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Women and Weight Loss: Why Are We Different?

According to the Obesity Action Coalition, more than 29 percent of female North Carolinians are considered obese.

Losing weight is different for women than men for several reasons. Men have more muscle mass, which burns more calories, men have faster metabolism, and there are hormonal differences.  The following is some advice for women who are trying to lose weight.

Mind Over Matter

The first step to following a healthy lifestyle is to change your mentality, and know that stress impacts weight loss. Learn to recognize the factors that cause stress eating.

Ways to deal with stress:

  • Meditation
  • Affirmation and goal setting
  • Visualization
  • Exercise


Making Food Work for You

Maintain an overall healthy diet and remember these four rules:

  1. Sugars and starches are not your friend.
  2. Eat vegetables in abundance – as long as they grow above ground.
  3. Moderate, high-quality proteins
  4. Do not be afraid of fat!
    • Replace saturated fats with polyunsaturated or monosaturated fats


  • Highly processed foods of minimum nutritional value (sweets, berries, nuts, legumes and whole grains).


  • Healthy proteins and fats, vegetables, leafy greens, fruits, berries, nuts, legumes, while grains.
  • Complex carbohydrates over simple sugars: low glycemic index over high glycemic index foods.
  • High-fiber foods over low-fiber foods.

Food Diary

Keep a daily log to capture a complete list of the foods you are eating.

Use food tracking websites such as: Calorie

iPhone Apps


Healthy Movement

No matter how busy you are, it’s important to take the time for exercise.

Tips to Exercise:

  • Set a timer for 5 minutes and walk at a pace that makes it hard to say more than 3-4 words at a time.
  • Get 10-minute workout videos on YouTube.
  • Get 7-minute work-outs on phone apps.

Goals for Exercise:

  • To maintain optimal health 150 minutes per week of moderate intensity activity
  • For active weight loss 150-300 minutes per week of moderate intensity activity
  • To maintain weight loss 200-400 minutes per week of moderate intensity activity

Seeking Medical Help

In some cases, diet and exercise are not enough, and medical assistance is needed. Speak with your physician about the option that is best for you.

Benefits of Medical Help

  • Improvement or remission of obesity-related diseases
  • Weight loss
  • Maintenance of weight loss
  • Diminution or disappearance of cravings
  • Changes in eating behaviors (obsessive eating, improved eating control and diet adherence)


Surgical Options

Are you a Candidate for Weight Loss Surgery?

Use the following checklist and speak to your physician to help determine if you’re a candidate for weight loss surgery.

  • BMI>35 with co-morbidities or >40 without
  • Healthy enough to undergo a major operation
  • Failed attempts at medical weight loss
  • No uncontrolled psychological conditions
  • Consensus by multi-disciplinary team
  • Understands surgery and risks
  • Must be dedicated to a lifestyle change and lifetime follow-up

About Tehmina Adnan, MD

Dr. Tehmina Adnan is a board certified internal medicine physician with WakeMed Physician Practices – Primary Care – North Raleigh specializing in the comprehensive care of adults. Her special interests range from preventive care to complex, chronic medical illnesses including hypertension, diabetes, high cholesterol and asthma.