Women aren’t the only ones who complain about their body. Men also fret about body image. Like women, men want to look good. Negative body image is a serious issue among men and women alike. Negative body image is also a key risk factor in development of eating disorders. Men searching for the “perfect body” often find themselves sliding down the slippery slope into an eating disorder.
According to a recent study done by the Centre for AppearanceResearch at the University of the West of England, four out of five men confess to being unhappy about their body. The study involved 384 British men with an average age of 40. The biggest body issue was the “beer belly” followed by "lack of muscles." About 60% said that their arms, chests, and stomachs were not muscular enough.
Their solution? To eat a high protein diet! Sorry guys. Eating a steak for dinner will not create bigger biceps by breakfast. Hard exercise builds muscles. You need to go to the gym and lift weights. And in order to have the energy to lift weights, you need to fuel your muscles with carbs.
Eating a high protein diet will not lead to fat loss (unless you knock off calories when you knock off carbs). To get rid of the beer belly, you need to get rid of the beer – or at least some of it—and consume fewer calories each day (or most days of the week). By cutting out two beers a day (300 calories), you can theoretically lose 30 pounds a year. Cutting out just one beer a day (150 calories) theoretically contributes to 15 pounds of fat loss a year – assuming everything else if your diet stays the same.
Sounds simple? Yes. Fat loss should not be hard. But if you want professional help with sculpting your body, I suggest you consult with a sports nutritionist for personalized advice. To find a local sports nutritionist, use the referral network at www.SCANdpg.org.
Which is the more effective way to lose undesired body fat: add on more exercise or knock off more calories?
According to Dr Jim HIll, speaker at the American College of Sports Medicine's annual convention, knock off the calories. While a combination of exercising more and eating less is a good idea, the key to losing undesired body fat is to eat fewer calories. Subtracting food seems to be more important than adding on exercise for fat loss.
While aerobic exercise like running or cycling does help create a calorie deficit, a smart choice is to also lift weights. This helps preserve your muscles. Otherwise, more of the weight you lose will be in the form of muscle.
Exercise becomes more important when you are ready to maintain your fat loss. Research suggests that dieters who have been obese need about 60 to 90 minutes per day of exercise. (Having been obese seems to reset the metabolism and creates a strong biological drive to regain the weight). Walking is a popular exercise among dieters. Pedometers are helpful tools to guide people to ramp-up their activity, with a goal of 10,000 to 12,000 steps per day.
Do you know how sumo wrestlers "get fat"? They skip breakfast!
To their detriment, many athletes think skipping breakfast will help them "get thin" by saving a few calories. Wrong! Think again!
My typical weight-conscious client complains, “Every time I go on a diet, I end up blowing my diet and gaining weight.” This has little to do with will power but rather physiology. Just as a person cannot breathe normally after staying underwater for too long, a dieter cannot eat normally after having eaten too little food for too long. That’s the physiology of hunger. The body wants to overcompensate for the perceived “famine” (diet).
My words of wisdom to dieters are: If you want to lose weight, enjoy a hearty breakfast and lunch, and then “diet” at the end of the day so you can lose weight when you are sleeping, not when you are trying to train and perform well. Please, do not eat like a sumo wrestler!
With best wishes for high energy and low body fat,
For more information, refer to the weight reduction section in:
Many morning exercisers believe they should exercise on empty, so that they will burn more fat. While that may be true, burning fat differs from losing body fat. Losing body fat depends on your calorie intake for the entire day. That is, you can do a fat-burning workout in the morning but then erase that calorie deficit with a big scone and a latte, followed by generous meals the rest of the day. (You know, the hearty meals you “deserve to eat” because you had a hard workout earlier in the day…)
The benefits of eating before a morning workout include:
-You’ll have a better workout.
-You’ll feel more alert and have energy to enjoy the workout.
-You’ll provide your muscles with the fuel it needs to optimize performance.
-You’ll be able to train harder and get more from your efforts.
-You’ll help curb the hungry horrors after the workout.
If you want to lose body fat, I suggest you plan to do that when you are sleeping, not exercising! (Sleep, after all, is a fat burning activity--if you still thank that burning fat equates to losing body fat.) Your better bet is to fuel by day, have energy to enjoy an active lifestyle, and then diet (eat a little bit less) at night. Give it a try?
For more information on how to lose weight and maintain energy for exercise, take a look at the weight loss section in my Sports Nutrition Guidebook. The information will give a kick-start to your New Year’s Nutrition Resolutions.
