Women's Weight Loss Tips

Read these 17 Women's Weight Loss Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Womens Fitness tips and hundreds of other topics.

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What do I do if I am discouraged with my diet?

Don't Think of it as a Diet

You've been on a diet since you were 14. You've tried the grapefruit diet, the low-carb diet, the no-carb diet, the starve-myself-until-dinner-and-then-binge diet and perhaps even the popcorn diet. Throw all the fad diets out the window and re-think the way you lose weight. Diets have been proven to cause compulsive eating and give you a sense that food is forbidden or dangerous. If you deprive yourself of something as natural as eating, you will only want to rebel and eat more.

When you yo-yo diet you put your metabolism through a loop, making it impossible to keep weight off. Change the way you look at your nutrition and rely on your natural hunger to do its job. Eat (healthy) food when you are hungry and stop eating when you are full. Trade the ice cream, fries and candy for fruits and vegetables, and all you will have to reach for in the refrigerator are healthy things. If you change the concept of the way you exercise, lose weight and feel about yourself to focusing on what you can do and can eat, you will no doubt be more successful at your weight loss goals.

   
What are some ways I can control my portions?

Portion Control

A calorie chart alone won't do it! To lose weight you must consider portion control. This can be hard to do in the land of super-sized portions, but here are a few pointers to get you going in the right direction.

  • Portions at restaurants are often out of control. It's cheaper and better calorie-wise to eat at home. Only eat at restaurants on special occasions. If you usually go out to eat with friends, suggest a walk with your friends instead of a meal. This way you will avoid that extra treadmill workout you would have to do to compensate for all the calories you ate.
  • The easiest way to monitor your portions is to simply eat half of your meal. Eat half of your sandwich and replace your bag of chips with crunchy carrots. If you are at a restaurant, eat half of your meal. You can even ask the waiter or chef to give you a take-out container with your meal so you can immediately put half of your meal in box when it arrives.
  • Buy pre-packaged, low-cal dinners. This can make portion control easy, as microwavable or pre-made dinners are usually much smaller than your average full-sized dinner. You can find these at almost every supermarket.
  • Check nutrition labels for servings sizes. Most people reach into a bag of chips absent mindedly, but those handfuls add up. A serving size of meat is only three ounces. This is the size of the palm of your hand! A serving size of cheese is about the size of two domino squares. Only one half of a small bagel is a serving size. Reference the food pyramid put out by the FDA to find out how many servings of each food group you should have.

   
Should I set a diet goal?

Set Realistic Goals and Reward Yourself

If you are trying to lose weight, it is important to set realistic goals. When you reach a goal, reward yourself. If you set realistic goals, you will be more likely to stick with them and be successful. This in turn increases your motivation to lose more weight or improve your health. Instead of trying to lose 60 pounds in three months, shoot for one pound per week or four pounds per month. It can also help to have broader goals like running a 10k or bike seven miles without stopping.

Give yourself an incentive to reach your goals by rewarding yourself. Dieting can be exhausting, but resist the temptation to reward your new healthy habits with a calorie-laden meal or dessert. This will just put you on track for another treadmill workout. Instead, put away money for every pound you burn so that when you reach your weight goal you can buy yourself something. You could also go get a manicure or pedicure, massage, see a movie or go to the beach and enjoy a good book in the sunshine. A reward will serve as a reminder for all the hard work you put into reaching your goal. It is an opportunity to throw out the calorie chart for a day, relax and enjoy your success.

   
Where should I start when couting calories?

Counting Calories

Calorie counting can be frustrating for women, but it doesn't have to be. The amount of calories you need depends on your weight, age, height and activity level, but calorie estimates can still be helpful. To lose weight, you first need to determine how many calories you need to maintain your current weight. This is also called your basal metabolic rate (BMR). Once you know your BMR you can cut calories and factor in the amount of exercise you need in order to lose weight. The formula for BMR for women is:

655 + (4.3 x weight in pounds) + (4.7 x height in inches) - (4.7 x age in years).

If you do little to no exercise, multiply your BMR by .2. If you are lightly active, multiply your BMR by .3. If you exercise most of the days in a week, multiply your BMR by .4. If you exercise everyday at a high intensity, multiply your BMR by .5. This is your BMR and the amount of calories you need per day to maintain your weight.

One pound of fat is equal to 3,500 calories. In order to lose one pound of weight per week, you need to cut 500 calories from your daily diet or integrate exercise into your weight loss plans to burn fat and calories. No matter what your weight goals, do not consume less than 1,200 calories a day. When you eat less than 1,200 calories per day, your body will most likely go into starvation mode and store your calories instead of burn them. Use a calorie chart to keep track of what you eat and join a fitness gym to kick your body and metabolism into shape.

