Weight loss, hormones, and self acceptance: Women’s health 2 of 4

Many of the questions I received via my Instagram account @dearfitkris when I reached out for topic ideas for this series pertained to weight loss. 

I’m not an expert, or even an authority in the fields of weight loss, nutrition, or metabolic processes as I have stated many times throughout my site. But, I have gleaned a fair amount of knowledge about these subjects through my own personal research. 

Fat loss in particular is a topic that a lot of women are interested in. 

It’s very important to distinguish fat loss from weight loss in general.

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Building muscle, incorporating cardio, and proper NUTRITION NUTRITION NUTRITION, are all what is going to help give you the lean look you’re probably striving for when you say you want to look “toned.” 

I said nutrition 3 times, in case you didn’t notice, because whenever you are looking to lose fat you need to make sure you are getting enough nutrients.

It’s widely recommended to get 0.8-1 gram of protein per pound of LEAN body mass per day. This is optimal if you’re looking to build muscle, burn fat, and stay satiated. 

However, this isn’t universal and depending on your goals that number could vary. It’s important to talk to you doctor, in addition to a nutritionist or health coach whenever you are going to be making changes in your diet.

Changes in your diet have a domino affect. 

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They influence your hormone levels, your mental health, and most obviously your gut flora. That being said, I especially advise you to discuss any issues you may be having with your healthcare provider before you go ahead and make changes blindly. 

If you’re struggling with indigestion, bloating, or general symptoms of IBS and think cutting out a certain food group might help, you should hold off before you have all the facts. 

If you eliminate something from your diet completely many allergy tests won’t be able to pick up whether or not you have a sensitivity to that specific food. 

Make sure you get the advice of a doctor or dietician who specializes in digestive health. Not all allergy tests are created equal. It also doesn’t hurt to get a blood panel of your hormones and metabolic levels. 

Women tend to lose weight at a slower pace than men become of their differing hormone levels. In general, men have faster metabolisms due to their body compositions and their ability to retain muscle more easily than women.

For more information about weight loss for women, and how it differs from weight loss for men, check out the sites I’ve linked below.

But, before you do, stick around to dig a little bit deeper into WHY you want to change your body.

You know those women who have perfectly beautiful and healthy bodies but are always talking about some new diet fad or how they’re trying to get “back in shape?”

Take a step back and ask yourself: Am I one of these women?

Sometimes we get into a habit of constantly trying to change our bodies, whether that be through dieting or exercising, because we think that’s what we should be doing. When in reality, we’re doing more harm than good.

It’s been shown that yo-yo dieting (meaning losing weight, then regaining weight repeatedly) and excessive exercising that goes beyond hitting the gym a couple times a week (I’m talking the kind that gives you hypothalamic amenorrhea) have serious health implications. 

That’s not to say you shouldn’t go the gym regularly, prepare more nutrient dense food, or strive to drink more water. Because you absolutely should!

But where weight loss is concerned, ask yourself these few questions before you embark on another potentially treacherous weight loss journey:

Photo by bruce mars on Pexels.com

Why do I want to lose weight?

Am I in a healthy BMI range? 

Are there other things I could do to feel more balanced and healthy that don’t involve the number on the scale? What are they?

Is my consumption of health magazines, pictures of women on the internet, or depictions of women in my favorite TV shows influencing what I believe I should look like?

How do I feel when I look in the mirror?

How do I feel when someone compliments me?

Meditate on these answers and make sure you’re not practicing self-deprecating behaviors by constantly comparing yourself to others and tearing yourself down.

If you do make the decision to change your body, make sure you’re doing it for YOU and not for anyone else.

Don’t forget that when you make the decision to FEEL better, love yourself at any weight, and practice self acceptance daily, weight-loss can be an unintended byproduct of these things. 

Check-in with yourself regularly. Be aware of how you’re talking to yourself. Take mental notes on the beliefs you have about your body, who you are, and how these things affect your habits.

Information about weight loss for women:
Yes, Men Lose Weight Faster Than Women
Men vs Women: The Weight-Loss Battle
Weight loss and women

Thanks for reading!

Be well xx.

Let’s talk women’s health: 1 of 4

This post is the beginning of a series on women’s health!

Women’s health isn’t synonymous with health in general. It needs to be recognized as intricate and essential in its own right. Topics in women’s health are generally relatable to broader health topics.

But, being that the female reproductive system is what makes females, female, there are many wellness topics that are unique to women. So, although this series isn’t specifically on women’s reproductive health many issues naturally overlap.

Now, you may be thinking: she’s about to tell me if I am male feel free to click away now.

However, if you were thinking that you would be wrong.

In fact, to the contrary. I HIGHLY encourage male readers to tune in even more closely because this is a conversation that involves you too!

The goals of this series, and this blog in general, is to empower women to take control of their health and encourage men and women alike to engage in insightful conversation about women’s health specifically and the issues that the modern woman faces.

An article published on World Health Organization website (WHO) lists the top ten issues for women’s health and among them are maternal health, mental health, and violence against women. These are all very serious issues. Each of which hold implications for a woman’s health beyond a specific incident, or series of incidences.

We’ve all heard of the ripple affect. You throw a stone into a pool of still water and watch the ringed waves around the stones imprint upon the water expand tenfold.

Now imagine that in terms of a woman’s health.

For instance, did you know that a woman who has experienced sexual violence is more likely than the average woman to give birth to an underweight baby?

Or, did you know that medication dosage standards are primarily adapted for the male body?

Or that women of color are more likely to die during child birth?

These are just a few of the many startling facts about women’s health that need to be addressed.

We need to feel comfortable talking about these issues before there can even begin to be a valiant effort at resolving them. Many times women simply don’t feel comfortable coming forth with the concerns that they have (I can relate) in fear that their questions will seem trivial or like a waste of healthcare workers’ precious time.

