Without meaning to, I have definitively demonstrated the fat burning potential of man vs woman. David and I have, in the vast majority of instances, had the same amount of physical activity over the last 5 months. During the Voyage of the Tramper, we have hiked the same mountains, kayaked the same rivers, biked the same trails and skied the same mountains.
And yet, David is losing weight. And me? Well, I seem to be gaining!
That was not one of the anticipated benefits of the Tramper Voyage. New, exhilarating experiences? Check. Beautiful vistas? Check. Meeting new, fun people from all over the country? Check. Lots of outdoor fun? Check. Getting slimmer and healthier? NO!
I do believe I am stronger. Especially, I am stronger than my cancer-treatment all-time low. I can now bike or hike up a mountain and ski moguls (and powder!). But, what’s missing from my fitter-self picture is this: My clothes are now more snug than when we left Baltimore! I am, frustratingly, gaining a bit of weight.
How is this possible? Well, a number of factors seem to be at work here. The two standouts are these: I am middle-aged and I am a woman.
When I was working and looking forward to our trip, I anticipated how much more fit and slim I would get. No job to take all my time and energy so it was a given that my clothes would get a bit baggy on me. This has not happened.
So, I believe it’s time for me to acknowledge the differences between men and women, as far as weight goes. According to WebMD, men, because they have more muscle mass than women, burn more calories, even when sitting still. Women have a greater amount of fat, naturally. And, this article from the Mayo Clinic explains that women lose muscle mass after menopause. Muscle burns fat, so the equation is quite simple, really. Men are much more efficient than women at fat-burning at any age.
According to LIVESTRONG.com, “the bottom line is that if a man and a woman recline in a field and stare at the sky for an hour, the man will burn more calories than the woman.” Aargh! That’s frustrating as heck! To make matters worse, middle age slows down metabolism.
I really can’t expect to get more physical activity than David. He’s just so capable of putting more into every bike and ski ride than I am. My level of activity is so high right now, if I try to ramp it up too much, to lose weight, I might hurt myself!
So, the advice of Weight Watchers to “Move More”, won’t really help me. Because I’m moving plenty!
The second tenant of losing weight is to eat less. There! That’s where I have erred these past months! I am eating the same foods, in the same way David does. And me with my fat-conserving, slowed-down metabolism!
We eat well. We pay attention to good nutrition. We eat for energy and rebuilding and good health. But, we love butter as well as spinach salad. Ice cream as well as an apple a day.
So, while David can go on eating Ben & Jerry’s, I guess I need to have an orange instead. If I don’t soon pull myself up short and stop eating so many fats and so much white sugar, we are going to look like Jack and Mrs Sprat!
It would be just sad to weigh more at the end of the Tramper Voyage than at the beginning!