Working out with the man in your life might be a fun challenge, but it can quickly become frustrating when you’re both doing the same workout, yet he seems to lose weight faster. The good news is, you’re not imagining things. Men and women’s bodies work differently and many factors can influence female weight loss.
We’re going to demystify the process and show you the unique areas of attention that you need to achieve your weight-loss goals.
Men and women are simply physiologically different. Because of heightened testosterone levels in their systems, men have more muscle and this leads to an overall metabolism that is 3% to 10% higher than women. Men and women also store fat differently. Whereas men tend to gain weight in their stomachs, women retain weight in their hips and thighs. Meanwhile, higher estrogen levels mean that women are prone to the appearance of cellulite, which men rarely have to worry about.
Women are more likely to try low-impact workouts like yoga, whereas many men head straight for the weights. But remember: women can lift light weights, swim, or dance to burn more calories without bulking up.
After vigorous physical activity like a workout, women experience a rise in ghrelin, a hormone that tells the body that it’s hungry. In men, the hormone leptin rises. Leptin is the hormone that tells the body that it’s full. Because of this, women tend to eat after a workout while men stay away from meals immediately after exercising.
Comparing your weight loss to the man in your life can also be frustrating if your body is experiencing the hormonal changes that result from childbirth. The important thing to remember is to not push yourself too hard. Balance your workouts with your personal need for rest and set realistic expectations about how your body should look and feel after giving birth. In other words: cut yourself some slack!
Grazing while cooking
While many men contribute to the preparation of family meals, more women are still responsible for feeding the family–morning, noon, and night. Resist the temptation to snack while you cook (or prepare the kids’ lunches) since many small increases in calorie intake lead to weight gain and can be a sneaky inhibitor to weight loss.
Where you work matters
Though gender equality is on the rise in the workplace, a greater percentage of men still occupy more physically demanding jobs, such as warehouse workers, construction workers, and military positions. The result of these physically strenuous jobs is that men are essentially exercising at work every day. Women can make up for this difference by carving out part of their lunch break for walking or working out, and choosing leaner lunch options.
A variety of factors, from body composition to employment type, can have a major influence over the differences between how women and men lose weight. While it might be easy to bemoan the fact that the deck seems stacked against women, tailoring eating and lifestyle patterns can even out the playing field.