Often times, we forget that our healthcare providers work for us and want to put our minds at ease while taking care of our bodies the best they can.

Living in the USA means that we have some hefty kinks to work out where healthcare is concerned. But, our bureaucratic issues pale in comparison to some parts of the world where a woman’s husband has to sign a permission slip in order for her to be treated by a doctor.

That’s not to say the issues that the American woman faces in the minefield of our healthcare system aren’t, dire; because they are so incredibly urgent. However, it is equally important to shed light on the issues that women face globally.

In one of my Public Health courses the class came to the realization that the United States health care system acted more as a disease treatment system.

That is why public health promotion, prevention, and journalism couldn’t have picked a more pertinent time to become exceedingly burgeoning fields.

When defining positions that a person with a Masters in Public Health might assume, I remember raising my hand and asking: Could there be a way I could combine my passion for writing and public wellbeing?

My very astute professor, who had begun his career years ago in the trenches of door-to-door Epidemiology, paused for a moment and replied, “I don’t know of one specifically off-hand, but I don’t see why you can’t create one.”

I remember being so excited by the idea that I could create a space for health writing that was both meaningful to me, personally, and the public.

It has taken time for that seed to germinate and bloom in the form of the renaissance of my blog, my personal training career, and not least of all, my aspiration of drawing attention to global health issues. And also, inspiring others to join the conversation while equipping them with actionable information.

Please, leave me topics that you would like to see addressed/discussed in this series. You can comment below, or find me on Instagram @dearfitkris .

Thank you to all those who read, share, and comment on my posts, on WordPress or on my Instagram account.

Be well xx.

Lifting weights won’t make you look like a bodybuilder

As a trainer, as someone in the gym a lot, and as a bodybuilder myself, I constantly hear the phrase “I don’t want to lift weights because I’m not trying to look like a bodybuilder.”

Women, specifically, ask me for workouts that are tough–but not too tough.

They fear getting “bulky” and “manly.” These women clients typically describe their ideal body as “toned.” Not all women have this same ideal though.

But the one’s whose fears I’m trying to quell with this post usually think muscles are synonymous with men and are for men, and men alone to have.

Our westernized culture assimilates muscularity with masculinity, but I know plenty of scrawny men– that’s an aside. But it’s important to note, because muscularity is also a characteristic of ideal femininity, in my opinion.

Everyone is entitled to have their bodies look how they want them to!

As the famous saying goes:

“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” – Margaret Wolfe Hungerford

But for those of you who are worried about looking like a bodybuilder (I can earnestly say no offense taken here, I love my bodybuilder body) or who know someone who is afraid of looking too muscular, read on!

Here are some straight #facts to ease your mind.

1. In order to gain muscle in a manner that would make you appear to be larger than you typically are, you would have to be in a caloric surplus while also consuming 1-1.5 grams of protein per pound of lean body mass, AND implement a strenuous resistance training regime specifically designed to increase your muscle mass. Most causal gym goers don’t meet all of these criteria.

2. Bodybuilders typically utilize hypertrophy workouts which are designed to increase muscle size and not necessarily muscle strength. Usually these workouts aren’t consistent with powerlifting style training routines that result in the formation of hefty dense muscles mass (woo, go powerlifters). But that’s not to say bodybuilders don’t also lift very heavy! This was just the style of training typical to my class of bodybuilding (Bikini) which is the lowest level of muscularity along with the typical high levels of conditioning found in bodybuilding to show off lean muscle.

3. You’re not on a 5 by 5. Aka you’re not hitting Personal Records (PRs) or maxing out sets until failure. Chances are, you’re not upping weight every set until your physically unable to lift it. This is the typical style of training I recommend, as a trainer, to those who are looking to build mass.

4. Without dieting down you will never accidentally become as lean, conditioned, or vascular as a professional bodybuilder. It takes weeks for bodybuilders to prepare for shows, anywhere from 10-20 (a typical prep is usually 12-16 weeks). Some competitors spend YEARS building muscle in between seasons. Competition style preparation requires that your body fat levels reach extreme lows. This is why the muscles that these athletes showcase POP so much on stage and appear cartoonish (the tan also helps)!

I hope you can now rest assured there is no amount of typical gym training, Zumba, or barre classes that will have your body completely transform before your eyes without consistent effort and the specific intention for it to.

Implementing a resistance training program is absolutely essential to building a body that can DO THE THINGS YOU LOVE and feel STRONG!

I always tell my clients, the more muscle you have the more efficient your body is at burning fat.

Seriously, this post isn’t tongue in cheek (albeit, a bit sarcastic at times but what blog post of mine isn’t?)! You’re not going to look bulky by weight lifting.

It always saddens me to see this misconception hinder peoples’ success in the gym and prevent them from reaching their body composition goals.

Don’t fall into this trap. Get the facts, research a routine, and feel free to contact me: kdearborn@rocketmail.com with all your fitness inquires, or find me on Instagram @dearfitkris. I would be happy to formulate a training program specific to YOUR needs!

Be well xx.

Fav sweet treats in NYC 2018

After my trip to NYC today I’m feeling like an authority on baked goods! These are some of my favorites 🙂

1. The Doughnut Plant- any and all donuts! I personally recommend my absolute favorite which is the rose water donut, but it’s seasonal

2. Zarro’s Bakery- cheesecakes and all cakes

3. Magnolia Bakery – cupcakes

4. Haru’s- it’s a Japanese restaurant with some seriously amazing green tea ice cream and homemade dark chocolate brownies

5. Teuscher chocolates- milk chocolate caramels

These are some seriously delicious treats! Try them out next time your in CT and don’t forget to tag @dearfitkris !

Be well xx.