For a good majority of women, fat and weight control related issues have always been very important. Most eat and exercise in order to maintain a healthy weight. While some women find that staying trim comes naturally and they don’t have to work very hard at it, others find it pretty difficult to take off a few unwanted pounds most especially as they grow older.
Body image, sexuality and self-image are generally intricately interwoven for women. However the perceptions most women have of their own bodies and also the perception of those whose bodies they love have mostly been negatively impacted by all sorts of social and marketing influences. The media today basically want women to have bodies of pubescent girls that are lean, taut, have hips out, curves out, whose breast must be appropriately perky and youthful with a visible musculature. This is a very high demand to say the least, considering the age factor and the challenges of female hormones.
Sexual empowerment for both men and women begin with high self-esteem and positive body image. When a woman is comfortable with her appearance, size, and shape, she’s naturally more tuned to her senses and her sexuality takes on a whole new meaning and more readily want to have sex, try new positions, ideas and sexual techniques. However it is disheartening the degree to which women of today stake their happiness, their future, and/or their sexuality on some fantasised weight loss or other such personal physical “improvement”.
It’s also interesting to note that while the anger felt by most women about the pressure put on them by the society to have perfect bodies is understandable, most women’s appearance is not only scrutinised more carefully by other women but often unfairly criticised by the women themselves. The problem is that most women cannot help but compare themselves. It can arguably be said that most women dress for other women – though they dress to please men – it is what other women say that matter most to them. Men can more easily compliment themselves but this is hardly so for women – who are in a constant competition among themselves to win the supposed “Miss Fit” contest. In fact, women are far more critical about the shape of their bodies and weight than men are about them.
Why do women add more weight than men? A woman’s lifestyle (unbalanced dieting and lack of exercise) and her female hormones are the big culprits when it comes to talking about excess fat in women. Women seem to pay a much higher social price for their excess fat while fat men somehow “get away with it”. Most fat men get fat by eating too much but this is not always true for women. Naturally, male hormones keep muscle mass high and fat levels low but apparently the reverse holds true for female hormones.
Food is made up of calories, or units of energy. Physical activity and normal body metabolism burn calories. When a person takes in more calories than the body uses, the extra calories are stored as fat. These fat cells enlarge or decrease in size depending on the balance of energy in the body. The metabolic pathways of female hormones favour the reduction of calories used in generating body heat and increasing the storage of body fat by increasing the use of calories to make fat. In general, women’s metabolism tends to turn more of their calories into fat, while men’s tend to produce more heat from calories. Thus Women get fat more easily than men, and it’s harder for them to lose fat.
Most women are actually about the right size, but are unhappy with their shape because they compare themselves with women in the media. However, sometimes weight becomes a real problem physically, medically, emotionally, and/or psychologically. A woman who carries around many extra pounds has a bigger burden than the literal weight as she will be prone to measure herself first, before any personal accomplishment – considering her weight a primary personal failure.
In reality, women should take a more retrospective look at their lifestyle, and the demand being made on them by most of the media. The point is that much of women’s frustration about body fat is a mistake. The desire for those super-skinny female celebrities in magazines is based on a misconception. Even a fit, healthy woman would be hard-pressed to achieve the body of these young celebrities. When consideration is given to issues such as pregnancy, motherhood, full-time careers, menopause, and aging in the life of an everyday woman, these over-rated media-hyped models should really vanish into oblivion. Women are simply just setting unattainable goals for themselves.
When women start becoming more confident and taking a more positive attitude toward their bodies, they soon start realising how sexy they really are and can be. The truth is that every woman definitely has some positive qualities about her body – which might be her cute feet, heavy breasts, long eyelashes, super-shiny hair, or marvellous curves. Every woman is unique and while she might be busy looking down on some of your features, there are others wishing they had them. Therefore it is best to be yourself, inside and out and be proud of your physical qualities, enhancing and accentuating them as they are part of your overall sexuality.
However, this is not about disregard for healthy standards. Being overweight can increase a woman’s risk of heart disease, breast cancer and diabetes. It also can complicate pregnancy and it may even make getting pregnant more difficult. Long term studies indicate that the overall risk of developing chronic disease is generally related to one’s body mass index (BMI) as follows: BMI under 20 (may be associated with health problems for some women – e.g., anaemia, eating disorder, increased susceptibility to infection); BMI 20-25 (risk is very low – healthy weight); BMI 25-26.9 (risk is starting to increase – caution zone: overweight); BMI 27-29.9 (moderate risk – overweight); BMI 30+ (high risk – obese).
Your health risk is only partially determined by weight as there are other risk factors such as poor diet, alcohol, lack of exercise, smoking, high blood pressure and of course female hormones, all which play important roles. However, in their desperate attempt to get rid of fat, some women resort to fasting or to weird, unbalanced dieting gimmicks that simply worsen the problem.
There are many positive actions a woman can take to feel better about her weight as taking good care of her body will help her feel more attractive. If you feel your BMI needs some reduction, especially for health reasons, a healthy balanced dieting to get rid of excess fat is a good starter and women in general should eat as much healthy food as possible. Also routine aerobic exercising to enhance the body’s ability to burn fat will help reap the rewards of a healthier, happier and better sex life.
Emotional health is the key to being beautiful. Therefore, self-pride and self-responsibility are imperative requirements, if you want to establish and maintain weight control, a healthy exercise regimen, or some other physical routine. Starting a healthy balanced dieting habit and adding routine exercise will make you feel good about the fact that you are taking positive steps to achieving a fitter, firmer, and overall more healthy body – all of which will make you feel better about showing it off.
However, women should be optimistic but realistic about the prospect of losing excess weight because the fatter a woman is, the less competent her body is at releasing fat from fat cells; preventing calories from entering fat cells and burning fat for calories. As a result, the fatter she is, the less able she is to get rid of fat. The fatter and more out of shape a woman is, the slower the fat loss becomes. Prevention, they say, is better than cure.
Whether you are curvaceous, delicate, muscular, thin, or plump, your body type is part of your sexuality. So start on a healthy balanced diet and routine exercise regime because the sexiest women are those who are most comfortable in their own skin.