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The Best Way for Women to Lose Weight

If you find it difficult to lose weight, you're in good company with countless other women. You probably already have an overbooked schedule with work, family and friends. You think you have no time to change your eating habits or exercise. As a woman, you also face more challenges in losing weight than men because you're dealing with menstrual cycles, bloating and, perhaps, post-baby poundage. The best way for you to lose weight is to make your good health a priority. That involves understanding why you eat, what you eat and the importance of regular physical activity.

Before you embark on a weight-loss plan, take a personal inventory. Often, a woman's relationship with food has little to do with hunger but everything to do with internal struggles, according to Geneen Roth, author of "Women, Food and God: An Unexpected Path to Almost Everything." Instead of dealing with their emotional turmoil, including feelings of anxiety, anger and loneliness, some women turn to food, she writes. So before tackling a weight-loss challenge, deal with personal issues first, so they don't sabotage your efforts. You don't want to set yourself up for failure.

Even when losing weight, you need to eat a well-balanced diet and enjoy a variety of foods that emphasize whole grains, fruits and vegetables. For weight loss, you need to restrict starches, such as potatoes, pasta and rice, and limit your intake of unhealthy fats and sugar. But even when trying to shed pounds, remember that, as a woman, you have special nutritional needs during various stages of your life. While dieting, don't restrict foods that provide you with tools to stay healthy. For instance, you need sufficient folate and iron during your child-bearing years, according to the American Dietetic Association. You also need to consume enough calcium throughout your lifetime to keep your bones healthy.

Physical activity of some kind should be incorporated into your daily life. Exercise burns calories and can help you lose weight. It also builds muscle strength and helps you manage stress, which can lead to overeating. Generally speaking, women have more fat, less muscle and are smaller than men, according to the American Dietetic Association. That also means women don't burn calories at the same rate as men and tend to lose weight more slowly. Combat this by engaging in 30 to 60 minutes of cardiovascular exercise most days of the week and total-body strength training at least two times per week.

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This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.