YMCA Healthy Living Magazine, powered by n4 food and health (Spring 2014) - Page 6

KATE SAVE, APD Kate Save is an Accredited Practicing Dietitian and Exercise Physiologist. She is the director of Peninsula Physical health and Nutrition (PPN), with locations include Mornington, Frankston, Sorrento, Rosebud, Somerville and Langwarrrin (VIC). Find out more about Kate at www.n4foodandhealth.com WHY WOMEN HAVE MORE WEIGHT ISSUES THAN MEN Have you ever wondered why a lot of men seem to be able to eat anything they want and their weight doesn’t change? Yet if some women even glance at those same foods they tend to gain weight? Unfortunately we are not all created equal! Nutrition expert, Kate Save explains. T he physiological reasons for increased weight gain in women, compared to men can include: • A woman’s metabolism is about 15 per cent slower than a man’s. • Women have approximately 40 to 50 per cent less upper body muscle mass than men, which means they burn less calories. • Women’s bodies are better at lipogenesis (fat creation and storage) and men’s bodies are better at lipolysis (fat breakdown). • Women must carry a minimum of 13 per cent body fat, for essential functioning and reproduction. This is compared to men, who only need a minimum of three per cent body fat (although do note that 20 to 25 per cent body fat in women, and 10 to 15 per cent in men is recommended for health). • Women’s heart and lung capacities are one third smaller than men’s, which means that when exercising, men often find it easier due to their increased oxygen levels and circulation. Additionally, some psycho-social reasons for the weight gain discrepancy between genders, may include: • There is a greater tendency for 6 women to eat emotionally, due to hormonal influences. • Traditionally, females are surrounded by more food temptations than men, due to the familial responsibilities of food purchasing and preparation. • Traditionally, females are less likely to work in labour-intensive positions in the workforce than men and, therefore, tend to burn less calories in everyday life. So what can women do to minimise their chances of gaining additional body fat? The first change that should be made is to become more physically active, either by doing more incidental activity or more planned exercise. Did you know that following a high intensity bout of exercise, the rate of metabolism is elevated for up to 38 hours after you’ve finished? This effect is called “EPOC (Excess PostExercise Oxygen Consumption)”, which is also known as the “afterburn”. With regular aerobic exercise, this postexercise energy expenditure will positively contribute to helping achieve any weight loss goals. Secondly, women should change their diet in order to help increase their metabolism. One of the most important ways this can be achieved is by eating regularly. Dieting and skipping meals, YMCA HEALTHY LIVING MAGAZINE SPRING 2014 especially breakfast, tells the body it’s in a famine and tends not work in your favour in terms of long term or permanent weight loss. Skipping meals results in a metabolic disaster, which may unfold like this: Your hunger cells turn on and your satiety cells (sense of fullness) switch off. So, if you are overweight, even though you have plenty of fat stores, the brain behaves as if you are starving. A consequence of this is the loss of conscious signals that tell you when you are full and when you are hungry. A common sign that this is occurring in overweight people is that they don’t feel hungry when they get up in the morning, which of course, may then result in skipping breakfast. Unfortunately, what then happens is the brain interprets this as a signal for more starvation, and further shuts down the metabolism. This is why one of the biggest risk factors for obesity is skipping breakfast. By improving your diet and getting an individualised exercise program, you’ll be able to get your metabolism working in your favour!