Although weight loss is challenging for everyone, it often seems as though women encounter more roadblocks on their fitness journey. No matter how often they work out, what supplements they consume, and how healthy their diet is, they struggle to keep up with men. It’s almost as if men have an unfair advantage when shedding weight.
Unfortunately, research proves this is a harsh reality, showing that men have less difficulty achieving their weight loss goals than women.
This article will examine why men lose weight faster than women. We’ll also cover ways women can even the playing field and improve their performance. Keep reading to learn more.
Body Composition Differences
Men usually have more muscle which makes weight loss programs more effective. In addition, lean muscle mass helps the body burn excess calories, especially in a calorie deficit. As a result, they’ll see results more quickly than physically active women who are also mindful about their food.
Additionally, fat typically accumulates around a man’s midsection. It’s called visceral fat and engulfs the internal organs. Regular exercise and diet modifications are the best ways to reduce visceral fat. In addition, it responds well to aerobic exercises, so men who exercise at least 30 minutes daily will see results in no time.
On the other hand, women carry more weight in the hip area. This is because they have higher subcutaneous fat levels, which latches onto the thighs, hips, and rear, allowing a woman’s body to handle pregnancy.
Losing subcutaneous fat doesn’t improve the metabolism since this kind of fat is metabolically inactive. Although it has fewer health risks than visceral fat, it sits right under the skin and is easy to spot. Because many women lack lean muscle, they struggle to get in shape and lose subcutaneous fat. However, aerobic exercises and strength training could help them reach weight loss milestones.
Aerobic activities are great for burning calories and increasing heart rate. The most popular options are running, walking, swimming, and cycling.
Strength training increases muscle mass, boosting the metabolism and burning calories. Weightlifting is a good starting point but make sure not to overexert yourself. Begin with lighter weights and move on to heavier lifting as your body grows stronger.
Pregnancy can also account for why men lose weight faster than women. Although celebrity social media posts show mothers who bounce back quickly, postpartum weight loss takes time and energy.
Depending on a woman’s weight gain during pregnancy, losing 10 pounds can take as long as two years. The more pounds a new mom puts on, the longer it will take to get back in shape.
Moreover, postpartum recovery involves lengthy rest periods to allow the stomach and pelvic areas to heal.
Women who have had a caesarian delivery require more rest and can’t jump back into their exercise routine immediately.
After a care provider greenlights exercising, women in postpartum recovery can slowly begin incorporating physical activity into their routine. However, while exercising keeps them healthy, it may be a while before they notice significant weight loss results.
New mothers looking for quick progress on their fitness journey should consider resistance training. It puts more pressure on the muscles and helps build lean muscle mass.
Moreover, medical practitioners can give mothers recommendations on how to get to a healthy weight.
Read also: Best Weight Loss Supplements for Women
Women Are More Stressed
Recent studies suggest that women experience higher stress levels, which might interfere with their weight loss efforts.
Stress leads to emotional exhaustion, but it has physical symptoms too. It can manifest itself through poor sleep, digestive issues, unhealthy food cravings, and an increased appetite. These changes can negatively impact the body’s ability to lose and maintain weight.
But how exactly does stress prevent weight loss?
The adrenal glands produce cortisol and adrenalin whenever you’re in a stressful situation. Consequently, glucose, which supplies the body with energy, enters the bloodstream. The process is part of the fight or flight response that’s supposed to help you escape tense situations.
As you relax, your blood sugar levels stabilize, and cortisol works hard to provide the body with energy, leading to intense sugar cravings. Essentially, it tricks the body into consuming more sugar than it needs. The excess energy transforms into stubborn abdominal fat many people struggle to shed.
However, even women who don’t reach for comfort food when stressed can have problems losing weight. This is because cortisol slows the metabolism, causing digestion issues and making it difficult to process food.
Stress affects men too, but due to their body constitution, they’re usually one step ahead of the women in the weight loss race.
Testosterone is a versatile hormone that affects more than bone mass and fertility. It’s essential for optimal fat distribution and helps build and maintain muscle mass. Conversely, low testosterone levels negatively impact weight loss and affect how the body stores fat. Generally, men have exponentially higher testosterone levels than women, which gives them a head start in weight management.
