Why do women have a harder time than men losing weight?

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Women have a harder time losing weight simply due to the realities of metabolic rate. What this means is each pound of muscle requires a set amount of energy on a daily basis. Quite simply, considering the average human body, men have quite a few more pounds of muscle then women. Of course tissue other than muscle requires energy as well but muscle is the most active and requires the most on a daily basis. If an average American woman weighs 140 lbs. and an average American man weighs 175 lbs. then simply put the man is carry 35 additional pounds of tissue that requires energy. If I give both the man and the woman a 1200 calorie diet the man will lose weight at a much faster pace. The man will also suffer at a much higher rate due to the fact his needs are higher so his hunger will be greater.

Women don't have a harder time losing weight, they just tend to get less food and that makes it feel harder.

For example, a man might be able to eat 2,000 calories/day and lose a pound/week (that means he's burning 2,500/day). A woman will tend to burn fewer calories/day than the man - she is smaller, less lean mass, etc. If she burns 2,000/day and eats the same as the man did, she won't lose. She needs to eat 1,500 to lose the same pound/week.

Sitting at the same dinner table, the woman will be perturbed that her plate isn't as full as the man's - but being mad won't change the math.

If a man eats 500 fewer calories than he burns, AND a woman does the same, they'll both lose a pound/week.

So, it's not that men have an easier time, they're just bigger and get more food.  Remember, a Yugo uses less gas than a Suburban.  We don't get upset about that.  It just is.  :-)
Ms. Ashley Koff, RD
Nutrition & Dietetics
Women have special challenges in the fat vs. muscle department. Because on average we don't have as much testosterone as men, it's harder for us to build and maintain muscle mass. This partly explains why recent research suggests that we'll lose muscle mass twice as fast as men of the same age. Add to that any hormonal challenges or conditions like diabetes and you can see why women have a harder time losing weight and keeping it off than men do.
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Watch as Addiction Specialist Dr. Mike Dow discusses why women legitimately have a harder time than men when trying to diet and lose weight.


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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.