   
Where do I start?

Getting Started

Congratulations on your decision to lose weight and become a healthier person! Although it can seem tedious at times, if you stick with a solid weight loss program you will be successful no matter what.

To figure out how much weight you need to lose, first calculate your Body Mass Index (BMI) by using this formula: (weight/height in inches) x (height in inches) x 703. If your BMI falls between 18.5 and 25, then you are considered to be at a normal weight for a woman. If your BMI is between 25 and 30, you are considered overweight. Once you have figured out your BMI, you will be able to determine how much weight you need to lose to fall within the “normal” weight range. It is okay to diet if you are within the "normal" weight range and still want to lose a few pounds or maintain your weight.

Remember that weight loss is a life decision, not just a diet decision. Incorporate both exercise and healthy eating into your daily life. Change your attitude towards your body. If you see your weight as something impossible to transform, you will not succeed. Think of yourself as able and ready to change and you will be on your way to your weight loss goals. So love your body, have confidence in yourself and get to that treadmill workout!

   
What is BMI?

BMI: Body Mass Index

Today, many people are talking about BMI. What is it? BMI stands for Body Mass Index. It is a number that is calculated from a woman's weight and height. Although it does not directly measure body fat, a BMI reading has been shown to correlate with body fat measuring methods such as underwater weighing. According to the Center for Disease Control, the following method is used to calculate BMI:

Formula: weight (lb) / [height (in)]2 x 703

Calculate BMI by dividing weight in pounds (lbs) by height in inches (in) squared and multiplying by a conversion factor of 703.

Example: Weight = 150 lbs, Height = 5'5” (65")

Calculation: [150 ÷ (65)2] x 703 = 24.96

A BMI of below 18.5 is considered underweight. From 18.5 to 24.9, the BMI is considered normal. If your BMI is 25 to 25.9, you are considered overweight. Obesity begins at a BMI of 30. Although BMI can be a useful method for calculating body fat, there are some caveats. A highly muscular woman will obviously weigh more. However, this does not mean she has more body fat.

   
What is considered a healthy weekly weight loss?

Healthy Weight Loss

Let's do the math: If 3500 calories equals one pound of body fat, you either need to eat 3500 calories fewer, or burn an additional 3500 calories. How much time do you think that you can realistically do this?

If a diet plan claims that you can lose seven pounds a week, that means that you will be eating 3500 calories less per day. Were you really eating that much more than 3500 calories a day? Probably not. the same applies to exercise. Consider that running burns about 100 calories per mile, even if you ran a marathon, you still would not burn up one pound of body fat. Fast weight loss is usually water loss, as opposed to fat loss.Additionally, fast weight loss slows down your metabolic rate. As soon as you return to normal eating habits, since your body has grown accustomed to less calories, you gain back the weight twice as quickly as you lost it.

For lasting results, aim for a healthy weight loss rate of one to two pounds a week.

   
Where do women accumulate body fat?

Weight Loss and Body Fat Distribution in Women

You don't need to read Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus to realize that men and women have different patterns of body fat distribution. In general, men tend to accumulate fat around their abdomen, giving them an apple or "android shape, whereas women accumulates body fat around their hips, thighs and buttocks, which results in a pear or "gynoid" shape. This fat can either be subcutaneous, which is fat placed under the skin, or visceral, which is fat that is close to the internal organs. Since abdominal fat is usually visceral fat, it can pose health risks such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer and respiratory diseases. In contrast, the subcutaneous fat that accumulates around the hips thighs and buttocks can make a woman susceptible to biomechanical injuries of the lower body.

You have probably noticed that even the best women's weight loss program may not get rid of as much lower body fat as she would like. However, there is a reason for this. Certain female hormonal functions, such as childrearing, require a basic amount of essential fat.

Although this may sound discouraging, the news is not all grim. Even though it may be harder to lose weight around your lower body, losing body fat around the abdominal area is relatively easy, provided that you follow a healthy weight loss and diet plan. In the mean time, be sure to read the chapter on strength training! Developing your upper body will make your lower body appear slimmer. It will also rev up your metabolic rate, which will accelerate the results of your weight loss program.

   
What is the best exercise for weight loss?

Lifestyle Changes for Weight Loss

What is the best workout for weight loss? This is perhaps the most common question presented to fitness and weight loss professionals. The simplest answer is: the one that you enjoy the most. It sounds like a no-brainer, but consider this: How likely are you to adhere to a program that you simply don't enjoy? Let's take this one step further. When it comes to exercise adherence, studies have shown a direct correlation between convenience and compliance. In other words, if you're your fitness center is an hour's drive from your home, how likely is it that you will go on a daily basis?

