Fact or fiction: men lose weight faster than women

One particularly sore point that's bound to make any dieting woman cranky is the fact that men usually don't tend to obsess about their weight nearly as much as women do. Worse yet, should a man decide he does need to lose a few pounds, it seems like all he needs to do is switch to light beer and boom! All the excess weight magically vanishes. So is life really that unfair? Do men actually have an easier time losing weight just because they're men?

Well, yes and no. Ann Albright, a former dietician who now directs the CDC's Division of Diabetes Translation, tells Discover that various hormonal differences, many of them related to child-bearing, make women's bodies less inclined to let go of excess fat without a fight. Men also have more muscular bodies and a higher rate of metabolism, both of which make it easier for them to shed excess poundage at a faster rate.

WebMD, however, notes that men's weight loss advantage really only impacts the earliest stages of dieting. As a case in point, they brought up a study out of England where a group of men was found to have lost significantly more weight and fat during the first two months than a group of women, but that six months in, both genders were more or less equal when it came to achieving their diet goals.

Women do have a few weight-related wins, though

Good news for any woman tearing her hair out over excess body fat — women are supposed to carry more of this than men. A woman in perfect shape will still have 6 to 11 percent more body fat than a man who's also at peak fitness.

Should a woman have some excess body fat, she'll also be able to work it off far more efficiently than a man can do. Fat, for women, is an "easy come, easy go" proposition, since their bodies tend to store more of it than men's bodies do, but they are also able to burn it off more quickly through exercise. Plus, while men's fat tends to migrate straight to their bellies, women's gravitates more towards their hips and thighs, thus puts far less strain on the heart. As Dr. David Katz, M.D., MPH, founding director of the Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center, tells WebMD, "The fat women find it hardest to lose is generally the least harmful to health."

While weight loss can be hard for both sexes, numbers on the scale alone should never be your main focus. Put in the hard work of making good food choices and getting a sufficient amount of exercise, and sooner or later you'll find yourself in your best shape, even if it's not size XS.