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Weight Loss Differences between Men and Women

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– By Andrea M. Pampaloni,  Ph.D.

For those of us who struggle with weight, it can be frustrating to hear others talk about how they lose it without even trying. It can be downright infuriating if that person is your husband!

If you find yourself in this situation, take a deep breath and remember that we’re each on our own journey. Your success is not diminished in the slightest by what anyone else does. In fact, there are several reasons why weight loss may occur more quickly and with greater ease for men.

  • Muscle mass: Men generally have more lean muscle than women. As a result, they burn more calories than fat so they lose weight faster and in a greater amount than women. After about six to 12 months that rate of weight loss will even out, though if you both started a weight loss program at the same time, he could lose noticeably more weight and inches.
  • Testosterone: Relatedly, men have testosterone, which helps build muscle and contributes to faster weight loss.
  • Weight placement: When it comes to weight distribution, men tend to fall within the “apple” category, meaning that they carry their weight around their belly, as opposed to “pears” who have fuller hips and thighs, as is the case for many women. This makes the appearance of weight loss more obvious and more likely to be noticed by others.
  • Menopause: As if the hot flashes weren’t enough, menopause can create additional challenges to weight loss efforts. Women start to lose muscle mass after menopause, and also experience hormonal changes. This can reduce the desire engage in spontaneous activities, and less frequent exercise can lead to more weight.
  • Attitudes: Even though men are more likely than women to be overweight, they don’t see themselves that way. When someone doesn’t see himself as overweight, he is less likely to be concerned about losing weight. While this may contribute to weight loss, it does reduce anxiety and stress, and that offers a whole range of other health benefits.

Many of these issues are beyond anyone’s control — it’s just how things are. But knowledge is power, and hopefully a better understanding of how these biological factors play a role in weight loss will ease some frustration.

Also, every pound of lost weight is lost weight! It doesn’t matter if it takes a day or a week to lose it, it’s a victory and worth acknowledging. Add a star to your calendar, create a chart, put a dollar in a jar — do whatever makes sense for you to create some type of visual reminder of your progress. And if you gain a few pounds back, don’t beat yourself up. It happens, and as it turns out, there is a new opportunity every day to get back to your program!

This isn’t a sprint — they take up all your energy in a short spurt and after a while they’re just exhausting — it’s a lifestyle change and it’s going to take time. It may not be easy, but it’s worth it.


About the Author: Dr. Andrea Pampaloni has over 20 years of communication experience across corporate, academic, nonprofit and government sectors. She provides research and writing services on a range of business issues and industry-specific topics to prepare white papers, articles, proposals, presentations, technical content, and speaking points, as well as marketing-communications content such as blogs, website content, newsletters, news releases and award submissions. Dr. Pampaloni’s research findings have been presented at national and international conferences and published in peer-reviewed journals, and she is a ghostwriter for three books, a Forbes article, and several corporate blogs.

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