So now that we've answered that question, are you interested in learning about the most effective weight loss program? It's called lifestyle change. Here are some simple things you can do to enhance your weight loss program. No equipment or gym membership is required:

  • Walk it off: If you can walk to work, great. If not, consider parking further away from your office. Go for a walk after meals. The Europeans have known about this for years.
  • Take the Necessary Steps to Burn Fat: In other words, get out of the elevator and on to the staircase. Walking steps also builds beautiful butts!
  • Go Ride a Bike: It saves on gas, burns fat and is eco-friendly.
  • Lose the Remote Control: Yes, we're only talking about a few calories here. But lying on the couch with the remote leads to a generally lazy attitude.
  • Fidget: Don't laugh! The mayo clinic has found that people who engage in "non-exercise activity thermogenesis" such as fidgeting and postural changes burn more calories throughout the day than folks who remain immobile.

   
How can I burn fat to lose the last five pounds?

Don't Fall For Fat Burning Gimmicks To Lose Those Final Pounds

The best way to burn fat is to exercise with a combination of cardio and strength training. But many women get frustrated when they hit a weight loss plateau. You lose weight, and then the scale seems to stick at that last five to 10 pounds.

Don't abandon your fitness routine and turn to magic bullets or quickie fad diets to burn fat. Instead, revisit your calories. The bottom line in weight loss is that you need to burn more calories than you consume, but if you reduce your intake too drastically, your body goes into starvation mode. If you have only a few more pounds to lose, your body may be fighting to hang on to every ounce.

You may actually need to eat a little more to jumpstart your metabolism and burn fat. Just stick to healthy food, not junk foods. And reassess your goal. If you are within a few pounds, you may be at the healthy weight you want, and if you stick with your fitness plan, your body may move off the plateau with a little more time.

   
What is the best workout for weight loss?

Add Mileage, Lose Weight

Looking for the best workout for weight loss? Tie on a pair of running shoes. Running burns more calories per hour than almost any other aerobic activity.

Depending on your gender, size and body type, running burns anywhere from 500 to 1,300 calories per hour; this outpaces most other forms of exercise. If you're a regular runner and weight loss is your goal, gradually increase your weekly mileage by adding a mile or two to your runs a few times a week. For example, if you might normally run three miles (or for half an hour) one day, add a mile (or another five to 10 minutes). But remember: If you increase your mileage one day, drop it back the next day. If you build up too quickly, you'll increase your risk of injury.

If you are new to running, start by alternating running with walking and gradually build up the time spent running vs. walking.

   
What can I eat to help me lose weight?

Vary Your Veggies

OK, vegetables may not top your list of fun or exciting foods. But if you make an effort to buy and eat a variety of veggies, you'll probably end up eating more of them as part of your diet. Many women's weight loss successes can be maintained with some dietary changes.

Think of going to a salad bar; you wouldn't just load up your plate with one thing when there is so much variety. Make variety your mantra when you are shopping for vegetables. Don't just buy broccoli and force yourself to eat a huge plate of it. Instead, choose broccoli, carrots, and cauliflower, cut them into small pieces and dip in a light vinaigrette dressing.

   
What diet program has most consistently proven to have good results?

Weight Loss through Weight Watchers

In the past three decades, some of the wackiest diets have been marketed to the American public. If studies have proven one thing, it's the fact that fad diets do not work. The only program that has remained consistently tried and true is the Weight Watchers Program

Even if you are not the type of person that enjoys going to meetings, the Weight Watchers variety of plan provide a number of flexible options that suit your lifestyle. Unlike the no carbohydrate diet and forms of utter insanity, these diets do not restrict you from eating the foods that are crucial to maintaining optimal health. They are also strong advocates of exercise for weight loss, which is a positive factor in itself. In fact, their website is constantly updated with information about the latest fitness programs.

When you join Weight watchers, you have the choice of two plans. The Flex plan allows you to eat the foods that you like. However, you will control how much of these foods you can eat. In contrast, if you require a more disciplined plan, the Core Plan focuses on healthy foods with occasional snacks in small quantities.

   
What is one of Orbach's alternatives to dieting?

