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Yes, but Men Lose It Easier

By , SparkPeople Blogger
I am declaring war on a six-word sentence.
You may know by now that I started my weight loss journey on December 28th, 2009 with a goal of losing 60 pounds.  I managed to lose 100 and I did it within one calendar year. I lost that weight by fueling my body with the rights foods and working hard-- very hard.

I’d like to share with you a phrase that I’ve heard during my journey: ''Yes, but men lose it easier.''  Although this phrase is only six words long, it can have a much more disastrous effect than it might seem. Have you ever heard these words while on your journey?  Have you ever used those words to another person on a weight loss journey?

This phrase can be used as encouragement for some.  For others it is used as an accusation, as a means of denial, as a crutch.  It is the epitome of the double-edged sword.  These words can cut like a knife, no question about it.  I am certain that people who have uttered these words either to me or to another individual did NOT mean them in a harmful way.  When a man is working hard and doing all things right and is finding success with his journey, why are folks so quick to knock his success with the phrase, ''Yes, but men lose it easier''?  It is a complaint really, isn’t it?  It isn't usually said in praise.  Here is the deal: this phrase is hurtful.  It can deflate all the sense of accomplishment that a man feels for the work that he has done.  This phrase says that his work doesn’t count, that his struggles don't count. Chances are, that man will not give a complete picture of what he is going through.  There is a mental battle that is being fought right alongside the physical one.  I’ve said before that the emotions of this journey are sometimes the hardest part.  These six words can do a great deal of damage that will require even greater work to overcome.

I have actually said this phrase myself.  I have said it to my wife on more than one occasion when she was frustrated with her weekly weigh in.  I meant it as a way to say, ''Hey, you are doing great.  Don’t judge yourself by my results.''  However, in her moment of frustration and doubt, she heard, ''You aren’t ever going to catch up to me, so quit trying.  I have an edge.''  She felt her own emotions were being dismissed.  Instead of helping, I was actually compounding her frustration.  At the same time, I was discrediting my own success.

Each experience is unique to the person it belongs to. 

Whether men really do lose weight easier or not, please support the journey. Support the work that man is doing to change his life.  Whether a woman loses weight slower that a man does, support the work she is doing to change her life. 

Join me in refusing to utter this phrase any longer.

Have you received support on your journey to losing weight and reclaiming your health regardless of how long it took or the effort that was made to do so?

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LADYBUG1943 4/11/2019
Thank you for writing this. I've said those words, using them as an excuse for my own struggles, but never again. My husband does not struggle with weight at all, but is in remission from cancer and we both need to eat better. At 78 years, he's still pretty fit and a hard worker, but eats junk when there's not a meal ready. And that's up to me.... Report
Very interesting article. From this program I've learned how important it is to support one another, but don't be condescending. An important point I want to bring up is the fact that some men seem to lose weight quicker and easier than other men. It just comes down to it our bodies are all different. Report
Thanks for sharing! I agree with you on this one. Report
Good reminder. We all have our own advantages and disadvantages. The challenge is real, whatever form it takes. Report
interesting article Report
Thanks for this blog. I have heard these words countless times, here on Sparkpeople, at home and at work. Every time it seems to happen after I lose a few more pounds than anyone expects and every time it sounds like someone is discounting my success. I wish it was easy losing weight and being a man doesn't make it easier, if it was I still wouldn't be struggling with my weight after all these years. Report
Maybe so but not me so far! Report
I have never noticed this article before. Just recently I read an article regarding "Men lose it faster", and they reported the science behind that statement. As I was reading Mr. Merlau's article I thought Holy Moly! What an insult to men and there journey if you say it as easier than faster! Thank you Mr. Merlau. Woo Hoo you! Report
This article is the most important one I have read so far on my journey. Thank you, Jerome, from the bottom of my heart. I have printed it out, and will hold onto it as a constant reminder. My fiancee and I are getting healthy together. He feels he has 10-15 pounds to lose, and I want to lose 30. I often find myself getting frustrated, as his results are so much different than mine. He burns nearly double the calories at the gym, even if we do the same workout. I know he burns more because he is heavier than me. But it is hard to know that the same effort does not yield the same results. He is also able to eat more, where I feel like I'm starving a lot of the time! At times, that feeling of resentment I hold has been damaging to our relationship. But after reading this article I now see how HARD he really does work!! And you have reminded me to congratulate his efforts and support him, which is exactly what he does for me. And I believe that making this conscious effort to be more positive will not only benefit him, but also me! THANK YOU! Report
BTW - men in developed/1st world countries are more likely to be over weight. Which says to me that men often have their own hurdles to overcome. Report
OOh, good one. I hear people say this all the time to men, and I wondered about it. Similar, but different, is the "You've lost so much weight, I hate you!" that women say to each other with a smile. I never want to be hated by anyone, even jokingly (especially because part of them is serious). People can be dismissive in many ways, without realizing it (because they're mostly focused on their own frustration or their own struggle).

