6 Healthy Weight Loss Tops For Women
Page last updated: 6th February 2024
There are many ways to lose weight quickly. But most fad diets or extreme weight loss routines (usually targeted at women!) can damage your overall health and well-being. If your diet is too restrictive, or your fitness goals unsustainable, you increase your risk of burning out or giving up.
Making gradual changes to your lifestyle can have a big impact on your life, leading to a happier lifestyle and a greater chance of success. Here we discuss what it is that can lead to weight fluctuations for women, and give some of our top tips for healthy lifestyle changes that can support weight management.
Is Weight Loss Different For Women?
Before we get into our top tips for women’s weight loss, it’s important to first understand that (as shown by studies) weight loss can sometimes be more challenging for women than for men - often due to a range of physiological, hormonal, and societal factors. While not all women will face the same challenges, some factors that might add to the perception that weight loss is harder for women include:
- Hormonal fluctuations: Women experience hormonal fluctuations throughout their menstrual cycle, pregnancy, and menopause. These hormonal changes can affect metabolism, appetite, and energy levels, making weight management more complex.
- Metabolism differences: On average, women tend to have a slower metabolism than men. Metabolism refers to the body's ability to burn calories for energy. A slower metabolism can make it more difficult to create a calorie deficit, which is essential for weight loss.
- Body composition: Women generally have a higher body fat percentage than men. Fat tends to be distributed differently in the body, with women often storing more subcutaneous fat (under the skin) and men storing more visceral fat (around internal organs). Subcutaneous fat is usually more stubborn to lose.
- Societal expectations: Society often places a strong emphasis on appearance and body image for women, which can lead to stress and pressure to conform to certain beauty standards. This can then have a negative influence on dieting habits, leading to a negative relationship with food..
So, if you’re finding your weight is fluctuating, the first step is to understand that these could be natural changes in your body. Realising why you might be gaining weight, whether that’s through an unhealthy lifestyle, stress or simply your body changing as you get older, is an important first step.
6 Healthy Weight Loss Tips For Women
If you do find yourself feeling like you’d like to trim up, or you’ve been advised to lose weight, then we always recommend focusing on achievable goals that are kind to your body and support your overall wellbeing. Here are 6 weight loss tips for women, that will help you meet your goals in a sustainable way.
Start with small, healthy changes
Make small changes you can stick to rather than drastic changes that are hard to maintain. For example, rather than completely banning sugar from your diet, just cut back your chocolate intake a little each week, or go for healthier dark chocolate instead.
Or, rather than cutting food from your diet, you could instead focus on including more lean protein or fruit and vegetables as the first step to healthier living - if you fill up on nutritious food like this, you’re less likely to be hungry for high-calorie or ultra-processed foods. Plus you’ll start to feel better in yourself and feel energised and ready to move more.
Making small changes like these will have a better effect on your health in the long run and means you can create a new lifestyle rather than unsustainable diet cuts.
Know your "why"
What’s your motive for getting fit? Do you want to lose weight for an event, to perform better in a sport, or to feel more confident? Set a clear motive; you’ll work harder with something to aim for. Some of the benefits of maintaining a healthy weight include:
- Reduced health risks - the NHS links obesity to health concerns like type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease and even some types of cancer, and carrying a heavier weight can also take its toll on your joints and bones.
- It’s easier to be active - extra weight can be restrictive and heavy on the body - losing fat can mean a boost in energy that makes moving around, whether that’s in the gym or at home, much easier.
- Imprroved confidence - while it’s important to be happy in your own skin whatever your weight, sometimes feeling your body getting heavier can have a negative effect on self confidence. If you’re finding this happening to you, then focusing on your health and wellbeing could help you feel better.
- Better mental health - being active and eating a healthy diet can have an incredible impact on your mental health, helping to fight stress and ease depression. If you’re struggling with down days, focusing on your own wellbeing can sometimes be the ticket to happier days.
Have a think about whether any of these could be your ‘why’ and use that as your motivation for the days where you may be struggling.
Set realistic goals
Seeing results quickly is not always realistic. Dramatic weight loss approaches involve making big changes which are hard to keep up with, in the long term.
