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Hey guys!

Losing weight – especially body fat – is HARD.

And I think we can totally agree that it often seems so much harder for women than it is for men! What’s up with that?! Why is the female body more stubborn when it comes to losing fat?!

It’s even more frustrating because at the same time, we’ve been programmed by the media and diet culture to resent our curves. Even the word “fat” leaves a bad taste in our mouths. We’re told it’s unhealthy and unattractive. We’re ashamed of cellulite and every single roll or dimple.

But let’s stop and take a second to think about why women carry weight differently than men. I mean, there must be a reason WHY, right?

Finding the perfect jeans to fit our curves may never be easy. But can we learn and appreciate the nature behind those curves a little more?!!!

I think so. Let’s talk about it.

Yes, it’s normal for women to have more fat than men

It’s true that women tend to have a higher body fat percentage than men. The difference might surprise you! Here’s how the recommendations for body fat differ, according to the American Council on Exercise (ACE):

Women Men
Essential Fat 10 – 13% 2 – 5%
Athlete 14 – 20% 6 – 13%
Fitness 21 – 24% 14 – 17%
Acceptable 25 – 31% 18 – 24%
Obesity >32% >25%

I mean, just look at the ESSENTIAL category. This just shows how much more fat women NEED in order to function properly.

It’s all about reproduction

Women need more fat to support the reproductive process. Plain and simple.

It’s pretty amazing when you really think about it!

It takes A LOT of fat to support a healthy pregnancy. I mean, you’re growing a human, and the most important nutrient to develop one of the most important body parts – the brain – is FAT. So yeah, of course our bodies are stingy about getting rid of fat so we can make sure we have enough for a baby, even if a baby isn’t on the radar.

If our diet is too restrictive, our reproductive system literally stops working.  Our period stops. Our hormones are all over the place. It takes a serious toll on our bodies. It’s actually a very real, scary thing for young, female athletes who are exercising intensely with very low body fat. The long-term risks? Psychological issues, reproductive issues down the road and most commonly – low bone density, leading to osteoporosis and bone fractures.

female body silhouette curves

Curves are there for a reason

Women store fat differently than men too! Most of the time, women tend to store more fat in their hips and thighs. Men store extra fat mostly in the abdomen.

First, women just have more adipocytes (fat cells) in their hips and thighs. It goes back to the childbearing thing. We need more fat, and that’s just where our body wants to store it. The rest is pretty much hormonal. Having more estrogen causes more weight gain in this area of the body, whereas men have higher testosterone, which usually leads to weight gain in the belly area.

It’s so much more interesting when we think about this all scientifically, right?! Our bodies are miraculous machines and it’s doing its thing to keep us functioning as efficiently as possible!

Fat ≠ Unhealthy

Fat does not mean unhealthy.

Actually, the right amount of fat is VERY healthy. It gives us energy, it releases hormones to regulate hunger and inflammation, and it’s good for the skin, joints and organs.

And the right amount for women is never going to be the same as it is for men. In fact, it’s never going to be identical from person to person. Healthy looks different for everyone but knowing the science behind why helps us understand how to love and appreciate our bodies so much more.

The Conversation (24)

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  • PVF says:

    Your blog is amazing. Thanks for the tips!

  • sowndarya says:

    A cheat day may be a week is amazing with all cravings
    That juicy wrap from McD is SOOOO GOOOOOD
    l

  • SarahR says:

    If you can recognise that “it’s never going to be identical from person to person” when it comes to physiology and differences there, why not extend the same courtesy to people’s emotional/psychological/intellectual differences too? Why all the sweepinh generalisations at the start as to what “we” think and feel? Interesting topic but those kind of limiting generalisations are nagl imo.

  • Ala says:

    Love your posts <3 so informative ^_^
    It's a bit sad that we sometimes tend to listen to the media that influences in a negative way and not search for such facts that open our eyes.

  • Anisa says:

    Thanks! This is really inspiring :)

  • Anisa says:

    Thanks this really helps:)

  • Rebeka says:

    I have been an athlete for several years and I do something that many people would expect you to be in great shape for. IM A RUNNER. I run long distances every day. Pretty much everyone else on my team has this toned core(even the girl’s) and super skinny strong bodies. Honestly though, I’m kinda envious. I could only wish my body did that, but it’s actually very hard for me to lose weight. I know that since I’m female it does make a HUGE difference, but I still wish I could look different ya know? I’m not unhealthy, and I’m actually a pretty healthy weight for my size and age, but I still wish I could lose that but of extra fat.

