While “vive la difference” might be a celebration of what makes men and women different, when it comes to weight loss, the difference leaves nothing to celebrate, at least if you’re a woman.
As many women will attest, while they struggle to manage their weight, their male partners seem to be able to do the same or better without much effort.
And it’s the physical differences between the sexes that are to blame. Starting with the basic ‘male’ and ‘female’ hormones, the weight loss odds are stacked against women.
Testosterone levels in males are, on average, seven times higher than in females. One of the key roles played by testosterone is to increase muscle and bone mass, which helps men burn more calories.
Conversely, one role of estrogen, the dominant female hormone, is to help the body store fat.
What it All Means for Weight Loss
- Muscles:Muscle tissue is denser than fat tissue, which means you burn more calories to maintain muscle tissue at rest than you do to maintain fat tissue at rest.At rest, muscles burn six to ten calories per day per pound and fat burns two to four calories per day per pound. That means, on average, muscle tissue burns twice the calories of fat tissue.
- Size: It matters for weight loss. Men are generally larger than women and they weigh more. That helps them burn more calories when doing similar tasks. A person who weighs 155 lbs., and jogs one hour at 8 kms per hour, will burn about 596 calories. A 185 lb. person will burn 710 calories doing the same thing.
- Bones: Men’s bone mass is generally larger than women’s. Bone is denser than fat or muscle, so it weighs more, so men burn more calories to move their heavier bone mass.
- Activity: Men’s bodies respond better to exercise. With estrogen programming them to store more fat, women’s bodies may actually slow down their metabolism during exercise, which burns fewer calories.
Find Out What Works for You: Not just men and women, but we are all different, with different body types, hormone levels and lifestyles. You need to know what will work for you personally instead of basing your weight management decisions on averages. Talk to the nutrition counselor at your local Herbal One Centre for answers about the best weight loss options for you.