Men & Women: Differences in Weight Loss
You have probably heard that it is easier for men to lose weight than it is for women. But why are more men overweight than women? In this article we will cover the social and physical differences between men and women that can cause differences in weight loss.
One advantage of being a man
Male bodies produce more testosterone than women, which makes them larger and more muscular. Men are specifically designed to have less fat and more muscle. The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn, whether resting or exercising. This gives most men a higher metabolism than most women. In comparison, women are designed to hold on to body fat for the purposes of pregnancy. Younger men have more of an advantage in metabolism because metabolism slows in all of us as we get older. Women can begin to even the odds by lifting weights to gain muscle mass.
One advantage of being a woman
A woman's weight loss advantage lies in the placement of fat. Men tend to get fat around the middle, which is jokingly referred to as a "spare tire" or "beer gut." Women, on the other hand, tend to gather excess weight in the thighs or "caboose." The advantage of gaining weight below the belt (if you must) is that it doesn't increase the rate of heart disease as much as gaining in the middle. Fat cells in your abdomen impair the liver's capacity to break down insulin, which can cause diabetes. They also make the liver create triglycerides, which can cause heart disease. Finally, abdominal fat activates cortisone, which can cause diabetes and hypertension.
Trans fats and dieting
Women lose their advantage in the placement of fat when they eat trans fats. Trans fats gather in the abdomen, regardless of your gender. They also take fats from other parts of your body and redistribute them to your abdomen, increasing your risk of diabetes, heart disease, and hypertension.
It's more acceptable for men to be overweight
Men may be more likely to be overweight because it is more socially acceptable for them to be "heavy." In our culture, women are held to stricter standards of attractiveness than men are, particularly in positions of power. An obese male president or CEO would be more socially acceptable than an obese female president or CEO.
Weight loss and emotional support
So men don't have the same social incentive that women do to get into shape, but there may be other factors as well. Men are more likely to attempt weight loss on their own while women are more likely to seek support and counsel from other people. Emotional support is an important tool in maintaining weight loss and keeping the weight off permanently. Men may also be turned off of weight loss if they consider dieting and cooking to be a woman's issue.