T Nation

Gender and Weight Loss/FatLloss


#1

Hi all,

So some quick background: I just started a cut, and was chatting with a few of my female friends (who are not serious exercise enthusiasts) about the diet I'm following, how fast I expect to lose weight, etc. And with all of them, I immediately ran into "Well you're a guy, I'm sure you'll have no problem losing the weight," "I wish it was as easy for me to lose weight as it is for men" and "your diet/program wouldn't work as well for me because it's harder for women to lose weight than men."

This struck me as very frustrating for a couple of reasons. First of all, because when we are talking about individual progress this sort of comparative thinking seems moot. Secondly, because they were immediately ready with this excuse for why it's hard for them to progress and why it isn't for me - which feels like excuse making, and a dismissal of the hard work I'm going to be putting in over the next few weeks. And Third, because (while I've heard that claim many many times before), I'm not sure if I believe that it's really harder for women to lose weight than men.

So I started doing some reading online with a quick google search. I was, once again, frustrated to find almost no articles that asked the question "DO men have an easier time losing weight?" backed up by scientific studies, but rather lots of articles that already accepted that men do, in fact, have an easier time losing weight, and sought to explain why. The thing is, their explanations didn't seem to be rooted in hard, biological differences between the sexes. Rather, they seemed to be a bunch of correlative factors.

For example, "Men tend to have more lean body mass." Yes, but can't this be easily remedied by a woman following a weightlifting or strength program, rather than doing the endless hours of cardio that they are led to believe will get them in shape? Or "Men tend to eat more meat and protein, while women tend to eat more carbohydrates, and even be more emotionally attached to food."

If that's not some bullshit... So we are supposed to just accept that it is harder for women to lose weight, and the reasoning behind that is "because they eat the wrong foods and have a harder time cutting those foods out."

So I suppose I want to dismiss the "It's easier for men to lose weight than women" claim as bullshit, rooted in bad science and social factors. But I don't know enough about human biology and exercise science to say this for sure. I'm hoping to get some opinions, maybe even some links to studies and real science to either back up my thinking or show me why I'm wrong.

In my mind, I am imagining a man and a woman, following the same strength-training program, and the same hardcore diet without deviation. IF we account for size differences, the amount of lean body mass, and the slightly higher body fat % that women tend to carry, will the male REALLY lose significantly more weight than the female over the same training cycle? What do you think?


#2

Are we also assuming the hormone profile as well?


#3

I would say we assume both parties have a healthy testosterone level, based on a good diet and healthy exercise program, and no one has ruined their metabolism or thyroid hormones with absurd amounts of cardio, stress levels, etc.


#4

Your question is not scientific, so it can’t be backed by any scientific argument. What does “easier” mean?

That’s entirely subjective to the individual and will always carry more variability than any other parameters in your study. 100 people who do the exact same thing minute to minute will report a broad spectrum on the easiness scale.

For me, eating zero carbs is easy and I do it a couple times of week. For others, they feel like they’re on their death bed after just 1 day.

As far as chats with your colleagues, I found the best way is to just not talk about what I eat with anyone. We’re in a completely different world man lol.


#5

[quote]N.K. wrote:
I would say we assume both parties have a healthy testosterone level, based on a good diet and healthy exercise program, and no one has ruined their metabolism or thyroid hormones with absurd amounts of cardio, stress levels, etc. [/quote]

But a healthy amount of testosterone is very different for a man and a woman.


#6

Many years ago, I had a similar conversation with a chick, only her retort went something like, “But you’re different! You go to the gym!”.

I couldn’t decide whether to slap her or fuck her.


#7

[quote]jskrabac wrote:
As far as chats with your colleagues, I found the best way is to just not talk about what I eat with anyone.[/quote]

This is 100% my approach. If asked, I say I eat “healthy” and leave it at that. They don’t really care, and I don’t have the patience to explain.


#8

I do remember reading women are missing an enzyme men have that helps to process alcohol, and they may have worse hangovers as a result. It would make sense that that is not the only difference and men and women could have different metabolisms.

