It Really Is Harder for Women to Lose Weight

The Washington Post looks at why it really is harder for women to lose weight.

Some of the differences stem from biology; other differences are behavioral.But the information that researchers are unearthing about the differences in the way that men and women lose weight inspires hope that the next generation of weight-loss advice will be more tailored and effective than the generic tips that have gotten Americans no closer to sliding into their dream jeans. (More than a quarter of Americans are obese, according to a May Gallup poll, a number that has been ticking upward for years). Although experts have long insisted that losing weight is simply a matter of burning more calories than you consume, they now say that it’s much more complicated than that.

How much weight we lose is really not just about calories in and calories burned. Much of what we think about food and how our bodies use the food we eat is attributed to what’s going on in our head.

Cynthia Sass, a registered dietitian and cauthor of “S.A.S.S. Yourself Slim,” says she has seen many women gain weight as soon as they get into a relationship with men because they start eating as much and as often as their male partners. “That turns out to be too much,” she says.

And then there’s the question of what drives men and women to eat: hunger for food, or some more profound craving. A 2013 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition established that women are more commonly emotional eaters than men.

And some emotional 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, says Pamela Peeke, author of the “The Hunger Fix: The Three-Stage Detox and Recovery Plan for Overeating and Food Addiction.”

Häagen-Dazs at 2 AM? Sign me up.

In addition to all the normal things people do to lose weight, one thing many should examine is the mental stressors that are present in their life. Clear those up, and weight loss could become much easier.

News Flash from the Ivory Tower

This just in…

World governments are focussing too much on fighting terrorism while obesity and other “lifestyle diseases” are killing millions more people, an international conference heard Monday. Overcoming deadly factors such as poor diet, smoking and a lack of exercise should take top priority in the fight against a growing epidemic of chronic disease, legal and health experts said. Global terrorism was a real threat but posed far less risk than obesity, type two diabetes and smoking-related illnesses, US law professor Lawrence Gostin said at the Oxford Health Alliance Summit here. “Ever since September 11 we’ve been lurching from one crisis to the next which has really frightened the public,” Gostin told AFP later.” While we’ve been focussing so much attention on that we’ve had this silent epidemic of obesity that’s killing millions of people around the world and we’re devoting very little attention to it and a negligible amount of money.”

Food, even the bad for you kind, brings a certain amount of pleasure. People spend money to obtain pleasure. Companies make billions of dollars because their product elicits a pleasurable effect with the customer. Last I looked, my double whopper with cheese wasn’t wearing the belt of a suicide bomber.

In a post 9/11 world, I can’t even believe we’re having this conversation.