Good blog post.
Jocelyn Report
That is a really good point. Another that I hear ALOT is "you had a trainer". It almost makes me want to duck my head in shame because I worked out with a trainer 1 hour, twice a week. That was nothing more than a tool to get my momentum going again when i lost it after I got laid off.

Basically, it made me feel like I had somehow cheated or had an unfair advantage and my overall success really isnt legitimate (even though I have been "on my own" for 8 months) Never mind the fact that I could undo a workout with one trip to the drive through and also the fact that my trainer was with me for 2 hrs a week, I was on my own for the other 166 hrs a week.

Frankly, I hear remarks like that, it is a telltale symptom of something deeper and it is more of a kneejerk reaction and something to hide behind.

While it is true that men have more muscle mass which assists in weight loss and also possess higher resting metabolic rates. Any man with a slightly moderate level of commitment can lose 20 lbs but if a man is to achieve significant weight loss, the chips, junk food and love affair with the remote will have to go. It takes hard work...always.... Report
I personally will reserve that comment for the right instances like when a guy drops soda and looses lots of weight while I'm weighing everything I eat and barely loose. Men who are working hard deserve nothing but congratulations and praise. Report
Work is work! Results may differ, but the work is still there. The mental struggle is there. I have said this to women friends who were discouraged by the husband who said, "I think I'll lose weight this week" and proceeded to (seemingly) effortlessly lose 5 pounds, while she appeared to struggle to even maintain.

Yeah, your muscle build is in your favor, guys. The loss may be different, but the struggle is the same. Report
No support from my husband-he once told our pastor after I had lost 130 lbs that he married me fat and wanted me to stay fat. That is one big reason why I'm fighting so hard to lose the 50 I regained when the arthritis and artficial knees came on. Report
Thanks for the great article. My wife and I started on this venture together just over 5 months ago. This 'myth' was certainly on my mind and I was concerned about how our weight loss would go. My amazing wife continued to amaze me by actually staying ahead of me percentage wise and we have been within 4-5 pounds of each other on our journey. Now we are each within 5 pounds of our goal of of getting to a healthy weight. It has been a fantastic journey that we have done together, and it has been significant hard work from both of us. Report
Sure are a lot of big guys out there who didn't find it easy. I didn't find it easy when I managed to gain back almost all I had lost. There was no magic chromosome advantage. I managed to lose it again by making tough choices and working hard. Report
Jerome, Thank you so much for sharing this. Most women don't realize that men have just as many difficulties in their pilgrimage as women do. Sometimes of a different sort, but every bit as challenging. It is possible to reshape our thinking and our verbiage to edify each other. We just need to think more carefully before we speak.
oops I'm guilty as well although I never said it to be hurtful it was just the way I believed. No more comments like that from my lips! Report
So true, my friend. If this was easy for any of us, the whole world would be lean and healthy. We all carry our own weight, literally, and we all have our own trials and tribulations. Report
It's especially hard for guys for whom this phrase just simply isn't true. My husband has been working hard to lose weight and it just isn't easy for him. I was able to lose my weight a lot faster than him. So it's not even always true! Report
Makes me think of a bet I lost against my hubby. In order to be "fair", we had a body fat percentage loss bet against each other. I lost 24 lbs. He gained 6 lbs. He won the bet because he lost more fat; he converted it to muscle. Boy was that depressing for me! I won't take his bets anymore....I stick to making bets w/ my female friends! Report
Never again! Report
I don't know how hard you worked, but if you were a woman, you wouldn't have lost nearly as much doing the same thing. That's just the way it is.

Yeah, there's probably some jealousy when someone says that phrase, but the primary purpose is mostly to feel better about not having the similar results. In other words, it's not you, it's me. Don't take it personally. Report
I think its best to reread the last of the blog:

"Each experience is unique to the person it belongs to.

Whether men really do lose weight easier or not, please support the journey. Support the work that man is doing to change his life. Whether a woman loses weight slower that a man does, support the work she is doing to change her life."

Thanks for sharing this. Very good points and well stated. Report
Thanks for this blog. As a guy, it can be tough to find support since pretty nearly every article, blog post, quiz, and feature of sparkpeople and most other weight loss resources is primarily geared for women. I looked into a number of programs but felt ridiculous with no men there and all aspects of the program aimed at women.

The subject is so complex though. Everyone focuses on just "pounds" instead of body percentages. A man's loss of 27 pounds from 250+ might be the same as if my wife were to lose 12. My own weight loss has been by doing incredibly difficult things that most people (including my former self) are simply unable to do.