I stayed in a Holiday Inn Express last night.


#9

I suppose not talking about it is probably the best approach if my goal is just to not get pissed off. Especially when I’m talking with people who aren’t serious about exercise and nutrition.

I just felt a strong, gut reaction that the whole “men lose weight easier than women” thing was horseshit, something repeated over and over as an excuse that has somehow worked its way into our society as a universal truth. And when my friends or family starts spouting nonsense based on bad science, I normally try to counter them and provide them with good information, rather than just smiling and nodding. But in this case, I guess maybe there are too many factors, or as jskraback said, the question is not scientific enough, for me to disprove the claim. They can just continue thinking what they think, and I can continue thinking what I think. And they will stay fat and sad and I will get lean and awesome.


#10

[quote]N.K. wrote:
And when my friends or family starts spouting nonsense based on bad science, I normally try to counter them and provide them with good information, rather than just smiling and nodding. [/quote]

In my experience, no one ever enters an argument with the hope that THEIR view will change.

It’s why I’ve stopped having them.


#11

Lyle McDonald knows a thing or two about weight loss. In his book The Stubborn Fat Solution (no financial interest), he talks at length about why women have a harder time losing weight than do men. (It’s primarily hormonal.)


#12

Yeah easier is very subjective, not to mention goals differ and all that.

[quote]EyeDentist wrote:
Lyle McDonald knows a thing or two about weight loss. In his book The Stubborn Fat Solution (no financial interest), he talks at length about why women have a harder time losing weight than do men. (It’s primarily hormonal.)[/quote]

I would say it is easier for the average healthy man to trim down faster than the average healthy woman, but yeah that’s because women are built to carry more fat then men. Just as men can build more muscle and have greater upper body strength. So I would agree with you that the comparative shit is very moot. I might as well complain that you bastards :wink: have an easier time gaining muscle. But I could probably find a couple of guys that have less muscle mass than myself who struggle too. Or I could complain that my stupid pain medication is making it more difficult for me to lose some fat. But one just gets on with it.

But this is total horseshit…
“your diet/program wouldn’t work as well for me because it’s harder for women to lose weight than men.”


#13

thanks for the replies, guys.

Sounds like the general consensus is just not to get caught up in the comparison. And probably that whoever IS making the comparison is looking for excuses, and getting into any sort of discussion or argument with them is just going to cause my head to explode.

I was feeling extremely cantankerous when I wrote this post, probably from the ketones beginning to flow through my veins haha. Thanks for the opinions and ideas, and helping me see that I was foolish to engage.

If anybody else wants to add any opinions, anecdotes, or link any other info (thanks eyedentist for the rec), I’ll keep checking back here, since dieting is all I’m thinking about for the next 10 weeks anyway


#14

[quote]N.K. wrote:
If anybody else wants to add any opinions, anecdotes, or link any other info (thanks eyedentist for the rec), I’ll keep checking back here, since dieting is all I’m thinking about for the next 10 weeks anyway [/quote]

On this topic, birth control is going to be one of those factors that can really muck things up.


#15

[quote]T3hPwnisher wrote:

[quote]N.K. wrote:
And when my friends or family starts spouting nonsense based on bad science, I normally try to counter them and provide them with good information, rather than just smiling and nodding. [/quote]

In my experience, no one ever enters an argument with the hope that THEIR view will change.

It’s why I’ve stopped having them.[/quote]

This is the truth. Not worth talking to people about fitness.


#16

When I was younger, like early 20s…I would be about 235lbs in the winter and by June I’d be 210 without really trying to watch what i ate or by exercising that much more.

Now I’m 42, watch what I eat more, focus on working out smarter…and if I try hard I can go from 250lbs to 245 in a month.

Another thing is food is the same thing to men and women. I mean a Snickers bar is 220 calories or whatever for both men and women and it’s such a small easy thing to eat, but for me i’s barely 10% of my daily calories intake but for a woman it would be 20%.


#17

maybe it is harder, probably is, does not matter most women i know use it as an excuse
just like i did not train today because
it to hot
it to cold
gym closed
not enough time
etc.