Your height, weight, fitness level and goals will determine how much weight you lose, and ideally, this will be gradual and sustainable.
It’s likely that your weight gain will have taken many months or even years, so don’t rush weight loss and expect results overnight. By focusing on longer-term goals and gently introducing healthy lifestyle changes, you’ll be more likely to keep the weight off in the long run.
Consider introducing one or two new SMART goals every couple of weeks. SMART stands for: Specific, Measurable, Realistic, Time Based
“I want to exercise more” is too vague. Pick a specific goal, e.g. I want to do a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise five days a week.
Make sure you can easily measure your achievements, e.g. daily minutes of exercise.
Is the actions needed to achieve your goal realistic? Putting a goal of never eating chocolate again or exercising for two hours a day is unlikely to be achievable and sets you up for fail.
What is the time limit to your goal? This could be a date you want to lose weight by, or a minimum amount of time you want to achieve your goal for (e.g. working out every day for 4 weeks).
Consider your calorie intake
If we regularly consume more calories than we burn, our body will likely store those additional calories as fat on our bodies. Likewise, reducing the number of calories we consume can cause the body to use fat (and, sometimes muscle) to energise the body.
We’ve already mentioned the importance of a healthy, balanced diet, but having an understanding of how many calories you’re consuming, and healthy ways you may be able to reduce that number, could help if you’re trying to lose some weight. Calorie counting doesn’t work for everyone though, and in some cases can even lead to an unhealthy relationship with food, so be aware of whether your understanding of calories is helpful for you.
If you are keen to achieve a calorie deficit then the two key ways to do this are:
- Increasing your daily activity by moving more throughout the day
- Reducing how many calories you take in from food and drink
We cover this in more detail in our How Many Calories Should You Be Eating to Lose Weight guide, including how to measure your calories and understand how many you burn every day.
We’ll say it again, the key here is to focus on sustainable, healthy changes. Don’t completely change your routine on day one; instead, start with small steps you can stick to and more importantly enjoy the process. Consistency is key when it comes to losing weight and keeping it off.
Lift some weights
While cardio is the training style most regularly associated with weight loss, Iit’s important to include resistance and weight training into your workout routine - yes even women! Many women worry that weight training can lead to a ‘bulky’ appearance, but this isn’t the case (unless it’s your goal!). .
When we say ‘weight loss’ what many people primarily want is actually ‘fat loss’, with the ideal goal being to shape and tone up. Without weight training, you risk losing both fat and muscle mass, so are less likely to maintain all the incredible benefits that come with healthy muscles.
We cover the benefits of weight training for women in this guide, but some highlights include reduction of issues like osteoperosis, better posture, boosted strength and even a boosted metabolism.
If you’re not sure how to lift weights, ask a personal trainer for help or book an induction and learn how to use the gym equipment. Or you can check out some of our best weight and strength training workout plans for women here:
- Full body toning workout plan for women
- The best barbell exercises for women
- Kettlebell workouts for women
Find activities you enjoy
Finding a healthier lifestyle is about more than just how much you weigh - there are other indicators of health, like reduced stress and healthy sleep patterns.
Improved fitness is a fantastic way to feel healthier in both your body and mind and, by discovering something you enjoy, you’ll likely find an increased confidence and appreciation of who you are. Plus, all the benefits can help with weight management too!
Find an exercise you enjoy, whether that’s walking, resistance training, HIIT, rowing, running, dancing, a new sport or heading to a fitness class with friends. Whatever gets you moving more is likely to be beneficial for your body and soul, plus it’s great fun!
If you’re feeling uninspired, check out some of the best exercises for women’s fat loss here.
Ultimately, try to focus on the long game by making small changes to your routine, instead of pushing yourself quickly and experiencing burn- out. Long term, sustainable changes are the key to weight management and a healthier, happier you.
Wherever you are on your health and fitness journey, PureGym offers both women and men safe, friendly and welcoming spaces to work out. Find a gym near you and become a member today. You could also consider signing up with a personal trainer who can recommend lifestyle changes and workout plans to support with improved fitness and weight management. Alternatively, check out our women’s fitness hub and find the perfect workout for you.