Why is Weight Loss Harder for Women Than Men?

Nov 01, 2023
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Anyone can experience challenges with weight, but women tend to have a harder time losing weight than men. Explore the reasons why and consider professional medical assistance to support your weight loss.

Weight loss isn’t easy for most people, but you’re not misguided if you think women have a more challenging time losing weight than men. So, should a woman take a different approach?

Although men and women usually lose weight at different rates, there is little evidence to suggest that each gender should approach weight loss differently. However, women are more likely to seek obesity-related care. The best way for anyone to reach and maintain their weight loss goals is through a personalized medical weight loss program. As a member at Montclair Concierge Medicine in Verona, New Jersey, you work with Kelly DiStefano, MD, to mindfully reduce your body fat and improve your health.

If you’re a woman looking to lose weight, being aware of the barriers women face in weight loss may help you overcome them more effectively. Consider these possible setbacks in your weight loss journey.

Hormones and hormone conditions

Several hormone-related challenges can lead you to gain and retain more weight — and have a hard time losing it. First, the hormones estrogen and progesterone affect how your body stores fat. While men’s bodies produce estrogen, too, it’s a more dominant hormone in women. 

Estrogen is a hormone involved in several bodily processes. Take menopause, for example. When you reach menopause, your body’s production of estrogen drops. At this time, you may gain more weight in your abdomen because the loss of estrogen reduces your muscle mass and slows your metabolism.

Conditions influencing your hormones can present weight loss challenges, too. Between 5% and 10% of women have polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), a hormone imbalance associated with insulin resistance that can make weight loss especially difficult. You can talk to Dr. DiStefano about women’s health services and hormone testing to see if you have this condition. 

Your natural body composition

On average, women have less muscle and more fat than men. Your muscle-to-fat ratio influences your metabolism. For example, with more muscle and less fat, you burn more calories while at rest. 

By building muscle mass through weight training or resistance training activities, you can increase your metabolism and have an easier time burning fat. 

Considering mental and behavioral health 

Women experience higher rates of depression than men, and there appears to be a correlation between depression and obesity. While we don’t know if one causes the other, the relationship between depression and obesity is complex. Depression and the fatigue and appetite changes that come with it may present additional challenges in your weight loss attempts. 

Thanks to mood disorders, menstruation, pregnancy, and other factors, you might find yourself snacking often, choosing unhealthy foods, or using food for comfort. These behaviors can cause you to gain more weight and thus have a more challenging time reaching your weight loss goals. 

Medical weight loss — your best bet

Medical weight loss uses an evidence-based approach. Starting with a detailed consultation and physical exam, Dr. DiStefano customizes your recommendations based on the factors inhibiting your weight loss. 

To schedule your medical weight loss consultation, call Montclair Concierge Medicine or book an appointment online today.