How Women Differ From Men When It Comes to Weight Loss

May 12, 2023
How Women Differ From Men When It Comes to Weight Loss
Weight loss can be a challenging endeavor under the best circumstances. And if you’re a woman, the entire process might be noticeably harder than it is for the average man. Here’s how gender factors can influence your weight loss efforts.

Excess body weight is a common problem that affects most men and women in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, close to three in four American adults (73.6%) are either overweight or obese.    

More specifically, statistics show that about one in three men (34.1%) and one in four women (27.5%) are overweight, and roughly two in five men (43%) and women (41.9%) are obese. 

While men and women may have similar weight management needs, their fundamental body composition differences often translate to very different weight loss experiences. Simply put, men often find it a bit easier than women to shed excess pounds. 

Here, our skilled team of weight loss specialists at Physicians Weight Loss Center Highlands Ranch discusses how women differ from men when it comes to weight loss, and explain how the right support can make all the difference in your weight management journey.  

Gender factors and weight loss

Weight loss can be a challenging undertaking in the best of circumstances. You might shed a few pounds one month only to gain some of them back the next, or you may get halfway to your goal weight and hit a weight loss plateau that effectively stops you in your tracks. 

And if you’re a woman, the entire process might be just a little bit harder than it is for the average man. But why do men tend to lose weight more easily than women? The difference comes down to basic biology. 

It all starts with hormones

Hormones are chemical messengers that direct or control nearly all body functions, including your metabolism and general fat storage patterns.

The female reproductive hormone estrogen is largely responsible for giving women breasts and shapelier hips, thighs, and buttocks. Testosterone, the male reproductive hormone, is what promotes the linear, more muscular body associated with a typical masculine physique.  

Body composition differences

Besides determining a more feminine or masculine body shape, sex hormones help control whether your body stores fat — or maintains muscle — more readily. Specifically, estrogen promotes easier fat storage to keep a woman’s body healthy in the event of pregnancy, while testosterone promotes more muscle and less fat accumulation. 

The average active man has about 14-17% body fat, while the average active woman has 21-24% body fat. Both men and women need to sustain a certain amount of essential fat to function normally: women shouldn’t have less than 10% body fat, and men shouldn’t have less than 2% body fat. 

Lean muscle mass is the key 

So, in general, women have (and need) more body fat. This innate fat-preserving mechanism can make it harder for women to lose weight, but it’s not the only factor at play. Arguably, the bigger factor has to do with lean tissue mass, or muscle. 

Testosterone makes it easier for men to maintain a higher percentage of lean tissue mass, and muscle is more metabolically active than fat. Having more muscle translates to a greater and more efficient calorie burn throughout the day, whether you’re resting or working out.  

Having higher levels of testosterone also makes it easier to build more muscle, which in turn promotes efficient fat burning and weight loss. 

Supportive weight loss solutions

There’s a lot of conflicting information about the best way to lose weight and keep it off. And even when you have a solid understanding of what it takes to reach your weight loss goals, you may find yourself facing unexpected pitfalls and setbacks that make the process harder. 

At Physicians Weight Loss Center Highlands Ranch, we consider the multitude of factors that can affect your weight, and create a fully tailored, medically directed weight loss plan that meets you exactly where you’re at — and helps you get where you’d like to be. We evaluate and consider your:

  • Full medical history
  • Body composition
  • Hormonal imbalances
  • Genetic predispositions
  • Previous dieting history
  • Current fitness level 
  • Current medications

Customized to your exact needs, your personal weight loss action plan centers on two core concepts: balanced nutrition and physical activity. We create a diet plan that’s both easy to follow and meets your specific nutritional needs, and a fitness plan that helps you build lean muscle mass and shed fat efficiently.   

Once the central elements of your plan are in place, we assess your need for supplemental support. You may be a candidate for weight loss medications that reduce unhealthy cravings, boost your metabolism, or stimulate your body’s natural fat-burning mechanisms.  

If you’re ready to reveal your best body, we can help. Call or click online today to schedule a consultation with our medical weight loss experts at Physicians Weight Loss Center Highlands Ranch in Highlands Ranch, Colorado.