Is Weight Loss Different For Females?

Weight loss is undoubtedly one of the most trending topics of this decade. Type in "weight loss" in a search engine and you'll see what i mean.

Although, fundamentally weight loss for men and women is governed by the same basic principle i.e. "calorie deficit" be it through controlling nutrition intake or increasing energy expenditure through exercise or even a combination of the two. 

The basic theory for weight loss is quite simple:

Calorie Reduction below maintenance levels = Weight Loss

However, how one goes about doing this calorie reduction is where the magic lies. Additionally, most people are more inclined towards losing weight faster, which in my opinion is ok as long as someone is overweight or obese.

Here are two posts of mine that you might like about weight loss:

Losing weight by calorie deficit

Weight Loss Tips

Moving on, consider these two examples of my clients to better understand the process:

Example 1:
Here we have a female whose been trying to lose weight for the past 3 years. In doing so she’s tried every weight loss diet she could get her hands on and performed every random exercise her search results put in front of her.
Three years ago, she was consuming 1800 calories per day, which is pretty standard for a 65 kg resistance trained female. However, after having gone through a yolo type of approach her current food intake is at 1200 calories and she’s not losing any more weight but rather has regained weight and body fat, which had plateaued at 72 kgs few months later. 
In this scenario, if she follows a "Brand New Weight Loss" plan she read about somewhere, she would have no other option but to further reduce her calories well below 1000 calories per day to see any significant weight loss. Anyone who has ever gone so low on calories can attest to the fact that not only is this approach unhealthy but outright potentially harmful as well, both physiologically and psychologically.
This is one potential route towards having an adapted metabolism that will most certainly lead to nutritional deficiencies, hormonal decline, low levels of energy, anorexia (potentially), etc.
So, what did we do in this specific situation. Any guesses?
Well, we started with increasing her calories from 1200/day slowly each week, reducing all extra cardio, adding in more volume of resistance exercise and had her do yoga once per week. After a few weeks of doing this when her calories and body weight came up a little and she started feeling better with her energy levels, we then added cardio back in keeping the calories the same.
Long story short, she lost weight, especially the extra fat, built some lean muscle and was having the best training outcome ever. This whole process took almost a year, but with her complete dedication and trust in the process we were able to achieve great results.
Example 2:
In this example, we have an overweight female currently weighing in at 94kg. Her current food intake is quite high, close to 3000 calories per day and her activity levels are pretty low where she performs activities of daily living only and no exercise at all.
This female has a lot of room for calorie reduction, she simply started with a 10% reduction in calorie intake and along with that added light exercise 2 - 3 times per week. If you think about it, 3 days of exercise per week and consuming 2700 calories to go with it, is a pretty decent effort to lose weight. We did bump her calorie deficit to 30% eventually after her getting used to and understanding the whole process. 
Now it certainly took this female a little over a year to get in shape but during this entire year she not only consumed more food in comparison to the female in the first example but also was doing just enough exercise and had a healthy metabolism which would make sure that she could consume enough food to avoid any nutrition deficiencies, manage hormonal issues effectively, have enough energy to do anything she wants and enjoy her weight loss journey.

I hope this point becomes clear now. Losing weight is not a problem. How and when you start your weight loss phase will determine your outcome. Ever year thousands of people lose weight, the ones that fail to do so are usually either:

  • following the wrong advice or
  • looking for answers at random places instead of actually spending money and consulting with a professional or
  • already have pre-existing health/metabolic issues or develop them by following the wrong advice or
  • don't know what to do so end up doing everything that comes their way.

To keep it simple, either try and get enough good information to coach yourself through a successful weight loss goal or hire a professional. There's no point in wasting time and energy following random advice that is not personalised for you.


Clinical Dietitian Keshav || MSc Dietetics (DFSM), PGND, CNCC

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