Wednesday, October 31, 2012



has 69 pounds of muscle, 23 pounds of bone, and 23 pounds of
fat (the rest is organs, body fluids, and the like). A typical woman
who weighs 125 pounds has 45 pounds of muscle, 15 pounds of
bone, and 34 pounds of fat. In summary, men are genetically pro-
grammed to have more lean muscle mass and heavier bones than
women. Conversely, women’s bodies are designed to have a higher
fat content.
Technically, the definitions of overweight and obesity are based on the
presence of excess body fat (though Body Mass Index or BMI is used
to categorize people’s weight status—more on this in the next chap-
ter). Here, too, the genders differ. Overweight in men is defined as
between 21 and 25 percent body fat and obesity is defined as greater
than 25 percent. Overweight in women is defined as between 31 and
33 percent body fat and obesity is defined as greater than 33 percent. Because biologically men are supposed to have less fat and women more fat, even men and women of the same height and weight should have very different body compositions.
Given the physical differences between the genders when it comes
to body composition, it’s not surprising that body fat recommendations
for men and women are different as well. The recommendation for
men ranges from 12 to 20 percent and that for women ranges from 20
to 30 percent.
Given their different body compositions, men have a biological advantage over women when it comes to losing weight. That advantage is explored in chapter 5.

Different Minds
Men and women are not only different physically; their psychological
makeup is distinct as well. The emotional differences between men
and women are an area of great interest. John Gray’s 1992 book Men
Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus caught the attention of the

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