Many overweight women tend to misconstrue the term “big-boned” in order to justify their size. However, some do have naturally larger frames due to a relatively larger bone structure. Interestingly enough, although women with big bones tend to have larger frames, they are typically more inclined to be muscular. Unfortunately, big-boned men with big chests, big arms, big hands and big legs are often considered to be “hunks” but for women this frame is often viewed as aesthetically unattractive by some societal norms.

Sad and so untrue!

Anowa Adjah, for instance, is one of my favorite athletes who weighs in at over 200 pounds yet possesses outstanding strength, endurance, and flexibility along with undeniably beautiful curves.

And, personally, after many years of denial, I finally came to the realization that I’m big-boned with an extreme pear shape and a big butt. At this point in my life, I’ve lost all the weight I need to lose. My scale reading stays where it is but I continue to where size 6 tops and size 6-8 bottoms with absolutely no complaints. I can outrun most petite women and even out lift some men. It is what it is. I’ve totally embraced my big-boned status.

If you too are an authentically big-boned woman but still looking to achieve an ideal body weight that suits your frame, there are certain strategies you should follow for long-term success.

Related Article: What You Need to Know About Being “Big-Boned”

Rethink and Restructure Your Exercise Training Routine

Let me start by saying that some exercise is always better than no exercise. However, when it comes to weight loss, it’s important to understand that all women do not respond to the same type or volume of exercise. This holds especially true for us big-boned ladies. When it comes to cardio exercise, you’ll have to put in some real effort for some real results.

This doesn’t mean countless hours spent walking flat on a treadmill or leaning over an elliptical trainer. While such low-to-moderate-intensity exercises have numerous health benefits, I must tell you that big-boned bodies respond very well to higher intensities of cardio exercise, ideally when performed in shorter spurts.

Related Article: How to Perform Cardio Exercise the Right Way

And then there’s resistance exercise, which is arguably the most overlooked yet most important activity for big-boned women. Due to our naturally denser bones and greater amounts of muscle mass, exercise stimuli that specifically target bone and muscle are more likely to produce beneficial results. In this light, resistance exercise totally fits the bill.

Now, unbeknownst to many, resistance exercise is not only beneficial for bone and muscle. This type of exercise also elevates the metabolic rate and fuels the fat burning process that’s necessary for efficient and effective weight loss.

Related Article: 5 Reasons Why Resistance Training Is Necessary for Weight Loss

In addition to being a recreational weight lifter myself, I’ve been incorporating resistance exercise into the training programs of larger-framed women for years in both industry and research. Combining this type of exercise with higher intensities of cardio is by far one of the most effective ways to ensure successful and sustained weight loss.

Related Article: Weight Training 101-What You Need To Know Before You Lift

Eat Strategically and Incorporate Sensible Nutrition

When it comes to dieting and weight loss among big-boned women, food composition is much more important than merely eating less. In fact, performing cardio exercise while eating fewer calories is more likely to trigger the starvation response among women with larger frames, which can cause muscle wasting thereby inhibiting the fat burning process.

As a nutritionist with expertise in sports nutrition, I can personally attest that the most beneficial composition for the big-boned, muscular physique is one that includes high-quality carbohydrates, lean protein and healthy fats, very similar to that of the Mediterranean style of eating.

Related Article: Adopting the Mediterranean Diet for a Healthier You

When it comes to carbohydrates, your intake should primarily be comprised of fresh vegetables and fruits, beans, and whole-grain products. Such foods house incredibly large amounts of dietary fiber and numerous vitamins and minerals that support optimal fat burning.

Adequate protein consumption is also essential for maximizing fat burning while also preventing muscle wasting.

Some of the best sources include lean meat, poultry, fish, soy foods, eggs, and low-fat dairy products. Big-boned women in general should make an all-out effort to include a variety of these foods in their diets, especially oily fish (salmon, tuna, and trout), milk and eggs due to their remarkable bone and muscle-promoting effects.

Related Article: Nutrition Basics-Your Daily Protein Intake

Last but not least, an adequate intake of healthy monounsaturated and omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids is crucial for muscle preservation and weight loss. Unfortunately, since fat-rich foods are often calorie-dense, women trying to lose weight are often encouraged to snub them.

Any weight loss program should include foods rich in these healthy fats (olive oil, avocado, nuts, seeds, and oily fish). This is primarily because regularly consuming monounsaturated and omega-3 fatty acids can greatly increase the rate at which stored fat is broken down and essentially burned to produce energy, which further promotes weight loss.

Related Article: Good Fats Versus Bad Fats: What You Need to Know About

The Net-Net

While being overweight may be inevitable, having a larger body frame doesn’t mean you have to succumb to being morbidly obese. It simply means your path to long-term weight management will be different than that of others. Just as an individual burdened with diabetes must constantly control their blood sugar levels to survive, as a big-boned woman you must make a conscious effort to maintain good health by maintaining YOUR ideal body weight.

Following the strategies I’ve highlighted here will surely get you there. Even if you don’t lose a ton of weight, such positive lifestyle behaviors will keep you in good shape and help stave off disease.