“I don’t keep peanut butter in the house”, reported Sarah, a working mom and fitness exerciser who wanted to lose about 10 pounds. “If peanut butter is there, I eat way too much of it.”
The solution I offered Sarah was scary – eat peanut butter EVERY day for the next week. Eat it three meals a day, if desired, and two snacks a day, as well.
Sarah left my office fearful she would gain several undesired pounds of body fat. When she returned a week later, she was amazed that her weight was the same. She had eaten a lot of peanut butter, but also had eaten less and less of it as the days went by. Peanut butter no longer “called to her” and no longer “invited her” to eat the whole jar. She knew she could eat it whenever she wanted, so it was no longer “forbidden.”
The best way to take the power away from a binge-food is to eat it more often— every meal, every day until you get sick of it. Knowing you can have it as often as you want makes it less appealing. Think about it. Do apples have power over you? Doubtful—because you give yourself permission to eat apples whenever you want. But what would happen if you were to ban apples? You’d likely start to binge on them when given the opportunity.
This week, how about surrounding yourself with a food that has power over you and make peace with that food? … Ice cream anyone?
For more information on how to find peace with food:
Most weight reduction diets are targeted towards women. What are the keys to weight loss success for men? Does the same diet advice apply to men as for women? That question was addressed by research presented at the American College of Sports Medicine's Annual Meeting in June.
In a study with 65 overweight or obese men (average age, 36 years), the keys to weight loss success in men were:
• choosing smaller portions of foods
• eating fewer high fat foods (particularly snacks and take away foods including meat pies, hamburgers, chocolate, chips, potato crisps and ice cream).
* cutting back on sugary soft drinks
• consuming less alcohol.
By making these small changes, about one-third of the men lost more than 5% of their body weight within 6 months. (That means, a man who weighed 200 pounds lost about 10 pounds, or about a half a pound a week.) They did not deny or deprive themselves of their favorite foods, they just ate less of them.
Although the dieters knocked off some “junk food’, they did not increase their intake of fruits and vegetables. This contrasts to dieting women who tend to munch on lots of salads and eat fruits for low-calorie snacks. This means you can lose weight even if you don’t want to eat like a rabbit! You can still eat your “man food” – just less of it!
Losing weight does not depend on eating more fruits and veggies. Yet, the goal of weight loss should be to invest in health and not just reach a lower number on the scale. That’s where food choices that include fruits and veggies offer the winning edge.
More often than not, I talk with novice marathoners who assume they will lose weight once they start training for a marathon. After all, if they are running for miles and miles, how could they not lose weight???
Well, guess again, according to a study presented at the American College of Sports Medicine's Annual Meeting. In a survey of 64 participants in a three-month marathon-training program, only 11% of the runners lost weight and 11% actually gained weight. (The rest remained at a stable weight.) Of the 7 who gained weight, 6 were women. They got hungrier and ate more!
Among the entire group of runners, three-quarters of the women reported eating more while training, as compared to only half of the men. It seems that Nature works hard to defend women from losing weight! After all, in terms of evolution, a woman’s job is to be fertile.
Hence, if you are a woman who decides to run a marathon, be sure the primary goal of your training is to improve your endurance, not to lose weight. If you want to do both, you have to carefully manage your appetite. All too often, marathoners can convince themselves they deserve to eat several extra cookies because they just ran a few miles…
When I counsel either casual exercisers or competitive athletes, I ask them what they typically eat in a day. I then do a more thorough food intake, gathering details of all that they eat, More often then not, they “try to stay away from” bagels, crackers, pasta, juice, bananas, and other “carbs.” I ask them “Why?” With embarrassment, they mumble, “Because they’re fattening.” The athletes know in their intelligent minds this is not true, but somehow they have fallen victim to fad diets.
If you are among those who “try to stay away from carbs”, think again. Remember that carbs are NOT fattening (excess calories are fattening) and that carbs (such as whole grains, fruits and vegetables) should be the foundation of each meal because they fuel your workouts. I invite you to enjoy whole grain bagels, sandwiches, and pasta – and also enjoy higher energy during your workouts.
Do you really want to never enjoy potato or pasta again.....???
For more information about carbs/weight, please read the chapter on how to lose weight and have energy to exercise in my Sports Nutrition Guidebook (www.nancyclarkrd.com).