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TheActiveTimes.com

Nearly everyone's heard this story (or some variation of it) before: A husband and wife vow to lose weight as a couple. They start by exercising together and cutting soda from their diets. After a week, the husband is already down a few pounds, but the wife, well the scale hasn't quite budged for her yet. Sure, the story sounds cliché, but we hear slightly different versions of it all of the time because scientifically, it really is more difficult for women to lose weight. And for several different reasons.

"In my clinical practice, I see every day that women can have a much tougher time than men in losing weight," said Dr. Linda Anegawa, F.A.C.P., founder of OSR Weight Management in Hawaii and metabolic medicine and clerkship director in medicine for the University of Hawaii. “Particularly, when I have patients who are married couples losing weight together, the camaraderie is sometimes overshadowed by the woman’s jealousy in how quickly her partner can lose weight compared to her."

For any woman aiming to lose weight -- whether with a male partner or on her own -- it's important to understand why this is a greater challenge for females.

Why It's Harder For Women To Lose Weight

Women Have Less Lean Body Mass
 

Women Have Less Lean Body Mass

In other words, women don't naturally have as much muscle as men. "As muscle is our 'engine' that burns calories for us, given that men’s muscle mass is on average greater than a woman's, men have a naturally higher basal metabolic rate," Anegawa explained. "This ...

Women Have Less Lean Body Mass
 

Women Have Less Lean Body Mass

... means that even without any exercise, a man's body will burn more calories daily, leading to a greater caloric deficit and weight loss."

Women Burn Fat Differently
 

Women Burn Fat Differently

"The big advantage men have over women, when it comes to losing weight, is more testosterone," said Dr. Scott Schreiber, a chiropractor, licensed dietitian nutritionist and certified nutrition specialist who has been helping people lose weight for more than 10 years. It provides an ...

Women Burn Fat Differently
 

Women Burn Fat Differently

... advantage, he explained, because it's an anabolic steroid that promotes muscle growth. "In fact, men have seven to eight times more testosterone than women," Schreiber said. "In short, due to testosterone, men can build muscle a lot easier than women." So not only do men naturally have more muscle to start with, but it's much easier for them to gain more of it and effectively increase their metabolic rate even further.

Differences in Food Preference
 

Differences in Food Preference

It turns out, women may actually be more inclined to crave high-fat and sugary foods compared to men. As Washington Post reporter Jennifer Van Allen points out, a study from 2009 found that even when women said they weren’t hungry, if they were asked to smell, taste and ...

Differences in Food Preference
 

Differences in Food Preference

... observe foods like pizza, cinnamon buns and chocolate cake, scans revealed activity in areas of the brain that regulate the instinct to eat. This, however, was not true for men. So not only is it physically more difficult for women to lose fat, but a natural inclination towards foods high in fat and sugar could also pose a greater dietary challenge.

Workout Habits
 

Workout Habits

It's not fair to make generalizations, but still, it's mostly true that many women stick to cardio workouts and shy away from weight lifting, which for some, could make it more difficult to lose weight. "Women, worried about bulking up, tend to lift lighter weights and focus more on cardiovascular fitness, while men tend to gravitate toward the kind of ...

Workout Habits
 

Workout Habits

... heavy lifting that boosts muscle composition and metabolic rate,” Jim White, a Virginia Beach-based nutrition expert and certified personal trainer told Van Allen. Essentially, if the goal is to burn fat, women can benefit more from incorporating weight lifting in their routines and working with weights that provide a significant challenge to their muscles.

Post-Workout Hunger Hormones
 

Post-Workout Hunger Hormones

Science has also shown that compared to men, women may be more likely to eat more after a workout. Van Allen points to another study from 2009 which found that for women, ghrelin -- the hormone that tells us we're hungry -- rises after physical activity, while leptin -- the hormone that tells us we're ...

Post-Workout Hunger Hormones
 

Post-Workout Hunger Hormones

... full -- tends to drop. The same effect was not found in men. In other words, after a workout, women are more inclined to eat more, which could make it more difficult to lose weight and even lead to weight gain.

Emotional Eating
 

Emotional Eating

Not only are women more inclined to seek out high-fat and sugary foods and more likely to eat more after working out, but according to a 2013 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition they may also be more prone to eat for emotional reasons, rather than only out of hunger. "And some emotional ...

Emotional Eating
 

Emotional Eating

... eaters, in an effort to feel better, are prone to reach for foods that will ignite the reward center of the brain, which tend to be the sugary, fatty, salty, hyper-palatable foods that can lead to weight gain," Pamela Peeke, author of the The Hunger Fix: The Three-Stage Detox and Recovery Plan for Overeating and Food Addiction, told Van Allen.

Extreme Measures
 

Extreme Measures

While this evidence is slightly more anecdotal, it’s not entirely outlandish and therefore still worth mentioning. As Cynthia Sass, a registered dietitian and author of S.A.S.S. Yourself Slim, explained to Van Allen, she often sees women resort to measures that most would consider extreme -- like juice ...

Extreme Measures
 

Extreme Measures

... cleanses, skipping meals or highly restrictive diets for example -- when they want to see quicker results or "get back on track." "Most but not all men tend to just try to get back on track with the original plan, or build in a little more exercise," Sass said. Basically, they'll implement strategies that are not only more balanced and sustainable, but also legitimately effective.

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For complete list of Most Common Mistakes Personal Trainers See In The Gym, go to TheActiveTimes.com.

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