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Gender and Weight Loss

GenderscaleThe journey towards weight loss can sometimes seem like a long and painful one but hopefully the end result is going to be worth the early struggles. Obesity can affect anyone, whatever their gender, race or social status; however, in general terms, it seems that women have a harder time shedding those pounds compared to their male counterparts. But why? Could a person's gender affect how fast and how much weight they can lose?

Reports claim that the difference in testosterone levels between men and women affects the amount and distribution of fat in the body. Women have on average around 10% more body fat compared to men. Essential fats are usually about 11% in women and 5% in men and this difference usually accounts for the higher metabolic rate found in men, meaning that a man's daily calorie intake is usually higher in comparison, even when losing weight. Lean muscle tissue burns up to three times more energy than fat tissue, therefore men are likely to burn calories faster than women. The basal metabolic rate is said to be up to 10% higher in a man of the same age and weight as a woman. This can be said to provide an immediate advantage for weight loss

It is important to understand the type of fat stored in the body - men are more likely to store visceral fat whilst women are said to have more subcutaneous fat. Visceral fat is mainly found around the abdomen and vital organs, whilst subcutaneous fat is fat directly under the skin and is mostly found in the thighs and buttocks. Having visceral fat is not 'healthier' as it is said to contribute to diabetes and heart disease, however in terms of weight loss, it does metabolize faster compared to visceral fat.

Researchers suggest that the psychological response of 'emotional' eating may contribute to slower weight loss by women. Eating food in response to stress, grief, loneliness and other emotional reasons can be a tough habit to curb for women. For this reason it may be harder for women to resist food cravings. Although this may seem to put women at a disadvantage, it is claimed that in the long run, efforts made by both sexes towards weight loss yield similar results.

Eating Correctly

If you are serious about losing excess weight correctly, then that is a good thing. Research shows that the primary cause of added weight is excess carbohydrates in the form of excess sugar and fructose. Cutting out fizzy drinks, processed food, cakes and sweets are all important in a bid to lose weight. It is also important to cut out the fructose consumed from sweeteners, excessive fruit intake and fruit juice in particular.

For many, reducing the amount of carbohydrates ingested from sugars, grains and starchy foods will be important in their bid to lose weight. Refined sugars and carbohydrates found in biscuits, chocolate, fruit bread, popcorn and other processed foods are easier to break down in the body thereby using less energy. These types of foods need to be substituted with vegetables, proteins and healthy fats as the body prefers the carbohydrates found in vegetables. These are harder to convert to sugar and thereby require more energy.

Level out the playing field

Although body composition and metabolic rates favour men compared to women in terms of weight loss, it is possible for women to close this 'gender gap' easily by:

  • Limiting the amount of fructose consumed and incorporating more vegetables and healthy fats into the diet
  • Tackling any bouts of emotional eating
  • Increasing exercise, and engaging in high-intensity peak fitness training.

These factors are key in levelling out the playing field when it comes to weight loss. Most recently, though, intermittent fasting has been known to help boost the metabolic rate in women whilst also helping to reduce calories. This works by either delaying breakfast at a later time in the day, or eating your last meal at an earlier point during the day. This doesn't have to be done everyday and can include alternate days.

If you do feel that you are at a disadvantage - whether due to genetics, gender or age - the truth remains that if your body absorbs less calories that it burns you will lose weight. Fortunately, there are medically proven weight loss treatments available that can help you lose weight. By exercising properly, and reducing your intake of processed fats and carbohydrates, you can use a weight loss treatment to aid the weight loss process.

You can also use our BMI calculator below to get a quick estimate of what your body mass index is.

Body Mass Index Scale
Underweight: less than 18.5
Normal weight: 18.5 - 25
Overweight: 25 - 30
Obesity: 30 - 35
Severe Obesity : greater than 35
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