Women’s bodies produce more estrogen, and while the hormone promotes muscle quality, it’s less effective than testosterone in building new muscle. So during menopause, when estrogen levels drop, women might gain more weight in their abdominal area.
Hormonal shifts in both men and women complicate weight loss and can lead to other complications like depression, fatigue, irregular heart rate, and more. A medical professional can diagnose the issue, recommend the best treatment plan, and allow you to return to your training program.
Women are more prone to overeating than men, which can undo the positive effects of their diet and exercise program.
Emotional eating is a coping mechanism that combats negative emotions. While physical hunger manifests gradually, emotional eating appears without warning signs. It’s associated with feelings of shame, guilt, and helplessness, and women feel the need to satisfy their cravings instantly. But there’s no relief. Even with a full stomach, emotional eating compels some women to consume more food than their diet allows.
Although binging on snacks won’t quell emotional hunger, other methods exist to fix the issue. Physical activity, meditation, developing healthier coping mechanisms, and a positive self-image can stop both men and women from eating their feelings.
Men Don’t Shy Away From Resistance Training
If you thought that resistance training is why men lose weight faster than women, you might be onto something.
Although weightlifting is slowly becoming popular among women, some are still reluctant to try it, fearing their bodies will become “bulky.” This is a common misconception since adding resistance to a workout is an excellent fat burner. Instead of forming big muscles, your body becomes lean and toned.
Weightlifting sessions work all the hard-to-shape areas and improve weight regulation, but they have other benefits too. They can increase flexibility and mobility, strengthen the bones, and improve cognitive functions.
Research suggests men are more competitive than women, so they might not be discouraged by slow progress. Instead, they’ll double down on their efforts to improve their performance. In addition, the increased muscle mass enables them to burn calories even on rest days.
It doesn’t take much to kickstart your weightlifting journey. Men and women who lift two times a week can change their appearance, boost their mood, and bolster their overall health.
Lung Capacity Matters
Men typically have a larger lung capacity than women. The smaller lung capacity can make women feel they’re not making progress despite working harder. It can also make exercising in high humidity or heat more challenging, leaving women breathless. Fortunately, the more you work out, the stronger your lungs become.
So those contemplating quitting should keep at it. Eventually, shortness of breath won’t be a problem, and you’ll be able to tackle different forms of exercise.
Women Struggle to Shed Weight During Menopause
Women trying to lose weight before or after menopause sometime notice they’ve gained a few extra pounds. Hormonal fluctuations, reduced muscle mass, poor sleep, and insulin resistance are common symptoms of menopause. In addition, they can transfer fat from other body areas to the abdomen, a notoriously hard-to-tone place.
A calorie deficit during the menopausal transition may not yield the desired results since it could degrade the metabolic rate and decrease muscle mass. Instead, a nutritious diet rich in low-carb food and vegetables is the best way to promote weight loss during menopause. One study revealed that postmenopausal women who switched to a low-carb diet slimmed their waists by 3.5 inches within six months.
Beware of Rapid Weight Loss
Although men take the lead initially, women who eat healthily and exercise regularly catch up in no time. The process requires patience and commitment, so some women turn to restrictive and cleansing diets for instant results. At first glance, dropping weight in a few weeks seems alluring, but it carries severe health risks.
Rapid weight loss pushes the body to its limits and can lead to long-term complications, including gallstones, mood swings, fatigue, hair loss, malnutrition, and more.
Remember that weight loss isn’t a short-term goal. Instead, it should be part of a lifestyle change that will keep your body healthy for years.
Slow and Steady Wins the Weight Loss Race
Women may feel they’re falling behind when they see men reaching weight loss milestones. Perhaps they’re not working hard enough, or they lack proper form. However, the key to why men lose weight faster than women is their constitution and fast metabolism. Women require more time to build muscle mass for their bodies to show visible results.
But neither women nor men should rely solely on exercise to lose and maintain a healthy weight. Instead, for best results, make sure to tweak your diet, get quality sleep, and reduce stress levels.