Guest Blog by Dr. Kristin Patton
If, as a woman, you’ve ever resented your significant other’s ability to eat more and weigh less, here’s some vindication: It’s not all in your head. There are physical and psychological factors that really can make it more difficult for women to lose weight and keep it off.
“Men tend to have more muscle mass than we do,” explains Dr. Kristin Patton, a bariatric surgeon with the Weight Loss Center at Saline Memorial Hospital. “Muscle burns more calories than fat, so they also tend to have a faster resting metabolism.” Studies have also suggested that women are more commonly emotional eaters than men.
“Unfortunately, sugary, fatty, salty comfort foods are what emotional eaters tend to gravitate to, and those foods can cause weight gain,” Dr. Patton adds.
To combat these obstacles, experts recommend strength training for men and women to build muscle. Also, put tempting unhealthy foods out of sight and smarter choices – such as fresh fruit or nuts – in more accessible places.
Some researchers also reveal that men and women handle setbacks differently. After a binge, for example, more women tend to take extreme measures to get back on track such as juice cleanses, skipping meals or extreme dieting – none of which will help in the long term. Men, on the other hand, are more likely to simply go back to the original plan, and maybe temporarily increase their exercise regiment to try to make up for the slipup.
Emotional support is a critical element of success for both genders. Says Dr. Patton, “At Saline Memorial Hospital’s Weight Loss Center, we offer support groups in which registered dietitians, registered nurses, exercise specialists, psychologists, physicians and bariatric surgery patients share their knowledge and experiences on a variety of topics of interest. This shows the person struggling to lose weight that they are not alone.”