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Annoying, But True: It's Harder for Women to Lose Weight

It's not your imagination, ladies: Once a guy gets serious about losing weight, the extra pounds seem to simply fall off.

Women, on the other hand? We don't have it quite so easy. While some of this is due to the biological differences between the sexes, there are behavioral aspects at play, too. For starters, men—even those who are overweight—have more muscle mass than women do. And the more muscle a person has, the faster their resting metabolism, so they burn more calories. In fact, studies show that on average, a guys' metabolism can be up to 10 percent higher than a woman's of the same weight and age. Totally annoying. Men also tend to have more fat around the organs in their midsections, while women have more subcutaneous fat, the kind that lies just under the skin. While visceral fat has been linked to a long list of health issues ranging from heart disease to type 2 diabetes, studies show that it's metabolized faster than subcutaneous fat—yet another reason why women can lose weight as rapidly as men.

There are also psychological factors at play. Researchers say that women tend to have more of an emotional attachment to food than men, which makes it more challenging for us to stick to a diet and bounce back after a slim-down slip-up. When you stop and think about how many times a women in your life has eaten her feelings after a heart-wrenching breakup or a stressful day, it's nearly impossible to deny the validity of these claims.

But all of this not-so-great news doesn't mean it's impossible to shed those unwanted pounds—but it may mean that you need to shift your focus to reach your goal. One of the easiest ways to close the calorie-burning gap between you and the guys: add some additional calorie-burning muscle-mass to your frame. While doing too much cardio can eat away at lean muscle mass, slowing metabolism further, pumping iron helps speed it up. Not sure where to start? Incorporate one of these four celebrity-trainer developed programs into your routine. Already regularly strength training? Try upping your weight. (No, this won't make you look bulky. You don't have enough testosterone for that to happen.) Although you can't change your relationship with food overnight, you can make an attempt to cope with stress and sadness in ways that don't involve eating—like checking out a new yoga or boxing class, reading a book, or meeting up with friends.

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Dana Leigh Smith
Dana has written for Women's Health, Prevention, Reader's Digest, and countless other publications. Read more about Dana Leigh
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