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Why Do Women Have a Harder Time Losing Weight Than Men? We May Finally Know

Lori Federico, Getty Images

For a woman, there’s little more frustrating that starting a diet with her husband or boyfriend only to watch the weight fly off of him while hers ticks downward at a glacial pace. So what gives?

Blame body composition. As a rule, women have less muscle mass and about 10 percent more body fat than men. And since muscle burns more calories than fat, that means a man’s metabolism can be as much as 10 percent higher.

In addition, men tend to have more visceral fat, the kind that accumulates deep in the body, while women have more subcutaneous fat, which sits just under the skin. Visceral fat is the more dangerous of the two health-wise, but it’s easier to burn off.

Physiology aside, women are also more likely than men to be emotional overeaters. Men often put on excess weight because their portion sizes are too big and their food choices are poor — but women usually pack on the pounds from snacking or binging to cope with stress, sadness or exhaustion.

But all hope isn’t lost. Fitness experts suggest women do resistance training to build metabolism-boosting muscle, and that they be vigilant for things that trigger emotional eating so those patterns can be reversed.


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