Why Is It Harder For Women To Lose Weight Compared To Men?

Is it harder for women to lose weight compared to men?

The Ministry of Health Malaysia (MOH), recently shared an infographic on their Twitter account on obesity and abdominal obesity, with the caption: “Studies have found that women are more likely to be overweight and obese. One of the reasons is that women are less active than men,” which seemed to have angered Malaysians online.

Actually, science has proven that it is harder for women to lose weight, but it is not because women are less active... the reasons why actually go far beyond diet and exercise. 

According to a study in the Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine, merely being female doubles the chance of being overweight, and here’s why:

1. Hormones 

Most people lose muscle mass and gain weight as they age. This change is not in the way your body uses calories which can make it difficult to lose weight, and for women, there’s an extra challenge- which is menopause. 

Due to the decrease in estrogen, post-menopausal women are more likely to gain weight than men in the same age groups. Female hormones also store calories as fat, which takes up more space than lean muscle.

Don’t worry, there’s nothing wrong with you, it’s just how your body works. 

2. Metabolism

Men and women have different metabolisms. Thanks to the greater lean muscle mass, men have a higher resting metabolic rate. Yes, you read that right! Because muscle burns more calories than fat which means men burn more calories than women even when doing nothing. We know, so unfair!

Women also store fats differently than men. For ladies, fat has an annoying tendency to gravitate to the thighs, hips, and buttocks where it’s more challenging to lose. But you shouldn’t complain though as it gives you those beautiful curves! 

3. Emotion

It’s cliche, but it’s true! Women tend to be more emotional eaters than men, according to a 2013 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Of course, the reason behind the study is more complicated than just reaching out for a chocolate bar when stressed!

As you know, emotional eating leads to the wrong kind of food. Duh! No one reaches for a tub of broccoli when sad, because emotional eating lends itself to high-fat, sweet foods like cookies, cakes, and chocolate.

why is it harder for women to lose weight compared to men?Photo via The Statesman

Sadly, there are no secret or magic pill that could help you lose weight. Diet and exercise, of course, have the longest-lasting results. Here are some useful tips to help you:

  1. Avoid fad diets. They generally don’t work and often do more harm than good.

  2. Seek support. Find an exercise buddy or share healthy recipes with your girlfriends!

  3. Make one change at a time. Trying to overhaul everything at once can be overwhelming. Listen to what your body tells you, and don’t push yourself too much.

  4. Be wary of foods that sound healthy but aren’t. Energy bars and smoothies sounds like great superfoods but sometimes they’re full of “hidden sugars”

Stay healthy and happy! 

By: Aishah Akashah Ahadiat