Susie Orbach's Fat is a Feminist Issue

Although Susie Orbach's Fat is a Feminist Issue was published in 1981, it is still one of the best books that attack the issue of women's weight loss. Some of the concepts discussed in Orbach's book include:

  • Unrealistic expectations regarding your life after weight loss: Many women believe that if they can only lose 10 pounds, they will get the guy, get rich, get a promotion, win the lottery (well, maybe not) etc. When life doesn't automatically become amazing after weight loss, they regain the weight.
  • Compulsive Overeating: One of the questions women should ask themselves is whether or not they are really healthy when they reach for something to eat. Orbach contends that women often overeat, and thus gain weight because fat is a protective mechanism.
  • The Yoyo Diet Syndrome: You've been "good" on your diet for a few weeks, so you are rewarding yourself when you go away for a weekend. However, come Monday, you know that you are going back to the "diet jail," so you eat everything in sight. Since your metabolic rate is probably lower due to food deprivation, you can end up gaining more weight than you have lost.
  • Feeding the Clock instead of the Stomach: This is perhaps one of the biggest issues in regards to weight loss. Do you eat at noon, even if you are not hungry? Have you ever consumed hundreds of calories of salad in an attempt to avoid eating a cookie, only to eventually end up eating that cookie anyway? Orbach suggests that we eat only what we want, and only when we are hungry.

   
Are skin fold caliber effective?

Body Fat Measurements with a Skin Fold Caliber

Using a skin fold caliber to measure body fat can be effective, if, and only if it is done correctly. For an accurate reading, you must be sure to measure in the exact same spot each time. Otherwise, if you have been following an effective weight loss program, you will be rewarded with the instant gratification of experiencing "less pinch for the inch. Remember: to lose fat, you need to burn fat.

Some of the common sites to perform a skin fold body fat test are:

  • Measure at a point that is midway between the shoulder and the elbow. Keep your arm relaxed, with the palm facing downwards. The triceps tend to be one of the areas of the body that accumulates fat. Make sure that you are supplementing your weight loss program with strength training, which will tone the muscle and speed up your metabolic rate.
  • The Abdominal Area: In order to lose weight around the abdominal area, you need to burn fat through aerobic exercise. Fat around the abdominal area is, in some cases, an indication that you might be eating too many high fat foods. However, if you have been following a healthy fitness and weight loss plan, you will like what you see when you use your skin fold caliber to measure body fat in this area. Measure about 15cm. from your belly button.
  • Your skin fold caliber will come with an instruction manual, which will explain the other sites to test for body fat. For best results, follow the instructions as carefully as possible.

   
What are the symptoms of hypothyroidism?

Thyroid and Weight Loss in Women

Most of us know a woman who eats a healthy diet, exercises regularly, but still seems to be carrying a few excess pounds. What is the reason for this? Is she secretly eating high fat or high calorie foods? Probably not. The more likely explanation is that she is suffering from hypothyroidism, which, according to studies, is one of the most frequently missed diagnoses in modern medicine. Since this disease affects women eight times more frequently than men, it can often be the the culprit responsible for stalling the progress of even the best women's weight loss program.

Symptoms of Hypothyroid

  • Unexpected and unexplained weight gain
  • Depression
  • Low Energy
  • Memory Loss
  • Cold Hands
Although doctors are unsure of why there seems to be a sudden epidemic of women suffering from hypothyroidism, there are some theories. It is quite possible that products such as aspartame, found in diet sodas, and soy, which is often suggested as a low-fat alternative to dairy products might contain compounds that suppress normal thyroid functioning. Although a test at the doctors office is you best bet for diagnosing hypothyroidism, there is a simple home test you can try. When you wake up each morning, take you underarm temperature. If it is consistently lower than 97.8, and you are experiencing symptoms, consult your physician.

What Can be Done?

  • Get 30 minutes of sunshine on a daily basis. Sunlight is said to improve thyroid function.
  • Get enough iodine by eating dark green, leafy vegetables
  • Ask you doctor to prescribe a thyroid medication

   
Are body fat scales accurate?

Calculating Body Fat with Fat Loss Scales

There are a few things you should consider when using the dreaded scale as a method of determining your weight loss.

  • As you exercise, you will be adding more muscle, which can weigh significantly more than fat.
  • As you continue to work out, your bone density will increase. While this might mean that you will see a few extra pounds on the scale, the added bone density has an important benefit: It may protect you from developing osteoarthritis.

When you want to measure your progress in a fitness and weight loss program, your best bet is to keep track of your body fat percentage. Body fat is lost through diet and aerobic exercise. Losing body fat will not only improve your appearance: It can protect you from health issues such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer. Here are the most common methods of measuring body fat.

Body Fat Scales: Some companies, such as the Tanita, manufacture a body fat scale for home use. These scales make use of a method known as bioelectrical impedance to measure your body fat percentage. This method involves a low-level electrical current is passed through your body. Then, the "impedance", or opposition to this current is measured. The result is calculated in conjunction with your weight, height and age to determine your body fat percentage. While this may sound like the easiest way to calculate body fat, there are some caveats. For example, the amount of water in your body, your skin temperature and recent physical activity might influence the results. To ensure accuracy, do not eat or drink for four hours before taking the test, and avoid exercise or 12 hours prior to the test.

   
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