I have a sister in France, Ann, and we have a bet — Who will be the first to shed 20 pounds? So, I mentioned this in the car the other day as I was driving with She Who Must Be Obeyed, Grandma, and one of our teenage girls. “Well that’s not fair?”, sez the ladies. “Why not?”, sez I. “Because men can lose weight faster than women, so it’s easier for you.” Naturally, being a typical male, I dismissed this as nonsense, but since I was heavily outnumbered I decided discretion would be the better part of valor, so I kept my big gob shut. Is it true though that it’s easier for men to shed the weight? I must confess, I did reflect upon it later and I decided that I would do some research on this…In other words, I googled it.
Now then, the only thing I did manage to find that was remotely scientific was a study reported in a British national newspaper. The study was conducted by the magazine Slimming World. Apparently the magazine surveyed over a million slimmers and the results do make for some interesting reading. But before I tell you about the results of this alleged survey of over 1 million people, a word of warning. Remember, I am referring to a newspaper article which in turn was referring to a magazine survey. Call me an intellectual snob, but, this is not exactly hard core science here. This “research” might raise some stimulating questions, but it’s not, I repeat, not going to provide us with answers. With that caveat in mind, here goes.
According to the survey done men lose weight more quickly than women do, and there are some interesting reasons for this. Genetically, seems like men did get the better deal here, because we are more likely to have more muscle mass than women. Muscle is very “fuel-hungry” and this helps to burn off unwanted excess calories. Also, we have a higher basal metabolic rate, which means that even while resting, men burn more calories than women because our “engine” is ticking over at a faster rate, and thus burning more fuel. There are other, very important factors that contribute significantly too and this is where the debate can get heated. Depending on your point of view, men are more ‘obsessed’ or ‘strong-willed’ with dieting so guys are less likely to allow themselves to be distracted, deterred or tempted to fall off the wagon. Also, according to the Slimmer’s World article, men are less likely to have “food-related emotional issues” which makes it easier for them to lose weight. Really? I can only speak for myself here, but I can assure you I have a very deep, a very loving, and a very long-standing relationship with: wine, chocolate, whiskey, chips, beer, and ice-cream. And when I’m on a diet, I really, really miss my old friends, a lot. They beg me to come out and play with them, but I tell them I have to stay inside and do my chores, then finish my homework.
Personally, I wouldn’t be surprised if the physiological advantages allowed me to have psychological leverage. Guys start a diet and the weight initially comes off relatively rapidly. This success helps to boost motivation and fuels further successes. Success begets success. But, come on, let’s not kid ourselves here, whether you’re a woman losing weight, or a man losing weight, it still remains a process that is generally, a royal pain.
Brian O’ Nuanain runs “Across The Pond And Beyond”, a company that organizes international vacations. You can reach him at acrossthepondandbeyond.com