Women and weight loss have always been at odds with each other. Not that it’s impossible; weight loss stories are a dime a dozen, and a lot of women seem to stay in shape without even trying. But it’s true that women are more predisposed to put on weight than men, and tend to have a harder time losing it. It has to do with body composition, natural metabolism, and genetics. This is what most weight loss programs for women are targeting. Here are some of their common features and how you can make them work for you.
Low-carb foods: Reducing carbohydrates is one of the most important elements in a weight loss program. Specifically, you want to cut down on foods with a high glycemic load, not only because they pack a lot of calories, but also because they always leave you wanting more. Weaning yourself off white bread and pasta will significantly shrink your appetite.
Vegetables: Weight loss in women is also largely about getting fuller on fewer calories. Veggies are the perfect example of food with low caloric density; that is, they don’t carry many calories in proportion to their weight. Snack on raw vegetables such as baby carrots and broccoli, and make sure to choose a low-fat dip—or better yet, none at all.
Fiber: Fiber regulates digestion and helps eliminate toxins from your body. While this doesn’t have to do directly with weight loss, it does make you feel lighter and better, which in turn increases your energy level for exercise and physical activity. Beans, lentils, and artichokes are among the best plant-based sources of fiber.
Realistic diets: Avoid any weight loss program that requires you to eat in a radically different way from your normal diet. This only leads to you counting the days until it’s over, and more than making up for the calories you missed once you’re eating normally again. Instead, opt for a diet that gives you the same things in different proportions—a smaller serving of rice, or a side of fruit instead of a cookie.
Ironically, the key to a successful weight loss program is not to aim for weight loss. Instead, aim to live a healthy lifestyle by eating right and getting enough exercise. Considering all the other benefits—from better skin to a lower risk of heart disease—weight loss will only be the icing on the cake.