Although it seems unfair that men tend to lose weight faster than women, this may not necessarily be a bad thing. On an average, women have between 6 and 11 percent more body fat than men. This is assumed to be an evolutionary adaptation to help them during pregnancy.
Why do men lose fat faster than women?
Here are a few reasons why men lose fat faster than women.
Women are hormonally wired to store more fat:
- Estrogen levels in women favor fat storage in the body.
- Women tend to carry about 6 to 11 percent more body fat than men, which is a part of their physiology.
- Given lower muscle mass in women compared with men, it is difficult for women to maintain weight loss.
Men and women store fat differently:
- Fat storage is affected by your genes and gender. In general, men tend to put on fat in the abdomen, giving their bodies an apple-like shape. However, women tend to store fat on the hips and thighs, giving them a pear-like shape.
Women’s menstrual cycle can trigger stress eating:
- Hormonal variations due to the menstrual cycle can often trigger episodes of stress eating in women.
Men lose more water weight than women:
- Glycogen is a stored form of carbohydrates that your body breaks down when it runs low on energy.
- When you tap into glycogen for fuel, you lose water because the two are stored together.
- The reason those first few pounds come off quickly is because they’re mostly water. When you’re calorie deficient, your body’s first response is to hit up those glycogen stores, taking that stored water with it.
Men have more muscle than women:
- Men carry more of their weight as muscle than women.
- Thanks to their high testosterone levels, men have an easier time building muscles than women.
- Building bigger muscles can boost your metabolic rate.
- Studies have reported that you can build up to 4.5 pounds of muscle in a year, which helps you torch 50 more calories a day.
Resting energy expenditure (REE): It is defined as the amount of energy required to support normal body functions and to maintain energy balance of the body (homeostasis).
- Body size and composition are the most important factors that determine REE.
- Generally, men are bigger than women. This means that they would require more energy to maintain REE than women.
- In addition, men tend to have a higher percentage of lean muscle tissue than women. Therefore, metabolically, it is easier for men to lose those calories with diet and exercise.
Lower value of VO2 max: VO2 max is a measure used in exercise physiology to describe the maximum amount of oxygen an athlete can take up to use for exercise.
- Female athletes tend to have a lower VO2 max than male athletes of the same weight due to the difference in their body structure.
- Consequently, women who use exercise to promote weight loss will not be able to exercise at the same level as men and will, therefore, burn less energy in a standard exercise session.
Men and women’s brains react differently when it comes to food:
- One study had a group of men and women fast for 20 hours. They were then shown pictures of food that they were not allowed to eat.
- The pictures were then taken away. Men were no longer thinking about the food but women were.
- No one really knows why this is the case. Perhaps, it’s evolution and women needing to maintain a healthy weight for pregnancies.
Men may lose all that weight in the first few months of their diet and exercise routine, but women do catch up eventually. If you’re a woman who’s getting discouraged by your male friend or partner who’s losing weight faster, try to relax and focus on your own health journey. As long as you’re making strides to become a healthier version of yourself, you’re already doing great. Losing weight isn’t a contest with a winner and loser. Celebrate your progress no matter how slowly (or quickly) it occurs because you will get there eventually.
Texas Health Resources: "Do Men Really Lose Weight More Easily Than Women?" https://www.texashealth.org/Health-and-Wellness/Bariatrics/Do-Men-Really-Lose-Weight-More-Easily-Than-Women
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