Men vs. Women: Dieting, Exercise and Losing Weight

Here's the latest post in an on-going series about the differences between the sexes.


Well, it seems perfect to take on dieting and losing weight early in the year since it is the NUMBER ONE resolution most people make every New Year! But, like every column in this ongoing series, men and women approach diet, weight loss and exercise quite differently. And, like every column in this series, I will be making many generalizations, which often and usually have exceptions. And I will do my best to annoy any women's studies professors and/or students!

I must confess that I’m currently having my own struggle losing weight for the first time in my adult life. I always weighed 175 lbs, give or take five, until a ski accident with a head injury a few years ago. Even though I was able to exercise soon afterward, I began to gain weight at an unusually alarmingly quick pace. There was no explanation. One doctor thought–as out there as it may be–that my head injury (there was considerable bleeding in my brain in spite of wearing a helmet, which the neurologist said saved my life) may have re-set my metabolism’s rate to slower.

I’ve gone so far as to fully alter my diet–becoming largely vegan–in my efforts to lose this gut I’ve developed. Thankfully, the weight is finally coming off, but it’s given me sympathy that I never really had for the struggles men and women go through trying to lose a few.

However, herewith my thoughts on our differences approaching this topic:

  • Women like Exercise Classes

Women like exercise classes, which probably all began with Jane Fonda back in the Flashdance era of saggy socks and lousy music. Look at the DVD shelves of exercise videos and how many are clearly directed to women.

  • Men like Sports

Men prefer to sweat with a purpose. In other words, play a sport. There’s something about getting together and throwing a ball around that is comforting for men while that comfort comes for women when they shop.

  • Women like Yoga

An extension of this exercise class thing is the current yoga fad. I actually went to the infamous Bikram classes when he had just become a star after stealing Raquel Welch’s video for his own. The room was heated so hot that it was almost a sauna. Since there were mostly women in view, I really didn’t mind since “my view” was often excellent. But when Bikram would point out the scrawniest guy as the epitome of (yoga) fitness, I finally wised up and switched to kickboxing.

  • Men like to Hit Things

How’s that for a seque? Men like to hit, throw, bump, and otherwise wrestle if we’re exercising. Getting extra dirty in the process is a plus. Granted, I may be an exception since I chose a sport where my opponent, and I were separated by a net when I played tennis. But when I played racquetball, it was quite different. Back in my showbiz days, I used to go up to Farah Fawcett and Ryan O’Neal’s house and play with Ryan on his private court. That ended when we got up-close and too personal on a particular rally: details in my next tell-all book.

  • Women like Support – in ALL things they do

Well, what women really like are the exercise clothes and sports bras. We guys like the sports bras too. But the point is that women really like the camaraderie and help of doing it in groups. You know, sort of like how they can’t go to the bathroom alone!

  • Men think they can do it alone!

Men actually think they know how to exercise and don’t need the support or help of other men. I don’t know if this is true, but I bet private trainers have women as clients at a 2-to-1 ratio to men. The sad part is we guys clearly don’t know how to do it alone or we’d all look like a young Ahnold.

  • Women will try diet fads sooner than men

Women want to believe whatever is the newest diet is really one that works. Why do women’s magazines always have diet secrets? Hmmm, if they were really secrets would they be published so regularly? Men believe a “light” beer is dieting.

  • Men will delude themselves sooner than women

Men look in the mirror and see themselves as they may have once been–fit, trim, full head of hair and irresistible. Women’s mirrors are like the fun house mirrors, since women see themselves distorted and unrealistically. I will just cite my wife’s own self-image. She’s an undeniable TEN, but no matter how much I tell her so, she’s always expressing some part of her that needs improvement.

So, have I got you or your partner right? Where have I missed the truth of how men and women approach these things? Please weigh in…get it!

*This is an opinion piece and the views expressed within don't necessarily reflect the views of Patch or its editors.

About this column: Bruce Sallan is an Agoura Hills stay-at-home dad who is raising two teenage boys. Bruce’s first book, A Dad’s Point-of-View: We ARE Half the Equation is available at Amazon and the store at BruceSallan.com: http://brucesallan.com/index.php/store. Bruce Sallan’s column, “A Dad’s Point-of-View,” is carried in over 100 newspapers and websites worldwide. Please listen to “The Bruce Sallan Show - A Dad’s Point-of-View,” his one-hour radio show, which is available anytime, via live stream, or to download for free on BruceSallan.com.


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