization of diabetes risk in Japanese men with visceral fat accumulation and glycated hemoglobin of 5.6-6.4%. J Diabetes Investig. 2015;6:553-559.

[7] https://doi.org/10.1161/JAHA.118.008675Journal of the American Heart Association. 2018;7:e008675

Image source: Kautzky-Willer A, Harreiter J, Pacini G. Sex and Gender Differences in Risk, Pathophysiology and Complications of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus. Endocrine Reviews. 2016 Jun;37(3):278-316. DOI: 10.1210/er.2015-1137. PMID: 27159875; PMCID: PMC4890267.

 

 

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