In the race to lose weight, no two human beings are created equal. While one might have a sky-high metabolic rate, another might be extremely motivated to cut the flab out of his life.
But do men and women have it fair and square when you compare weight loss goals and how they can get there? Is weight loss different for men? Here's looking at why the guy next door went from 90 to 80 kilos, while you're still trying to lose the first 5.
Men have muscle. Women have fat. First the technicalities: Due to testosterone or the good old gender divide in weight lifting, men are more prone to build muscle tissue. This gives men an overall higher metabolic rate, since muscle burns calories and produces energy more efficiently than fat. Women, on the other hand, are prone to storing fat in order to support childbirth. As we age, men and women store and burn just as much as each other. Therefore, men who earlier lost weight effortlessly, will suddenly match up with women of their age group when they hit middle age.
Men don't bloat. Body fat and water retention: Water retention is the bane of women everywhere. Men, luckily, don't have this problem. Not only do their bodies not store as much fat as women's bodies, they also don't have to put up with boated stomachs and puffy hands and feet. This difference is more in the vein of fat loss and less for weight loss, since the two are quite different from each other (read weight loss vs. fat loss). But it's a definite reason behind why men appear to lose weight more rapidly than women. Lucky.
Men do more and talk less: Sounds sexist? Probably is. But check with your friends. Who likes to talk more about the weight losing process? Chances are it's a girl. Men, by nature, tend to be more goal oriented and therefore 'share' less. They don't get together to talk about how they plan to start a weight loss programme, or which fitness classes they're signing up for to lose how much weight. Women, on the other hand share more, and perhaps are able to stay better motivated because they make the weight loss strategy a part of their world.
Men are encouraged to sit tight and... just be. Sedentary lifestyles: Society tells us to leave the men out of the kitchens, schools and supermarkets. Add gaming consoles, football and cricket seasons with six packs of beer, and junk food to all that sitting around and you get extra kilos on the weighing scale in a flash. Spending one hour at the gym every day does the trick for men following moderate to vigorous workouts, but what about men who refuse to leave their comfort zones on the treadmill and the weight training floor? Weight loss is an uphill climb for men who refuse to push themselves out of couch potato central.
How can a man be on a diet? Delving deeper into why weight loss is different for men, brings us to another fundamental difference between men and women lifestyles. Women can be fussy about eating just salads, slimming down their drinks with low-cal alternatives, and balancing heavy meals with fruits for desserts, but a man? A man must eat everything. Look at the associations in advertising around you - a beefy man grilling a big hunk of red meat, while it's a woman who spoons the leafy greens pragmatically while weighing herself.
Men need to get fit too. The days of fat men with hot women are, mercifully, drawing to a close. Men are increasingly included in fitness talks, weight loss stories, and healthy living forums. With shocking numbers of Indian men succumbing to diabetes, heart disease and several other lifestyle (read: product of unhealthy living) diseases, it's no wonder that weight loss is as much a concern for men as it is for women these days.
How can a man lose weight? Testosterone, muscle composition, less fat storage, no water retention, and high metabolic rates notwithstanding, weight loss strategies remain the same for men and women. Eating right and exercising daily and cleverly, are all part of long term healthy weight loss strategies. Ensuring that you eat breakfast, drink enough water, get enough exercise are the basics of any weight loss programme and must be incorporated into your life whether you're a man or woman.