Men Losing Weight

Weight Loss for Men

'Do I look big in this?' Cue all you men to swiftly click through to another screen.

Women's Territory - dieting, worrying about how you look and planning which salad to eat next.

Given that 'dieting' seems to be a predominantly female pre-occupation would lead us all to believe that men don't need to worry about their weight or indeed know anything about dieting and losing weight.

The staggering fact, published by the Men's Health Forum Survey showing that today in the UK one in every two men are classified as 'overweight' is a major wake up call.

So here the men have their say about diet and weight loss along with our tips for busting that belly.

What men say

On Acceptance

Men seem to be able to accept being overweight more than women.

'I think there is less stigma attached to being a fat bloke than being a fat woman.' Rob

Society tends to accept men being big. In the extreme the big beer bellied men can be perceived by some at least, as 'macho.'

'At my heaviest I think I sadly went into denial. I was quite happy to think of myself as 'big' or 'heavy,' almost in a positive way. I had played rugby as a youngster and being big in this environment was always perceived (by other rugby players anyway) as a desirable advantage.' Simon

Many men accept or ignore a 'bit of a stomach'. The Cancer Research UK's Man Alive Campaign also suggests that British men are 'in denial' about their waist measurement.

Abdominal fat, which men tend to gain when putting on weight, carries a high risk of causing weight related illnesses including some types of cancer, heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure. The bigger the waist measurement the higher the risks.

On Health

'My main motivation is health based. I suffered a major heart attack at the early age of 39.' Simon

'My primary reason for wanting to lose weight is to maintain and improve my health.' Quentin

'At 55 years old it can't be good to have an obese body.' Colin

On Appearance

'I continued to pile on weight, until at the age of 20, I reached the zenith of my weight; 14 stone 7, with a 38 inch waist! The embarrassment I felt when I went to Austin Reed to be measured for some trousers cannot be expressed; it was heartbreaking. It was as though all of those years of unhappiness about my weight crashed on top of me at once, and I thought action must be taken!' James

'I feel so much happier with myself now. I can actually look in the mirror and not be upset by what I see.' Tazza

'Being overweight affected my self-confidence and I know gave very poor first impressions.' IanW

'There is no doubt that had I been slimmer I would have maybe had a more social lifestyle. 'But mainly I would have liked to have looked better or been able to buy even average size clothes; not the puzzled look of the Burton's store staff when asked for a 44" waist and 28" leg!' Colin

The Good News

Men actually have the upper hand in the weight loss stakes, as they have a greater muscle to fat ratio than women and muscle burns more calories.

Men also appear to have the upper hand in their attitude to food. Most men do not see food as a good or bad thing. It does not act as an emotional prop with all the associated bingeing and cravings. Men also don't have to deal with hormonal blips and PMS cravings.

'I do go onto the forums occasionally and, boy, am I glad I'm male! There's an awful lot that the women in the board have to contend with - everything from bad bosses, hormones, temptations bought for others at home (or by colleagues at work!), husbands who "like them as they are"... One hundred things that could affect their ability to keep their desired weight loss going.' Ian W

A few lifestyle changes can mean weight loss is successful and can be viewed as a long term plan rather than a 'diet.'

Weight Loss Tips for Men

1. A balanced diet

A balanced diet rich in fruit and vegetables and low in fat plus regular exercise will result in healthy and sustainable weight loss.

2. Complete a food diary

By completing a food diary you will learn a lot about your personal eating habits. You will see, in black and white, where the calories in your diet are coming from and show you what foods and drinks are high in calories, taking up a disproportionate amount of your daily calorie consumption.

This knowledge will give you the power to start making changes to your daily diet to help you stick to your weight loss goals.

'I used to binge on cheeseburgers and fries but I'm horrified now I know what the calorific values of those are' Tazza

'I also found that I could sneak in a 113g bar of nougat once a week as a treat without affecting the numbers too much. And the occasional Double Chocolate Muffin. To date, my eating patterns have changed. I don't think I'll get the free Christmas calendar or chopsticks from the local Chinese takeaway this year, but I'm rarely hungry and the weight is dropping. The real reward is when other people start to notice and say so!' IanW

3. Alcohol

Alcohol can be blamed for abdominal fat for many men. Tips - Don't quench your thirst with beer, drink water before you start drinking alcohol. Choose 'light' beers or low calorie alternatives. Men can also select to drink wine or a gin and slimline tonic; alternating with glasses of water with ice and nobody is any of the wiser and the bonus is calories saved from drinking beer. Whilst in the pub enjoy a game of snooker or pool - keeps you away from the bar and burns some calories. Moderation is the key!

4. Get Active

It's time not to just sit and watch sport but get out there and participate; at any level it has to be good for you. Exercising, getting fitter and building muscle must have appeal to most men. A lot of men have continued to play football with the lads at the weekend and these sessions are an enjoyable get together. Men can view exercise as a sociable hobby rather than a necessary evil. So men get your mates together and kick a ball around.

Around the house - Get stuck into some DIY - Put your back into it and you'll get results as well as pleasing the wife!

Don't use a car wash - wash your car yourself!

Step into the garden - New research from the University of Loughborough says that gardening can be a good substitute for going to the gym. Gardening has a positive effect on the physical and emotional health of people.

Get the kids out at the weekends and throw around a ball, frisbee - enjoy the fun and be active.

Table 1: How Many Calories You'll Burn*
Activity Mins Calories Burned
Walking, Moderate 30 153
Bowling 30 71
Car Washing 20 81
Table Tennis 30 114
Rounders 20 78
Gardening, Digging 30 270
Gardening, Weeding 30 153
Gardening, Mowing 30 231
Football, Goalie 45 447
Football, Not goalie 90 894
Swimming, Moderate 30 286
Tennis, Recreational 30 208
Jogging, Slowly 10 81
Weight Lifting, Moderate 10 29
Frisbee 40 267

*(Figures based on an 36yr old man, 5ft 10 weighing 14 stone with 2 stone to lose).

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