05/18/2012 08:23 am ET Updated Jul 17, 2012

Why Is it More Difficult for Women to Lose Weight Than Men?

A friend of mine recently posted on Facebook:

"OK, so why does the husband lose 7 pounds and I only lose 3 in the past 10 days of the 'new regimen?'... so not right."

So, does this sound familiar?

Many times when a husband and wife, or male and female couple, start a weight loss journey together, it seems that the man loses weight faster and more easily than the woman does. For us women, that's downright frustrating.

There are several explanations for this phenomenon, but it's also important to keep the focus on you and to only compare yourself to you, not to others. So, to cut to the chase, here are a few of the reasons why men tend to lose weight faster and more easily than women:

Women tend to be more prone to "emotional eating."

In 2009, the Brookhaven National Laboratory conducted a brain imaging study to look at how we control our brain response to our favorite foods. Men were better able to control their responses. This may explain part of the puzzle on why women typically have a harder time dropping the pounds.

Men may be more competitive than women.

Some research has shown that when money was awarded for every pound lost, men did better than women. It is interesting to note the percentage of men winners on the The Biggest Loser compared to women (70 percent of the winners have been male).

Men have more muscle mass.

Men tend to have more muscle than women, and we all know that muscle burns more calories than fat. Having a higher muscle composition leads to a higher metabolism. Based on several studies, the metabolism of a man has been found to be anywhere from 3-10 percent higher than that of a women of the same weight and age.

Female hormones play a role.

Female hormones, such as estrogen, make it easier for the body to deposit fat. With all this stacked against women, don't be discouraged. Focus on you and don't compare yourself to your man! Pay attention to your eating habits and take note if you're eating for emotional reasons or for true hunger. Keep a food journal and record your emotions/feelings in it throughout the day. Add resistance/weight training to your workout routine to help increase your muscle mass (and metabolism).

Most important, don't give up. Take small steps toward a healthier, more active lifestyle and you will see results.

Cheryl Forberg, RD is a James Beard award-winning chef, former nutritionist for NBC's "The Biggest Loser" and NYT bestselling author. Her latest book is "Flavor First" (Rodale). She lives on a farm in Napa, California. For plenty of scrumptious recipes, check out her website or follow her on Twitter or Facebook.

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