Sometimes couples decide to go on diets together. They might do it for an upcoming event, vacation, or just because they want to make a healthy change. While it's fun to encourage each other and strive to be the biggest loser of the household, the truth is that weight loss for women means something very different than weight loss for men.
First, there is the psychology of it.
When it comes to the ideal weight for women-not on a chart, but from the visual perspective-there is only one image that matters: the bikini-clad model strolling out of the ocean. A good example is when female movie stars gain weight for movie roles. To everyone, at home or in the theater, they look perfectly normal. Even the stars that have just given birth are on the red carpet days later, looking as svelte as they always did.
But how about men?
As men get older, it's considered normal to see a bit of a paunch instead of washboard abs. Men seem to be able to carry extra weight much better than women. And, unless they blow up to Marlon Brando size, they are still seen as handsome and sexy.
So, right of the bat, men and women are working toward a much different body image goal. For women, that goal can be entirely unrealistic or very difficult to attain.
Therefore, while a man might take off 10 pounds and be considered perfectly fine, women might feel the need to lose as much as 25 pounds or more in order to be viewed by society as able to emerge from the ocean in a bikini.
Second, biology and physiology play a huge role in weight loss for women and men. Even at rest, the metabolism of a man is much higher than a woman's. And with the same amount of physical activity, a man will burn more calories than a woman. To make things worse men need more calories daily, which means they can just plain eat more than women while losing the weight faster with less effort.
There you are, starving and sweating to take off each and every pound, while your darling husband skips dessert for a week and the weight just melts off.
It can be downright maddening.
Fortunately, the weight loss industry is well aware of the differences between men and women who want to lose weight, and they've taken great measures to cater to the fairer sex.
Many weight loss support groups are open to women only. There are also women-only spas, women weight loss retreats, and even diet menus that are specific to women.
For example, women need a lot more iron in their diet than men. There are also differences in the amount of calories from fat they can consume, how much dairy is healthy, and many other factors.
So, if you're considering going on a diet with your sweetheart, just remember that successful weight loss for women requires a different set of rules than it does for men. Just focus on your own goals, and don't make it a competition. Otherwise, you're setting yourself up for failure.