In 2018 I released The Women’s Book: Vol 1, a comprehensive guide to women’s nutrition, muscle gain and fat loss. At 425 pages, containing over 600 scientific references, it represents the most comprehensive book ever written on the topic (available in its full form here). Since a book of that size can be overwhelming, I decided to divide it into smaller sections of grouped information to make it a bit easier to digest the information before tackling the next section.
This is section 3 of that book which includes Chapter 8-11.
In 2018 I released The Women’s Book: Vol 1, a comprehensive guide to women’s nutrition, muscle gain and fat loss. This is section 4 of that book which includes Chapters 12-14.
Chapter 12 addresses an issue of critical importance to women, that of menstrual cycle dysfunction. This includes the conditions of luteal phase defect, anovulation, oligomenorrhea (an infrequency menstrual cycle) and amenorrhea (the loss of a menstrual cycle). While these can occur for many biological reasons in women, Chapter 12 only looks at them within the context of the dysfunctions that are so common in athletes and exercising women.
The chapter beings by defining the different types of dysfunctions that can occur and looking at how frequently they occur under different situations. I also address some of the previously held ideas on what caused dysfunction. The main part of the chapter focuses on what is considered to be the primary cause of dysfunction which is low Energy Availability (EA), essentially how many calories are left over for the body after exercise expenditure has been covered. I also look at some other nutritional factors along with psychological factors that are involved.
As amenorrhea represents the most extreme type of menstrual cycle dysfunction, I look at its effect in some detail, additionally showing how a woman’s physiology is progressively impacted as she moves from a “normal” menstrual cycle through the various stages of dysfunction. Finally I look at the Female Athlete Triad, the combination of low bone mineral density, menstrual cycle dysfunction and low energy intake along with it’s recent change to Relative Energy Deficiency Syndrome (RED-S). I finish by looking at the topic of reversing menstrual cycle dysfunction.
Chapter 13 addresses the topic of stress, an issue of critical importance to women, especially in the modern world. I give an overview of what stress represents hormonally and physiologically along with looking at the many sex/gender based difference between women and men. I examine how women’s reproductive hormones impact on stress along with the effect of the hormonal modifiers (birth control, PCOS, menstrual cycle dysfunction, peri- and post-menopause).
Individual differences are examined along with the effect of both dieting and exercise related stress. Psychological stress (related at least in part to the fat loss process is also addressed). I revisit the impact of stress on menstrual cycle dysfunction before looking at the concept of the psychogenically stressed dieter. The chapter finishes by looking the cycle of dieting and stress that so often occurs along with the effects of chronic stress and what can go wrong (including a brief discussion of the flawed concept of adrenal fatigue which is more accurately described as adaptive hypocortisolism).
Chapter 14 acts as a bridge chapter between all of the previous chapters (1-13) and the remainder of the book. Titled fixing the problems it contains a mix of topics related to every issue described previously in terms of how to address them. I talk about limiting fat gain to begin with (as this avoids the necessity for extreme dieting) along with the impact of making moderate versus extreme changes to diet and exercise. I describe what I call the Pre-diet phase, a 2-4 week gradual break-in to new diet or exercise programs which avoids overstressing a woman’s physiology. Moderate versus aggressive dieting (and when the latter can be appropriate is also discussed). How to avoid or limit menstrual cycle dysfunction is discussed next and a discussion of how women can generally modify their overall diet and exercise to programs and enhance fat loss rounds out the chapter.
The references section includes the scientific and other literature that the previous chapter draws on for those who may wish to delve more deeply.
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The Women’s Book: Volume 1 Section 3 can be purchased for $4.49 on the Amazon Kindle Store.
- Women’s Book Volume 1 Section 1 Now Available
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- The Women’s Book Vol 1 is Here!