Friday, June 14, 2013

Weight Loss: Men vs Women

Hey there! I apologize for not blogging in a week or so. As many of you know, I am 23 weeks pregnant with twin baby girls, have a 16 month old and just got back from a quick family wedding in Charleston, SC. All that to say, I can't seem to catch up! (To follow my real life (non fitness related) I am best at posting pictures on Instagram, you can find me at @mariettamcclure.)

I have been thinking a LOT about lately about the differences between men and women in regards to weight loss. For every "before/after" story I do on a woman, there are at least equal amount testimonials for men (all the stories are available HERE). They just won't send me before afters or maybe they just don't care. Either way, my point is that I do have a lot of men in my classes AND they lose weight QUICK. Like crazy quick. 

Which brings me to my point that there is a double standard in weight loss. It is harder for women to lose weight AND we are expected to look fit and are required by society to wear tight fitting clothing. It is MUCH easier for men to lose weight, they are not judged on their appearance (for the most part) and they are expected to wear baggy clothes. Basically, I don't think there should be any excuses for a man being overweight. They have EVERYTHING going for them AND they don't have to gain weight to birth a child. 

I can prove this by a conversation I had last week with a 50 year old man in my beginner bootcamp class. He has been working out for one month and has lost 28 pounds. I asked him what he has been doing besides my class. 

His response? "Ehhh, well I guess I've quit drinking beer every night. Just on the weekends. Oh, and I've been having a salad at work instead of a hamburger."

 I waited for some other great dieting tip and there was nothing..... This drives me nut-so in the head because at age 28 to lose 55 pounds  after my first baby I had to walk a tight rope with my eating and worked out 5x a week. 

(I am ranting because I literally feel like I am gaining 5lbs a day right now and already dreading losing all those baby pounds AGAIN.) So, am I just a hormonal pregnant lady that is upset my body is going to the pits, or is there some truth to my frustration? 

Let's read more from reputable sources to find out...

The answer lies in body composition. Even when obese, men tend to have more muscle mass than women. Women carry approximately 10% more of their body weight in fat. Furthermore, several studies have shown that a man’s metabolism is anywhere from 3% to 10% higher than a woman’s of the same weight and age. That brings us to a physiological truth: the more muscle you have, the higher your metabolism will be and the more calories you will burn, even when resting.
Read more: Time Magazine Article by Bob Harper

Most men burn more calories than women when they are at rest because they are bigger. Resting metabolic rate, or RMR, is approximately 10 calories per pound for women and 11 calories per pound for men. Your RMR is the amount of calories you expend when you are utterly still, just for your bodily functions to work properly. The larger your body, the more calories maintaining it burns. A 180-lb. man would burn 1,980 calories if he remained still all day, staring at the sky. The 140-lb. woman next to him would burn only 1,400 calories doing the same thing for the same amount of time.
Read more: Live Strong


In order to lose weight at the rate of one pound per week, an individual must either reduce caloric intake by 500 calories a day, burn an additional 500 calories per day, or create the deficit by a combination of cutting calories and performing calorie-burning activity. This pound comes from body fat. Most women carry more body fat than men do. Their bodies are made for breastfeeding and pregnancy, and body fat is important to both those biological processes. One less pound of body fat on a woman would still leave more fat behind than the same pound coming off a man of the same height and weight.
Read more: Live Strong

Because they're at a disadvantage, women need to step up their game to lose weight as efficiently as men do. Losing weight takes women longer, so if you're a woman, the diet you choose is important. It should be something that you can sustain long-term. You will probably be able to take weight off just as quickly as a man if you crash-diet, but the pounds are not likely to stay off. Aim to create a deficit of about 500 calories a day to consistently trim off a pound a week through a combination of healthier eating and 30 minutes of exercise a day.
Read more: Live Strong

The simple truth is that men are larger and have more muscle than women due to the hormone testosterone. They are genetically designed to have a higher percentage of muscle and less fat -- which works in favor of keeping them fit and allowing them to eat more calories.
But with a little work, women can even up the odds a bit. To build more muscle and get your engine revving, pick up some weights and start pumping. You'll increase your muscle mass and decrease your fat stores by doing strength training at least twice a week.
Not only will strength training build muscle mass and help you burn more calories, but it will also strengthens your bones, preventing osteoporosis -- a disease primarily of women. (And, of course, it gives you a more shapely physique.
Read more: Web MD

After reading all of this I don't really feel better about my situation. There IS a double standard. I am expected to look great, but it will be harder for me than any male. I will still have a LOT of weight to lose in September and have to eat an insane amount of spinach and chicken to do so. I guess I better go eat a donut while I can get away with being fat.... 

I leave you with a funny cartoon of the differences that men and women view themselves. I SWEAR men think they look great (when they don't)... and I KNOW women view themselves in the worst light when they have SO much going for them!

Thank you for stopping by today! Let me know if you have an opinion one way or the other. -Marietta