Almost 37% of adults in the United States are obese, and another 32% of adults are overweight. Obesity continues to be one of our greatest health problems, and the problem isn't going away anytime soon.
Weight management for women faces its unique challenges. Women are influenced most by the change in hormones from puberty to menopause.
But the most important thing about weight loss is knowing where your body stands and what you can do with it. This is why proper weight management for women includes weight loss blood tests.
If you've lost some weight but are struggling to keep it off, keep reading this guide. You'll learn everything you need to know about weight management for women.
What Is Weight Management for Women?
Weight management for women is a lifelong process, and this process changes throughout the phases of life. And sometimes, losing weight doesn't seem as easy as it does for your male counterpart. But this is not entirely true.
While men lose weight more quickly at first, the weight loss evens out over time. Men have more muscle than women, and because muscle burns more calories than fat, they tend to lose weight faster.
And since men have more muscle to support, they can eat more calories than women and still lose weight. For this reason, portion control is much more important in women looking to manage their weight. Weight loss for women takes proper care and management, but it's not impossible.
Menstrual Cycles and Weight Gain
Your menstrual cycle in itself doesn't affect weight gain, but having periods affects your weight in other ways. Weight management during menstrual cycles is more difficult due to premenstrual syndrome. When you're close to starting your period, you naturally crave more sweet and salty foods than you usually would.
And while your menstrual cycle doesn't affect your weight, gaining or losing weight too quickly can cause you to have irregular periods. Some women even have their periods stopped altogether, which is not good for your health overall. A regular period is a signal of good health, and reaching a healthy weight can help you regulate your menstrual cycles.
Menopause and Weight Gain
Managing your weight after menopause can become much more difficult. It is harder to lose weight after menopause, and most women gain anywhere from 5 to 10 lbs after menopause.
After menopause, your estrogen levels decrease, which plays a massive role in weight gain after menopause. Also, after menopause, women tend to get into the habit of not eating healthy and being less active. The loss of estrogen combined with the lack of activity slows your metabolism way down.
If you've been through menopause and are struggling with your weight, the best thing you can do is stay active and track the foods you eat daily.
Aging and Weight Gain
Women need fewer calories than men, and this becomes more prevalent as we age. Women tend to be smaller, with less muscle and more body fat. A woman needs between 1,800 and 2,000 calories a day, depending on age and activity.
Once you're over 50, your daily calorie requirement dips down to 1,600 calories daily if you live a sedentary lifestyle. As you age, increasing the amount of physical activity you get is more important than ever.
Risk Factors of Not Managing Your Weight
Your weight plays a huge role in your overall health. When you're obese, you put yourself at higher risk for developing chronic medical conditions. Being overweight is linked to health problems like:
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- Certain types of cancers
- Gallbladder issues
- Sleep apnea
Generally, if you're at least 40% overweight, you're twice as likely to die prematurely as someone with an average weight. Most doctors advise anyone who's at least 20% above a healthy weight to lose weight if they have risk factors such as:
- A family history of chronic disease like diabetes or heart disease
- A pre-existing medical condition like high cholesterol or high blood sugar levels
- If you have an apple-shaped body and carry weight around your abdomen
The great news about weight loss is that it takes only a small amount to make considerable changes in your health. Losing just 10 to 20lbs can lower your blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
Causes of Being Overweight and Underweight in Women
Managing weight loss is almost impossible until you understand the causes of being overweight or underweight. Lifestyle habits are the common cause of obesity, but certain medical conditions and medications can also play a key role.
Physical inactivity is one of the leading causes of obesity. If you're sedentary, you burn far fewer calories than active people do.
And if you don't incorporate any physical activity in your life, overeating will lead to even more weight gain. Eating fast food, fried food, or foods high in fat and sugar pave the path towards obesity.
Sometimes, genetics play a part in obesity. If your parents are obese, you're more likely to develop obesity yourself. There is also a genetic cause of obesity called leptin deficiency. A hormone produced in fat cells, leptin controls weight by sending signals to your brain to eat less when your body fat is too high. If you don't make enough leptin, this signal is lost, and obesity occurs.
Diseases like polycystic ovary syndrome, hypothyroidism, and insulin resistance also contribute to obesity. Causes of being underweight include:
- Family history of being underweight
- A high metabolism,
- Frequent physical activity
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Mental illness like depression or anxiety
Your mental health suffers overall when you're overweight or obese, and there is a tendency to turn to alcohol more often.
Signs and Symptoms of Being Over and Underweight in Women
When you're overweight or obese, you'll develop various symptoms that will start to hurt your daily life. These symptoms often include:
- Extra fat accumulation around your waist
- Sweating more
- Feeling short of breath
- Difficulty sleeping
- Back and joint pain
- Feeling depression, shame, or low self-esteem
Being underweight can lead to malnourishment and poor overall health. If you're underweight, you'll notice certain signs and symptoms like:
- Dizziness or fatigue
- Bone loss and fragile bones
- Hair loss
- Trouble getting pregnant
- Irregular menstrual periods
- Weak immune system
- Poor growth in children
In children, you'll notice they're smaller for their age, become sick more often, and don't put on weight.
Weight Management and Lab Testing
Lab testing is crucial in weight management. Oftentimes, being underweight or overweight is partly due to a medical or hormonal condition in your body.
Lab testing for weight management includes checking your thyroid, hormones, blood sugar, and blood levels. It's also important to have your cholesterol and lipids checked to see where you stand overall.
Lab Tests for Weight Management in Women
There are excellent weight loss blood tests for weight management you can order. One of the first tests is a complete blood count (CBC), which checks your blood's red blood cells, hemoglobin, and overall health.
Next is a comprehensive metabolic panel (CMP), which checks the status of your glucose, electrolytes, protein levels, liver, and kidney function. The CMP is an excellent indicator of how your organs are functioning.
A total iron-binding capacity test will determine if you have low iron levels or an inflammatory process that can contribute to your overall health and weight management.
A lipid panel will measure your total cholesterol, HDL and LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides, giving you a clearer picture of your heart health and what foods to focus on eliminating.
It's also a good idea to have a TSH test done. This test will establish a baseline of how your thyroid is functioning and screen for diseases like hypothyroidism.
A vitamin B12 level is also a great tool to identify the causes of anemia, malabsorption, and more.
An estrogen level is helpful to know where you stand, as hormone levels and menopause directly influence your weight.
FAQS About Weight Management
How do I know if I am a healthy weight? The two best ways to check your weight are to measure your body mass index and waist circumference.
Is a healthy weight the same for each person? The answer to this is a big no. Each person is a unique individual. Some people are short, and some are tall. Your healthy weight target can vary depending on age, especially for women after menopause.
Is there a fast way to lose weight? The answer is no. While you may see plenty of television ads promoting products that promise weight loss, but they don't bring long-term results. You're best to set realistic goals, eat healthily, get active, and change your lifestyle slowly, one day at a time.
Weight Management in Women With Ulta Lab Tests
Ulta Lab Tests offers highly accurate and reliable tests, allowing you to make the best decisions about your health. Here are some things to love about Ulta Lab Tests:
- Secure and confidential results
- No need for health insurance
- No need for a physician's referral
- Always affordable pricing
- Always a 100% satisfaction guarantee
Order your weight management lab tests today, and you'll receive secure online results in 24 to 48 hours in most cases.
Take charge of your health and order your tests from Ulta Lab Tests today!