Eating, Weight and Gender
As if there aren’t enough differences between men and women, science is now telling us that we’re farther apart than we might think in terms of eating and weight. According to “Uneven struggle: from food cravings to moral support, men and women diet differently” (Sarasota Herald-Tribune, Health & Fitness, 8/26/14, 5-7E), there are major dissimilarities between the sexes. Fortunately, recognizing these differences can help each gender become more like the other in positive ways.
Because men have more muscle than women and muscle burns more calories than fat, guess who has the faster metabolism? Why men, of course. Which enables them to go on to lift heavier weights than women do and build even more muscles which burn more calories. Then there’s the matter of women’s brains lighting up when they smell, taste and observe sweets and treats in a way that men’s brains don’t. If you think it’s harder for les femmes to resist goodies than it is for les hommes, you can blame the pleasure center of the female brain.
Regarding appetite chemistry, in women, ghrelin, the hunger hormone, escalates after a workout while leptin, the satiation hormone, decreases. Women actually want to eat and do eat more after a workout than men do, often offsetting the weight they’ve just worked off. And “a 2013 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, established that women are more commonly emotional eaters than men.” Additionally, females may take more extreme approaches to getting back on track after a binge or a bout with emotional eating. They tend to gravitate to the latest fads or craziest new restrictive diets, which are impossible to sustain over the long-term. Men, on the other hand, try to return to the plan at hand or ramp up their exercise routines.
The one area where women surpass men is that the latter tend to go it alone and the former are more disposed to reach out for support in eating more healthfully and getting fit. “Women are more likely to reach out to friends, family, a dietitian or a group, says the article” for help. So, guys, learn something from the gals: don’t try to improve your eating all by yourself. Share your problems in eating healthier and getting fit and don’t be afraid to get some support. And women, learn to be a bit more like men and don’t fall for the latest pill, plan or program that guarantees to slim you down in no time flat. Do what men do and go back to a sensible approach to food that was working for you before you fell off the wagon and consider adding more activity to your approach to losing weight.