Recently I have been lamenting the fact that Dale continues to lose weight with very little effort, and just as effortlessly, I continue to gain! So, I did some digging into the subject and validated the fact that it really is an unfair battle…the battle of the sexes…when it comes to losing weight!
In a March, 2016 article at Prevention.com entitled, “5 Reasons Men Lose Weight Faster Than Women (And How To Even The Playing Field)” author Allison Young tells it like it is:
“Why is it that men quit drinking soda for a week and—PRESTO!—it looks like they’ve dropped 10 pounds. Not fair, right? But do they really have an advantage in the weight loss department, or is it just an optical illusion?
Turns out, it’s a little of both. We dug through the research and questioned the experts to bring you the 5 fascinating (and only slightly depressing) reasons why guys really do trim down faster—plus the awesome way you can hack your own metabolism to even the score.
1. Men have more lean fat-burning muscle. There’s truth behind the Popeye and Olive Oyl body types. Men have more muscle, especially in the upper body, and since muscle burns more calories than fat, men have a faster metabolism—5 to 10% faster to be exact. You can blame (or thank!) testosterone for the double standard.
“Testosterone is a powerful hormone, and men have approximately 10 times more of it than women do,” says Chris Jordan, MS, CSCS, director of exercise physiology at the Human Performance Institute and creator of the 7-Minute Workout. “Testosterone increases protein synthesis and lean body mass, which will then increase your resting metabolic rate. Meaning, guys will be burning more calories all day.”
2. Evolution tells women to “hold onto those curves!” Estrogen has its perks (it preps the body for childbirth and boosts libido), but it’s not doing women favors on the weight loss front. Not only do women have a higher percentage of body fat than men—usually 6 to 11% more—but researchers at the University of New South Wales found that estrogen reduces women’s ability to burn energy after eating. Meaning, we’re better at holding onto that fat, too.
3. Women are literally hard-wired to crave cupcakes. Unfortunately, when it comes to emotional eating, women win. Researchers at Brookhaven National Laboratory found that when primed with the sight and smell of pizza and cake, men were much better at turning off their cravings while women fixated on their favorite foods, even after being told to think of something else. Other research suggests that women are more likely to eat in response to stress, while men are more likely to turn to alcohol.
4. Men are overachievers…at first. Thanks to their speedier metabolism, men’s bodies respond faster to diets. In a British Journal of Nutrition study, when men and women were put on popular weight loss programs like Atkins, Slim-Fast, and Weight Watchers, men lost twice as much weight and three times as much body fat after 2 months. But there was also good news: At 6 months, the weight loss had evened out, with men just slightly in the lead. So keep exercising and eating clean—consistency helps even the playing field. “Regardless of gender, however, you still need to burn 3,500 calories to lose 1 pound of fat,” says Jordan. And for both men and women, that takes work.
5. Even if men don’t lose more weight, it looks like they do. Fat distribution differs greatly between the sexes. While women often gain fat on the butt and hips, men tend to carry excess weight around the abdomen, where it’s more noticeably lost when they trim down. But don’t envy their shape; that apple physique also happens to be more dangerous, putting men at a greater risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and certain cancers due to the high concentration of visceral fat surrounding their vital organs; a little extra weight on a pear-shaped woman isn’t nearly as dangerous.
But there’s hope! Here’s how to hack your metabolism to even the score.
Yes, men have a genetic leg up when it comes to building muscle, but they don’t have a stronghold. The best way for women to boost their fat-burning metabolic rate is through resistance training, which builds lean muscle mass, says Jordan—”and because of the gender difference in testosterone, women should not fear becoming toomuscular.”
Pumping iron at the gym isn’t your only option. Body-weight exercises like planks, push-ups and squats also increase muscle mass. Bonus: Not only is exercise a muscle builder, stress buster, and endorphin releaser, it also can power up the prefrontal cortex, the brain’s willpower center, to help counteract emotional eating.”
So, there you have it. It’s not just in my imagination, or what I use as my excuse or to rationalize. Scientific evidence exists to back my whining about life (and weight loss) not being fair. But, there is one thing I will not rationalize or diminish, and that is Dale’s continued weight loss. I am so proud of him and so excited to see the pounds coming back off. We initially lost the weight for the health benefit, as his father has had several heart attacks and has heart disease. So, for me, the best part of weigh in day is seeing him lose more of the dangerous fat from around his middle. Don’t get me wrong, I would like to see the scale go down for me too, so it’s time to stop making excuses and get back on the wagon. Hopefully in a week or two I will have some positive results to report. For all of you fighting the battle of the bulge along with us, good luck, and leave us some comments about how you fight the good fight!