Does it ever seem like men just have an easier time losing weight than women? That's not reason to despair. With the right plan, women can reach any fitness or weight loss goal a man can — for example, she can follow an exercise plan to lose 30 pounds.
As the Office on Women's Health explains, it's not exactly a misconception that men have an easier time losing weight. Men tend to lose weight more quickly than women because they have more muscle, but that's not to suggest women won't catch up in time.
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And by exercising to increase your muscle mass while burning plenty of calories in the process, you will have an easier time with losing weight than you would if you simply cut calories from your diet.
Here's what women should know about weight loss and how they can create an exercise plan to lose 30 pounds.
Read more: Muscle Toning Workout for Women
The Office on Women's Health offers further insight on the specific challenges some women might face that make weight loss more difficult for them than it is for men. Yes, a man's greater muscle mass (generally speaking) means he will burn more calories at rest than a woman. And because men tend to be physically bigger, they require more calories to maintain weight (or can eat more calories while still losing weight).
Additionally, women might crave sweet or salty foods when they're going through PMS. Later in life, after menopause, women will sometimes gain weight because of lower estrogen levels.
No matter what age you are when setting your sights on wellness, you should set a realistic weight loss goal. The Mayo Clinic defines a realistic starting goal of 5 percent of your current weight, which can help you reduce the risk of chronic health problems like heart disease and type 2 diabetes. For a woman who is 5 feet 2 inches tall and 150 pounds, this would be a goal of losing 7.5 pounds.
If you successfully reach this weight loss goal, you can start to aim for longer-term goals, such as eventually losing a total of 30 pounds. However much weight you're looking to lose, a calorie deficit of 500 to 1,000 calories a day should be sufficient.
The Mayo Clinic, along with the American Council on Exercise (ACE), explains that a calorie deficit of 3,500 calories helps you lose 1 pound. If your deficit is 500 to 1,000 calories per day, that totals 3,500 to 7,000 calories a week — enough to lose weight at a safe, reasonable rate of 1 to 2 pounds weekly.
That means our hypothetical 150-pound woman could lose safely lose 7.5 pounds in as little as four to eight weeks. If she ultimately wants to aim to lose 30 pounds quickly, in three months for example, she might not be able to meet that deadline while losing weight in a healthy way. However, if she is looking to lose 2 pounds a week for 15 weeks, she could still manage to lose 30 pounds in a little less than four months.
An Exercise Plan to Lose 30 Pounds
So, as established, to lose 30 pounds in three months through workout, diet or any combination is too much too quickly. But how can a woman lose 30 pounds over a safe period of time that's right for her?
The Mayo Clinic and ACE make it clear than physical activity is the best way of making your body burn more calories, thus increasing your calorie deficit so that it's greater than it would be with diet alone.
The Mayo Clinic further stresses that everybody — regardless of weight loss goals — should get at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity every week, plus two days of strength training. People who want to lose weight or meet specific fitness goals might require more exercise.
To cut 500 calories a day, ACE recommends consuming 250 fewer calories and burning an additional 250 calories through exercise. If a woman is creating an exercise plan to lose 30 pounds, she can use ACE's physical activity calculator to determine how many calories she would burn in a given workout.
If our hypothetical 150-pound woman walks at a moderate pace of 3 miles per hour for 30 minutes, she would burn 112 calories. This workout alone might not be enough for her to reach those 250 calories she's aiming to burn. If she increases her walking to a brisker pace of 3.5 miles per hour for one hour, she could burn 258 calories.
However, if she undertakes a more aggressive exercise plan to lose 30 pounds by burning close to 500 calories a day (and cutting 500 calories from her diet), she could hope to lose 2 pounds a week. Here are workouts that burn between 400 and 700 calories per hour:
- One hour of moderate aerobic dance could burn 442 calories
- One hour of cycling at 12-13 miles per hour could burn 544 calories
- One hour of running at 6 miles per hour could burn 680 calories
- One hour of casual swimming could burn 476 calories
It's important to note that as she loses weight, a woman will require fewer calories to maintain her weight. If she wants to continue losing weight at the same pace, she may need to burn more calories through exercise and restrict more calories from her diet.