Here, FEMAIL takes a look at some of the reasons slimming down can be a struggle and reveals some simple strategies for kick-starting weight loss.
Understanding the effect of metabolic rate – or how fast or slow your body processes foods – is an important factor, said the nutritional expert.
In particular, women, because they have less muscle mass and a higher percentage of body fat, have a lower metabolic rate.
‘That’s something our hormones control. So if women lose too much body fat they lose their menstrual function, so there is a reason women have more weight.
‘But, that can also mean women are more prone to weight gain.
She explained the total number of calories that a female expends is always less than the total calories of an equivalently-sized male.
‘Females can’t eat as much food as males, but given meal, sizes are all equal, there aren’t smaller sizes for women.
‘But in actual fact, a female may often need a smaller meal, when other things, such as age and activity level, are taken into consideration.’
If a male sat down to the same meal, she said, a male would have a much better chance of burning it all off than a female who would have a higher chance of storing it
The expert also outlined how an emotional attachment to food can also play havoc for those wanting to get some control over their diet and lifestyle.
Kate said women have more of an emotional attachment to food because of forged connections through a range of different experiences, especially those from childhood.
Our relationships with food are formed before we can walk or talk, which means food is one of our first sources of comfort.
Having this sort of emotional imprint can mean food decisions can be impaired, the nutritionist said.
‘There’s no doubt that males and females both respond to stress by eating, but females tend to connect more with food on a general level.’
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A SMALL AMOUNT OF EXERCISE CAN MAKE A BIG DIFFERENCE
Kate said she encourages anyone wanting to make changes to take up exercise – even if it’s something as simple as a daily walk after meals.
‘Physical activity is important because muscles take up glucose and improve insulin resistance or insulin sensitivity,’ she said.
She outlined that exercise makes the body more efficient at using insulin, and reducing blood sugar levels, and reducing an inflammatory state in the body.
‘It’s more about the health benefits than the weight loss. Exercise can be preventative against growing more fat cells if it is done regularly,’ she said.
HOW FAT SCARRING CAN AFFECT THE BODY
Despite the fact that many take action to change their lifestyle, losing weight can be a persistent challenge, especially if there has been scarring to fat tissue.
A new study from University of Exeter in the UK looked at the effect of a gut molecule called LOX (Lysyl oxidase) on the body and how it can make weight loss difficult.
The research found that when fat tissue became distressed, scarred and inflamed, the body was unable to soak up calories, in turn making it harder to slim down
Four simple ways to kick-start weight loss
Incidental activity: If signing up to a gym is too daunting at this point, Kate recommends looking for daily opportunities to increase exercise. This can be as simple as taking the stairs at work, or getting off the bus or train one or two stops earlier
Intermittent fasting: Kate advocates for using the principles of the 5:2 diet for help the body to release fat stores. This diet means you consuming a “normal” number of calories five days a week and then, for two, non-consecutive days, eat just 25 per cent of your usual calorie intake
Portion sizes: Not only have plate sizes gone up, but people are eating more courses than in the past
Mindless snacking: People feel like they are supposed to snack several times a day when this goes against the science of letting the body have a break from food