A person steps on a scale. Their legs and feet are wrapped in measuring tape.
It has always been harder for women to lose weight, but some simple strategies can make things a little easier. (For Spectrum Health Beat)

Let’s face it—there are some clear differences between the genders.

Setting aside any unfairness related to bathroom lines (we all know who has shorter lines), or push-up competitions (who typically wins those in gym class?), or even the monthly “visitor” (one gender is untouched by this), it’s obvious that gender differences are quite real.

From a woman’s standpoint, however, there’s one difference that can be particularly aggravating.

Men seem to lose weight faster and easier. The Washington Post and cnn.com have explored the metabolic weight-loss advantage enjoyed by men.

“It’s true,” said Harland Holman, MD, of the Spectrum Health Family Medicine Residency Center. While weight loss can be challenging for any person, men are at a particular advantage because they have more muscle mass and less estrogen. It simply makes it easier for them to lose weight.

Women are also more prone to use food as an emotional crutch, Dr. Holman said.

“It’s a generalization, but one backed by some new research,” the doctor said.

When stressed, women tend to put on more weight, while men are more likely to lose their appetites. Plus, not many of us turn to carrot sticks as comfort food, particularly when chocolate seems to work so much better, Dr. Holman said.

Just remember that you’re not alone in this battle. Look to workout partners and friends and family for encouragement—and you can also lean on modern technology for that extra boost of inspiration.

“A lot of my patients have found phone apps useful to assist in weight loss by tracking their calories and their exercise,” Dr. Holman said. “Think of weight loss as just one additional element to your overall health and well-being.”

Dr. Holman suggested some relatively simple steps that women can take to help lose pounds and maintain a healthy weight:

Get more sleep

Aim for at least seven hours, if possible. Your brain and body will benefit.

Think before you eat

Don’t let your emotions guide you. Try for a more plant-based diet, such as the Mediterranean diet.

Build a fitness mindset

Add a little “extra” exercise to each day, even if it means parking farther away from work or choosing the stairs over the elevator.

Commit to gym time

Lift weights to maintain muscle, which helps burn calories. You’ll see noticeable results in short order.

Reward yourself

Identify some non-food rewards—and be sure to reward yourself after a long day.


Add stress-reducing activities to your day, every day. Read, walk, go to the movies, spend time with family—make time for whatever it is that restores you.