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Nearly everyone’s heard this story (or some variation of it) before: A husband and wife vow to lose weight as a couple. They start by exercising together and cutting soda from their diets. After a week, the husband is already down a few pounds, but the wife, well the scale hasn’t quite budged for her yet.

Sure, the story sounds cliché, but we hear slightly different versions of it all of the time because scientifically, it really is more difficult for women to lose weight. And for several different reasons.

“In my clinical practice, I see every day that women can have a much tougher time than men in losing weight,” said Dr. Linda Anegawa, F.A.C.P., founder of OSR Weight Management in Hawaii and metabolic medicine and clerkship director in medicine for the University of Hawaii. “Particularly, when I have patients who are married couples losing weight together, the camaraderie is sometimes overshadowed by the woman’s jealousy in how quickly her partner can lose weight compared to her.”

For any woman aiming to lose weight, though — whether with a male partner or on her own — it’s important to understand exactly why the endeavor poses a greater challenge for females.

Know that it’s not just all in your head or some crazy voodoo curse that makes it more challenging. There are several scientific reasons why it’s harder for women to lose weight, and by understanding each you can not only lessen any frustrations that might arise, but also develop a plan to work around some of the common obstacles.