Nutrition for Men: A Game Plan for Weight Loss
Women may dominate the dieting world, but obesity is an issue for men, too. Read on for weight loss tips tailored for men.
Most men put more thought into how they fuel their car than how they fuel their body. It's no wonder that obesity is on the rise, and that the number of obese men in the U.S. has doubled over the past 25 years.
Sedentary habits and overeating have contributed to this epidemic. But the question remains: how to motivate men in a dieting world that is dominated by women?
Ready for a tune-up?
For starters, forget the word "diet." Begin to manage your food intake - just like you manage your finances, your relationships and your job.
Next, think about your health and quality of life. Though your wedding tux may be out of reach, dropping a few pounds and exercising more will improve your fitness, strength and energy. Just check with your doctor before you increase your activity level.
Other benefits of losing weight may include:
- Decreased risk of diabetes, heart attack, some types of cancer, hypertension and sleep apnea.
- Better performance in sports.
- Longer lifespan (your spouse and kids will appreciate this).
- Enhanced sex life. Weight loss may even help with erectile dysfunction.
The game plan
Here's how to get the ball rolling:
Don't skip breakfast. A morning meal gets your metabolic fire started. Ditch your muffin or donut, and have some instant oatmeal with walnuts, eggs and low-fat cheese on an English muffin, peanut butter on whole-wheat toast or a bowl of whole-grain cereal with nuts and fruit.
Cut portions in half. Men like volume. But overeating is probably what got you here in the first place. So cut back on portions, especially when dining out. When cooking at home, add more veggies to your meal so you feel like you're eating more. For instance, add zucchini, mushrooms and onions to your pasta sauce. Use more sauce, and less pasta.
Don't overdo protein. Strength training, along with moderate protein and carbs, is the key to muscle building - not excess protein. Most men get more than enough protein in their diets. Forget protein powders, and stick with lean chicken, turkey, fish, eggs and beans. Even veggies and grains have protein.
Focus on good carbs. Carbs are essential for energy and building muscle. Stick with wholesome choices and go for fruits and veggies; whole-grain breads, cereals and pastas; brown rice; and baked and sweet potatoes. Limit cookies, donuts, cakes, large bagels and white flour rolls.
Pay attention to real hunger. Eat when you are hungry, and stop when you are full. This includes pushing away from the table when there is still food left. It's more manly to refuse extra food than to clean the plate.
Snack smart. Endless bowls of chips, ice cream and salted nuts are just some of the snacking downfalls of men. Instead of candy at the vending machine, go for a piece of fruit, a half a turkey sandwich or some low-fat cheese and whole-grain crackers. Keep healthy snacks stocked at the office.
Exercise regularly. There is no better one-two punch for weight loss than regular exercise and good nutrition. Work in some type of aerobic exercise most days of the week. Strength train two to three times a week to build muscle. This will help increase your metabolism. Check with your doctor before you increase your activity level.
Travel light. Traveling for business adds an extra challenge. Try to skip heavy meals and keep to a meal schedule.
- For breakfast, go for scrambled eggs with toast, oatmeal with low-fat milk and fresh fruit. Limit refined carbs, such as bagels, pancakes and waffles.
- For lunch, opt for salads or sandwiches/wraps with grilled chicken, shrimp or salmon. Ask to skip or go light on the mayo.
- Watch dinner portions. Don't hesitate to leave leftovers on your plate. Opt for more fish and chicken versus beef, and avoid fried foods.
Limit alcohol. Spoiler alert: alcohol has calories. If you care to drink, limiting yourself to two drinks a day will cut the amount of calories you consume. It will also help you avoid gaining belly fat and will enhance your overall health.
Finally, don't rush it. A goal of one half to one pound a week is the most sensible for the long term. When it comes to permanent weight loss, slow and steady wins the race.