Evolution has given women the physiology to grow and bring new life into the world.
As a result, there are a lot of physiological things which are programmed into female bodies to help promote a women’s ability to reproduce and the continuation of the human race.
From conception to giving birth, women will on average require an additional 50,000 calories to survive pregnancy. This single reason is why women store more body fat than men. Men don’t have the need for additional body fat stores due to their limited involvement in reproduction.
This is why many women have larger hips, thighs and more cellulite than their male counterparts.
This ingrained natural desire of the body to ensure a females ability to reproduce, and therefore hold onto the necessary body fat, is often why women who go on very strict diets or diet down into unhealthful levels will suffer from Amenorrhea, which is the absence of menstruation. This can often be seen in women suffering with anorexia, or in high-level figure/physique competitors due to their extremely low levels of body fat.
This type of hormonal imbalance is also seen in men who severely diet for competitions or other reasons, however this hormonal imbalance is often presents itself in males in the difficulty or inability to get or maintain an erection.
Stopping menstruation is the body’s way of letting a woman know that her body fat levels are too low to safely go through pregnancy. As a result, the body goes into self-preservation mode, shutting off functions which may put the already highly stressed body at increased risk.
This biological programming for reproduction and self-preservation is also why women’s bodies tend to fight dieting, desperately holding onto fat stores more-so than men… But more on that tomorrow.
The body’s biological desire to hold onto fat is of great benefit in survival situation were starvation or a lack of food is common, but not so much when it comes to trying to meet the physical expectations and standards the media, society and the genetic minority have portrayed to us as desirable.
It’s important we begin to make noise and push for a stronger shift in media messaging to society, as the physical expectations and messaging being delivered to us to sell products versus a healthy female body in reality simply do not align.
This article was originally published to the Konquer Fitness Community on February 11th.
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