There is a common belief that men lose weight faster than women under the same circumstances. And this belief reigns true in most cases. I see this all the time in my practice, where men seemingly have to do very little to lose weight compared to their female counterparts.
The weight loss men experience can be quite frustrating to dieting couples when the man seems to shed the pounds faster, while the woman has a harder time. When we take a look at the biological differences between the sexes, it becomes obvious why this is the case.
Reasons Men Lose Weight Faster Than Women
1. Men have more lean body mass than women.
The male sex has about 10 to 20% more muscle mass than women. And muscle is a more metabolically active cell, even at rest.
This fact is even more noticeable when men exercise—they have a natural advantage in this department. Men tend to work out harder and lift heavier weights, ultimately leading to burning more calories and enhancing weight loss.
2. Men have a lot more testosterone than women.
Testosterone is the natural male sex hormone that leads to muscle growth and increases metabolism. Testosterone increases protein synthesis (production), resulting in more lean body mass, which will increase your resting metabolic rate.
Meaning, guys will be burning more calories all day, even while sleeping. Although women have some testosterone, they have a lot more estrogen that leads to increased fat accumulation and a slower metabolism.
3. Hypothyroidism is more common in women than men.
Some additional hormonal concerns between men and women have to do with the thyroid hormone. Statistically, a more significant percentage of women suffer from hypothyroidism than men.
The thyroid hormone is an essential hormone in cellular metabolism, meaning that low thyroid levels will slow an individual’s metabolism and tend to lead to weight gain.
4. Men tend to be bigger eaters.
In most cases, men have bigger appetites and thus consume larger portions. As a result, they are eating more protein. And as we know, protein aids in muscle building and fat loss.
Also, in my experience, women tend to engage in snacking and grazing eating behaviors that lead to a diet higher in carbohydrates.
As a result, when a male cuts back on portions by eating smaller meals, they seem to lose the pounds a bit more quickly than women who have more of a hormonal connection to their weight.
Biologically, women crave carbohydrates more than men as well. Think about those cravings around the time of a woman’s menstruation. Thus, a women’s monthly cravings can sabotage all the hard work done to cut back on portions and carbohydrates.
5. Even if men don’t lose more weight, it looks like they do.
Fat distribution differs significantly between men and women. Women tend to carry weight on the butt and hips while men carry excess weight around the abdomen.
Weight on the abdomen is more noticeable, so when men do start to slim down, it gives the false impression that men lose weight faster than women.
So what can women do to even the score:
Yes, men have a genetic leg up when it comes to building muscle due to testosterone and ultimately losing weight faster. However, women can also enhance their metabolism through exercise, especially resistance exercises.
The best way for women to boost their fat-burning metabolic rate is by lifting weights, which builds lean muscle mass and increases the person’s resting metabolic rate. And I want to echo what Morgan preaches—women will not get bulky if they lift weights because they do not have enough testosterone.
Weight lifting will help tone and build muscle, especially in our weight loss surgery patients more lean body mass will give them a healthier, more youthful appearance.
If you do not enjoy lifting weights in the gym, other great options include body-weight exercises like high-intensity interval training (HIIT), functional training, and cardio. And not only is exercise a muscle builder, but it also reduces stress and increases the release of endorphin, which increases willpower to help counteract emotional eating.