During this past year, many of us put on some extra pounds. Whether from stress eating, or just being home and around food all the time, the Covid weight gain is real. If you’re a woman and it seems like your male partner is having more luck than you, you’re not imagining things. Men typically lose weight faster than women. Here are some reasons for this unfair phenomenon:
- More Lean Muscle – men usually have more upper body muscle than women. Since muscle burns more calories than fat, men have a faster metabolism (5-10% faster). This is due to the hormone, testosterone. Men have roughly 10 times more testosterone than women. Testosterone increases protein synthesis and lean body mass, which will then increase your resting metabolic rate. Essentially, men are burning calories all day long.
- Higher Body Fat Percentage – women have a higher percentage of body fat than men (roughly 6-11% more). And while men have more testosterone, women have more estrogen. Unfortunately, estrogen reduces a woman’s ability to burn energy after eating.
- Emotional Eating – thanks to all those hormones, women are more likely to partake in emotional eating. A study from the Brookhaven National Laboratory found that when presented with the smell of pizza and cake, men were better at turning off their cravings, while women fixated on their favorite foods, even after being told to think of something else. Other research has found that under stressful conditions, women are more likely to eat, while men are more likely to turn to alcohol.
- Early Success – a study published in the British Journal of Nutrition found that 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 two months. Take heart though. At six months, the weight loss evened out, with men just slightly in the lead. However, women are likely to give up when they don’t see success.
- Appearance – fat distribution varies between men and women. Women often gain weight in their bottom and thighs, while men tend to carry excess weight around the middle. Therefore, as men lose weight, it is often more noticeable.
The important thing is to not give up. Lasting weight loss takes patience and persistence. Don’t compare yourself to your significant other. Own your progress and celebrate your success!