    • blogilates says:

      I know it can feel frustrating but try to focus on what your body CAN do. You are a runner. Your body is a machine! A strong one! It’s easy to get lost in comparison, but don’t let that take from the amazingness that you are <3

  • Ritika says:

    Thank you so much for ur help Cassey . We love u…. But recently I have been losing weight I have lost much weight in this past 3 months but this month the weight is just freezed . Its difficult for me to lose weight its almost been 1 month with same weight:( Can u plssss help me out??

  • Nadia says:

    Thanks, Cassey. I’m freaking out every time when I try harder to lose fat and it likely never goes away. Your article makes me appreciate my body even more. While I am working on myself to achieve my fitness goal, I am feeling grateful for my body of its amazing function to support me. I love my beautiful healthy thighs even more. And I love to think about how creative I can be to add more healthy fat to my diet, so my body gets what it needs. This article reminds me of the true purpose of my fitness goal. It is not the way I look, but the way I feel about myself. It is beautiful to think that way and to keep myself on track without beating myself up after I enjoy delicious meals with friends and family. Thank you for always helping me to find joy in my fitness journey! Love you! <3

  • ravenamber says:

    Ah I am so surprised about this honestly but it’s just tell how much our body suffer through daily which is why it’s stubborn lol it is like having a love-hate relationship with our body and get into alot of fights bec we care about how others want us to be like but they are wrong they just see the outside ,we are the ones who feel ,know how our body feels EVERY day well it’s life

  • Thaissa says:

    I knew about that so it’s comforting you Cassey talking about it!

  • Eudora says:

    Love this! It’s so true and not enough women think about this.

  • Lenna says:

    Wow, I needed to hear this. How beautiful and incredible are our bodies God designed! Thank you so much for sharing, Cassey! <3

  • SRipley says:

    This is an interesting skim through the topic but the intro puts me off a little. Not a big fan of all that generalizing and assumptions of what “we” experience and think. “It’s never going to be identical from person to person”, as you say in the conclusion for physiological differences, absolutely applies for the psychological and intellectual perspective too. It always rubs me the wrong way when these blog posts ignore that.

  • Charli says:

    Hi Cassey,
    i just want to thank you so much for everything. I’m a 13 year old girl who is a dancer and I sometimes feel very ashamed of my body because I’m not as skinny as some of the other girls, and my friends. I don’t have any curves either, though. I’m at a healthy weight, so I know deep down that I really shouldn’t feel like my body is unhealthy, but I still do. I know I shouldn’t think my body is wrong, but I just still do. Some days I feel like I can’t be happy because I need to change my body. I know it’s so toxic, but it all really has just worked it’s way into my head. Reading your blogs have helped me a lot lately, and today I’m feeling extra good. I just want to thank you again for helping me. I love fitness just like you do, so it gives me something to look forward to. When I watch your videos it reminds me that I can do what I want to do and I can be who I want to be no matter what the heck my body looks like! So thank you SO much, once again.
    —Charli

    • blogilates says:

      Hi Charli! Sending you sooooo much love. I know it can be hard as a dancer where physique and physical appearance play such a big role. BUT remember that we all are different. “Ideal” is not really possible because our bodies are not made to be identical to one another. You are healthy, strong, smart, and talented! Let this be your motivation! <3

  • I’d like to make one small correction to this article, passing! Testosterone does not aid in fat accumulation, as in the case with belly fat for men.

  • Dani says:

    Beautiful. Thanks for sharing!

    • Anisha Singh says:

      Nice information, I have always been very conscious about my large hips and thighs …I mean my upper body is stick thin even my face is very sculpted but when I see my lower body I.e my hips and thighs . .it seems like it belongs to another person…and that’s why I never feel confident about wearing Jean’s,shorts and all …although I workout regularly and eat a healthy , balanced diet ..but it never shows on my lower body…but I am on my self love journey too..and I am gonna love myself even more now …because Why not..

      • Brittany says:

        I have struggled for years with liking my thighs and legs after someone told me to lay off carbs. My upper bottom is small and I even have abs!(thanks Cassey and your extreme ab workouts!) My thighs though just don’t want to shrink at all. I work them out and try to steer away from eating too much of what goes right to them but nothing seems to work. I even got down to an unhealthy weight once(I’m good now!) and STILL didn’t have a thigh gap! I was so frustrated! But clearly after having a child maybe my legs will always be this way I’m not sure to be honest. I’m trying to teach myself to love them but it’s a daily struggle.

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