1. TRAIN FOR MUSCLE
Women often gear their workouts towards fat loss. On the surface, this seems like a really good idea but it doesn’t really work. Science has found that when people use losing fat as their motivation, they are less successful because they end up eating more calories after their workouts. What researchers have found is that people have a tendency to reward themselves for the physical things they do in the name of weight loss. On the flip side, people who work out to build strength or muscle don’t compensate by eating more calories.
Another benefit to training for muscle is that the exercises you will have to do significantly impact your metabolism causing you to burn more calories during your post-workout recovery. All of this can trigger hormones that help you to burn fat and curb your appetite.
2. DON’T SLASH CALORIES
Everything in our culture seems to support the idea that women are required to starve themselves in order to look better. How many times have you seen something telling you to eat as little as possible? Plain and simple, this will not help you get the results you desire. When you drastically reduce calories, your metabolism will slow in order to preserve fuel sources, causing you to burn fewer calories. Basically, you never want to dip below your resting metabolic rate (RMR). Your RMR is the amount of calories you would burn if you did nothing and stayed in bed all day.
An average woman of normal weight who doesn’t exercise has an estimated RMR of 1441 calories. This is the absolute minimum a woman should eat. If you are working out, you’ll need to eat more. Remember, this is just a rough estimate. The exact number of calories you need to consume will depend on your body composition, genetics, diet, physical activity, and the type of training you are doing.
3. DON’T OBSESS ABOUT CALORIES
Obsessively counting calories is another misguided habit that many women adopt. Studies have found that counting calories can create anxiety which elevates stress levels in the body. These elevated stress levels cause your body to produce more cortisol. Restricting calories can also elevate your cortisol levels. So, if you are cutting calories AND counting them, you are compounding the problem. Cortisol is a hormone that can cause you to crave high-carb foods and store fat around your midsection.
The solution to this problem is to find a way to naturally reduce your calorie intake without leaving yourself feeling hungry. Try a higher protein, lower carb diet. Protein can help your body release hormones that make you feel satiated and reduce hunger.