I can't speak to others' experience, but I can say that this is one of the hardest things I've ever experienced. Report
I understand your point of view for feeling like your efforts are lessoned by that statement but understand also that when woman make comments like I lost 1 pound this week and their male friend lost 3 and ate more, it also makes our efforts look slight while working harder for less result. Weight loss is a double edged for us women. Our metabolism is slower so we work harder to lose less. When someone says things like my goal was 62 pounds and I lost 100 it seems like gloating because we are struggling to lose the first 25 pounds. Very happy for you and your loss because 100 pounds is amazing. It just simple that we women are jealous and wish we could lose 100 and put forth the same effort men do to accomplish it. Report
While it may be a fact (as many here are asserting) that men *do* lose weight more easily, it is in fact often harmful when said. Both to men and women. So, I agree, that it should be eliminated. And congratulations on all your hard work! Report
I can understand how this is a hurtful phrase and I certainly would never say it to undermine the fantastic accomplishments of all the men out there who have taken control of their lives and lost weight and become healthier. I know that success such as yours involves hard work. But the stark truth of the matter is that it is easier and so much easier for men to lose weight. The fact that men will almost always be more muscular than women means that it will always be easier for men to shed pounds. When my co-workers and I decided to lose weight together and go on Weight Watchers, we all made remarkable safe progress but my male co-worker lost 3 times more quickly than we did. I just feel like this article is a bit of the whole male whiny complaints. Face it, men will never have to deal with the pudge that comes after having babies. And the fact of the matter is that in so many things in life, women always have the uphill battle (hello, underpaid in the work place for doing the same job as a man). So I just don't have sympathy for you. I don't. Report
I agree that it's hurtful to say things like that, but please understand that it's also hurtful to us women when men gloat about how much they lost & we're sitting back at half their progress. The bottom line is that it's a 2 way street...and we all have our own story that others don't understand, so we should all be encouraging no matter what. Report
Very nice blogging! Report
HELLO who is THAT Report
My boyfriend says this all the time. I fought and struggled last year to drop 25 lbs. He gave up 2 sodas a day and lost that in a month. He normally has like 8 cahns a day. I cried. No working out 5 days a week, not calorie counting, no major lifestyle change, just switched to whole milk at two meals a day instead of Pepsi.
You did an amazing thing, I don't want anyone to think I don't know that. But I have to wonder, he is only 20-35 lbs overweight and if he wouldn't go back to the soda he'd be at his ideal weight. Report
This is extremely well written and I plan to share it with many people. I am sure people have their opinions about the accuracy of the statement and, however anecdotal, feel strongly about it. Thanks for taking the time to bring this to the surface as discussion can always lead to a better understanding. Report
Everyone does at their own particular pace and taking action is far better than doing nothing - as I say a pound lose is better than a pound gain. And men struggle too, I have seen it. If they didn't - wouldn't all men be fit and healthy? Report
How true...and both genders have more difficulty at certain stages, too. Congrats on your amazing weight loss! Keep up the great modeling! Report
I don't recall ever saying or thinking this myself. I see so many chaps struggling too and achieving at what I see as the same rate as ladies. Don't let it get you down. You've done brilliantly in your own right. Well done. Report
It's not just this phrase. There's another one I 'love'. One that is not gender specific so you can use it to hurt anyone's feelings. "You have a great metabolism". As if that on it's own gets rid of emotional eating, stress and a crazy schedule that harms your motivation, eating and exercise. And "I have the worst metabolism" is probably the most frustrating thing I can hear form a friend because I know they are just saying "There is no point. I'm never gonna manage this". Yes, some people do have it easier, but firstly it's never as easy for them as it seems and secondly this is not a competition. It does not matter who has it easier. It only matters who you can lean on for support when you have it hard. Report
People that say things like that are not worth consideration. Report
Good point! Thank you for sharing this perspective. Report
Great blog. You've really opened my mind, thank you! Report
Thanks for sharing and congratulations on your weight loss! Report
Thank you for sharing--I will not say that ever again! Report
I had never thought about that phrase this way...but I have to agree with HELLHOUND2012 too. I swear my husband thinks about losing weight and pounds fall off. Me, I have to work my butt off 5-6 days a week and keep my calorie intake to around 1400 calories per day...to lose 4 pounds for the month. It is very frustrating to see my husband consume ice cream, pasta, etc without even a second thought, while I have to budget my calories if I want to include those things in my eating habits. Report
Thanks for sharing - I never thought of it that way before! Report
I have been guilty of saying this, and now I am ashamed. Granted, I only said it after weeks of exercising and heavy duty calorie counting, and losing a miserly 1 pound or 2, while my husband does zero exercising and just eats maybe slightly healthier (because I am) and loses 15lbs. But even so, I shouldn't have said it! Thanks for pointing out how insensitive it is. I'll never say it again - no matter how hard it is to watch him sitting on the couch eating cheeze its and losing 10x the weight I'm losing with my celery stix! Report
I think the comment that is most appreciated by people of any demographic after they have achieved a weight-loss or fitness goal is "CONGRATULATIONS!" Report
Thanks for putting into words what I have felt over the past 12yrs of differant times I have lost allot of weight only to gain it back and have to work double time to lose it again. Report
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