One of the most frustrating things your husband can say to you: "I need to lose 5 pounds-I'll cut out the beer." That's because you could forgo beer forever and still never get close to squeezing into your skinny jeans from high school. It's not fair, but men are natural losers. We women may think we know every weight loss trick in the book, but men have some distinct physiological advantages.
For one, men's bigger muscle mass helps them burn 30% more calories than we do, says nutritionist Cynthia Sass, RD, coauthor of Your Diet Is Driving Me Crazy. Women generally have more body fat and are biologically more inclined to store it; men also get a free pass from the monthly hormone peaks and valleys that leave us grumpy, bloated, and craving chocolate and cheese. Still, you can take a cue from the guys and use it to your advantage. Here are 6 reasons guys drop pounds faster that will work for you too:
1. He doesn't crave sweets
Both men and women have cravings-but his work to his advantage.
While your comfort food is more likely to be sour gummy bears or double-chocolate chip bars, his is a thick, juicy steak. A Cornell University study found that women seek out sweets to ward off the blues but men turn to meat when they want to indulge. Why this gives him a weight loss advantage: He's eating protein, which will help fill him up (and curb overeating later) far better than your coffee cake will.
Decadent chocolate desserts
2. He doesn't get upset when he screws up
Okay, you blew it. A ridiculous project lands on your desk at 4 PM, and the vending machine beckons… What do you do next? If you're a woman, you throw up your hands and reach for your quarters. Then you wallow in self-loathing for days. And what does a guy do? "He feels okay, maybe even good, and really enjoys that snack," says emotional-eating expert Edward Abramson, PhD, a professor emeritus of psychology at California State University and author of Body Intelligence. The guy also climbs right back on the weight loss wagon, no harm, no foul.
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3. He lifts heavy weights
Women are catching on to strength-training, but some experts think women ought to approach weights more like men do. "When a guy goes to the gym, he'll usually pick an exercise that allows him to use the most impressive-looking weights," says Lou Schuler, a certified strength and conditioning specialist and author of The New Rules of Lifting. The result: muscle building in less time, and working a range of muscles at once instead of one in isolation. "A woman, on the other hand, will go for light dumbbells and do an exercise that allows her to use perfect form but will do the least amount of good."
So drop the "Barbie" weights. If you're doing two sets of 12 or 15 reps, your weights are probably too light, says Schuler. Move toward higher poundage that makes you strain to do 8 to 10, says Schuler. Once your body is used to 10, then increase the weight until you're only able to do 3 reps. "
10-Minute total body toning workout
4. He doesn't use food as a therapist
Women are twice as likely as men to binge because they're depressed, found a University of Minnesota study. Women are also twice as likely as men to be depressed, which makes for a lot of eat-a-thons. Worse, after a binge, a woman is likely to feel guilty, feel even more down, and soothe herself with more food. But guys don't think they can boost their mood by mainlining frozen dairy products. You shouldn't either.
Break the habit by identifying what's behind your need to feed. Rank your desire to eat on a scale of 1 to 10, recommends Santa Barbara, CA, psychotherapist Gloria Arenson, author of Five Simple Steps to Emotional Healing. "If it's an 8, then look at what in your life was an 8 that day. Your boss yelled at you? Your dog ran away? Your kid got into trouble at school?" By matching your numbers-the craving and an equivalent stressor-you'll soon learn how to determine whether you're hungry or medicating a bad mood.
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5. He acts out his anger
Here's another reason why men's emotions don't drive them to the fridge.
Guys are more likely to do something physical to dissipate their negative emotions, like go for an extra-grueling run or pound nails in the garage. Women on the other hand, tend to swallow their feelings-sometimes with an entire row of Oreos. So when you get mad, get moving. Take a Spin class, say, or go for a head-clearing walk.
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6. He doesn't give up favorite foods
When women diet, we deprive ourselves of all those luscious "forbidden foods" until we can't stand it any longer. Then we fall like starved dogs on year-old Halloween candy stuck to the back of the freezer. Austrian researchers, looking at gender differences in eating and dieting, found that "men's approach toward nutrition is uncomplicated and pleasure-oriented." They'll still eat Doritos and guacamole while watching the Super Bowl, but they'll have a third less then they usually do.
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